Is your SEO suffering? Are you looking for Local SEO tips that will bring customers flooding into your business?
Have you tried marketing to individuals in your area? If your business isn’t a locally-based business, you may not have considered local SEO. You might wonder whether local SEO even applies to you.
However, when customers look for solutions, Google prioritizes nearby results. That means locally-optimized pages tend to rank better than general pages – even if you offer online ordering, phone consults, or other location-independent services.
If your business has offices in a specific location, services a specific location, or attracts consumers from a specific region, local SEO is even more important. Your business competes against other SEO-optimized local sites, so prioritizing location-based SEO is crucial for improved ranking.
Need some help? Here are some SEO hacks that will provide jaw-dropping results for your rankings:
Tailor your website to your area
Do your customers know your location?
If the answer is “no,” Google probably doesn’t know your location either.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer in Los Angeles, don’t just create a website for “wedding photography.” Instead, build a website centered around “Los Angeles wedding photography.” Your homepage should begin, “Premium Los Angeles Wedding Photography” or “Romantic Wedding Photography for Los Angeles Couples” (not “Premium Romantic Wedding Photography”). Portfolio photos should be captioned with local venue names, and blog posts should center around Los Angeles weather, venues, culture, and vendors for weddings. By making your website relevant to a specific demographic, you increase its chances of being featured prominently on google.
If you service multiple locations, don’t be afraid to set up multiple web pages or blogs. While you may not want to copy your whole website for every location, you can create a unique sales page, individual portfolio, customized tips and tricks list, and relevant contact information for different cities. Google will index these pages separately and rank them for local cities.
A business with multiple locations should keep its central website, but provide generalized information or resources only. Multiple locations can be selected from a drop-down menu, where services and contact information is customized for each location.
Customize Your Search Result Appearance
What do prospective customers see first when they search your business name?
For example, if you run a local clothing store, does Google return your address and opening hours? If you manage a restaurant, does Google display your best reviews and photos of dishes? If you offer phone appointments for counseling, does Google show your phone number or website for booking?
Search for one or two businesses similar to yours. What information does Google give you?
If you tell Google what information about your business is important to visitors, Google will display this information to searchers. This increases your chances of link clicks, new customers, and organic growth.
There are a few services that will allow you to customize your Google results. Schema is the most well-known; Dublin Core and OpenGraph are other options. Each of these has templates and recommendations to get you started on customizing the appearance of your search results.
1. Add Location To Your Meta Titles
Your website is optimized, your search results show your hours; what’s next?
When someone searches for your services in their area, what do they see?
Do they see “Wedding Photographer” or “Los Angeles Wedding Photographer?”
Google and visitors both prefer location-specific links. Adding your business’s location to meta titles and descriptions will both boost your ranking and improve your traffic.
If your web host doesn’t support meta title changes, you can try a tool like The SEO Framework, SEOPress, or Yoast to set up new meta titles and tags.
2. Rename, Caption, and Alt-Text Photos
You might not be able to see the name or alt-text of a photo online, but Google sees both these elements.
When Google looks for local businesses, it searches all elements of a website: reviews, meta titles, blog content, and photo information.
Are your photos all named along the lines of “dog_pic_039827(4).jpg”? You could be sabotaging your search results. Try renaming your photos with local references, like “Los Angeles Puppy,” “Chicago Girl On Laptop,” or “New York Coffee Drinker.” Even if the photos aren’t from your area, Google will appreciate the location reference and increase your ranking.
Add location tags into your alt text and captions, too, whenever possible. This can be a bit trickier: if your photo is a stock photo, you may not want to label it “New York Coffee Shop.” Instead, try “A coffee shop. New York has many local cafes like this one.”
3. Claim Your Business Online
You’ve probably seen businesses that have plenty of reviews on Yelp, but sparse contact or location info.
Google notices which businesses register for Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Angie’s List, and other review sites. Submitting descriptions, contact information, website links, and more to these sites will boost your search ranking. Creating a strong internet presence proves to Google that your business is legitimate, authoritative, and high-quality.
If you’ve already claimed your profiles, pay attention to customer reviews. Are they positive? How many are there? The more positive reviews your business earns, the higher your search ranking.
Make it simple for customers to leave a review on your pages. Send repeat customers a short email with a convenient link, ask customers to review you as they check out, or link to your business pages from your website. If you have a Facebook page, periodically post a status requesting customers review your service. Just one tip: don’t offer a reward for reviews. Any review rewards, from gifts to discounts, are considered illegal by the FTC.
4. Free Google Listing
We’ve already covered Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor, but Google’s business listing deserves some extra attention.
That’s because your business’s reviews on Google will play a larger role in its SEO ranking than Yelp, Facebook, and other review websites. Even if you don’t claim any other business profile, you should claim a Google business page.
5. Create A Local Blog
Looking for a way to consistently push your ranking toward the top?
Try the best way to publish localized content on a regular basis: blogging.
Create a local blog, and you’ll notify Google of your local expertise every week. Yes, you can write on industry topics – but you can also write on local events, customer experiences, and more.
If you like filming, try creating a video series or vlog on YouTube for even better results (remember, YouTube is owned by Google).
Avoid Common Pitfalls
As you follow the above tips, you may run into some issues. Or everything could seem to go smoothly – but your ranking might remain stagnant.
There are a few common mistakes businesses make when attempting to improve Google ranking through local SEO. Avoid these, and you’ll see your ranking improve with your local SEO efforts.
- Be consistent in listing contact information. If your business has multiple offices or phone numbers, select which you’ll use for your business pages. Varying information can make a business seem illegitimate to Google.
- Never stop asking for reviews. If Google sees a spurt of reviews and then a sudden halt, your ranking will go down (even if your reviews are positive). Pick one or two days each month to email happy customers about leaving a review so that Google sees consistent positive reviews on a regular basis.
- Don’t write descriptions for Google; write descriptions for your customers. If you use too many keywords or write in an unnatural way, Google will label your business pages as “spam.” Write naturally, with 1-2% keyword density for best results.
If you’ve been working to improve your SEO with little traction, try enhancing your local presence. Customized pages, local reviews, and vlogs can all boost your search rankings and generate local organic traffic. Implementing a local SEO strategy can be daunting – but the boost in ranking is more than worthwhile.