Are Locals Finding You? How to Optimize for Local SEO
All businesses want their website, products and services to be easy to find. If you want to reach a local market, then optimizing for local SEO is critical. Why?
88% of people who used their phone to search for a local business visited a store within one week. (Think With Google https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/local-search-to-store-visit-statistics/)
So, how can you increase your findability? We recommend creating accounts using services like Google Business Profile, Facebook, and Yelp. Other listings on services like Apple Maps could also benefit your business. These sites allow your business to capitalize on their popularity—helping you rank.
Google's search algorithm favors websites with links throughout the web. Google's algorithm also considers the consistency of information about your business. A consistent business profile sends a very positive signal to Google's search algorithm.
We recommend incorporating these actions into your digital marketing strategy. Requesting customer reviews can also increase your ability to rank on the search engine results page (SERP). Above all, Google appears to measure 'local buy-in' to rank sites in local searches.
This makes any local call outs, reviews, or testimonials very valuable.
The Benefits of Local Directories for SEO
A local directory is an online list of businesses within a particular location. According to HubSpot, the top 9 online directories are:
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- LinkedIn Company Directory
- Bing Places
- Better Business Bureau
It's also easy to find more niche local directories at the places like the Chamber of Commerce.
What are some benefits of local directories? Listing your business in directories like these helps boost you to the top of search results. This boost increases the likelihood of users finding your business in turn. Each directory entry also creates a backlink, strengthening your SEO as a whole.
Marketing often boils down to a game of numbers and online reputation. The more future customers see your listings, the more confident they will feel in your brand.
Local SEO Tips
It's not uncommon for businesses to hire a marketing agency like ours to build backlinks. Marketers will always know which directories and sites will serve your business best.
Still, if you are looking to do the work yourself, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Be accurate — Accurate business descriptions will raise your ability to rank in local searches. Conflicting information will only confuse users.
Be picky — Be careful about what directories you join. Not all are reputable. Directories with low authority may hurt your SEO.
Claim what is yours — Make sure you have claimed your Google Business Profile and use it often. GMB profiles are important as they play a role in your local search rankings. Setting up a page for your business on Facebook can also help attract customers.
Track progress — Keep track of your submissions in a spreadsheet. Tracking submissions helps you target your next listing. It will also allow you to see what progress you have made.
Remember the details — Always include your business hours and images in listings. This helps your listings engage future customers.
Encourage feedback — Provide a direct link to customers for your review platform. If you've done well, most customers will leave a review. Still, finding your online platforms is often an insurmountable hurdle. So, make leaving online reviews easy to better manage your reputation.
Why Are Customer Reviews Important for Local SEO?
Customer reviews are critical to your online profile for a couple of reasons.
First, online reviews make up 10% of the criteria for how Google displays search results. They're the best way for Google to gather firsthand feedback about your business. So, it’s a key factor in how your business will rank.
Also, 88% of consumers consider online reviews to be as trustworthy as a friend’s recommendation.
In short, the more positive reviews you have, the more likely a customer will buy from your business.
We recommend sending an email to your customers asking for a Google review. Be sure to include the link to your GMB profile, which you can find in your account.
Local SEO Opportunities Are Everywhere
Online directories are the modern-day yellow pages. Make sure you’re listed so that future customers can find you!
If you have questions about submitting to directories or need help doing so, our Digital Marketing team would be happy! Give us a call or use our consultation form. We'll get you pointed in the right direction.