What Is Local SEO and Is It Something I Should Worry About?

We know that having a website is important for any business, especially with more consumers conducting their searches and shopping online. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t still using local brick-and-mortar services. Whether you’re an auto repair shop or provide specialized services like custom manufacturing, having your pages optimized for local SEO can help you stand out from the competition.

Around 60 percent of consumers use local search or search directories to find local businesses and more than 30 percent of mobile searches conducted on Google are location-based. This means that if you want to increase the chances of your business ranking in search results, you need to start thinking about local SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is used to attract local customers and potential customers by using location-specific keywords to help your site rank based on a customer’s location. Potential customers who are looking for in-person shopping and services typically use phrases such as “metal bending companies near me” or “CNC machining services Chicago” to find local companies.

For your business to have a chance of showing up on the search engine results page (SERP) for this type of search, one or more of your pages need to be optimized for local search. This involves including your full address and mentioning your city name at least once in the copy. You should also optimize your meta description, title tags, headers and URL to reflect high-volume keywords and location-specific information.

If you have more than one location for your business, you should add a separate page for each location. Make sure each page lists the location address and business hours and mentions the city name and is optimized for keywords that have a high search volume.

Avoiding Duplicate Content and Keeping Company Information Current

When you are creating similar content for multiple pages, make sure there are some differences so that Google doesn’t flag the pages for duplicate content, which harms your search rankings. Try to think of different things to add for each location including customer reviews, bios of staff at that location, helpful resources and other unique information.

Keeping your information updated is also important. If your address, phone number or business hours change, make sure you update them on your site pages and in all online directories, including your Google My Business account.

Consistency and accuracy are also vital if you want to earn one of the prime spots in the “local 3-pack,” also known as the “Google Snack Pack.” These are the first three business Google lists when someone conducts a local search, including the business’s ratings and their location displayed on a map. Underneath this section is where Google lists the organic search results. Since we know that users tend to click on the top results, you want to try getting listed in the “Google snack pack” section.

What Type of Businesses Should Think About Using Local SEO on Their Site Pages?

Incorporating local SEO into your content plan is beneficial for anyone, but you should definitely optimize one or more of your site pages if you:

  • Have an office that customers can visit
  • Provide products and services on-site
  • Offer services unique to your industry or area

So, how do you get started? Th simplest way is to implement some on-page SEO to optimize content using your city name. Here’s an example: “For spray coating services in San Diego, contact Company XYZ.” Adding a sentence like this to your call-to-action and meta description tells Google what you do and where you are located, which can increase your changes of showing up on the SERP for a local search.  You can also sprinkle your city name or state in a few places throughout the copy.

As with any on-page optimization, remember not to overdo it. Adding too many keywords is referred to as “stuffing” and is a huge no-no that can actually harm your search ranking. Do keyword research to narrow down a few terms that you will use for your localized search and use those keywords wisely.

Improving Your Local SERP Ranking with Google My Business

If you don’t have a Google My Business account, it is worth signing up. Having your business listed helps increase the likelihood of showing up in organic rankings as well as Google maps and other services.

Here is what Google recommends for using Google My Business to help improve your local ranking:

  • Enter all information including your address, phone number, business hours and category
  • Verify your business location to make sure it is accurate
  • Make sure your phone numbers are “click to call” for mobile device users
  • Include a brief description of your business and the services offered
  • Look at your customer reviews regularly and respond to them to show that you interact with your customers
  • Add photos to help your listing stand out. This could be an image of your storefront or anything else that makes your listing more personalized.
  • Enable the “Book an Appointment” feature to provide users with a direct link to your website landing page or an appointment/reservation scheduling page
  • Utilize the Google Post feature to post information about product launches, sales, events and other important announcements.

In addition to Google My Business, you can help improve local search by adding your business to other online listing and directories. Remember to make sure your information is consistent across all the directories

Providing a User-Friendly Experience for Potential Customers

Optimizing your content for local searches and keeping your Google My Business account updates are just part of the equation for local search success. Once you attract people to your site you want them to stay there, which is why it is important to make your site is optimized for mobile. If someone gets to your site and it takes too long for content to download or information is difficult to find, they will move on to the next company listed on their reach results.

Making sure your website is designed for mobile is also important for improving your overall site ranking.  Google implemented mobile-first indexing this past March, which means all websites are ranked using the mobile version over the desktop version. If your site doesn’t have a responsive design, the desktop version will be crawled instead and could have a negative impact on search rankings.

By using these simple strategies, you can help improve your local search rankings and attract more business.

Contact our team of experts to learn more about SEO programs for your business.

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