Local SEO played a major role in digital marketing due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. We truly realized the importance and role of local communities in our sustenance.
Local SEO is necessary to increase your local presence and provide the best services. Local businesses use online marketing strategies to expand and outgrow in many sectors.
According to the source, 49% of the total searches are looking for local information.
According to chat meter, local searches like near me or close by have increased by 900% over two years.
With people sitting at their homes and less travel possible, we have seen a surge in online services like medical, education, pharmacy, food services, beauty, eCommerce, etc. Indeed, some services will continue in the same manner to facilitate customers even after the pandemic.
Do you why people prefer local brands? It’s because of two reasons:
- It takes less time to reach their services.
- Past relations, familiarity, and trust with the clients.
So, it becomes important to optimize your local SEO
What are The Top Local SEO Takeaways from 2020?
Optimization of Google My Business (GMB) Listings
GMB listings have helped many customers to spread awareness and find local facilities available. According to Think with Google, 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
You can increase the prominence of local search by updating
- Enter your business name, description, and category.
- Mention the address and directions to reach you better.
- Contact information or email id to contact you directly.
Other key information for your customer is:
- Business Hours and whether your office is currently Open or Closed.
- Images and Videos to give an elaborate description of your work.
- Payment methods accepted.
- Provide the links to the website and other social media.
Google has provided add-on features like local inventory ads to make consumers know about the number of available products with them on SERPs.
Local inventory ads have the option of Curbside Pickup to let customers order, tell them when the order is ready, park, and pick up the order. It helps in saving their time and avoiding gatherings.
Online delivery is used to deliver Items booked on web applications and whether in-store shopping is available or not. These features can be accessed with the help of Google GMB attributes.
Update Online Directories and citations
Online directories and citations help customers to access businesses easily. Being consistent in online updations helps you rank higher in local searches. Make sure to update that you are available to take meetings online in lockdown situations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Local citations are databases that contain the Name, Addresses, and Places (NAP) of local businesses. It is generally available on social media platforms, websites, and applications.
Famous online directories are GMB, Bing places, Yahoo, and Yelp. No doubt, some directories vary from place to place or country to country. Further, sector-specific and industry-related categories are hotels, medical, retail stores, travel spots like airports or railway stations, and so on.
What are the means to update Online Directories and citations?
1. Manual updations
There are many local listings available. You can check them and update them manually. Check category-related listings on applications like Facebook, Citygrid, Localeze, Infogroup, and the like.
2. Automated Listings
Automated listings can be checked on the web with the help of applications like Moz.
Check out if your data is correct and up to date on these listings.
Additional citations can be obtained on government databases, maps, news sites, and blogs. It can be earned by sharing valuable contributions of your business to society.
Furthermore, the number of citations, the correctness of data, and brand reputation on different platforms increase your foot traffic.
Optimization of Local Keywords
Optimizing local keywords is an effective strategy to make search engines and users easy to search your business.
Now, the question arises how to optimize your local keywords?
Google keyword planner lets you select and research the relevant keywords. You can discover new industry-related keywords from the suggested keyword. In addition, check keyword trends, their competition in the market whether low, medium, or high.
Once you are done with the research part, you can use these keywords. Use them in important parts of your webpage like Title, H1, H2 headings, URLs, or Meta description.
Try to address local frequently asked questions and solve local problems to move upwards in local searches. Use artificial intelligence tools to find the local content gap.
Apart from this, don’t forget to add references from the location-specific landmarks in your content. Avoid overstuffing of keywords and use them naturally.
Give your insights, analysis, or solutions to local data to captivate local leaders and get the attention of local agencies.
Let’s say you are running a Star shoe store:
You would surely like to come up on the searches like
- “Shoe store near me”
- “Shoe brands nearby”
- “Star shoe store timings”
For services sections like the mechanic, doctor, plumbing, carpentry, and IT-related services use service in locations feature. Indeed, the Ahrefs tool can be used for searching service-related keywords. Also, Google autocomplete can be used to generate different keyword suggestions.
Local Content Creation
Local content creation has proved quite fruitful in the last year. Accessing local newspapers and magazines helps in spreading the word about your business.
Keep yourself updated on events happening in your area. Small but effective things help you
expand your outreach.
But, how can you develop good public relations?
- Comment on event-related social platforms or sponsor the events which are directly related to your niche.
- The local radio community sometimes remains untouched. Advertising on the radio stations is also beneficial for reaching out to your target audience.
- Communicating with the local influencers will help you reach out to the potential customers’ audience.
- Try to cover up local newsletters, Vloggers, Podcasts, and bloggers for digital promotion.
- Contact popular local guides for your brand promotion.
- User-generated content is also influential in campaigning your brand.
You may target local trends and hashtags for local social media marketing. Moreover, Twitter helps lookout for local trending topics.
Build strong backlinks
Link building strategy is worthwhile for local SEO efforts. It helps you build local connections in your community and strengthen your relationships. It can even lead to new business altogether, give smooth edges and brush up your business dealings.
Simple ways to create backlinks:
- Create social media profiles on all popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It helps in spreading brand awareness and recent company-related events in your local community. Besides, it keeps you updated about local happenings and trends.
