3 simple tips for optimizing local SEO

Are you struggling to build a local presence with your business? It's time to work on your local SEO strategy.
14 June 2018 | 2269 Shares

Is your business making efforts to optimize local SEO? Source: Shutterstock

In recent years, “local SEO” has become one of the biggest buzzwords in the world of marketing.

In short, it’s the ability to optimize your website to rank better for a local audience, increasing search visibility for businesses that serve their communities face-to-face.

Optimizing your local SEO means that your brick-and-mortar business – whether it’s a florist or a computer repair shop – is more visible to your local community and potential customers.

Local SEO optimization includes anything from claiming a business listing, ensuring your location data appears in search, managing your online reviews, and social media engagement that is local-centric.

With studies finding that almost half of all Google searches are local, more and more businesses are recognizing the need to optimize for such searches. And as a result, local SEO is becoming an incredibly competitive area.

The thing with SEO is the processes that are highly successful this week, may prove to be ineffective next week. But what is certain, is that the importance of local search will continue to grow.

So, if you’re ready to ensure your business gets heard, make sure you are incorporating the following factors into your local SEO strategy:

The rise of voice search

“Siri, how can I optimize local SEO?” Source: Shutterstock

Today, you can ask your phone anything from “Where can I get the best haircut in town?” to “What is the meaning of life?”.

For many individuals, the convenience of voice search makes it their main source of information.

And with voice recognition technology becoming more advanced and accurate than ever, people are really falling in love with it.

A combination of advancements in technology, virtual assistants, and the rise of voice-activated home devices has led to an estimation being made that around 50 percent of all searches will be done with voice by 2020.

So what does this mean for local SEO optimization?

Well, for starters there will be a much larger emphasis on long-tail keywords.

Voice search differs from that of traditional keyword search. In a keyword-based search, people usually go for short phrases such as “Salad shop, LA”. In contrast, voice search uses natural language such as “where can I find a salad shop in LA that serves halloumi?”.

This has resulted in a shift in focus from keywords to long-tail search terms, with Google favoring content that can answer specific questions.

In order to tailor your SEO strategy with this in mind, you should consider modifying the SEO on your website content to be much more conversational in tone.

With the majority of voice searches starting with “who, what, where, when, why, and how”, you should aim to build content that answers these questions.

Tools such as Long Tail Pro are designed to help you discover thousands of targeted and profitable keywords to allow you to make more focused content, which will ultimately boost your rankings in Google.

Online reviews

People are relying more on the opinions of others to inform their decision. Source: Shutterstock

In today’s digital age, more and more shoppers are relying on online review websites to help them decide what products to by. In fact, 93 percent of customers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.

But how can reviews fit into your local SEO campaign? Online reviews can have major implications for your rankings in local search engines.

With the rising influencing of reviews, it should come as no surprise that search engines have wised up to this trend. According to a local search ranking factors survey by Moz, online reviews make up 10 percent of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results.

Thus, if you want to increase your visibility in the local market, you must have a strong system in place to collect and display online reviews frequently.

According to the Moz report, review signals such as quantity, frequency, and diversity, are among the top factors that determine your local SEO rankings.

People are becoming more trusting of the opinions of others than brands- and this trend is only set to grow. So, investing your time in the area of reviews can no longer just be an option.

Create local content

Blogging is essential to SEO. Source: Shutterstock

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you will be familiar with the fact that blogging is a powerful way to optimize SEO.

When blogging specifically for local SEO, you should create hyperlocal content- content that is specific to your exact area.

For instance, you may choose to write about local events or festivals that large businesses may not think are worth covering, and tie in how your business relates.

You can write about your companies history and roots, as well as how your business engages with the local community.

Also, you may wish to interview customers for their success stories after using your product or service, or interviews with local experts both within or outside your company.

But rather than just purely writing about your products and services, you should aim to produce content that can both benefit and educate your reader in some way. This will appoint you as a trusted source in your industry.

Ensuring your business has visibility within your local community is a process that can take a good deal of time, effort, and perseverance.

The process of managing customer reviews, adapting your content to answer the queries of your customers, and creating localized content should be an on-going effort that you continuously monitor in order to boost your search rankings.