The strongest way for your website to compete and win with customer searches is to target your local audience, especially if you have brick-and-mortar locations. Don’t overlook the power of localizing your pages. While it can be incredibly difficult to rank in national or global search results, narrowing your audience based on location can help you reach the top of the search results and see the results in customer conversions to cash. That means when someone searches for your business type “near me” or “in (specific town),” you’re more likely to rank at the top of their search results if you follow the advice I’m about to give you. These tips will also help you rank higher in Google Maps searches. SEO is all about getting your business where your potential customers can see it, so local searches are often the most valuable to you.
1. Create separate local pages with unique content for every location. If you have multiple business locations, create a page for each location so that Google indexes each of those pages separately. For example, if you have business locations in Portland, Seattle, and Salt Lake City, creating a page for each of those locations will help potential customers find you when they search for businesses in their area.
It’s critically important that the content for each of these pages is unique. Do not copy and paste content from one location page to the next. Google will recognize this as duplicated content, and at best these pages will be less effective. At worst, you could be penalized for duplicating content and your website may not show up in search results at all.
2. Set up and complete your Google My Business Account. If you’re going to do anything to promote your business locally, this is possibly the most important step. Completing your Google My Business account will put your business on Google Maps, allow customers to leave reviews and allow you to respond to reviews, and give you access to the insights dashboard to help you adjust your strategy based on what is and isn’t working well.
Google Maps is more than just a GPS service—it’s heavily integrated into Google’s search algorithm and is often at the top of search results pages. It provides users with a quick way to find and contact your business and helps you establish credibility. After you’ve claimed your business, make sure to fill out your business’s name, address, and phone number. Then get a technical SEO expert to add “local schema,” hidden info that feeds into Google Maps, to your website. Add photos of your business, ask customers to give you positive reviews, and respond to reviews you do receive. Google Maps is an important part of your SEO strategy, and it’s well worth the time it takes to set up your Google My Business account.
3. Build links and citations in local directories and topics. Building links creates value for your SEO strategy. You can also use it to help establish your local online presence by getting your business listed in local directories and building links on local pages. For example, a link in a local media source such as a newspaper or television station can be beneficial, as can links from other local business pages. Have your outreach specialist look for local link-building opportunities.
4. Publish localized content. By publishing content with keywords associated with specific locations, you establish a stronger link with those locations. This kind of content can also help draw in local traffic. For example, if your business participates in a local event, write an article or a press release about it.
5. Have a strong localized social media presence. Get active in your local social media communities. Not only will this improve your SEO in those locations, but it will also help people remember your business and build rapport in those communities.
6. Use analytics software to adjust your strategy. Analytics software can help you discover trends in where your leads are coming from and help you make adjustments. Take advantage of your Google My Business insights dashboard, which can tell you useful information such as the search queries that led people to your listing, the location of those visitors, and how many people have clicked on the Google Maps link to get directions to your location.
7. Target your pay-per-click advertising. Pay-per-click advertising can be an effective way to gain quality leads, but it must be targeted correctly. By targeting users who are local to your area as well as the other criteria you’ve defined for your main audience, you can narrow your scope to pinpoint the most valuable leads rather than spending extra money casting a wider net.
8. Have a strong lead conversion strategy. Most of the work you put into attracting local clients will be futile if you don’t have a way to convert that local traffic into revenue. Make sure your website looks professional and trustworthy and is easy to use. Most importantly, ensure it’s easy for the potential customer to contact you. That means answering the phone before the third ring, and calling leads back as soon as possible if they leave a message. If you’re not easy to get a hold of, the lead will move on in many cases.
To take it a step further, use your analytics data to determine what is and isn’t working well in converting leads. I also recommend running A/B split tests, where you test two different options and compare the results directly, such as two separate contact forms or designs.
By following these tips, you can create a great local SEO strategy to convert more leads in your area and bring new revenue to your business. Local search traffic is often your most valuable traffic, especially if you have physical offices or stores. By getting your business at the top of the search results page where your potential customers can see it is a vital part of your digital marketing plan.