Every business needs to engage in local SEO to reach its customers. How important is local SEO? Well, 97% of consumers use online searches to find local services and businesses. On top of that, 70 to 80% of consumers look online to research a company before even engaging with them.
To further put the importance of local SEO in perspective, consider that 60% of the clicks go to the top three results on the search page. In other words, you need to have a strong online reputation and local SEO strategy if you want to compete for clicks. You will get even better results if you can snag one of the top three spots.
The good news is that getting started with local SEO is easier than many companies realize. If you’re one of the many people who are intimidated by the idea of handling SEO themselves or hiring someone to do it, we’ve got your back. We talked to Neil Patel, SEO expert, to show how straightforward some aspects of local SEO can be. Follow this simple guide, and you will be ready to boost your local search engine ranking and reap the rewards of doing so.
- Get Reviews
Every local SEO strategy should include prioritizing getting reviews. The more reviews you have, the better. In fact, this should be your primary focus. Even if you only get your rating up by half a star from more positive reviews, this will have a significant impact. Getting more positive reviews will result in more leads and increase your conversion rates.
- Use Text to Encourage Reviews
How do you get those reviews that are so crucial to your local SEO? Use text. Neil says that texting is the best way to encourage people to leave reviews. More than a third of people will leave a review after receiving a text inviting them to do so. And 41% of consumers indicate they prefer communicating over text. By comparison, only 18% prefer email.
According to Neil, “Texting is one of the easiest ways to really engage and get those reviews.” He points out that most people just ignore emails from people they don’t know. He continues, “But if you get a text from someone, you usually look at it because it’s on your phone and it’s so personal.” Texting to get reviews takes advantage of this fact.
- Optimize Your Website
To maximize your results from local SEO, take the time to optimize your website. Remember that your website has a major impact on your overal customer experience. Organizing your website well will ensure customers can easily use it to connect with you.
Neil points out that the customer experience on your website became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic—and that trend is continuing. Now, everyone goes online, so you have to adapt or be left behind.
- Optimize Your “Contact Us” Page
As you optimize your website, pay extra attention to your “Contact Us” page. After all, this is the primary way that customers will reach out to you. With a solid “Contact Us” page, you make life easy for customers and solidify your online presence. Make sure to highlight your location (or locations) as well. This will improve your search engine rankings.
While you can include multiple locations on the same contact page, it may be better to create a separate page for each city. This will ensure you appear in local results for each region.
- Use Free Google Tools
It is a myth that you have to spend a lot of money to access powerful SEO tools. In fact, Google offers some very useful free ones, such as Google Data Studio and Google Analytics. Use Google Data Studio to track your data so you know what is working and what needs improvement. Use Google Analytics to discover where people drop off and use that information to improve the online experience.
When it comes to free tools, while they might not come with all of the paid bells and whistles, remember that some functionality is better than none. If you can’t afford to pay for a tool, a free version is a great way to get started.
- List Your Business in Every Local Directory
If your business isn’t already on every single local directory, correct this issue right away. Research shows that 31% of customers are likely to look at a listing on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) before visiting a store. This means that you not only need to list your company across all directories, but you need to be accurate. Take a moment to confirm everything is accurate on each one.
While you want to start with the major directories like Yelp and Google Business Profiles, don’t neglect the more niche options. Listing your company on even the smallest local directories can have a positive impact.
- Create Content Focusing on Your Product or Service and Keywords
Part of any good local SEO strategy is creating targeted content. You need to create targeted content to ensure you appear in search results. People search for a product or service before buying, and if your company doesn’t show up, you lose a potential customer.
To make the most of this strategy, use Google Ads to determine the best keywords for your industry. Then, develop content that incorporates those keywords, ideally in the headings. Create as much content as necessary to appear on search results. Neil offers the example of baby strollers. Don’t just create a single page for baby strollers. Create a separate page for each product.
- Include High-quality Images and Videos
When you create content for your local SEO strategy, don’t just stick to text. Adding images and videos boosts engagement. But make sure that these are high-quality and load quickly. This will let potential clients see what your business is all about.
For the best results, opt for YouTube for your video hosting instead of Vimeo. Why YouTube? YouTube can significantly boost your rankings and drive traffic. According to Neil, 20% of his Ubersuggest signups are from YouTube.
- Network With Other Local Businesses
An important part of being a local business is making connections with your community. Highlight and take advantage of those connections by networking with other websites and businesses in your area. You can even work together to cross-sell.
This is your chance to innovate and think outside the box. Every collaboration opportunity has the potential to boost your online and community presence.
- Get a Boost From Tools Like Podium
We already mentioned some Google tools, but local SEO becomes even easier with a tool like Podium to boost your efficiency and organization. Podium has messaging tools that let you text customers. Use those to chat with leads on your website, quickly collect reviews, and make payments from a single place. This will boost your productivity. At the same time, it improves the customer experience and convenience for you and your clients.
While doing everything manually is an option, it will slow you down significantly and waste your resources. Using tools delivers a dramatic boost to efficiency.
Get Started With Local SEO
Making your business stand out online takes consistent effort, but getting started is easy when you have the right tools and knowledge. Starting your local SEO strategy is as easy as sending a text to encourage customer reviews. Podium can help you with that and so much more.