Last Updated in March 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny
[su_dropcap]L[/su_dropcap]ocal search engine optimization (SEO) requires a lot of diligence if you want to rank above competitors and attract high-quality leads. As you plan for 2021, [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight]O should be a top priority to bring more attention to your local business, in addition to other online and offline marketing strategies.
The following is a complete guide to developing a [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight]O strategy in 2021 and making the most of this lucrative channel.
What Exactly Is [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight]?
In this blogpost
[su_highlight]Local seo[/su_highlight] entails optimizing your business’s online presence to make sure people find you on search engines, specifically for [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight] arches. For instance, you might own a local print shop and find that many other locations offer printing services in your city. Some competitors might appear in a box that contains top listings, while organic search results below list other businesses. To get the most traction, it’s ideal to go for those top listings in what is known as the “Snack Pack.” At the same time, you should target organic results.
Through a good [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight] strategy, you can make sure your business ranks high when people look for the services or products you offer in their city. However, there are some steps you will need to take to get the best possible rankings in your area.
Make Sure Your Website Is Optimized for Mobile
The very first step you’ll need to take when implementing [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight] is to determine if your website is optimized for mobile users. Using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, you can find out if your website is mobile responsive.
If your website makes it easy for mobile users to navigate, you’ll be able to attract many prospects looking for local businesses on their smartphones or tablets. Without a mobile-ready website, you’ll find that your website suffers tremendously when people are looking for you on the go, which could include both residents and people visiting your city.
Get a Google My Business Listing
Once you’ve figured out if your website is mobile-optimized, you should take the time to obtain a Google My Business listing. You can do all of the SEO you want with keyword research and on-page optimization that it’s possible to do, but it won’t be worth the effort without an official listing on Google.
Provide Your Business Name
Thankfully, Google makes it easy to get a Google My Business listing. To begin, simply visit Google.com/business. Sign in to your account or create one if needed. From there, you can enter your name, address, and phone number (NAP). In some cases, you may see your business name pop up in the drop-down list when typing it if you have a business that Google already recognizes.
Enter the Address
Once you’ve entered your business name, you can provide your new address. Your address could include an official location or you can use your home address if you work from home. Keep in mind that you don’t have to make your home address public–simply select “I deliver goods and services to my customers” if you want to keep your address private. Instead of a specific address, people will see the general location and service area when looking for your business.
Pin the Marker
After entering general business information, you can place the marker on the map to indicate precisely where your business is located. If your address isn’t specified, you can ignore this step. However, in addition to placing the marker, you will also need to categorize your business based on the types of services or products you offer. According to Google, it’s often best to select a single category instead of multiple service categories.
List the Website and Phone Number
After pinning the marker, you can enter both your phone number and website. While you don’t need to provide Google with these details, it’s often best to list both if you want to make it easier for prospects to contact your business and get more information.
Verify Your Business
Once you’ve given Google all of the information it needs to generate a listing, you will need to verify the listing by phone or mail. Verification will entail following the instructions that Google provides. After verifying your business, you can provide any additional details you wish to add, including hours of operation, photos of your business, logos, service page URLs, and in-depth business descriptions.
Conduct Keyword Research
With a Google My Business listing in place, you can now begin to optimize for [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight]O. The next step to take here will entail keyword research based on the type of business you own and the location.
For example, some keywords for a local print shop might include “[city] print shops,” “print shop in [city], [state],” or “printing services in [city]”. You can then include these terms in your webpages, title tags, and meta descriptions to rank for them when people perform Google searches. It’s important to maximize keyword coverage without stuffing your content with unnatural uses of the keywords. Try to use them more naturally in your content and write for customers, not search engines.
When researching various keywords, you can look for examples in your industry using Google autocomplete when searching for local businesses, or you can use tools like the Google Keyword Planner. A good tool will show you metrics around each keyword, such as monthly search volume and ranking difficulty.
Using the keywords you found, you can optimize your homepage along with other pages with naturally incorporated keywords. Include keywords in headers and content. It’s also important to include them in title tags and meta descriptions, which people will see in Google search results.
Get Local Citations
After optimizing your website for organic rankings, build citations, which are a kind of online mention of your business. Both structured and unstructured citations are available. While structured citations include NAP details in a visual format, unstructured citations neglect this structure for the purpose of including them in blog posts or other pages.
Citations are vital if you want to rank on Google’s “Snack Pack” and organic results. The main reason citations are crucial for ranking is the repeated appearance of a consistent NAP across multiple websites, which confirms the Google My Business listing information.
The importance of citations also makes it necessary to ensure that information is consistent across all citations. Make sure the business name, address, and phone number are the same and update them if there are any changes. Using certain citation tools, you can easily find and fix listings across multiple sites. For example, you can use Moz’s [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight] arch tool to locate all listings for your business and see if any information requires fixes.
Practice Link Building
In 2021, link building will continue to be one of the most important factors in ranking on search engines. Next to citations, it’s also the second most important ranking factor for Google’s “Snack Pack.”
Link building entails many steps to build a network of high-quality links, but there are a couple of ways to begin the process for your local business.
Create Content That People Want to Share
To get started with link building, create content that’s highly shareable. If people really like your content and find it helpful, they’re far more likely to link to it from another source. Helpful, informative blog posts and articles are great for link building campaigns. You may rank for this content in search engines, or share on social media where people will spread it even farther.
Submit Guest Posts
Another way to utilize link building is to submit guest posts to relevant industry blogs. Not only can you link to your website from a well-written guest post, but the publication’s audience may also begin to view you as an industry authority. Subsequently, guest posting can build both links and trust among prospects.
Taking all of these measures can help you build a winning [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight]O strategy in 2021 and beyond. If you can take the time to develop a strong foundation for your local business with [su_highlight]local seo[/su_highlight], you’ll be able to appeal to more prospects and remain competitive as SEO becomes more challenging.