- Search for local communities, magazines, and forums by Google’s advanced search tool. It will help you reach websites related to your target area-wise words or phrases. You can match their content using these keywords and contact related Publications. It will improve the chances of earning backlinks.
- Post relevant guest blogs in your niche to develop relations with other businesses and get backlinks.
- Provide updated content and services to remain ahead of the competition.
- Contact local distributors, suppliers, neighboring businesses, and wholesalers for developing partnerships related to your business.
- Provide scholarships to students to come in limelight in your area.
Review management is the essential part of optimizing local SEO. Google reviews matter the most, they affect other listings reviews as well. Respond to both negative and positive reviews. You can add words of appreciation and gratitude to positive reviews.
Some businesses tend to ignore the negative reviews. But, it harms the online reputation. The best way to deal with negative reviews is to try to resolve them. If there are some grievances, queries, suggestions, and address them there and then.
It could be some strategy by your brand competents to destroy your online reputation by putting many negative reviews. Avoid this situation by being consistent in checking your local online reviews. You can complain to the Google forums to avoid escalating your reputation.
Other cases could be some sort of malicious attacks and backlinks. Submit a “disavow” file to Google for destructive backlinks. Further, malicious attacks could be reported at “ripoffreport.com”, “scambook.com”, or “scamadvisor.com”.
Traditional SEO still matters
Traditional SEO is equally important for maintaining domain authority worldwide. It helps you cater to a wider audience. Quick traditional SEO website-related tips:
- Create simple and user-friendly URLs.
- Develop your domain authority by working on EAT Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness.
- Check your internal website linking, hierarchy, structure, design, and easy navigation.
- Work on your landing and homepage for maximum conversions.
Content related tips:
- Focus on user intent for web searches.
- Optimize your images and videos.
- Content should be readable and properly organized.
- Keep your content updated and avoid duplicate content.
Mobile-friendly web pages
Mobile-optimized websites are the foremost requirement for Local SEO.
Why does it even matter for Google?
61% of the mobile users are seen to contact a local business from a mobile site. Google uses Mobile-first indexing to check the performance of the website on mobile.
According to Statista, 92.6% of internet users are mobile users worldwide.
Undoubtedly, mobile-friendly websites have now become fundamental to land higher in local search results. You can test mobile-friendliness with the Google testing tool.
Moreover, test mobile user experience parameters like loading time, interactivity, and stability. Quality content fails to produce desired results if you don’t provide a good website experience to users.
Shorter sentences are always the plus point due to space constraints on the phone screen. Google prioritizes websites according to their safety features. So, enable HTTPS security for safe browsing.
Perform Local SEO audit
Local SEO audit is a sure-shot way to find the loopholes in your website. Analyzing the loopholes and implementing the concern areas generates more traffic to your platform.
Platforms for performance local SEO audit:
- Google My Business page audit
- Google Search console
- Competitor audit
- On-page audit
- Citation audit
- Website audit
- Social analysis
Why we require a Local SEO audit?
SEO audit enables us to check the gaps in listings, citations, and our website. You can make a checklist on the spreadsheet to collect information on the changes required and keep track of the changes:
- The email address is correct on all platforms. Is email id provided with your website yourcompanyurl.com or gmal.com? If it is still with gmail.com then update it with yourcompanyurl.com.
- Is NAP information the same on Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google search engines? Is the information with other major search engines like Bing and Yahoo?
- Are my citations penalized? If yes, what are the corrections required?
- Is my site mobile-friendly? Does it satisfy core web vitals or not?
- Is my landing page and home page user-friendly? Is it readable? Does it satisfy my marketing goals or not?
Other Important Tips are:
Manage Location pages
Location pages play a crucial role in finding your business in local searches. If you are running your business at different places, make sure to manage different pages for different locations.
Enter information related to a specific location in GMB listings. It must include NAP, business hours, and other essentials. You must develop different content for different pages. Duplicate content can affect your domain authority and affect rankings in SERPs.
Social media coverage
Capture the opportunity of developing good Customer support with chatbots and automated messages on your website and other social media platforms.
Try to experiment with recent augmented reality ads to expand your outreach.
You can use Geo-target on Facebook for partnerships, awareness, and improve local presence.
Local SEO tools
Local SEO tools are always friendly to your local search and designing Multimedia content. Famous SEO tools are Moz Local, Brightlocal, Whitespark, Semrush listing management tool, and others.
Optimize your website for voice searches for successful local digital marketing. Nearly, 20% of the searches are voice searches. There are maximum voice query-based searches for local searches So keeping the target on voice-based keywords, local slang could prove to be an effective Local SEO strategy.
The local business equation has changed completely due to the pandemic in 2020. The main tactics that are learned from the past year are:
- Update your listings and citations on Google and other directories.
- Perform local audits to find and fix loopholes in your local data.
- Always keep your audience first to design content.
- Develop good public relations with the local community.
These strategies will help you in increasing your online presence and address your local clients effectively.
Ravi is CEO & Founder of Webomaze Pty Ltd. He believes in serving the industry with some unique solutions with a huge variety of services including web design & web development, SEO Services, eCommerce development, and so on.