Most people don’t know that there are really two types of search: global search and local search. You use Google (or your favorite search engine) for them both, the search engine just uses different algorithms to show you what it thinks you want.
Global search is related to everyone on the internet. These are the pages that come up when you search for “the best type of dog” or “headphone reviews”. If you’re looking to rank here, check out these 75 tips.
Local search is when you’re looking for things within a specific geographical area. This would include searches like “restaurants in Chicago” or “furnace repair in Albany”. If you own a local business and trying to attract local customers, you’ll need to do some things that will help your local SEO.
Here’s how to tackle your local SEO.
Google My Business Page
This is the most important part of the process. Every business has a Google My Business page, and you need to claim yours. This was previously called Google Places.
When you google a local business, Google uses these listings to display the local results on map next to your search results. You need to claim this to get the best and most accurate exposure. If you don’t, your hours could be wrong, website not listed, or you may not be there at all.
To claim your Google My Business Listing you just need to visit Google My Business and follow the steps.
- Fill out all the fields when you claim your listing. Google will use all this information in its search results, so the more you give them, the more accurate the results will be.
- Update your hours so they’re correct. Google will now flat out tell people whether you’re open or closed when they google you. If your hours are wrong, you could be missing out on business because people think you’re closed.
- Add photos and videos. This will allow people to see inside your business and really get a feel for what it’s like. It can be the extra nudge people need to stop in.
List Your Business Consistently
If you list your business name, address and phone number in various places, try to always list them consistently. This is called your NAP (name, address, and phone).
When search engine experts look at how local business is ranked, one of the most important factors was consistency in NAP. This may sound like a no-brainer, but several marketing companies (phone book directories, local advertisers) will give you a tracking phone number to show you how well their ad works. Having a separate phone number for each ad will penalize you in search.
If your business is listed in several online directories or local websites, just ensure your NAP is consistent across all them. Simply emailing the owner of the page to list it the way you want should work. Most of them will have no problem.
Local Link Building
Building local links within your community will greatly help your local SEO rank. It will give you that much desired local page authority that Google values highly. It will help push your website to the top of the list.
It’s not always easy to build local links, though. There are plenty of valuable links that money can’t buy, and you’ll need to work at getting them.
Here are a few ways to build local links:
- Contests. Run local contests. People love free stuff and will link to your pages to share the information.
- Best of Nomination. Most local communities have some kind of top business people, or “best of” contest put on by a local newspaper or website. Get your business in on the voting. It’s all about the backlinks, but winning is a nice perk.
- Get in the News. Any type of story you can get on the news websites that links back to you is golden. Do something newsworthy. Create controversy. Help the poor. Do something amazing. Anything you can do to get stories about your business will help.
- Host Community Event. Not only will this help your business in general, the backlinks you’ll get from posting it online and in meetup classifieds will help.
- Sponsor Local Clubs. Most local clubs and sports teams have a website. They’ll almost certainly list you on it if you sponsor them. It also builds community goodwill.
- Work with Other Businesses. Working with the competition may be tough, but trying to partner up with most other businesses will work well. Create a page on your site that recommends other local businesses and ask them to do the same.
Local links won’t just help you in search, you’ll also get traffic from these links. There’s no harm in getting more and more people to your company’s blog. Most local SEO strategies will help you in more than one way, and this is a prime example.
When you’re writing the copy for your website, try to keep the keywords centered around your town or city. You’ll want google to be very clear about where you’re located, as most people search for local things by including the city name.
There are a few important places you’ll want to make sure you include the name of the city you’re in along with your main keyword:
- Title of the site. This is done via the title tag.
- Your domain and URL.
- H1 Tags on your homepage.
Don’t do keyword stuffing on your website. This tactic doesn’t work as well as it used to. Most people will turn away from pages that read like they were written by robots.
Reviews matter. You’ll want to solicit them as often as you can.
There are three major places that you should be looking to get reviews: Google business page, Facebook page, and Yelp. These are the three most common places reviews will be looked at. If you’re ranking well with good reviews, you’ll find it helps you attract business, and hopefully, they’ll leave a good review as well.
Ask your past/current customer base if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review. Most of the time if they’ve had a good experience they won’t mind. Especially if these are people who keep coming back.
You can also ask any current shoppers to leave a review. Simply putting a nice thank you note onto their invoice that asks them to leave a review if they enjoyed themselves. Not everyone will, but the ones you do get should be fairly positive. After all, they liked you enough to make a purchase.
The value of social media is well known at this point. Using it in local business has many benefits. The most obvious, it allows you connect directly with a local audience.
Where it also can help is by connecting you to local influencers. These are the popular social media and blogging people in your community. A link back from them can do wonders for your local SEO. Don’t spam influencers, but include them in anything cool you’re doing. See if you can form partnerships where you can work together.
Social media will work together with most of the strategies above. You can use it to solicit reviews, get the word out about contests, create that newsworthy story and work on local links.
Local SEO requires a bit more work in the real world than global search does. As impersonal as the computer can be, those real world relationships can make a big difference in your local SEO.
If you’re well established, using the best practices above will only help you dominate even more.