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10 Easy Ways to Improve Local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way for you to increase your website’s visibility across the Internet. Sometimes, however, it’s better (and easier) to appeal to potential customers who are physically close by. 

Local SEO lets search engines know that your business is trustworthy and valuable to customers, and helps your site’s ranking. With a few easy steps, you’ll get your business name in front of customers in your area. 

Let’s find out what local SEO is and why it’s a smart move for all business owners. Then, we’ll go over 10 easy ways to improve your local SEO so you’ll appear in all searches.

What Is Local SEO and Why Do You Need It?

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and its content to appear in location-specific searches. For example, if you run a diner in New York City, you’ll want your site to appear in search results for “NYC diners” or “diners in New York City.” 

To compete with the larger brands online and your competition, you’ll need an edge to appear higher in search results with Google. That’s where local SEO comes in. 

In the last few years, mobile searches for “where to buy” + “near me” have grown more than 200%, and 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles. Local search is a driver of significant growth for businesses that use it. 

Finally, the last reason you should add local SEO to your website strategy is Google’s Local Pack in search results. The Google Local Pack appears at the top of the search results and pushes down the website search results.

It highlights three local businesses related to your search and is incredibly useful to mobile users. With it, they can quickly find a business near them and see their hours, phone number, reviews, and more, all without clicking through to a website. 

If you’re only optimizing for SEO, your website is stuck below the Local Pack and is less likely to be seen by a user. Doing a little local SEO on your website is a strategy that’ll help you get your website and business in front of local consumers, customers, and more. 

10 Easy Ways to Get Started with Local SEO

If you’re ready to improve your local search engine results, here are 10 easy ways you can tweak your website for local SEO. 

1. Start Your Google My Business Profile

Since Google is the top search engine, we’ll focus our efforts there. When you create and complete your Google My Business profile, you’re telling Google that your business is authentic, reliable, and located in a particular area. Do it right, and you could be potentially rewarded with a coveted spot in the Local Pack. 

To ensure your profile is optimized for your area: 

  • Use as few categories as possible in your profile and choose the most accurate ones to ensure you’re listed correctly.
  • Include your name, hours of operations, and any relevant info about your products or services. 
  • Include lots of images.
  • Publish posts to your profile regularly, announcing new products, events, sales, and special offers. 
  • Encourage customers to review your business online.

2. Claim Your Listing on a Review Site

While your business profile on Google will carry more weight from an SEO perspective, claiming your listing on other review sites can also help. They’ll lend authority to your business and increase your inbound links, which are another SEO factor.

Check out Yelp, Glassdoor, Angie’s List, the BBB, Product Hunt, and local directories popular in your area as people may use those instead. 

3. Add Location Pages to Your Website

If your business has more than one location, create individual pages for each location  on your website. This ensures that your website is crawled for the keywords of each location and makes them appear in results for searches of any location. 

For single-location businesses, create an About Us page with as much local information you can include on it, such as your:

  • Address and contact information
  • Testimonials and reviews
  • Directions and parking availability

For bonus search points, share a Google Map to your location to help bump you up the results pages. Theme-Vision does that on its contact page.

4. Create Local Content

Power up your local SEO by writing blog posts about local stories or industry news relevant to a local audience. These posts will attract a local audience as people will want to hear about the topic and a local business perspective. 

Be the local authority for your industry by promoting local industry events, news, and other educational content. Try writing blog posts about how local news stories impact your industry or business or creating short videos about the local charities or causes your business supports. 

5. Optimize Your Site for Mobile Search

With nearly 95% of Americans owning a smartphone and many of them likely to contact a local business after finding them through a mobile search, you must make sure your site looks good on mobile. Most people will use their smartphones to search for directions to your business, reviews, or your contact information.

Make it easy for potential customers to find it by including your contact information and adding click-to-call links like this phone icon. 

6. Add Your Information to Your Site’s Code

Most people don’t want to mess around with the code on their WordPress website, but if you’re feeling a little brave, you can add your local business schema to it. A WordPress plugin like All in One SEO makes it easy to do this though.  

The local business schema is code on your website that lists your business information in a way Google can pick it up efficiently when it crawls your website. When Google finds this information, it uses it to display your business in search results, such as in the Local Pack.

The plugin walks you through the process, and after typing your business information into it and a few option choices, the information is ready for Google to find. 

7. Work Those Local Keywords

Besides your city, town, or neighborhood, be sure to include other relevant local keywords in your website. People will often search for “business in [city]” if they want a local result. 

Use a keyword search tool to find a list of locally-relevant keywords for your business or industry. Then, weave them organically in the content on your website as appropriate, like your site’s meta content, the content and copy of your web pages, and URLs. 

8. Attract Diverse Inbound Links

Inbound links are another signal to Google that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. Links from local news sites, community and regional blogs, and local online publications prove to search engines that your neighbors trust your site (and by extension, your business). 

Attract inbound links by guest blogging on relevant industry blogs and online sites, sponsoring a webinar or in-person event, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, or even sponsoring a local sports team or tournament. 

9. Engage on Local Social Media

Google gives social media content a lot of weight in search results, often showing them before other websites. Understand what channels your customers use and then claim your business’ listing, such as on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Claim the accounts even if you’re not planning on being very active on those sites. You can pin a message to the profile that tells people to visit your main website, so you earn a backlink. 

10. Respond to All Reviews

People can leave reviews on your business profile through Google, which contributes to your search rank. Responding to the reviews can increase your search rank, even if they’re negative responses. Google penalizes your site if you have too many negative reviews with no responses, so make time to respond to each one. 

You’ll get bonus points if you combine your responses with your local keywords. Enjoy some compound local SEO with those. 

It’s hard competing with all the websites online today and especially the big companies. With the right SEO strategy, you can increase your local visibility and drive sales. 

Use these 10 tips to tweak your local SEO and improve your search engine rankings.

About Author

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners.

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