1 in 3 Google searches are local, according to Ed Parsons the GeoSpatial Technologist at Google. The majority of these are people looking for local businesses. These are people who are in your area and ready to spend money on whatever product or service you offer.
That’s why it’s so important that your business is doing what it can to target these searchers using local SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If your website isn’t being found, you can guarantee your competitors is. Here you will learn some local SEO tips and steps you should take to ensure that local customers can find your business online.
Understand Who Your Target Audience Is
Before you begin with SEO for local business you need to clearly identify your target audience and how they are looking for your type of business online. Some key questions that you want to answer is who is my ideal customer? Where do they spend their time online? And what phrases do they enter into their search engine when looking for my type of business?
Two great free tools that you can use to find the phrases that your searchers are using when looking for your type of business are the Google keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool) and ubersuggest (www.ubersuggest.com). With the Google Keyword Tool you can see what kinds of phrases (keywords) people search for and how many of these searches they conduct each month. You can also get ideas for keywords that you want to target. Ubersuggest is a tool which accesses Google suggest as well as many other search engines to give you ideas of keywords that you might like to target.
Optimize Your Website
- Place your Phone Number and Address on Every Page – Placing your business phone number and address on every page is important for two reasons. Firstly it tells search engines such as Google, that this is local content. Having a local phone number and address adds a high degree of credibility that you are in fact a local business. It is also good from a user experience perspective because it makes it easy for prospective customers to find your contact details and physical location.
- Use Keywords In Your Title Tags – Your title tags are very important. They tell search engines what your page is about but they also show your prospective visitor what kind of content they can expect if they click through from the search engines. For example if you are an automotive repair service in Chicago, then you might want to target the phrase “emergency car repair Chicago” and so you would include this in your title tag.
- Internal Linking – Links within your own site are also important for ranking pages. When you create content such as a new blog post, it is a good idea to link from inside that content to other pages on your site. When you link to the page you want to use as the anchor text the keyword that you want to rank for. So for example if you were running a maid service, and you wanted to rank for the keyword “best cleaner”, then when you would hyperlink the phrase “best cleaner” to an appropriate page on your website.
List your Business in Google Places
Creating a listing for your business in Google Places is free and so you want to make sure that you take advantage and optimize your listing. In order to create a Google Places listing you will need to have a physical address so that you can verify your business is actually located at its listed address.
When you create your listing the more detailed you can make your listing the better. Include a full description of your business and add videos or photos that you have available. Also ask some of your favorite customers if they would leave a review for your business on your Google Places listing. Reviews are very important for convincing new customers that you are someone that they want to do business with.
Create a Video
Adding video to your local marketing efforts is very important. Videos rank easily in the search results because Google likes to display a diverse range of content types. And by uploading to video sharing sites such as YouTube you can tap into those sites own huge internal audience. Finally people like watching videos and when given the option will click on one because they know they won’t be required to do any reading.
Many local business owners don’t use video because they think it will be expensive or difficult. But you don’t need a lot of expertise or a huge budget to create a video for your local business. Simply filming yourself talking about your business is sufficient. When you create your video choose a keyword phrase that you want to target. Do not try to target more than one keyword with each video. If you want to target a different keyword then you should create a new video.
When you upload your video to sites such as YouTube you should include the keyword phrase that you are targeting in the title of the video, in the file name, in the description and in the title tags.
List Your Business In Local Directories
There are many different local directories that you can list your business in. To decide which ones to concentrate on perform a Google search for your targeted phrases and see which local directories are listed on the first page. These are the local directories where you want to be listed. Some of the most popular local directories include:
• City Search
• Super Pages
• Yellow Pages
• White Pages
• Map Quest
• Insider Pages
Get Local Links
The final step in your local SEO should be to obtain as many local links as possible. Local links are great because they show Google that you are an important part of the local community and consequently increase your search engine rankings. They can also provide a good amount of visitors from the sites that you feature on as well.
You are probably already doing things to promote your business in your local community. To obtain links you usually just need to ask if you can include a link back to your website from their site. For example if you sponsor a local children’s sports team, ask for a link back to your website.
Another great way to get local links is to volunteer to write for local sites. In return you will usually be able to include a little information about you and your business and a link back to your website. Many local sites are hungry for content because they can’t pay for full time writers and will be happy to have your contribution.
Joining local organizations such as rotary or your local chamber of commerce is another way to get links. Typically these organizations will have an online directory where you can link back to your website. Also approach vendors and business partners and see if you could have a link included on their website.
When it comes to SEO for local business, you need to think outside of the box and look for opportunities to have your business appear online. The more places you can get to link back to your website, the more visitors you will receive and the higher your site will rank for local searches.