With so much competition in every industry, it is not surprising to see local businesses trying hard to gain a higher ranking on Google. However, achieving the results can be a little hard on the budget. So, what can be done to fight established brands and reach on the first page of Google?
The answer is Local Search Marketing. Local Search Marketing is an inexpensive way to boost your rankings on Google.
What is local search marketing?
Local Search Marketing is a marketing strategy that helps you attract customers in your business neighborhood. It includes both paid as well as organic marketing methods. SEO is one of the best ways to get organic traffic even in local search marketing.
Local search marketing is important as it helps businesses gain an online presence. Also, if you have a small marketing budget, an organic search may be the only way for your business to be found by the target audience.
Here are a few tips that will help you boost your local search rankings.
1. Compelling Content
You heard it right. It is all about compelling and relevant content in this digital world.
You must focus on the quality of the content rather than the quantity. Simply writing more content and filling it up on your website will make your business look inauthentic.
You can produce videos, blogs, and podcasts that actually engage users. Engaging users helps increase their on-page time and at the same time allow them to interact with the rest of your website.
As a local business, you should try to generate relevant content. For instance, if you own a restaurant, you will have to produce on content surrounding ‘restaurants in your area’ or ‘why should you eat at the local restaurant’. When someone locally reads your posts, they will more likely look for your suggestions and may also visit your restaurant.
By providing relevant content, you tend to attract local customers who potentially use your products and services. And Google notices it and rewards you as well.
2. Improve your keyword targeting
Effective keyword phrases like “in your area”, “near me”, etc, at the end of your services, can help generate better results. In other words, choose the right keyword and target it effectively to be able to rank high.
How to target effectively?
Try to include the keywords naturally in your meta descriptions, meta titles, image alt text, headings, and content. This will help Google understand that your page is relevant to the keyword you are attempting to rank for.
Of course, there are more factors that are considered for the ranking. However, if you don’t attempt to target correctly, you will never be able to rank for that keyword.
You can use keyword research tools to figure which keywords to target and which you should not.
The above image is an example of a keyword search conducted by SEMRush. As can be seen, it shows keyword volume and difficulty. This can help you determine which keywords are worth targeting.
3. Increase the speed of pages
Speed is very important today. Your page must download within a few seconds else your visitor may check out some other website. Even Moz has indicated that page speed is an influential factor to rank pages.
Most marketers overlook page speed as they need to hire a developer to complete the tasks needed to speed up your website. Though hiring a developer may be an issue with most small businesses, page speed should not be compromised.
People expect quick results whenever they perform local searches. If there are page issues, they are likely to bounce even before the page is fully loaded. Thus, by increasing the page speed and decreasing the load time, you improve the chances of gaining a customer.
You may use tools like PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix to determine ways to increase your page speed.
4. Enhance User Experience
User experience(UX) is extremely important. It is the overall experience of potential customer experience of visiting a website.
Simply having fancy images and beautiful graphics will serve no purpose until the user experience is good.
There are several engagement metrics such as click-through rate, average session duration, percentage of returning users, bounce rate and linking patterns to help determine and measure changes in the user experience.
Google takes into account these metrics and compares it with similar websites to determine if the user experience is high and influence page rankings.
For example, when a person is performing a local search, he is looking for string reviews, quick results, and a great user experience. As local searches are performed on the go, they are usually faster and done instinctively.
A positive user experience enables people to return to your website and build a long-lasting relationship with them. This will also have a positive impact on organic traffic.
So, check your website regularly and if it is not easily accessible, you will have to make the necessary changes and get it going for you.
5. Directory submission
This is one of the undervalued SEO tactics. Directory submissions are essential for local as well as established companies.
Search directories such as Yahoo, Google and Bing make-up 90% of the searches across the internet. By submitting to these directories, you assure your customers of accurate information be shown to them when they search for your business.
Local directories such as Yellowpages, Yelp, and Superpages have over a million monthly visitors searching for information about local businesses. So, if you don’t submit to these directories, you may miss out on bigger opportunities.
You may also submit to data aggregators such as Neustar, Acxiom, Factual and Infogroup to distribute business data to local directories across the globe.
6. Optimize Google MyBusiness
Google MyBusiness is a free tool and there is no reason why you should not use it for your business.
You need to create an excellent local brand on Google My Business if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. You can add information such as hours open and closed, areas served, website URL, phone number, etc. You can include images to engage users.
According to Google, local businesses see 35% more clicks if they have photos.
Adding more information will only help users understand your business well and know what they can expect. Also, it improves your chances of receiving positive reviews from users.
As a local business, it is important that you show up in local searches if you want to take your business to the next level. A well-planned local search strategy will help improve your visibility online and gain higher rankings.