I recently came across the research article on Search Engine Watch. Accordingly, customers tend to have higher interactions through local searches.
You just cannot imagine the interactions that can happen through local search. Customers are booking an appointment, purchasing, and reviewing the business. So, being a small business owner, it is the perfect time to evaluate the effect of local SEO strategy. How does it help you to compete with bigger brands in this competitive digital space?
Understanding The Meaning Of Local SEO
Local SEO refers to the optimization of your website and make it appear in the local searches. For example, look at the below diagram. I have searched as "restaurants near me". It looks like this when I search from my location.
So, you will get the 3 businesses listed in the top. Later, if you click on more places, there would be further listings. The first three local results is referred to as “Google Snack Pack”. Here, these businesses will get increased visibility to their target audience. As a local SEO Company, we aim at getting our client's business on the Google Snack Pack.
Step By Step Procedure To Get Local Visibility
Before you go to any SEO company, it is better to understand these basic steps. Otherwise, it will be difficult to monitor the services you are planning to hire.
Create And Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Firstly, create the google my business account. Check whether you have already listed the company before. If yes, just claim the ownership. But, never do duplicate listing. It hurts your brand. We consider it as one of the top local ranking factors. Fill out all the details in your GMB profile. Be realistic and honest. So that people will trust you in the first impression.
Otherwise, Google allows the customers to edit your business details if they find it misleading. It can be a business category, working hours, or description. So, do not give it a chance. Ensure to claim the profile as quickly as possible. This provides you the complete control to make any required modifications.
Update Complete Business Profile: Fill up your profile information properly. Yes! The basic information about your business. It lets customers know about your business, products, and services. Let the description be in detail. So that it should not leave any doubts in your customer's mind.
Upload Attractive Photos And Videos: There are no limitations to add photos or videos. Images of your office interior, employers, team, products, and services should be a good choice. When you are transparent, it lets people to trust you even better.
Respond To Customer Reviews: Talk to your customers and reply to their feedback genuinely. Your future customers can always see this. In fact, reviews are also an important ranking factor. Please reply to both positive and negative reviews. Do not hesitate to answer the negative reviews. Otherwise, it might leave your prospects under doubt.
Make Efficient Use Of Q/A section: In this section, your customers can ask questions about your business. Also, post some of the FAQs here. So, they get all the common questions clarified even before giving you a call. It has proved to be a convenient solution.
Use Google Posts: It is a great way to share information about your business and industry. Keep the customers engaged. If you have any great offers and deals, make use of this feature to highlight the same.
Analyze The Insights: Monitor your GMB dashboard. It helps you to understand how the customers are reacting to your business. For what keywords did they find you? What are the actions they took after finding you? In this way, you can learn about your target audience.
Build Trusted Local Citations
Yes! Now the profile is 100 percent complete. Nextly, you need to get familiar in the eyes of Google. Local listing is always looked upon in three terms - NAP. Name, Address, and Phone Number. We call this as building citations. So, the professionals will help you to mention these 3 elements across many websites. It can be in the form of social media profiles or business directories. Maintaining consistency in all places is extremely important. Through this process, you are letting Google know that it is a legitimate business.
Research For Local Keywords
Here, you will be focusing on long term keywords. For example, see this search term "Offset Printing". Compare this with "Offset Printing Company in Bangalore". The second one is known as the local keyword which is long. You need to search for this type of keywords. Unfortunately, these terms will have a low search volume. But, that's okay. Because you will be meeting dedicated local audience. You can make use of tools such as keywords planner. It helps you in finding the relevant keywords.
Build Local Backlinks
We spoke about local citations in the above paragraph. Please do not get confused. In the case of local backlinks, you will get a link from a related site. But, here your NAP will not be included. It is just the backlinks. These are the elements that build the trust and authority for your website. Let me explain you in simple words. One backlink means one vote to your site from another website. More the number of honest backlinks, greater are the votes. One of the common sources is local directories. However, they give no-follow links. It is okay. Not to worry! It helps you to diversify the backlink profile.
Optimize Your Website Content For Local Search
Now you have the right set of keywords ready. The next immediate task is to create content. This is where search engine optimization comes into the picture. Use only the proven and best practices from day 1. Let the focus keyword be present in the metadata. For instance, "local SEO" is my focus keyword for this article. Keep the URL SEO friendly. Implement internal and external linking. It allows the link equity to flow. Embed the primary keywords in the image alt text. Sprinkle the keywords and its variations throughout the content.
Add The Schema Markup For Local Business
Google search engines can understand the content of your website in a better way if you have a schema markup included. When people search for your business, it displays the relevant rich snippets. The highly recommended type by Google is JSON-LD. This concept is at the code level. It might be confusing for you to understand the implementation. Just know the importance of having it.
For any small business, investing in local SEO should bring the benefits for sure. All you need is a patience. Give time to the reliable company to handle your project. Get your business ranked top on local search engines. Once you get the brand name and good network of customers, expand your base for marketing. Otherwise, there are already big brands sitting in the top. It is not that easy for the small ones to move them. Gain online credibility from local SEO as a first step. But still many SMB owners are not aware of the local SEO advantages. This blog post is dedicated to you. Hopefully, you understood the scope of being found on local search engine.