If you’re a small business owner, then you know how important it is to attract local customers. After all, most small businesses rely on foot traffic and word-of-mouth to generate new business. But what if there was a way to reach even more potential customers in your area? That’s where local SEO comes in.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for local search traffic. By optimizing your site for local keywords, you can improve your chances of appearing in the top search results for those keywords. And when people are searching for businesses like yours, that’s exactly where you want to be.
In this post, we’ll give you a complete guide to understanding and implementing local SEO. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start driving more traffic—and more customers—to your site. Let’s get started!
- What is Local SEO?
- How Does Local SEO Work?
- How do I optimize my website for local search?
- Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions
- Include your NAP information on every page
- Get citations from reputable directory and review sites
- Create local content
- How can I track my local SEO progress?
What is Local SEO?
As we mentioned above, Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for local search traffic. But what does that really mean?
When people use search engines like Google or Bing to find businesses or services in their area, they typically add location-based keywords to their searches. For example, someone might search for “pizza restaurant Los Angeles” or “SEO Expert Rochester NY.” These are called “local searches,” and they’re different from general searches (like “pizza restaurant” or “SEO expert”) because they include a specific location.
If you want your business to appear in the top results for these types of searches, then you need to optimize your website for them. That’s what Local SEO is all about—it’s the process of making sure your site appears as high as possible in the search results for local searches related to your business.
How Does Local SEO Work?
Local SEO works by helping search engines understand two things:
- What Your Business Is
- Where Your Business Is Located
Once search engines have this information, they can match your site with local searchers who are looking for businesses like yours.
There are two main ways that you can help search engines understand these things about your business: through on-page optimization and citations.
On-page optimization is the process of making sure that your website’s content (i.e., the text on your pages) contains the right keywords and tells searchers everything they need to know about your business. This includes things like adding your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) to every page of your site as well as creating keyword-rich titles and descriptions for each page.
Citations are listings of your business name, address, phone number, and other information on directory and review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business. These citations help search engines verify that your NAP information is correct and consistent across the web (which is important because inconsistency can hurt your rankings). They also act as another signal that tells search engines what your business is and where it’s located .
Creating citations can be a bit time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth it—especially if you want to rank higher in local search results.
How do I optimize my website for local search?
Now that you know what Local SEO is and how it works, let’s take a look at some specific ways that you can optimize your website for local search.
Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions
As we mentioned above, one of the most important aspects of on-page optimization is creating keyword-rich titles and descriptions for each page of your site. This helps search engines understand what your pages are about and match them with relevant searches.
To optimize your titles and descriptions, make sure to include keywords that accurately describe your business as well as location-based keywords (like the name of your city or region). For example, if you’re a pizza restaurant in Los Angeles, your title might look something like this:
Best Pizza in Los Angeles | Joe’s Pizza
And your description might look something like this:
Welcome to Joe’s Pizza! We’re a pizza restaurant located in Los Angeles, and we serve the best pizza in town. Come by and try our famous pepperoni pizza today!
How do I determine which keywords are relevant to my business?
There are a few different ways that you can determine which keywords are relevant to your business. One way is to simply think about the terms that people might use when they’re searching for businesses like yours. For example, if you own a pet store, some of the keywords you might want to target could be “pet supplies,” “pet food,” “dog toys,” etc.
Another way to find relevant keywords is to use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools allow you to enter a seed keyword (like “pet store”) and then generate a list of related keywords. Once you have this list, you can start incorporating these keywords into your titles, descriptions, and other on-page elements.
Include your NAP information on every page
Another important part of on-page optimization is making sure that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are included on every page of your site. Not only does this help search engines verify your NAP information, but it also makes it easy for potential customers to find your business.
You can include your NAP information in a variety of places on your website, including in the header, footer, and sidebar of each page. You can also use a plugin like the Yoast SEO plugin to automatically add your NAP information to every page of your site.
Get citations from reputable directory and review sites
As we mentioned above, citations are listings of your business name, address, and phone number on directory and review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business. These citations help search engines verify your NAP information and can also help improve your local rankings.
When you’re creating citations, it’s important to make sure that you’re only listing your business on reputable sites. This not only helps improve the quality of your citations, but it also helps prevent spammy listings from hurting your rankings.
To get started, you can create a free listing on Google My Business and then start claiming and building out your listings on other directory and review sites.
Get Listed on Google My Business
One of the best ways to optimize your website for local search is to get listed on Google My Business. This is a free listing service from Google that allows businesses to manage their information, including their business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and more.
Not only does this help potential customers find your business, but it also helps improve your local search engine rankings. In fact, studies have shown that businesses that are listed on Google My Business are twice as likely to be found in local search results.
You’ll will also now be featured in the maps section of the SERPs.
For a more detailed look at ‘Google My Business, read this article here.
To get started, visit the Google My Business website and create a free listing for your business. Once you’ve created your listing, make sure to fill out as much information as possible and add photos, videos, and other multimedia content.
Create local content
Another great way to optimize your website for local search is to create local content. This can include blog posts about local news and events, as well as information about your business that’s specific to your city or region.
Not only does this help search engines better understand your business and its location, but it also helps you attract local customers and build relationships with other businesses in your area.
What are the best practices for creating local content?
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re creating local content for your website. First, make sure that your content is accurate and up-to-date. This not only helps ensure that your information is relevant to your customers, but it also helps prevent outdated content from hurting your search engine rankings.
Second, focus on creating high-quality content that’s relevant to your business and your location. This includes using keyword-rich titles and descriptions, as well as adding images, videos, and other multimedia elements.
Finally, make sure that your website is easy to navigate and that your local content is easily accessible to potential customers. This includes creating a separate page for your local content and making sure that your NAP information is prominently displayed on every page of your site.
By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your local content is effective and that it helps improve your local search engine rankings.
How can I track my local SEO progress?
To track your local SEO progress, you can use a variety of tools, including Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These tools can help you understand how your website is performing in local search results and identify areas where you can improve your rankings.
You can also use Moz Local to track your listing accuracy and citation building progress. This tool can help you identify which directory and review sites your business is listed on, as well as any errors that may be preventing your listings from appearing in search results.
Finally, make sure to track your organic traffic and conversion rates to see how your local SEO efforts are impacting your overall website performance. This will help you understand the ROI of your local SEO efforts and identify any areas where you need to continue to improve your strategy.
By tracking your local SEO progress, you can ensure that your efforts are paying off and that you’re making the most of your time and resources.
Local SEO is an important part of any small business’ digital marketing strategy. By optimizing your website for local keyword searches, you can improve your chances of appearing in the top search results—and drive more traffic (and more customers) to your site.