One of the most effective (and largely undervalued) online marketing techniques is without a doubt local SEO. You probably already know what SEO is (i.e. search engine optimization), but do you know what local SEO is?
Local SEO, just like normal SEO, focuses on ranking high in SERPs (search engine result pages) for specific keywords and/or phrases. The difference between the two though, is that local SEO focuses on ranking high in locally-focused searches.
Regular SEO focuses more on ranking for general terms and/or phrases, whereas local SEO is all about ranking high for local terms (e.g. “best online marketing service in Charlotte, NC”). Because of the focus on specific geographic areas, local SEO works wonders for local businesses targeting local customers.
Wondering how to start implementing local SEO strategies for your business? Well, this article focuses specifically on local SEO for small businesses in North Carolina, but the principles can be applied to any locality.
Google My Business Is Essential
One of the very first things that any business interested in developing a local SEO strategy should do is create their Google My Business listing. Google My Business is the search engine’s local business platform that gives businesses a place to list their service geographically. If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, you’re doing your business a giant disservice (and probably losing out on potential sales/clients as a result).
Focus on Getting Reviews
This isn’t any major secret, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses fail to focus on getting customer reviews. Not only will having more customer reviews cement the social proof of your service, but it will also lead to an enhanced Google Business listing.
Optimize for Search (Voice & Traditional)
Obviously you should be focusing on optimizing your content for both local SEO and national-level SEO. But don’t just stop there. You also need to start considering how voice searches will impact your SEO efforts.
If you don’t have the time to manually do your own SEO, it’s recommended to hire a local company to do it for you. For example, if your a plumbing business in Charlotte, NC, you should look into hiring a local SEO company to help get your rankings in order.
Local companies are typically able to handle local clients on a higher level than national SEO firms. Service is important, and oftentimes your business will be put on the backburner (with national SEO companies).
Start Creating Content
Whatever SEO company you end up hiring will most likely do some content production for you, but it’s also important to be making your own content. One of the best ways to increase your SEO while simultaneously boosting your branding is by creating blog content (about your industry).
For example, if you’re a local advertising company, you should be making blog posts about how to market in your local city/region. Provide some upfront value to potential customers/clients, and they will be far more likely to convert.
Focus on Mobile Experiences
Mobile devices are quickly becoming more widely used than both desktops and laptops. Want to know the best way to lose out on potential new business? Having a bad mobile experience. It’s essential for your business to have a responsive website that looks great on both normal computers and mobile devices (of all sizes). Learn more about mobile UX/UI standards here (an excellent blog post detailing a few different tips regarding responsive design).
Not only is having a mobile-responsive website important for UX (user experience), but it also has a direct effect on SEO. If your website isn’t responsive, it probably isn’t going to rank as high as it could (this is a well-known fact in the SEO industry). So, if you want to have a solid local SEO strategy, you have to focus on creating a 100% responsive website and UX/UI.
The SEO industry is always in a state of flux (meaning it’s always changing). Google and other search engines are always updating their algorithms, so it’s important to stay on top of changes. By focusing on local SEO (as well as regular SEO), you’ll have a much better chance of attracting new customers and gaining new business. Remember though, local SEO is a different animal than traditional SEO. If you don’t have the time to delve into the various intricacies of local SEO, it’s recommended to contract with a local SEO company that’s located in your area/region.