Looking to optimize your business website for local search, but not sure where to start? Columnist Ryan Shelley provides some tips for beginners.
When it comes to marketing your local business online, search is a great place to start. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of small to mid-size local businesses, helping them grow their reach and their revenue using SEO.
One of the biggest hurdles we face when working with local clients is that they’ve been burned in the past by so-called “experts.” They’ve invested their hard-earned money only to see little, if any, return. This has led many local businesses to believe SEO is a scam or doesn’t work.
My goal is to share a few local SEO tips that actually work — and how you can start using them today to grow your business’s online reach.
Why local SEO?
Before we get into the tips, let me lay the groundwork for why you need to invest in local SEO. People use search engines to find local businesses they want to buy from. This is not just my own opinion; Google’s own research proves it. Here are a few stats the make the point.
- Four in five consumers use search engines to find local information.
- Fifty percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer or tablet did the same.
- Local searches lead to more purchases than non-local searches. Eighteen percent of local searches on smartphones lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7 percent of non-local searches.
What does this mean for your business? Not only are people searching locally, they’re taking action when they do! Building a strategy that promotes your business locally will do more than drive website traffic — it will drive sales. So let’s get into the some tried-and-true tips to help you rank better and convert more local searchers.
1. Locally focused content
When we talk about local SEO, often much of the focus is on citations, local directories and maps. All of these components are important, of course; but to really give yourself an edge, you need to create quality localized content.
What do I mean by localized content? Here, I’m referring to content that is based on or around your local area and educates readers on the specific issues/problems/wants they have. Local businesses can benefit a ton by sharing the purpose and passion behind what they do.