Written by Professional Academy Guest Blogger Brandon Jarman
Whether you’re a big company or a small start-up, you most likely need an effective local SEO strategy. Creating and optimizing website pages for a local audience is an incredibly effective way to boost your brand’s visibility online. It can increase your organic traffic, have your brand rank on more SERPs (search engine result pages), generate leads, and improve your domain authority. However, getting started with local SEO can be a confusing process. Thankfully for all of us, there are practical strategies we can implement to put our brand in front of more people.
Here are four ways to improve your organization’s local SEO:
Google My Business (or GMB) is a free tool that allows your business to be seen on Google Maps and Search. It gives local customers general information about your business such as your organization's name, hours of operation, and address. GMB also gives your business more exposure through the platform’s review feature. You can also gather data on how local customers are trying to search for you. If optimized properly, your brand can be featured on the coveted sidebar in some Google SERPs. The sidebar is unique in that it’s not created by placing a PPC ad or an organic search result. The only way to be featured on the sidebar is through effective GMB optimization.
In order to use GMB, your business can’t run 100% online. You need to offer products or services at a physical location.
If you have more than one physical location, you should create a locations page on your website. This will help “localize” your website. On the page, each location should have an internal link to its own unique URL. When possible, mention the region, state, country, and city on those location-specific URLs. It’s easy for webmasters to duplicate content across locations, so it’s important that each location has its own subject manner.
As SEO and UX (user experience) continues to overlap, it’s imperative that webmasters create content that’s relevant and useful for a local audience. You should write articles that answer location specific questions and feature community events when possible.
A citation page is anywhere where your businesses’ name, address, phone number, and location are found. Local online directories, business listings, press releases, local news features, and even social media pages count as a citation page. If applicable, you can even reach out to the local government to list your business as a resource to its citizens.
Getting on all of the right citation pages can be a tremendous undertaking, especially if your business has a lot of locations. Using tools like Moz local can help you streamline your citation page efforts.
But, if you’re a small business with only one or two locations, listing your business on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Trip Advisor, and even Apple Maps can yield immediate results.
Your title tag is the first thing that potential customers see when your site shows up on SERPs. It’s imperative that you let both search engines and people know that you offer your product or service in a specific geographic location. A common strategy for making the most out of your local SEO title tags goes as follows: [product / service / business category] [city name] [state abbreviation]. By following that exact format or a similar one, your potential customers can immediately know that you’re available to help them. Additionally, meta descriptions should support the title tags by providing further information about your local product or service.
Ranking high on local SEO pages isn’t going to happen overnight. Creating a user experience that caters to a local audience and making your business known as a resource is easier said than done. But, it will pay off for your organization in the long-run.
Brandon Jarman is a freelance writer and digital communications enthusiast. When he’s not writing, he enjoys watching sports, eating tacos, and spending time with his family.
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