Last Updated on 11 October 2020 by Lukasz Zelezny
How to Improve Local SEO and beyond – SEO Tips You Can Implement Today
The world of SEO can feel puzzling to anyone without a track record of success. Even if you do achieve some positive rankings, changes in the algorithm can quickly halt progress. Many individuals and small businesses use a method of trial and error, often not certain what is producing results. There are a number of tricks that can be implemented with very little effort. These methods can produce some quick results that allow you to see real progress. While there are all kinds of theories about SEO and its implementation, the following tricks can be used immediately to good effect.
General Local SEO Tips
SEO Tip #1 for Local SEO – Improve Loading Speed
Slow loading times will damage your SEO efforts, so use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze your results. Visitors expect a page to load quickly, with interruptions being deemed a poor user experience by the search engines.
SEO Tip #2 for Local SEO – Set Up Google My Business
If you run a business, setting up Google My Business is vital. You can use your profile to list your business contact details, opening times for a physical location, and user reviews. A quality profile will improve your chances of being listed for location-based searches.
SEO Tip #3 for Local SEO – Use Internal Linking
Internal linking helps to pass authority around your site, giving power to individual pages. A post ranking on the second or third page of Google might be able to reach the first page with some internal links from other powerful posts.
SEO Tip #4 for Local SEO – Update Old Posts
Most established sites have a lot of older content. An audit of your site can reveal a number of posts ranking for some relevant keywords. By updating these old posts, it is possible to promote them again and give them extra authority and relevancy.
SEO Tip #5 for Local SEO – Create an FAQ Page
An FAQ page can receive a significant number of links when promoted correctly. There are many locations where users ask questions, such as forums, social media platforms, and Q&A sites. By directing people to a comprehensive FAQ page, you should receive traffic and backlinks.
SEO Tip #6 for Local SEO – Ask Questions in Posts
Rich snippets have become an important factor in SEO. Many people use voice activated products to conduct searches, leading to an increase in questions being asked. By developing posts that answer common questions, you can potentially become the rich snippet at the top of the page.
SEO Tip #7 for Local SEO – Fix Any Technical Issues
Technical issues might not be immediately obvious, but they can have a severe impact on your search results. Using a tool like DeepCrawl,you can analyze every page on your site for technical errors. You will often find broken links, missing pages, duplicate content, and other factors that need to be fixed.
SEO Tip #8 for Local SEO – Ask for Reviews
Reviews are an underrated aspect of SEO, with many site owners letting the process take place naturally. However, reputation management has become such a major online industry because of the impact negative reviews can have. It is important to get into the habit of asking customers for reviews, educating people on the best place to leave comments. Being proactive lets you gain greater control of your reputation online.
SEO Tip #9 for Local SEO – Optimize Images
Images offer a chance to help the search engines understand your content better. Make sure you rename the file to an appropriate keyword. Next, add a caption and description that sum up the content of the image. It is also important to resize and even compress the image to ensure the size doesn’t impact loading times.
SEO Tip #10 for Local SEO – Analyze Your Competition via SEO Gap Analysis
Competitive analysis can provide some immediate data that can be acted on quickly. Tools like SEMRush can show you the backlink profile of your main competitors, so you can go out and replicate these links. You can also find out which keywords competitors are ranking for, setting up some targets for content creation.
SEO Tip #11 for Local SEO – Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics should be a core tool when it comes to SEO. You can use the tool to uncover pages that are receiving search traffic, allowing you to focus attention on promoting them effectively. Google Analytics will also help track progress over time, so you can see what methods are proving useful to you.
SEO Tip #12 for Local SEO – Encourage Sharing
Social media has grown in importance to the search engines. Successful brands will be discussed frequently across social media, so a lack of interest will reflect badly on your site. When you create content, add social buttons and direct visitors to share posts across social media. You can also engage with followers and hold contests to create interest.
SEO Tip #13 for Local SEO – Link to Authority Sites
Google expects sites to link to authority sites within their industry. Outbound links show you are providing a useful resource and are willing to direct users to relevant sources. Sites that don’t link to external pages suggest they are only trying to keep people on their site.
