Do you run a business that is focused on the local market? Then 2021 is the year you should start focusing on local search engine optimization (Local SEO) in order to better reach the local customer group.
Let's take a closer look at some statistics regarding online consumer behavior:
- 46 % of all Google searches are related to local information (HubSpot 2020).
- 88 % of the searches for local information, which are made e.g. on a smartphone, results in either a phone call or a visit within 24 hours (HubSpot 2020).
- 54 % of those who use a smartphone are looking for opening hours. 53 % of smartphone users searching for directions to the local business. (Think with Google)
Many local companies have never heard of the concept of local search engine optimization or for that matter heard but not implemented Local SEO in the marketing strategy.
But local search engine optimization does not have to be a complicated process.
This post will share various tips on how you as a local entrepreneur can easily implement a Local SEO strategy as part of your marketing plan.
Below are 10 practical tips on how to increase sales through increased visibility on Google.
1. Create and verify your Google My Business profile
This is one of the very first steps you can take to start increasing the visibility on both Google Search and Google Maps. Creating a Google My Business profile is relatively easy.
It is important to keep in mind to fill in all the information in the profile, it's especially important that you fill in the correct primary category for your company. The right category increases the chance that your company will be found by potential customers.
According to a study done by Moz, the GMB profile is one of the most important factors regarding your local visibility on Google (Moz).
If you are unfamiliar with Google My Business, you can check out the following clips from Google:
2. List your business on various online directories
GMB is a good start but an important factor in increasing the visibility of Google is to start listing your local business on various business directories.
Here are 3 examples of different websites and directories you can list your company (depending on the company's business):
- Apple Maps
3. NAP consistent and accurate
NAP means Name, Address, and Phone number.
It is important that you have the same NAP information on all different websites and profiles. If your NAP information differs on different websites and profiles, it results in Google not understanding which information is correct.
E.g. if your phone number is incorrect, it could in the worst case lead to your GMB profile not being visible on Google.
Another important thing about NAP information is that it needs to be consistent across all platforms. A tip is to have the same NAP information as in your GMB profile on all platforms.
If your NAP information changes, also make sure to update the information immediately on all platforms.
4. Focus on local keywords
Targeting local keywords is one of the basic principles of local search engine optimization. Here you should create a list of various local keywords that potential customers search on Google.
Here it is also important to analyze the total search volume, ie. how many people are searching for a specific keyword per month.
Examples of local keywords can be "hairdressing salon, Vaasa" or "hairdressers in Vaasa".
5. Implement local keywords on your website
Once you have listed your local keywords, it is time to start implementing and optimizing your website with these keywords.
This is done so that your website can be ranked and visible on Google when potential customers Google for these types of keywords.
Search engine optimization on your website, also called On-page optimization, is a topic that is so big that it needs to be addressed in another post.
But here are some basic tips regarding On-page optimization and where to implement local keywords on your website;
- Headings (h1, h2)
- Title tags
- Meta description
6. Create local marketing content
To be able to stand out locally in 2021, you need to create local marketing content. Several parts of your website should contain local keywords in order to reach your local audience.
There are several ways to create local marketing content, e.g. to create "services page" on your website that contains local keywords.
Another tip is to create blog posts that contain local news and events within your business area.
7. Optimize and make sure that your website "mobile-friendly"
An increasingly important ranking factor from Google is that your website should be optimized for mobile use.
Statistics show that about 30% of all searches made via mobile phones are searches for local information (Backlinko 2020).
If your website is unprofessional and is not optimized for mobile use, there is a risk that potential customers will switch to your competitor's website which is better optimized.
By backlinks is meant when other external websites link to your website. An example of this could be a news article or collaboration with a blog that links to your website.
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors regarding SEO. But also one of the most time consuming tasks.
A tip to get started with backlinks is to start by listing all the potential companies, partners, bloggers, etc. that could make a link to your website.
9. Create "location-specific pages" on your website
Do you have a company that offers services in several different places, e.g. Vaasa, Pietarsaari and Kokkola?
Instead of mentioning all these places on one page on your website, create individual pages for each location you offer your services. This increases the chance that your website will rank higher on Google in all the locations you offer your services.
All of these pages should also contain local keywords. It is important to remember not to copy the content and implement it on all pages. The risk is that Google considers this to be duplicate content which in turn can penalize your ranking and domain authority.
10. Get reviews
One last tip to increase your 2021 visibility on Google is to get reviews through your Google My Business profile.
Positive reviews on Google My Business are not only good for your online reputation, but according to Google, it is also a positive ranking factor as well.
Negative reviews can in turn affect your ranking on Google as well. But there are ways to maintain your ranking even though you have received negative reviews.
Among other things, Google monitors how you handle negative reviews. If you answer objectively and try to resolve customers' complaints and show that you want to improve customer service, it is a positive factor for Google as well.
Also try to create a habit of responding to all reviews that come in via Google My Business, it is important that you also respond to reviews that come in on other platforms, e.g. on Facebook.
Need help with Local SEO optimization?
Now in 2021, Local SEO has never been more important. Statistics show that searches for local information on Google will increase over time.
With these 10 tips that we have shared with you, the next step is to implement these in your local SEO strategy.
Do you feel that you have already implemented these tips and still do not see any results on Google?
Then we at Growth Corner Oy are here to help you. Contact us and we will discuss more how we can help you increase your sales and visibility on Google.