Local SEO is arguably the most effective tool small businesses have in their marketing arsenal. That being said, it is not enough to simply set up a local SEO campaign and then forget about it. If you are in business for a long haul or if you want to maximize your profitability by driving more qualified leads to your doorstep, then you need to learn how to make the most out of your local SEO efforts.
1. Build a Strong Citation Profile
Having a strong citation profile (publications of your core business data on the Internet) can have a positive effect on your local search rankings. In addition, it can influence consumer discovery, which can result in web, phone, and foot traffic, culminating in transactions. So, take the time to get yourself listed on some quality citation sources, including notable local business data platforms (including popular social and review-oriented sites like Facebook and Yelp), geo/industry-specific platforms (such as the chamber of commerce websites or the websites of professional associations and guilds) and a wide variety of publications, including blogs, news sites, apps, maps, government databases, and more.
2. Keep Your Citations up to Date
As an extension to secret #1, it is important that you keep all the data featured on your accrued citations accurate and consistent, using the exact same structure and information. If the data search engines such as Google encounter is consistent and accurate, they trust the validity of your citation, which will strengthen your chances of ranking well in search results. Accurate citations also help direct customers to your business, leading to an improved public perception and higher revenue.
3. Put a Plan in Place to Encourage Reviews
Reviews are a huge part of your local search effort, and, more importantly, they are important for your customers. As prospective buyers have turned more to self-guided research, they tend to trust the opinions and experiences of the business’ past customers when it comes to evaluating options and making purchasing decisions. So, if you want to increase your visibility in search engines locally and build a relationship with your customers, encourage them to leave reviews. There are many ways you can do this, but the easiest and most successful way is to simply ask them. Put up signage in your store, ask in every email you send, reach out to customers on social media, or include a call-to-action on the base of a menu, invoice, or receipt.
4. Respond to All Reviews
When customers start leaving comments for you (whether they are good, bad, or neutral), make sure you respond to them — all of them. Interacting with customers by responding appropriately to their reviews shows that you value their thoughts and ideas. It also shows prospective clients that you care about providing quality customer service.
5. Produce Epic Content
Content and SEO go hand-in-hand. So, do not brush aside the need to produce awesome content to strengthen your local SEO. Creating better (this could mean original, more in-depth, better structured, and factual) content will undoubtedly have search engines giving your local business more exposure.
6. Identify Easy Link Opportunities
One of the most effective ways to drive qualified traffic to your local business is through some high-quality backlinks. It is true that finding high-quality backlinks is a long process and takes a lot of work — but the potential reward is worth it in the end. You can identify link building opportunities through your established business relationships, local outreach programs, sponsorships, offline groups, and, of course, by going the extra mile and analyze the link profile of similar businesses located in other cities or states.
7. Understand Your Audience
If you want to get the most out of your marketing, get a clear and precise understanding of your audience. This could mean identifying the specific characteristics of your ideal customers, including geographic, demographic, and psychographic variables, such as their personality traits, interests, values, and opinions. Creating a “buyer persona” will help you craft the perfect marketing message to appeal to your target market.
8. Conduct a Gap Analysis
Do you want the content on your website to get old and stale over time? Probably not! Well, in order to keep your content fresh and exciting, you may want to consider using a “Content Gap Analysis.” Content Gap Analysis is simply a strategy that can be used to identify the key issues within your existing content so that you can fix them. You can find opportunities to refresh your old content via competitor-based content gap analysis or market-based content gap analysis. It can provide massive local SEO gains, including improved ranking positions and organic traffic.
9. Be Aware That Local Means Local
Remember that the word “local” in local SEO means local. Confused? Let us help you understand this with an example. Say you want to get your local business ranked in Allen, Texas. For that, you must have a physical postal address located in Allen, Texas. Many people struggle to understand this simple concept and expect their site to rank outside their own geographical area. It is never going to happen.
So there you have it: our 9 secrets to improving your local SEO efforts.
The Dallas digital marketing team at Click4Corp can help your local business position itself in front of new customers, and ahead of your market rivals.