It is easy to overcomplicate the SEO process, leading to a period of procrastination. When you are not certain what will work, planning ahead becomes difficult. One of the best approaches is to take action and work on factors that you know will work. These tactics can be implemented immediately, with positive results usually following soon after. Of course, factors like keyword competitiveness will play a big role in your success, but getting started with proven methods can often be the catalyst you require.
There are many facets to an online marketing business, but achieving top search rankings is the most common request from local clients. Local entrepreneurs are acutely aware of their competitors, so the opportunity to leapfrog them to the top spots can be hard to resist. While competitive business instincts can be a driving force, there is a distinct advantage to positioning your website within the first few listings. Search engine success brings recurring traffic, new customers, and branding opportunities. The following SEO tips can all be used to get top rankings for a local business.
SEO Tip #14 for Local SEO – On-Page Optimization
Most entrepreneurs without online experience make some frequent on-page optimization mistakes. Working with a designer, the emphasis will usually be on making an attractive site that pleases visitors. However, this focus on appearance can often be to the detriment of search engine optimization. To begin optimizing, or to fix any existing problems, perform keyword research to uncover some target keywords. The keywords should be used naturally within the page title and occasionally within the content. Try to ensure there is enough text on the page, preferably five hundred words or more. Finally, add some links within the content, directing them to other internal pages and external authority sites.
SEO Tip #15 for Local SEO – Citations
Citations are references to a business that are found across the web. A common example would a listing in a local directory, but it could also include references in blog posts or reviews. As a business grows many citations will appear naturally as more sites reference the business. However, to have the most impact it is important to seek out the best directories to submit details to. When it comes to citations, it is important to use the exact same address format across each site.
SEO Tip #16 for Local SEO – Promote Citations
Citations can be enough to increase rankings in smaller niches, but they won’t be quite as effective in more competitive cities and markets. A way to bolster their impact is to promote the citations. Your citation may appear on a site with a high domain authority, but the page itself won’t hold any authority. When you start promoting the page it can quickly gain more authority, with the result being a more powerful backlink. Promote citations on social media, blogs, and in press releases.
SEO Tip #17 for Local SEO – Social Media
Creating a social media presence allows you to communicate directly with customers. This communication acts as great promotion, but it also helps with SEO as your content gets shared across multiple sites. The average local business might only hold interest to a limited number of people, so it is important to be active and share other content. When you become known as an active participant, expect more people to share your posts due to reciprocity.
SEO Tip #18 for Local SEO – Reviews
Gaining reviews will have multiple benefits for your search engine success. Receiving positive Google reviews will see your site gain gold stars that make your listing more prominent. Searchers will naturally gravitate towards listings that have been reviewed multiple times. When it comes to other listings sites, receiving reviews can often lead to a more prominent position within the website. This higher position can pass greater authority towards your own page within the site, resulting in a more powerful link. Politely asking customers to leave a review will usually result in a number of positive scores, with many others subsequently looking to contribute to an active review page.
By following these strategies on a consistent basis, achieving top search engine rankings are easily achievable. Many local niches are uncompetitive, so you can reach a high position in a short amount of time. The tougher niches will take longer, but consistency will pay off over time. While there are more risky strategies that could harm rankings in the future, each of these methods will be safe to use for local clients.
To Improve Your Local Business Marketing
Local businesses continue to look to the internet for marketing opportunities. Even if your customers are located within close proximity, the way people find out about businesses has changed. Mobile has become an important element, with potential customers often searching for reviews and further information from a nearby location. To meet this high demand, various tools have been developed to assist local businesses in reaching their target audience. The following examples should all be considered if you want to market your business efficiently and effectively.
Local SEO Tools
BrightLocal – Local SEO Tools #1
BrightLocal is a tool that can benefit local businesses and larger agencies. You can run audits on a site, tracking rankings, citations, and reviews. This information can then be used to improve visibility, adding or updating citations on the main platforms, dealing with negative reviews, and submitting your site to the main data aggregators.
Whitespark – Local SEO Tools #2
Whitespark is another tool that helps find and build citations, monitor reviews, and track your rankings. There are also some additional tools like a review guide handout and link generator to help customers with the process of leaving a review. Links are a major factor in SEO, with a link prospector making outreach to target sites extremely easy.
