Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are local? When a consumer wants to find a business in their area, they usually start with a quick online search. Furthermore, 88% of consumers contact or visit the local businesses they find online within 24 hours. Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to capture new customers by optimizing for local search. To get your business found online by locals, you need to employ local search engine optimization (SEO). By using local SEO techniques and implementing them into your website SEO, you’ll be showing up in Google’s local search results in no time.
To learn how to do local SEO, follow these easy steps:
- Claim your Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Bing Places listings.
- Conduct local SEO keyword research.
- Optimize your website for local keywords.
- Acquire valuable local backlinks.
Before we jump in, let’s briefly explain what local SEO is and how it works.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online business presence, so your business website shows up for local search queries. Local SEO also helps your business website get chosen for one of Google’s coveted “snack pack” search result positions.
What is Google’s “snack pack”?
Google’s “snack pack” is a special group of local search results that showcase the top three businesses for a local Google search. Snack pack results show more information than the average search result listing, like the business’ online rating, address, phone number, and hours of operation.
Acquiring one of these positions in the search engine is extremely valuable since 33% of clicks from local searches go towards snack pack results.
How to do local SEO
To be chosen for one of Google’s premier snack pack positions and enjoy the droves of business that will subsequently come your way, you need to learn how to do local SEO.
To do so, follow this local SEO checklist:
Step 1: Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing
Google My Business is a free tool that helps businesses optimize their online presence for both Google search results and Google Maps. It gives businesses a space to acquire reviews, interact with customers, and share important details about their company all in one place.
Claiming your Google My Business listing gives you control over the information it contains. This is important since displaying accurate information on your Google My Business listing increases your chances of attracting new visitors.
How to claim your Google My Business listing
Claiming your Google My Business listing is pretty straightforward. Follow these steps to learn how to create a Google my Business profile.
- Enter your business’ name – Your business may or may not already have a Google My Business listing. If it does, claim it. If it doesn’t, select “create a new listing.”
- Add your address – Google needs your address for verification purposes. If your business has an official storefront, use that address. If you work from home or have a virtual office, use your home address instead. In this case, make sure to click “hide your address” to protect your privacy.
- Set your location pin – To show up accurately on Google Maps, adjust your pin to the exact location of your business. This will help customers find you more easily.
- Choose a business category – Google only lets you choose one main category to describe your business. Choose this category wisely. Make sure it gives the most comprehensive overview of what your business does.
- Add your contact information – To make it easier for customers to get in touch with you, add your phone number and website URL. These will show up within the search results, allowing searchers to contact you with the click of a button.
- Verify the listing – Google conducts verification via phone call or postcard to make sure you truly own this business. The verification will come with specific instructions, so be sure to follow them closely to avoid further delays.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you will have successfully claimed your Google My Business listing. You might be tempted to stop there. However, if you truly want to tap into the power of local SEO, you need to do some optimization.
How to optimize your Google My Business listing
Did you know that Google My Business local listings with photos receive 35% more clicks and 42% more Google Maps direction requests? Furthermore, businesses that reply to their Google reviews actually earn more revenue!
Those are just some of the many reasons to optimize your Google My Business listing. Here are some easy ways to enhance your profile:
- Upload high-quality photos of your business’ location and products.
- Thoughtfully respond to online reviews.
- Add accurate hours of operation, including any holiday hours or planned closures.
- Include parking information.
- Write a compelling business description.
- Urge your satisfied customers to leave online reviews.
- Answer visitors’ questions through the Q&A feature.
With a beautifully optimized Google My Business listing, you will attract more customers and boost your revenue quickly. You can also gain valuable insights from your customers’ online feedback, which can be used to improve your business going forward.
Step 2: Claim your Apple Maps listing
Even though Google dominates online search, Apple owns around 40% of the American cell phone market share. As a result, many people use Apple Maps to find local businesses.
How to claim your Apple Maps listing
To claim your Apple Maps listing, you will need to log into Apple Maps Connect with an Apple ID. Then follow Apple’s prompts to claim your listing. They will ask you to verify that you own the business over the phone.
Next, you can add all of the standard business details, such as your:
- Company name
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
- Business categories
- Website URL
- Social media profile links
As you can see, much of this information is similar to what Google asks for. To save time, consider saving this data in an online spreadsheet so you can copy and paste it. This will also ensure your business information is consistent across platforms.
Step 3: Claim and optimize your Bing Places listing
If you want to take your local SEO to the next level, claim and optimize your Bing Places listing. Even though Bing isn’t as popular as Google, it’s still a valuable search engine.
Claiming your Bing Places listing is even easier than claiming your Google My Business listing. That’s because Bing lets you upload your business information directly from your Google My Business listing. This can really speed up the process.
Keep in mind that you will need to have a Windows Live account to get started. Also, note that Bing Places does not allow online businesses to create listings. Your business must have a physical storefront to create a Bing Places listing.
