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    SEO for Local Business - Best Practices of Local Search Optimization

    SEO for local business differs from a general SEO a lot. So this article aims to help you get all the insights to make your web presence perform well for local search.

    According to the data report from Hubspot infographic, 46% of Google searches are local [1], which means that the importance of local SEO undoubtedly is not overstated. Moreover, local SEO needs a detailed, robust strategy to cover your resource from every angle and provide you with a beneficial outcome.

    Well, although a website helps to spread a word about business globally, you need to play a whole another game in case of providing products and services in a specific area only. Here the local search comes in handy as your best way to define the competitors and understand how and against whom to perform.

    The entire web counts billions of web pages, and being local allows you to weed out the bulk of them instantly and focus on those who serve clients at the same destination with you. Thus, incorporating SEO for a local business website, you get a steady value that not only helps to overcome local competitors but also brings a vast number of new clients who search for something at a place of your service line.

    And this is what I want to set out in this post. But let’s walk along the route step by step.

     

     

    What is local SEO?

    Indeed, the local SEO is a separate sector of general SEO which stands for refining your website for local search results. In other words, SEO for local business is a collection of optimization techniques that allow you to sharpen your web resource for the target location.

    Say you operate a bakery in Los Angeles so that you are not able to ship baked goodies to other cities and countries and your primary audience is in LA. Let’s define what your potential clients may tap in the Google search bar following this example. So, queries may look like that:

    • bakery near me;
    • bakery LA;
    • bakery in LA;
    • bakery Los Angeles;
    • bakery in Los Angeles;
    • Los Angeles bakery;
    • bakery in Los Angeles California;
    • bakery in Los Angeles CA.

    Well, paying attention to this kind of keywords and their harmonious implementation to your web pages is what people usually call a local SEO. But it is only a shallow view as SEO for local business consists of multiple aspects to consider. I will represent them further in this guide.

    Who can take advantage of local SEO and who can not?

    You surely need a local search engine optimization strategy if you own a restaurant, provide various maintenance services, operate a medical clinic, attorney bureau, etc. A web page of any establishment which serves with assistance in a particular area has to be optimized for local search.

    Furthermore, each branch of local business has its particular advantages when it comes to local optimization. For example, when applying SEO for local business, catering places may appear in search results (SERPs) with a physical address and clients’ feedback. Meanwhile, a local law firm can show up with a direct phone call button, especially on mobile devices.

    Nevertheless, some businesses can’t benefit from local optimization. If you represent a store which is available only online or do not want to share the location details of your business, you better opt for the essentials of general SEO instead of a local one.

    How to perform SEO for local business?

    Now let’s get closer to the point and see how to set up your site for a better user engagement right from local SERPs. I’m going to guide you through significant areas of local search optimization. Just keep in mind, that all the stuff below needs to be incorporated together as doing merely one task will not bring you the desired result.

    List your company on Google My Business

    For sure, users do not search only with Google. However, Google My Business should be number #1 in your checklist just because Google handles at least 2 trillion searches per year [2], and now is the most popular search engine in the world.

    Here Google My Business is your excellent opportunity to let Google know about your company. Moreover, it is free to place business information there. Thus, feel free to provide the data on your location, open hours, photos, website URL, valid phone number, etc. Besides, do not forget to specify categories for your business to appear correctly, verify the location, and take advantage of the engagement tools which are available by default.

    No worries, Google wants you to succeed when adding your business to the listing same as you. That is why it provides a comprehensive guide [3] that will help you to set up everything correctly right from the outset.

    Represent yourself on other directories

    It doesn’t matter what local business you have, the key thing here is to find appropriate directories and to place information about it there. For example, you own a motel in Orlando, FL. Why not add your small local business to the city portal or the most popular open data site of the city or state? It will not only bring city guests to your business web page but also will help to collect some accurate localized backlinks. These links are essential especially when it comes to SEO for local business.

    Besides, do not forget about Yelp and Bing Places. Both locals and visitors use them to find the best places for dining, wellness, accommodation, and more. Create and refine your business profile and make the services of yours the most popular in the selected area.

    Make general on-site improvements

    Well, it is also possible to enhance your resource on-site. First of all, you need to make sure your website loads fast and is mobile-friendly so that users can visit it bug-free and immediately after finding it in SERPs. To check the speed of the web page, use PageSpeed Insights by Google. This tool will help you to scan all the problems and also will advise on how to fix them.

    What is more, it is crucial to make your website easy to crawl by creating proper XML sitemaps [4] and submitting them to Google. Also, register a Google Search Console account; it will help you to detect possible technical issues on the site and to solve them efficiently.