Moz Local – Local SEO Tools #3
Moz Local works with a number of data partners like Neustar, Hotfrog, Acxiom, and Factual, distributing your business information across numerous sites. Incorrect data can be a problem for potential customers and search engines, so it important to get it right. You can submit the correct data to Moz Local, and they will use their data aggregator partners to add or update information where required.
SEMrush – Local SEO Tools #4
SEMrush is a broader marketing tool that can be used for keyword research, backlink analysis, advertising monitoring, and more. For local business marketing, the tool is effective for SEO, helping you to uncover exactly what your main competitors are doing. You can also look at the historical ads of your competitors, so you can see the keywords and ad copy that have proven to be most effective over time.
Buffer – Local SEO Tools #5
Buffer can be used to manage your social media campaigns, integrating with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can control each of your accounts from the same dashboard, schedule posts for specific times, and then analyze results. Additionally, engagement is streamlined, allowing you to communicate with followers across all sites from a single dashboard.
Drift – Local SEO Tools #6
Drift is a tool focused on conversational marketing. The aim is to use a bot to qualify leads that visit your site, ensuring they can be directed to the right place for a conversion. You can create routing rules based on the flow of conversation, providing an intelligent virtual assistant experience for visitors. Drift can also be used to run part of your customer support operations, answering common questions without the need for support staff to get involved.
NinjaOutreach – Local SEO Tools #7
Outreach is one of the best ways to build links, find strategic partners, and promote your content. NinjaOutreach is a tool that simplifies the process, avoiding the complex process of managing numerous conversations. The tool can be used to find potential leads, with location one of the filters for your search. You can then automate the outreach process, organizing the process in a user-friendly manner.
Marketing your local businesses inevitably means developing a solid online strategy. In many cases, you may be able to reach your target audience more efficiently by focusing on the web. There is still room for the more traditional offline techniques, but a strategy built around SEO, social media, and other elements is vital. Each of these tools can greatly assist with local marketing, helping to grow visibility and improve your reputation. You are then free to focus on delivering the best possible service to your customers.
What Are Google Reviews And Why Are They Important for Local SEO?
If your business has “…a physical location that people can visit and is staffed during normal business hours,” as per Google support, then it qualifies for a listing in Google’s My Business service. If your business qualifies for a listing, you should definitely take advantage of it. The benefits of being listed on My Business include much greater visibility in searches and integration with Google Maps. Being visible in people’s Google Maps searches is very valuable, so it’s awesome that Google offers it for free.
Google Reviews refers to the user review component of Google’s My Business listings. When users are reviewing search results that include My Business listings, they will see a star rating for each business. Clicking or tapping on the star rating or a nearby button brings up any user reviews for the business.
Of course, if your business is listed alongside other competing businesses that operate in the same area as you, then the benefits of being visible in Google’s business listings will be divided between you. One of the ways that users will differentiate between you and your competitors is by comparing user reviews. It therefore follows that if you have a high score and positive reviews to your name, you can expect a higher share of the footfall than a competitor who has garnered middling to negative reviews from customers.
Improving Trust in Local SEO
Even if your business is running unopposed, so to speak, having positive reviews to your name will immediately make you more trustworthy and makes it more likely that a Google user who has never heard of your business will pay you a visit if they find you on Maps. Users who are searching on their mobile for a nearby business are some of the easiest people to convert, as they are highly likely to visit any businesses that are nearby.
However, positive reviews of your business won’t just reach people who are visiting your store physically. Your business will also appear in SERPs to people who are searching from their home computers and laptops. As a result, positive reviews of your business on Google improve your trustworthiness online as well as offline.
SEO as such
The benefits of a good review score are mostly self-explanatory, but the SEO benefits are less obvious unless you have experience here of course. If you’re an SEO expert like me, then you already understand the importance of Google Reviews for your SEO.
Local SEO is essential for any business that has a physical presence. If there is a place that your customers can visit, you need to be targeting local search terms to ensure that you are generating as much footfall as possible from online searches. Reviews are one of the most important factors Google takes into consideration when ranking local searches.
Generating positive reviews will augment your local SEO significantly, although it won’t be enough in and of itself. If you have what it takes to generate positive reviews on Google, I can help you to maximise the benefits to your SEO. Schedule a call with me to discuss how.
Who Should Send The Google Review Request Email?
Once your business is listed on Google, you need to attract some ratings and reviews, so people know you’re the real deal. A business without a score always looks suspect.
