Without one, your business will have zero visibility and you will struggle to engage with a discerning online audience.
Local SEO is a big part of online marketing, especially for smaller businesses, but as with most things in SEO, the goal posts keep moving.
Back in the day, local SEO was a piece of cake. All you needed was a website, a few mentions in local business directories, and a My Business page on Google. All this was pretty basic stuff and you didn’t need to pay an SEO expert to achieve a top ranking for local search terms.
Today, the landscape is tougher and you stand a much better chance of success if you use an SEO expert with knowledge of local SEO services. So is it worth spending the time and money on local SEO, or should you pour your money into search engine marketing instead?
Google and Local SEO
Google made some fundamental changes to its local SERPS in 2015. There used to be seven places on the top table, which made it easy for businesses to enjoy a prominent position at the top of the first page of search results. Now, the local business listings are restricted to a 3-pack spot. If you operate in a competitive niche, you need to put more work in to achieve a spot in the Google Local Pack.
If you take the time to boost your local SEO, the rewards are great. Most people use search engines to find local businesses. Newspaper ads used to be the way forward, but now, we are far more likely to type in a search term like “plumber in Denver” if we need someone to come and fix a leaking faucet. If your business is in the local pack you are guaranteed high visibility for key search terms. For a local business, this is critical.
Claim Your Google My Business Page
There are several ways to improve your local SEO. First, you need to claim your ‘My Business’ page on Google. Not surprisingly, many businesses have failed to do this, to their cost. Add as much information on your My Business page as possible, including opening hours, contact details, a description of what your business does, and any relevant photos. The more information you add, the better, as Google will rank better quality pages higher than basic entries.
Build a Local Website
Most businesses now recognize the importance of having a website. However, a basic website is not enough. Focus on creating local content. In other words, every page of your website needs to include local keywords and content specific to the local area. If you operate in different locations, create a page specific to each one.
Spend some time adding your business’s website to local business directories, for example, the Chamber of Commerce, Yelp, etc. Backlinks from these sites will really help your local SEO.
If you follow these points, you should see good results, but make sure business information is correct on all sites, as any discrepancies will harm your local business ranking.