How To Dominate With Local Search Engine Optimization
In the super speedy digital world, local search is changing how businesses and customers link up. It’s not only about keeping up with the competition, it’s also about making sure your local business pops up exactly when and where it counts.
Make the most of local search – it’s like turning on a giant spotlight, pulling in customers like they’re drawn to a really bright light. In this article I’m going to explain to you how you can crush the competition and dominate local search like a pro as seen on the geogrid below.
Dominating Local SEO Like A Pro
- Local search puts your business on the map, quite literally. It enables potential customers to find you easily when they search for services or products you offer.
- Local search results match what people need right when they need it, turning searches into sales.
- By prioritizing nearby options, local search gives a personalized touch to users’ digital experiences, making them feel seen and understood.
- Staying ahead in the local market requires leveraging local search, a valuable weapon to outsmart the competition.
- Positive local reviews build credibility, influencing purchasing decisions, and fostering trust in your business.
Master Local Search
1. Google Business Profile
One of the most important aspects of local search engine optimization is the Google Business Profile. Most customers will reach a local business through Google’s local search. In order to be seen on that part of the search, you need to sign up with Google for business. That’s where you can claim your listing to start ranking immediately.
I want to give you some pointers to ensure you succeed with your Google Business listing.
- Claim or register and verify your listing to be eligible for ranking on Google’s local search
- Add a relevant name, your address, phone number, accurate hours, and possible service areas for a service area business listing.
- Create an enticing Google Business Profile description
- Upload high-quality photos and videos to be sure your profile looks appealing to potential local customers. Visuals are a huge conversion factor.
- Choose relevant categories. The primary category defines your main service/product the most. Be sure to add as many relevant additional categories as well.
- Reply to reviews as soon as you can.
- Acquire new reviews from customers on a regular basis.
- Increase your conversions by posting relevant content via Google posts and keeping your profile up-to-date.
Citations, aka entries of business information in local directories or other sites, are a great way to get more local customers and to show Google how important your business is. If Google can find your listing on as many relevant directories and sites as possible, that’s a huge indication of prominence. Prominence is one of the big local search ranking factors.
Here are a few local business directories you should consider, regardless of your industry:
- Apple Maps
- Bing Local Places
Depending on your industry, there may be many more to be listed on. Try to find as many citation sources as you can, as long as they’re relevant to your audience. Meaning, your local customers should be aware of the directory or site otherwise, it won’t be that impactful for your business.
3. Local Website SEO
The website is one of the most critical assets of your local marketing strategy. It serves as a lead generation tool, and its organic rankings contribute to local search rankings as well. If you want to succeed in local search and dominate the whole local area, you’ll need to have an optimized website.
Here are the most important aspects of local website SEO:
Be sure to take care of the following aspects of the on-page optimization.
- Relevant URL structure
- Add keywords in the title and the meta description
Title: 24/7 Plumbing Services New York City | Fast Response
Meta description: 24/7 Plumbing Services in NYC: Rapid response to all your plumbing emergencies. Reliable, efficient solutions round the clock, every day.
- Your name, address, and phone number should be added to your website
- Be sure to include your main keyword and synonyms + close variants in the body copy
- Include relevant keywords and entities in your H1, H2, H3 etc headlines
- Keywords and entities should be added to image file names, titles, and alt texts
- Use keywords in your anchor texts pointing to a specific page. If you want to rank with your homepage for “plumbing service New York City”, be sure to use link anchor texts on other pages that include that keyword or parts of it. It’s another indication that this page is relevant for the given term.
- Don’t include too many outbound links unless they’re relevant to the user
- Add local business Schema to your site so Google understands your content better
If your business is a single-location business, you can use the homepage as your primary money page. It’s the page you want to rank with for your main service and convert as many visitors as possible into leads. Here is a quick overview of what you want to include on your local business homepage:
- Include your name, address, phone number, hours, and any other contact information that makes it easier for visitors to contact you.