The easiest way of getting more reviews of your business is simply to ask for them. But before you do, make sure that you choose the right person to write the email.
Someone Who Can Make It About Customer Care Rather Than Marketing
If you ask someone to review your product in order to drive sales, then it is ultimately a marketing exercise. If you approach a customer about writing a review under these circumstances, then they may well question why they should provide you with free marketing. On the other hand, if whoever contacts the customer approaches them as a customer care agent looking for a review in order to better inform future customers about the product, customers may be more amenable to writing a review for you.
You want to choose someone to write your review, who you can trust to communicate and connect with whoever they reach out to on a personal level.
Someone Who Knows What You Need
If you are just looking for a purely organic review, then you don’t need to provide any additional instructions to two reviewers. However, if you want to use a Google review specifically to enhance your SEO, there may be some keywords and phrases that you want reviewers to work into their review. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to insist on a positive review. Feedback is always valuable, and if you try to fill your business listing on Google with fake positive reviews, it will end badly for you.
In fact, users are often suspicious of businesses that have nothing but positive reviews to their name. Even the best business will attract negative reviews. Don’t be afraid of mediocre or bad reviews. The way that you respond to them can win people over.
Make sure that whoever you choose to reach out understands exactly what you are looking for and why.
A Good Communicator
Every communication between you and your customer is important and can shape your relationship. It is, therefore, imperative that whenever you need to reach out to your customers, you do so in the most appropriate fashion. When you are approaching customers for a Google review, the way that you approach them can have an impact on the review that they are separately right.
If your email is discourteous or sets a hostile tone, then the recipient is going to be less inclined to give you a favourable review. On the other hand, if you are polite and respectful to the customers you reach out to them, they are a lot more likely to be amenable to writing you a positive review.
Google reviews are an excellent way of improving your visibility in local searches and showing users that your business is legitimate and trustworthy. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to request reviews. In fact, it is something that we would encourage you to do more of. You don’t need every review to be a glowing 5-star summary to be worthwhile. Make sure you choose the right person to reach out on your behalf.
Why is local SEO important?
Just as SEO is important for ensuring that your website is visible to global internet searchers, local SEO will make your business more visible to people searching in your local area. Local SEO is just as important as regular SEO. Every business with physical premises needs to pay attention to local SEO.
Drive Footfall Through SEO
The primary purpose of local SEO is to ensure that your business is visible to people who are local to it. If your business operates a retail outlet, for example, local SEO will increase the number of people from the local area who pay you a visit.
With effective local SEO, you can capture as much footfall as possible from local searches. Data from Google suggests that as many as 50% of users who search for local businesses on their phones will go on to visit a physical store within the next day. The figure is lower for tablets and computers, but at 34%, it is still a significant number.
Avoid Losing Customers To Your Competitors
Consumers will always be searching for local businesses, whether you are making an effort with your local SEO or not. If you aren’t showing up in their searches, you can be sure that your competitors will be. There’s no sense in allowing yourself to lose business to your competitors needlessly, not when even a modest investment in your local SEO could make a significant difference.
Many people who search for local businesses will be looking for a particular product or service, rather than a specific business. Your local SEO will ensure that your business is among those that show up when users search for the products and services that you provide.
Make Your Business More Accessible
One of the most important functions of SEO is making your business easy to contact. If your business is listed in Google’s My Business listings, a call button will appear next to your business in the search engine results. Pressing this button enables searchers to instantly call your business if you show up in SERPs.
There will also be buttons to automatically locate your business in Google maps, meaning that finding directions to your business is just a case of pressing a couple of buttons.
Other search engine providers offer similar functionalities, but none of their services are used as widely as Google’s are. As always, Google is the natural provider to focus your SEO efforts on.
Make Verification Easy
Another common reason that people search for a local business is to verify information about it. Things like the opening hours and the exact address of a business can be found very easily, thanks to local searching. However, if you don’t supply this information to Google and others yourself, you will be relying on other people to accurately fill it in. The best way of ensuring that the information about your business is accurate is to add it yourself.
Local SEO is essential if you want to be able to capture traffic and footfall from local searches. Without it, your business isn’t going to be represented in the SERPs. Schedule a call with me today to discuss your local SEO needs.