    Two more important things are the site architecture and structured data. The first one stands for a hierarchy between the pages and the content on your site. The first aspect of SEO for a local business here is to provide clients with the opportunity to get in touch with you or to make a target action regardless of the page they visit. This information and a call-to-action have to be available everywhere on your site.

    Meanwhile, the second one -- structured data -- helps to show up in SERPs with a marked-up content so that your website will also have a visual impact. It is how rich snippets appear on the search results page. The more structured is the data on your site, the better chances you have to come up with useful pieces on Google. Structured data created with Schema.org [5] also helps you to get more visitors as it influences the formation of snippets that then appear at the top of SERPs page.

    Perform on-page optimization

    According to the local search ranking factors survey presented by Moz [6], on-page signals take no less than 14% of all factors vital for local SEO. It means that neglecting on-page essentials can seriously affect the entire strategy of SEO for local business. That is why it is so important to optimize your site pages with geo-targeted keywords and original metadata.

    Well, all you need to do to pick the most appropriate keyword phrases is to analyze your primary competitors. See what phrases they target and then use tools like Keyword Planner to get the best suggestions which are in-demand by the search volume and have low competition level. Define the best ones that both describe your services and contain geographical specification at the same time.

    Then implement them to your site pages bearing in mind that one unique keyword performs well only for one page. Avoid using same ones on several pages and necessarily place the focus keyword to the page title and page URL, H1 tag, and meta description. Do not forget to add the keyword to the body text but do not overdo as it may look like complete spam.

    Speaking about the content, make sure you insert only original, plagiarism-free copy which is informative and has a decent structure. Also, when getting started incorporating local SEO essentials, pay attention to a proper internal linking. Unfortunately, website owners either prefer building external links only or forget about link building at all.

    Nevertheless, internal links also are weighty and can boost your ranking as well. Your mission here is to provide them logically so that support the entire navigation on the site, enhance the website hierarchy and expand the authority of pages.

    Run your blog with local content

    Although you should optimize every blog post just like other pages on your site, it is also necessary to create local content from time to time. Here I mean covering news or topics that are relevant for your region. Doing this way, you promote your business locally drawing more new visitors interested in this or that topic related to your niche.

    For example, you represent a private medical clinic in Madison, WI. Recently, the mass-media published terrific news about poor-quality treatments that affected patients health. You want to calm down your visitors and so create an in-depth guide on effective medication that is valid and verified by the state government. It helps you to state your medical proficiency so to represent your business as a reputable one and increase the engagement on your site.

     

     

    Build authority through inbound links

    Well, link building strategies are of incredible importance when it comes to incorporation SEO for local business. Quality links from quality sites that relate to your area are beneficial for boosting your business authority in the eyes of Google. Nevertheless, play by the rules and avoid buying backlinks from frauds. Create original content and provide first-class services and products so local resources will mention your business website even without your request.

    Additionally, there are also good ways of getting relevant inbound links to your site, such as:

    • build a partnership with local entrepreneurs who may advise your service or product as a useful one together with their own business;
    • take part in local events and provide sponsorship;
    • perform guest blogging;
    • feature scholarships related to your niche, etc.

    Local link building is sturdy, but only if it is fair and equitable. Following the mentioned-above ways, you gain promotion in the target location of your business and make people talk about you naturally.

    Boost your business on social media

    People consider social networks as a significant source of social proof. Thus, if you manage business profiles on the most popular social platforms, you get additional tools for traffic and engagement boost. Social networks are also great for acquiring new inbound links and showing capable social signals for Google which is a vital part of SEO for local business.

    Each network allows you to create a professional-looking, captivating profile with your location, phone, email, link to the website, whatever. Besides, you can share your Google My Business profile on social media and get additional interaction with the audience.

    Summary

    SEO for local business is not challenging at all. The only thing you need to do is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. It will help you to understand all the pains the one may go through when tapping the query in the search field of Google or any other search engine.

    Optimizing your business website for local SEO, you help clients get what they want and achieve your goals at the same time. By the way, pay attention to the behavioral signals such as searcher location, brand search, organic click-through-rate, and analyze users’ interaction with the details provided in the Google My Business listing.

    Just be attentive, follow the optimization practices from this post, and enjoy your online growth made easy!

    References:

    1. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/local-seo-stats
    2. https://searchengineland.com/google-now-handles-2-999-trillion-searches-per-year-250247
    3. https://support.google.com/business/
    4. https://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html
    5. https://yoast.com/structured-data-schema-ultimate-guide/
    6. https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

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