Step 4: Conduct local SEO keyword research
Keywords are the search terms you type into Google. In order to conduct proper keyword research for local SEO, you’ll need to consider the local aspect of your business. If capturing a local audience is your main priority (which it likely is), you’ll want to use a decent number of local keywords. These are known as “Service in Location” (SiL) keywords.
How to choose SiL keywords
To brainstorm some local keywords, ask yourself, “What would my local customer base search on Google to find my business?”
If you run a nail salon in Seattle, for example, you might come up with:
- “Nail salon in Seattle”
- “Nail salon near me in Seattle”
- “Manicurist in Seattle”
- “Pedicurist in Seattle”
- “Nail tech in Seattle”
As you can see, there’s a simple formula for these keywords. You simply tack on your location to the end of your primary keywords.
Step 5: Optimize your website with your local keywords
Once you’ve compiled a list of local keywords, it’s time to implement them on your website. As with traditional on-site SEO, you need to include your target keyword in the following locations of your web page:
- Title tag – This is the HTML title of your website that will be visible in blue text on the search results page and in the tab of your web browser. Your keyword should be included towards the beginning of the title tag, if possible.
- Meta description – This provides a brief introduction to your web page’s content. It is displayed beneath the title tags on the search results. Your keyword should also be featured here.
- H1 – This is the primary header of your web page, shown at the very top. By including your keyword in it, you make it clear to Google and its users that this web page explores this keyword’s topic in detail.
- URL – This is the text that shows up in your web browser’s address bar. It will look something like this: “www.yourwebsite.com/keyword.”
- Copy – This is the text that makes up the primary content of your web page. Make sure your keyword is included organically a few times throughout. This is commonly known as “on-page” content. To make sure you are optimizing for on-page SEO, include your keyword organically a few times throughout the copy, but be sure not to include it too often. Afterall, you want it to read like a human wrote it and not an SEO robot.
Add NAP information to your footer
Next, make sure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed in the footer of your website. NAP citations are one of the most significant ranking factors of local SEO. Without them, your chances of snagging a snack pack slot are slim to none.
As with your online business listings, your website’s NAP information should be identical to what you’ve provided elsewhere. You will gain credibility with Google by maintaining consistency across the web.
What if my business has multiple locations?
If your business has multiple locations, create a specific landing page for each one. Use these web pages to target unique local keywords and feature the associated NAP information. This will help your website rank for local searches in several locations.
Let’s say you own a small pet store chain in Oregon. To optimize for local SEO, create dedicated pages for each storefront’s location. The URLs for these pages should look something like this:
Write blog articles with your local audience in mind
Your blog is a perfect resource to draw in readers from your area. Simply write about topics that are locally relevant. Create helpful guides on how to find the best restaurants, shops, or activities in the area or give your take on local news events. Just make sure you write about topics that allow you to weave your products or services in naturally.
For example, if you own a photography business out of San Francisco, create articles like these:
- “What Are The Best Wedding Venues in San Francisco?”
- “7 of San Francisco’s Most Picturesque Photoshoot Locations”
- “6 of San Francisco’s Exciting Events to Check Out This Summer”
Content like this will attract local consumers to your website and give you a chance to introduce them to your brand. From there, you can convert them into customers, make more sales, and grow your business locally.
Step 6: Focus on local link building
Once your website is local-search ready, it’s time to acquire some relevant local backlinks. As with traditional SEO, link building is a surefire way to boost your website’s rankings.
Put simply, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. It’s commonly known as an off-page SEO strategy because it happens off of your website. For local SEO, you’ll want these websites to be local too, if possible.
Try out these strategies:
- Join local online business directories.
- Join niche industry directories.
- Add your business listing to your local Chamber of Commerce.
- Create useful local resources on your blog.
- Write a guest blog for another local business blog.
- Ask other local businesses if they’d like to feature each other’s websites on their own site for cross-promotion.
Optimize your business for local search today
By applying these local SEO strategies today, you can get your business found on Google by members of your local community before you know it. This will help you grow your customer base and become a successful, well-known business in your area.
To make the process of optimizing for local SEO easier, consider using Constant Contact’s website builder to create and optimize your local business’ website all in one — it’s free to try. Not only does it help with on-site SEO, but it has built-in website tracking and reporting capabilities that will tell you whether your local SEO campaign is working or not. Best of all, it’s affordable and easy to use. So, how can you get your hands on this SEO tool?
Just follow these steps:
- Log in to Constant Contact and use their website builder.
- Find local keywords using their comprehensive SEO tool.
- Optimize your web pages for local search.
- Link your Google My Business listing and Google Maps with simple integrations.
- Prepare your business for an influx of new local customers thanks to organic search!
Why wait any longer to boost your business growth? With the included SEO tools from Constant Contact and our local SEO tips, your business can be thriving locally in no time. Get started with Constant Contact to implement a local SEO strategy into your new website today!