When it comes to online business, growing your presence is never something which happens quickly. The fact is that growth through SEO is effective, but not necessarily a fast avenue. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in growing this channel, especially in specific sectors. Local SEO optimization, for example, is one of the best ways to grow your Local SEO presence in your area. This can be especially beneficial if long-term growth will be slow, but you want to see some level of traffic/conversions. Think of it as step one on your climb to bigger and bigger SEO rankings.
Here are some of the best methods you can use to help build your local SEO presence:
Google My Business
Your Google My Business page is the cornerstone of your local SEO efforts. It needs to be filled out completely in order to be fully effective, with the right information inputted. Also, it is important to note that in order to be eligible for a GMB page you do need a physical address. This cannot be a P.O. box or anything similar, but the actual address of the office/warehouse/etc. that your business operates from.
Once you get the postcard confirming your page, you can move to optimize it. This is simply ensuring the right name, address and phone number are there. Those are the most important aspects of the page. But then you can also improve it further with photos, Q&A’s posts, products, services and make sure that you are continually attracting reviews. The more effort you put into your GMB page, the better results you will get.
Land in the 3-Pack
What is Google 3-pack? It’s something that you see (almost) every time you Google.
The 3-pack is quite simple, but it is extremely effective when it comes to local SEO and gaining traffic on this basis. As this is the result at the top of the page which includes three business listings in Google Maps feature, this usually accompanies a local specific search or local results for you nonspecific search. So, if you Google ‘shoe shop’ then you will get a 3-pack for the ‘shoe shop’ results closest to you based on location. This can be extremely useful if you want to catch local traffic without necessarily ranking highest.
Appearing in the 3-pack relies on the strength of your GMB page–make sure it is fully filled out–as well as factors like reviews. The higher your reviews or the better average score, the more likely you are to appear in the 3-pack result. Google looks for quality for users in this instance.
Utilize Social Media
Social media isn’t a one-trick pony, you can also use it for your local growth efforts. The right traffic, target geographic audience in paid campaigns and similar can be all you need to grow local traffic to your site via other traffic sources. This isn’t necessarily a long-term sustainable way to achieve local traffic, but it can be used to utilize initial growth. And this growth can then help grow your brand exposure and give yourself a good leg to stand on in your local area.
Importantly, you need to post content when your audience is most commonly active in order to have the desired effect. This means working out the peak hours that will draw you a larger audience. For example, people recommend posting on Twitter at midday, Facebook at night, LinkedIn in the early hours of the morning and so on. Of course, your preferred audience may be slightly different. But it is a case of experimenting and finding the right time to suit your needs for growing local traffic.
Also, it is important to share visual content for maximum effect. Go out and take images of the local area around you. Not only do images get you more interest, but having local-specific images can be a great way to target your preferred audience effectively. The more local you seem, the more interaction you will be certain to achieve.
Having a business blog is important for a number of reasons. But, when you are looking to grow local traffic it can be easier to dismiss this as a legitimate strategy. Yet your blog can actually be a terrific source for local growth.
Local news stories will be searched for in your area. So, create blogs in relation to your locality and they may be picked up in these searches. Obviously, the key here is to make sure you only create or distribute news which is related to your site or business. If you’re talking about commercial property management in London but are based in Manchester, it clearly doesn’t add up. But, it can be extremely beneficial when you get this right. As local search is quite low-competition and easier to dominate in the long-term.
Reviews are some of the most important aspects of local SEO presence. Good reviews, when built up, can be a positive signal to Google that your site is worth ranking on a local level. Reviews also have the added benefit of giving your potential clients/customers the chance to see your quality. Which can improve your click-through rates/sales as a result?
Gaining these reviews, however, can be a little more difficult than you might expect. Of course, there are a few methods which you might employ successfully:
- Mention you’re looking for reviews when a sale is confirmed. Or if you are a service-based client, as for reviews from your clients can be much easier to gather from long-term relationships.
- Send out followup emails to try and gain reviews, but try to avoid customers who are likely to leave bad reviews!
- Respond to negative reviews or even positive ones, as it shows you are both proactive and appreciative of your clients/customers responses.
At the end of the day, building your customer reviews isn’t always necessarily the easiest of tasks. It is likely to take an extended amount of time and require a number of different methods to achieve.
Important to note: some platforms have different policies when it comes to asking for reviews. Google regards this as common practice and so it is fine to do so for your local SEO efforts. But, sites like Yelp tend to discourage it.
Finally, one of the growth factors in achieving local rankings in terms of both local-based keywords and GMB pages is directories and citations. Online directories include sites like Foursquare, HotFrog, Yelp, MapQuest, etc. They are basically the modern equivalent of the yellow pages. But, these listings are also beneficial for your local SEO efforts.
The benefit of these directories is quite simple, but it can be vital for good local performance. Directories help to confirm your NAP (name, address, phone number), which not only help visibility but boost SEO efforts.
Boosting your local SEO efforts is not necessarily a difficult endeavor, but it can be quite long-term. You won’t see amazing changes to your results overnight by any means. But this is often the case with many SEO practices, it is a slow and steady way to win the race rather than a mad dash for rankings. Implement some of the above methods and you will find yourself the winner.