Local search can have a powerful impact on the health of businesses. An estimated 50 percent of local searches result in visits to a brick and mortar store and 18 percent of local mobile searches will result in a purchase within a day. In other words, brands that have a strong local SEO strategy have the capacity to seriously impact their bottom line.
When it comes to optimizing content for local SEO, however, much of the initial strategy involves setting up profiles. You want to make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across the directories that appear online. You also want to grab your Google My Business page and set it up correctly so that your page links to your website and can easily direct customers to the information they need for healthy local SEO.
Once you complete these steps, however, there are still a number of strategies that you can use to improve your chances to appeal in local searches. To build a strong local SEO strategy, we have identified four key steps that our community can take to highlight their organizations within local search.
1. Making your Google My Business profile stand out for local SEO
If you have taken the basic local SEO steps, you should have already claimed your Google My Business profile. This profile allows you to stake your spot on the SERPs as well as on the map that Google displays when people browse their local listings. Once you claim your profile and set it up to link back to your website, however, do not think that your local SEO work is done.
If you want to make sure your business catches the attention of prospective buyers, regularly post content. Take your best pictures and upload them to the site. Update these pictures periodically so that prospective customers get a feel for your business and what you have to offer.
You can also use your Google My Business profile to post short pieces of content and announcements to prospective buyers. For example, if you will host an upcoming event, let people know about it right from Google.
When you are logged into your profile, also take the time to actively engage with users. When people leave you reviews, take the time to acknowledge their comment. Thank them for their review. If you receive negative feedback, personally and professionally address the complaint and work to make it right. Make sure that your online persona reflects the voice you want to have with customers in the rest of your business dealings.
2. Taking advantage of the Google My Business Questions and Answers
On Google My Business, Google now has also opened the opportunity for customers to ask questions directly of businesses. These questions can be as mundane as inquiring about your ability to accommodate certain customers or if you carry certain products. Others may require more thought and consideration.
The important thing here, however, is to remember to not neglect these questions. Not answering the questions posed to you directly by prospective customers makes you appear detached and not as engaged with buyers. In the age of personalization, where only 22 percent of people say that they are satisfied with the level of personalization they receive in their shopping experience, appearing stand-offish and neglecting prime opportunities for individual connections does not serve a business well.
Perhaps even worse, not answering the question yourself also opens up the possibility that others will answer it for you. They can also easily get information about your business wrong, or they might even denegrate your business in their response. If they had a negative experience with your organization, nothing stops them from answering these questions with a negative slant.
3. Produce website content that appeals to local SEO
As you produce content for the rest of your website, a key component of local SEO continues to be writing content that appeals to the target audience. If you want to attract a local audience, then you need to write local SEO targeted content created for them. Gather topics and trends that matter to people in your area who are most likely to purchase your product.
For example, if you sell organic produce, creating content about your local organic farms and content that explores the history of agriculture in your area to teach people about native plants would both likely appeal to your target audience and help your local SEO strategy.
You also want to think about what else people might look for online when they want to find your business. Referencing popular landmarks in your town or city that people might use to help them navigate can cement your place as a local business and work toward your local SEO strategy. If you live in a large city with regular tourists, such posts can also help attract tourists visiting these major landmarks and then looking for businesses near their location.
Content specific to your area that can help your local SEO can include collaborations with other businesses that have a connection to your area. In the above example, working with an organic farm would help produce great content for someone who specializes in organic products.
As you get involved in your community, in ways such as sponsoring local events, you can also create content that focuses on these upcoming events and help to broadcast your ties to the local community which will support your local SEO efforts.
4. Use social media to connect you with your location
Social media can also play an important role in connecting people geographically. Following and posting on profiles of important figures in your city, such as popular businesses or the local government will help people connect your business with their city, which is great for local SEO.
Similarly, hashtags on the various platforms that reference your region and pride in your area will also build the right forms of attention for local SEO.
On LinkedIn in particular, many people also find that the various groups and organizations can help with local SEO traffic. Join groups intended for people in your area and invite your employees to do the same. The stronger you build the connection between you, your business, and your community, the easier it will be to see a change in your local SEO and bring in new customers when they come across your brand in search.
Local SEO requires careful consideration as people realize that it takes more effort than only claiming a Google profile to get your organization noticed. Fortunately, by taking these proactive approaches, you can help your organization gain the traction and attention it deserves within the local sector. Let us know how these local SEO strategies help your business.