local seo optimization

Local SEO Optimization – 7 Ways For Your Business To Rank Higher

By: Frank DePino | April 23, 2021

Google search queries that end with the phrase “near me” are on the rise. Between 2018-2019 Google’s Consumers Insight division found a 900% increase in searches that ended with the words “near me”.

Improving your local SEO optimization and ranking involves different techniques than your standard SEO strategies. Use these seven tips for local SEO optimization ranking and statistics.

Here are the 7 steps to improve your local SEO optimization.

  1. Make sure you have a high functioning and optimized website
  2. Conduct local specific keyword research
  3. Claim your Google Business listing
  4. Make sure your website is equipped for mobile searches
  5. Build your reputation through online reviews
  6. Create & execute a social media strategy
  7. Optimize for Google Voice Search

locally optimized website design

Make sure you have a high functioning and optimized website

Just because you are focusing on improving your standing in local search results, this doesn’t mean you should neglect classic SEO tips for website optimization. Make sure you have already taken the following steps to boost your local SEO optimization:

  • Conduct keyword research so you know what keywords to target
  • Sprinkle your keywords throughout your site
  • Make sure your content contains headers to help search engines process that content (H1, H2, etc.)
  • Optimize your title tags, alt tags, meta tags, and URL slugs
  • Ensure your website has the fastest load speed possible to avoid an increase in your bounce rate
  • Have a solid content strategy
  • Improve your off-page SEO and backlinks

These steps are a must for any SEO strategy, local or otherwise. Other things to consider are how easy your site is to navigate and if the design is user-friendly. If you are using a template for your site, test it to make sure it flows and that virtually anyone could click around and find what they are looking for.

From a local SEO optimization perspective, take these steps as well:

  • Include local-specific keywords
  • Use your homepage to clearly detail where you are located and your address
  • When optimizing metadata, make sure the pages include the city in which you are located
  • Make sure every single service and product has its own individual page

local keyword optimization

Conduct local specific keyword research

Keyword research is critical in SEO.

These words are what help give your web pages authority with web crawlers. You will want to include keywords that help you rank in national/global searches as well. But you will also want to include keywords that are specific to your local area, as those will help your growth in local searches.

This can be a challenge sometimes as data is harder to find. You will want to include the primary keywords from your previous set of research. To put a local spin on it, you will add your location to the keyword.

For example, if you are a coffee shop in Sag Harbor, New York you will want to sprinkle phrases like “coffee shop in Sag Harbor” (and other variations of this) in your postings. Some geographic areas can be small. If you are looking to appeal and be found by a larger area, just expand your keywords to include other larger areas that are close to you.

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If there isn’t a lot of data for your area, (especially if it is small), use Google to show you what people search for.

If you are a plumbing company, check things like:

  • “Plumbers in Ann Arbor”
  • “Ann Arbor plumbers”

Also, take note of what else auto-populates in the search bar. If you put in ” plumbers in” into your search bar, look at what else it says. Those terms or localities are other things you should consider targeting as local keywords.

Another pro tip is to see what your competitors are doing and what they rank for.

You can either try to go directly at your competitors or look for words and phrases they overlooked to increase your local SEO optimization.

To continue with the plumbing examples from above, you can try to outrank your fellow plumbers on the keywords “plumbers in Ann Arbor”. Or you could look for something they skipped, like “clogged drains Ann Arbor”. This is a way to pick off customers by ranking for another set of keywords.

If you need help doing any kind of keyword research, Google has excellent tools you can use. So will sites like Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and many other companies. Several of these will be free or low-cost options for you to use.

Claim your Google Business listing for the best local SEO optimization results

Reflect on what you have seen on your computer/phone screen when you conduct a Google search. That information to the side of your screen (or the top if on mobile) will be a Google Business listing. It should look like this:

claim google my business listing

To get this treatment from Google, you have to 1) rank high for local SEO optimization and 2) have a Google Business listing. Without one, your business will not be visible to those searching on the internet for the services or goods your offer.

The best part about these listings is that they are free and easy to set up.

Take the needed steps to claim and set up your listing. You will sign in via the Google My Business page and create a Google account for your business. You will claim the page for your company and input all applicable information. Pay attention to the detail on this step, as this is the information the public will see when you show up in a local search.