- Add a Google Map (service area for service-area businesses or the map pin location for businesses with a physical storefront)
- Testimonials, reviews, video testimonials (social proof)
- List of companies your business cooperates with (social proof)
- Real pictures of your business location, staff, and at work.
- Rating badges from sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook and co.
- A main call-to-action as a contact method that you prefer. For calls, add call buttons and link the phone number on your page for mobile devices
Pro tip: Your normal service pages shouldn’t contain any geographical modifiers such as “Long Island” in their respective titles, headings, etc. unless you want to limit your rankings to that area.
Create service or product pages for each of your sub-services to increase relevance on local search and rank with those pages organically. It’s a win/win situation. Be sure to match possible categories. If your website mentions services that you use as categories, it can make your listing more relevant, which can increase visibility even more as well.
Location pages are a great way to create local landing pages that hyper-target a specific local area. Creating such pages can especially be helpful if you cannot rank your business listing in those areas on Google.
They’re supposed to target “service/product + location/area” like “plumbing company Long Island”.
A typical location page URL would be: https://myplumbingbusiness.com/locations/miami-fl/
The /locations/ path can be used as a hub page displaying all the locations you service.
An excellent local SEO strategy needs to focus on local content creation. Many people in the local SEO industry struggle with that as the content needs to be searched for, relevant to the industry, and relevant to the local audience.
Creating industry-specific content is not a big deal. The content can make you top of the hill in the industry. However, as a local business, not many people who search for industry-related terms are potential local customers. That’s why you need to create content that is related to the industry AND your local area.
Here is one of my ChatGPT prompts that I use to find local content ideas that rank:
4. Reputation Management
Local search marketing is driven by online reviews. If your business has a bad reputation on Google, it will be hard for you to reach your potential customers. No one likes to do business with a poorly rated local company.
Encourage reviews and make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Provide clear instructions on your website or even consider sending follow-up emails, SMS or WhatsApp messages with direct links to your review platforms. The more reviews you have, the more trustworthy your business appears to both Google and potential customers.
The Google Business Profile provides a customized link for your business. Simply search for your business in local search or search for “my business” on Google. Be sure you’re signed in with your corresponding email address.
Search for and click on the review icon “Ask for reviews”. The next popup will display a review link customized for your business.
- While Google reviews are important for local SEO, reviews on other platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and other industry-specific or local review sites also matter. Diversify where you’re getting reviews to broaden your online presence.
- Take the time to respond to all reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Thanking customers for positive reviews shows appreciation.
- Reply to negative reviews politely. If not handled correctly, they can harm your reputation. Apologize where necessary, thank the customer for the feedback, and offer to take the conversation offline to resolve the issue. Never argue with a customer publicly.
- Showcase positive reviews on your website and social media platforms.
- Never buy or fabricate reviews. Authenticity is key to gaining trust with your audience.
- If you come across reviews that are spam, inappropriate, or violate the guidelines of the review platform, flag them for removal. Contact Google for more information.
5. Local Link Building
Here are a few facts about local link building and what you want to consider:
- Many local directories provide a link back to your website. Make sure you’re listed in all relevant directories for your area and industry. This is one of the first places to look for backlink opportunities. Check out chapter 2 in this article for more information about citations and local directories.
- One of the best ways to earn local links is to create content that is of interest to local audiences. This could be blog posts about local events, guides to your area, or other content that local websites might want to link to. Check out my ChatGPT prompt in chapter 3.
- Partnering with other local businesses can be a great way to earn local links. You could host a joint event, offer discounts to each other’s customers, or even just write a blog post about each other. Reciprocal links are still of value. (Contrary to popular belief, link exchange is not bad for SEO if it’s relevant to your and your business partner’s website audience)
- Sponsoring local events, teams, or organizations can often earn you a link on their website. This not only helps with local SEO but also gets your business in front of a local audience.
So, now you should be well-prepared to dominate local search in your area. The topics discussed are highly-relevant to master local SEO and succeed on local SERP. You should check out my ultimate guide to local SEO if you need more tips and tricks.