All Articles 2019 Local SEO Guide for Small Businesses By Sierra Anderson Table of Contents Why Do You Need Local SEO? 5 Local SEO Strategies You Can Implement Today How To Fully Optimize Your Website for Local SEO Why do you need local SEO? SEO is an essential element of a healthy digital marketing mix. However, many business owners are missing out on potential customers in their own backyard by not optimizing their website for local SEO. Local traffic is often a great source of purchase oriented customers who are ready to buy. Making sure these customers can easily find your business is essential for an effective online presence. Just take a look at some of these facts in the infographic below to better understand the importance of local SEO. How Optimizing for Local SEO Affects the SERPs When you optimize your website for local SEO, it can help drive traffic to your site in a number of ways. Google is continually implementing features to help users find the information they need right in the SERP, leading to an increase in no-click searches. To combat the rise of no-click searches, it’s important to make your business as visible as possible, and this starts with local SEO. This local SEO guide will give you quick and easy local SEO strategies, as well as in-depth tactics to improve your local presence. First, it’s important to understand how optimizing your website for local SEO can affect your rankings. Map Results The Google Maps results, also known as the snack pack, are local results related to your search. The Google Maps listings appear near the top of the first page of results, so being featured is sure to bring in more traffic. Optimizing your business for local SEO will give you a better chance of being featured in the map results. Knowledge Panel The Google Knowledge Panel is a window of compressed information about a business shown on the right of the search results. The knowledge panel will help your customers quickly find information on your business. This includes information such as your phone number, store hours, a link to your website, directions to your store, and of course, customer reviews. It’s important to do everything you can to increase your chances of showing up in the Google Maps snack pack and Knowledge Panel. Local SEO is the way to do this. As a savvy business owner, start implementing local SEO strategies today to improve your rankings and drive traffic to your site. 5 Local SEO Strategies You Can Implement Today While many SEO strategies take a lot of time and effort, there are some techniques that are quick and easy to implement. Here are five local SEO strategies that you can implement today to optimize your website for local searches. 1. Add Your Phone Number As a local business, one of your greatest assets is being easily accessible to customers. Use your phone number to optimize your website for local SEO and give consumers the ability to contact you. Ensure that your phone number is easy to locate on your website and most importantly, clickable! Because a majority of users will be accessing your site from a mobile device, it’s an essential feature to allow users to contact you with one simple click. 2. Utilize Local Directories Another essential local SEO strategy is integration with local directories. There are a number of localized directories for each niche business such as Yelp, Yellow pages, CitySearch, and much more. Not only do these directories help funnel users to your site, but they also add to your credibility, boosting your organic rankings. Adding citations, which are things like your name, address, and phone number (NAP), helps boost your authority in Google’s eyes. If Google has confidence that your information is correct, your business is more likely to show up in the local pack. However, be aware that inconsistencies in NAP among directories can harm your rankings. You can utilize tools such as Yext or Bright Local to instantly add and change your listings across a number of directories, helping you keep your citations consistent. 3. Set Up a Google My Business Account Arguably, one of the most important local SEO strategies you can implement is optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) account. GMB provides users information directly on the SERP. First, if you haven’t already, make sure your business has a verified GMB account. After you’ve created or accessed your account, you’ll want to input as much information as possible. Things like NAP, relevant photos, and operating hours are essential. The more information you can provide Google, the more likely you’ll show up for relevant searches. In addition to your business information, you can add posts to your GMB. These posts max out at 300 words and last for 7-days, meaning you’ll want to create a post calendar to consistently grab users attention. Posts can include information on weekly or daily specials, sales, or your latest blog post. 4. Create Online Profiles Another great way to create an online presence in your local area is to actively utilize social media profiles. These online profiles are great for interacting with customers on a personal level and can help you gauge customer happiness. You can use social media to advertise things like events, sales, and more! Similar to the GMB posts, you’ll want to create a calendar to ensure you’re consistent with your posts and retain customer engagement. 5. Add Reviews Our final SEO strategy that you can implement today is reviews. With platforms like Yelp, Google, and Facebook, reviews have never been more accessible and crucial for your business. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. However, customers aren’t the only ones reading your reviews, Google is too. Having reviews that are diverse and consistently posted will add credibility to your site, and you know what that means- better rankings! By simply asking for reviews at the time of service or creating an email campaign, you can increase your review count. How to Fully Optimize your Website for Local SEO We’ve mentioned the easiest and quickest ways to optimize your website for local SEO, but what happens next? After you have implemented the local SEO strategies listed above, you will want to continue optimizing your site for local search. Creating a GMB account will definitely help your local SEO efforts, but there is much more you can do to increase your chances of showing up in Google’s local snack pack. 1. Add Schema Markup If you’re not using schema markup on your website, it’s time to start implementing it. Schema markup was created by Google, Bing, and Yahoo as a way for search engines to better understand and display data. Schema markup translates to rich snippets on the SERP, giving users more information about your business and site. There are many schema markup types you can implement, but some great schema markup types to help boost your local SEO include: Address Telephone Location Reviews Ratings Events 2. Create Local Blog Content You’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” When it comes to marketing, this is often true. More and more businesses are utilizing content marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy, and an essential element of content marketing is blogging. One great way to implement local SEO into your blogging strategy is to write about relevant, local information. 3. Get Involved in Your Community Another great way to improve your local SEO is to get involved with your local community. Public Relations (PR) is all about increasing awareness of your business. Use the media, partnerships, and outreach to increase your local PR and gain attention is a great way to improve your local SEO. Google pays attention to these signals and it gives your business more credibility. The more prominent you are in your community, the more likely you are to show up for local searches. 4. Build Local Links Link building is incredibly important for SEO in general, and that is also true when it comes to local SEO. Finding high-quality backlinks takes time and effort but it offers a huge payoff for your business. You are probably already focused on getting industry-specific links, but it’s time to start focusing on local links as well. Not only will it be easier to gain a backlink from a reputable local website, but it also increases your local SEO. You can combine local link building with your local PR strategy, gaining backlinks from sponsorships, partnerships, events, and news. It involves a lot of planning and outreach, but local link building is an extremely important local SEO strategy. So, Optimize Your Website for Local SEO! Although general SEO and local SEO have similar techniques, it’s important to have separate strategies for both. Your local SEO strategy can improve your site’s visibility on search engines, especially on Google’s local pack. So, implement some of the techniques from this article, and increase your local traffic. If you are looking for a marketing agency to help improve your local SEO, contact Firetoss. Our local SEO experts have experience with local business in various industries, with proven results. See how we can help your local SEO today!