This is also the information that will show up for your business in Google Maps. Make sure everything is correct and appears how you want it to. You will want your address, website, and contact info contained in your listing, at the very least.

mobile optimized websites

Make sure your site is equipped for mobile searches

Mobile devices have come a long way. The search capabilities are now just as good as our computers. This improvement is evident in the volume of searches that happen on mobile devices. Almost 60% of all searches happen on mobile devices. Some industries have an even higher percentage than that. The restaurant industry can see as much as 72% of its search traffic from mobile devices.

Think With Google estimates that 76% of mobile searches turn into a same day purchase.

If your website is not set to handle mobile searches and traffic, you are forfeiting a large volume of business and prospective business.

Here are some ways to make your website more conducive to mobile visitors:

  • Make crucial things clickable, like your email address and your phone number
  • Avoid popups or anything that could slow down page load speed
  • Don’t block JavaScript, HTML, or CSS
  • Use responsive design
  • Reduce the number of redirects
  • Optimize any images on your pages

online reviews for business

Build your reputation through online reviews

In today’s information age, people want to know who they are doing business with before they get involved. Customers are more informed than at any other time. One way that customers find more information on your company and your product is through online reviews.

Companies that sell products can benefit by allowing consumers to leave reviews on the company website about the products. These reviews help consumers make decisions about what to purchase and it shows the company isn’t scared of feedback from their customers. This type of transparency encourages trust in a company and this will help build your online reputation.

Another way to build your online reputation is through sites like Yelp and Google Reviews. For many businesses, these reviews appear on the first page of search results for their business. Even if this isn’t the case, many potential customers will open their apps and search for a business on the fly.

For some industries like restaurants, reviews on platforms like this can make or break you getting spur-of-the-moment business. Decisions on where to dine are made based on these reviews.

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

10 Website Must Haves to Drive Traffic & Generate New Leads

Does your website have all 10? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.

Here are some ways that you can use these reviews to your advantage and maximize your local SEO optimization:

  • Encourage people to leave you a review. While no one wants feedback that is less than five stars, feedback that is less than stellar is a chance to learn and improve your customer’s experience. There may be clues in there for training opportunities, product improvements, etc.
  • Respond to every review left for you on these sites. Engaging with your customers shows them that you care what they say. This also looks good to prospective customers.
  • Link to these reviews on your company website. Future customers can be leery of testimonials that appear on company websites. These are often solicited from people who will only give positive feedback, so you can’t get a true picture of the business. Including social links on your website to sites like Yelp showcases reviews that are more authentic and will give customers a more accurate view of your company.

Make sure you are included in online business directories

Some customers want to look in one place for information, get what they want, and be done. They neither have the time nor the patience to read through multiple pages of search results. To make things easier, online directories like Angie’s List have jumped in to fill this need. These online directories are categorized into groups like plumbers, roofers, babysitters, etc.

This makes it very easy for someone to find what they are looking for and to see their reviews on this site. Most of the time businesses featured on these sites pay to be there, but also undergo some level of scrutiny. Customers trust these sites and expect quality providers. If you join these directories, customers will see you as quality as well.

rank in online business directories

Create & execute a social media strategy

Social media may not seem like it would go hand in hand with SEO, but it does. Your social media accounts are another thing that will pull up in Google search results for your business. The more things that pull up in search results for you, the more credibility your business will have. Chances are you also included some of your keywords in your posts. Those words will also help push your pages closer to the top of the search results. 

Optimize For Google Voice Search

Voice search is increasing in popularity. Estimates show that in 2020, 50% of searches will be done by voice or search assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. People like these because of the ease of hands-free searching. If a person is using voice search from their phone, search results will show on their screen just like a traditional search.

But if they are getting the results through a search assistant, only the first couple of results are given to the user. If you don’t rank high enough in Google, a person using voice search won’t even see your business in their results.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure you continue to rank high in voice search queries:

  • Use conversational keywords and phrases on your website. Voice searches will be done the way people speak.
  • Include the HTML code schema markups to give you an additional advantage with Google.
  • Consider adding FAQ pages to help search engines find your content.
  • Include XML sitemaps on your website.
conversational keyword phrases

Final Thoughts

There are countless strategies out there for a business to improve its SEO rankings. However, many of those strategies overlook techniques to boost their local SEO rankings. That is a mistake as searches ending in the phrase “near me” are on the rise. Local SEO optimization techniques help you capitalize on this search traffic. If you incorporate these strategies into your overall SEO strategy, you should have no problem rising to the top of Google in both standard and local searches.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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