SEO drives traffic for any site or business. But for local businesses, SEO optimization should be a top priority. SEO not only brings potential customers to you site, but it brings them through the physical door to make purchases. The team at Linchpin has laid out our ten principles of local business SEO so you can create a site that increases local traffic starting today.
Claim Your Google My Business Page
Claiming your Google My Business page allows you to present all of your essential information to people searching for you online. Patrons can see your hours of operation, location, number, and other basics. But you can also update your page to announce temporary closures, expanded services, and the like.
And Google My Business is much more than just an informational listing. The numbers prove that it increases foot traffic. Customers are 70 percent more likely to patronize your business if you’ve completed your Google My Business profile.
Add Location Pages
Your business’s location page provides specific details about not only where you’re located but should include visuals of your facilities and the services you offer, and most also include a call to action. While your Google My Business page includes many of the same details, your location page is on your business’s website.
As Google indexes your location page, you can optimize for keywords that your local audience is searching for, earning your site higher rankings in Google’s SERPs. Your location page should also include an embedded map to help users easily find you as well as pictures of the inside and outside of your business. By giving customers a clear idea of where you are and what your facilities look like, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll pay you a visit.
As a local business, social media is one of your best friends. Customers support local because they realize there is a name and a face behind the business front. Social media allows you to engage with your local audience in both an intimate and efficient manner.
Platforms like Facebook, which has 190 million users in the US alone, enable you to communicate in real time with patrons. Instagram is especially popular for local businesses because of the focus on visual marketing. Socials allow local customers to see and hear what you’re up to day to day.
Linking your socials to your business’s website is an effective form of cross marketing that brings visitors from your site to your socials, introducing them to even more of your content. While social media isn’t technically a ranking factor for your SEO, the links you share across platforms—and the links your customers share on their own feeds—increase brand exposure.
Enticing Meta Descriptions
When a local searcher checks out Google’s results, you’ve got a split second to show them you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for. Writing an engaging meta description will inform and entice local users so they’re more inclined to visit and make a purchase.
According to Moz, a site’s click through rate is among the top ranking factors for localized organic rankings. And often, a well-written meta description is the difference between a click and continued scrolling until a user finds what they’re looking for. Creating an engaging and informative meta description will get you more clicks and, as a result, improve your SEO.
Create Content Specifically for Local Traffic
Local businesses exist in and for the local community. That’s why you should create content that specifically serves locals. When brainstorming content, consider writing around news stories, local events, charities, or community activities.
In writing about events in your area, you’ll naturally include local keywords that Google will pick up on. You’ll also post content that locals will find as they’re searching for other city-wide happenings. This strategy will communicate that you not only want to sell to the community, but that you’re aware of and involved with events that are important to locals.
Optimize for Mobile
If statistics show us anything, it’s that mobile users drive offline purchases to local businesses. Many local searches are done on phones with the user looking for something close to them. Mobile searchers want answers quickly and conveniently. That’s why optimizing your business site for mobile is no longer an option but is now a must.
Mobile searches are highly likely to result in sales. In fact, 75 percent of local-intent mobile searches result in an in-store visit by the next day. And of those visits, 30 percent will end with a purchase.
Conduct Local Keyword Research
Content drives your SEO, and keywords drive your content. Determining the keywords local users are searching, and then optimizing your content for those keywords, will pave the way for you to rise up in Google’s rankings.
Google’s Keyword Planner filters keywords according to your location, helping you curate a keyword list that targets your local audience. Knowing what appeals to local customers and what they’re searching for, then implementing those terms into your site and your content, helps you rank for people who are likely to visit your storefront.
Encourage Customer Reviews
A study from Moz shows that review signals make up more than 15 percent of the local pack ranking factors. While Google may not read every review, know this: potential customers are. And the more reviews you can get, the higher you’re going to rank in Google’s local search results. Google itself says that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust in-person recommendations. The more reviews you get, the more often Google will index your pages. And with positive reviews comes more traffic through your doors.
Backlinks are one of the top ranking factors for SEO—local or otherwise. Backlinks signal to Google that your page is reputable and authoritative, having received a vote of confidence from other sites via a backlink.
Backlinks not only boost your page’s value in Google’s eyes, but they allow an entirely new audience to discover your site and your business. But you don’t want just any site linking to you. The higher the rank for the site linking to you, the better for your own ranking and SEO. Getting backlinks from sites with high value and trust from Google will transfer to your site, increasing traffic and attracting new customers.
Invest in Professional SEO Services
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, hire a local EO professional to take care of your local business SEO. As a small business, you know that every customer counts. Effective SEO strategies can mean the difference in a customer choosing you or someone else because your site didn’t rank for local search. Working with a digital marketing agency who knows the needs of local businesses means you’ll get services tailored to you—with SEO that drives locals to your site and to your doorstep.