In 2016 SEO has become more important than ever for local businesses. Studies have shown that the majority of buyers research online before making purchase decisions.
With Google processing billions of search queries per month, in which almost half of them are local searches in nature, localizing your business becomes more and more important. In other words, if you want local customers to find you, you have to invest in local SEO.
But how to achieve more local visibility? what strategies small businesses can implement to successfully compete with other brands in the local search field?
So let’s start with some of the most effective local SEO tips that you need to focus on in 2016 and give some actionable advice on how to improve your website ranking in local search.
1. Ensure That Your NAP is Consistent
NAP stands for 3 details about your business, name, address and phone number.
Thus the accuracy of NAP information is critical for local marketing and customers as it provides search engines validation of your location or contact information and establishes trust in your business. Sounds simple enough, but nearly 50% of small business have formatting or data errors in their citation, their local visibility on search is sure to take hit for it.
On the other hand citations are online mentions of your business with some of your NAP information. they generally take the form of a local listing in a business directory like Yelp or Yellow pages. the more citations you have the better.
Remember when it comes to citations quality prevails over quantity, in other words, don’t look for citation from low-quality sites and always make sure that all of your citations match exactly; consistency is the key
2. Get Local Links
Link building is the process of exchanging links with other Web sites to increase your own site’s backlinks and quality backlinks.
Like traditional SEO, targetting links from high domain authority (DA) websites is still an important ranking factor for local search. By attracting high quality, you can boost your own websites domain authority and ranking in search results.
You will also want to get links to your website from locally relevant websites, even if they have low domain authority. A link from a local site carries a lot of local relevancy, they are links that humans will actually click on. Those Local links will bring you more traffic, and they will increase your brand visibility.
3. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
Millions of consumers are using mobile devices to find local businesses, in fact, Mobile device searches have already surpassed desktop and laptop computer searches worldwide.
In the last couple of years Google has rolled a couple of algorithm updates which resulted in penalties against websites that were not optimized for mobile devices. So Failing to comply with Google’s Mobile Friendly guidelines will result in a major loss in mobile search traffic.
So Mobile-friendly website design, as an important Google ranking factor now, is no longer optional for local businesses. Your first move in 2016 is to provide the best possible mobile experience for your prospective customers. So any business who likes to have a strong online presence must have a responsive website design, It’s as simple as that.
Keyword research is one of the fundamental step for any successful SEO campaign. Keywords help to bring organic traffic to your website. Google uses the text and metadata on a website to understand what it’s about. It’s very important to choose keywords or phrases that your target audience is actually using while searching for your product or service.
It should come as no surprise that local keywords should include geographical locations. So, make sure you’ve added enough relevant keywords that include the names of countries/cities/districts you are targeting.
There is a ton of information online on how to find the best keywords for your business. Check out this great keyword definitive guide from Backlinko
5. Optimize Images
Images and videos are powerful for grabbing attention and conversions, but they’re also key for local SEO.
Because Search engines don’t see images on your website the same way you or I do, they only see words, it makes sense to focus as much attention there as possible on optimizing your image with local keywords for the best results. You should ensure that image file name, title text, and Alt-Text has your target keywords in it, also don’t forget to include your country or city name.
6. Review and Correct On-Page SEO
Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO elements. It is the main text that appears in search results. It provides users with a brief overview of what to expect when they click, also It tells Google what your page is about.
Your title should include the local keyword you are trying to rank for, don’t forget to add your country or city name. Always try to keep your titles under 55 characters to ensure they display correctly in Google. For example, if you provide web design services in Beirut/Lebanon, add those words to your title tags, so your title will look something similar to “Best web design services in Lebanon”
On the other hand, The purpose of a meta description is to provide the user and search engines with a brief overview of your page. Although meta description doesn’t play any role in increasing your ranking in search results, having a well and unique meta descriptions, under 156 characters, may increase the frequency that people click on your result when it is shown.
For more information on Title Tags, check out this guide from Moz. Also You can see what your titles and meta descriptions would look like in the search results by using this tool.
7. Create High Quality and Relevant Content
Your content has to serve the target audience in your area. Consistently creating good, unique content is a crucial factor for ranking your website. Always keep in mind the questions our customers most often ask and create text, video, and image content around them.
Adding new and original content related to the services your business provides has shown to have a positive impact on the amount of organic traffic you receive as a result. There’s no sense from either an SEO or a marketing perspective to copy texts from other websites.
the more educational, informational or simply entertaining your content is, the more people will engage with your website. For SEO, this means decreasing your bounce rate, which is a strong signal that your pages are worthy of being ranked in the top results.
8. Obtain Positive Customer Reviews
With more than 4.2 billion monthly online users on the top 8 social networks, Social media now play a huge role in SEO. Your business needs to have a social presence to help with optimization. Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are all potential places to start, but ensure that you perform research ahead to see where your target market is spending the most time.
create as many relevant social profiles as possible and post information about your business with links back to your website. Post images, articles, videos. It all does one thing helps to improve your local rankings. You will notice in short time that your social profiles will start showing up in local results. Try to build a brand and promote content to attract customers.
9. Build Social Media Presence
One of the three big things that Google looks at is user generated content. They want to see what people say about you. Make sure that you send people over to your Google+ page and your Yelp page to write good reviews.
Reviews can boost rankings so ask for it from satisfied clients, encourage them to post reviews on google places and other geo-local websites.
Try to get more good, real, and positive reviews and Google will value your site more than others. Reply every time as positive reviews will set you apart from competitors
10. Optimize Your Local Listing
Google performs a billion searches per day. If you’re not listed on Google, you’re missing out.
Google My Business, is an incredible marketing platform for small businesses. The main advantage of using Google My Business is you can manage and update how Google displays your business information. You can list your address/phone/website, help customers find directions to your business by adding your physical location to Google Maps and respond to customer reviews.
Don’t forget to claim all other major local listings including Bing places. Bing Places is a location and category based tool to promote local business online. You can list your business on Bing for free.
You can make your business listing stand out by adding additional content about your business, such as photos, specialties, and services
Also ensure that you include your business in all the major business listing (e.g, Yelleb, Yellow Pages, 5index). Getting listed in the local business directories will help you to have many visitors to your website.
In conclusion, optimizing your local website visibility is a powerful digital marketing strategy for business owners wanting to sell to local customers, if you are not showing up in local search results, you are missing out a great opportunity.
By following up the above best practices and tips you will significantly help your website outperform competitors, rank higher in your local search results, boost your website traffic and brand visibility and eventually increase your revenue.
Here are some examples of how we use list blog posts here at HubSpot: