It’s time for small business owners to stop considering local SEO as just an option. It’s imperative and something that needs to be started now. Google is all about content personalization and location-based search results. This means you’re only as good as your popularity in your locale, especially while starting out.
Let this checklist guide you on how to do local SEO:
1. Select your keyword phrases.
Your website will not be without its keywords, so make sure you are targeting the right keyword phrases. Make sure that:
- Your keyword phrase includes the location you are targeting.
- Your content is relevant to the local community.
- You’re ranking for both exact and partial match searches.
2. Optimize your content.
Optimizing content locally is all about targeting your immediate customers — those that are within your area. Instead of focusing on worldwide trends, focus on what’s happening in your vicinity. You want localized content, so do the following:
- Follow and communicate with influencers in your area.
- Avoid stuffing your content with keywords; your local search techniques should focus on high-quality content.
- Provide informative and engaging content with your local area as a central topic.
3. Customize your Meta title and description.
Think of your Meta title and description as your first shot at encouraging visitors to check your website. These should provide an idea of what the website is all about, as well as the information you are offering. To maximize your Meta description, you must:
- Check that it does not go over the limit allowed by Google; otherwise, it will be truncated and you won’t be able to maximize the copy.
- Include the keyword phrase and geo-targeted location in the Meta description.
- Add a call to action that will prompt users to visit your website.
4. Update your contact page.
Your contact page is where potential customers look for information about how to reach your business. Some include an inquiry form to make it easier for customers to contact them. Apart from that, your contact page should include the following:
- Your business name – Make sure you’re using the correct business name, especially if you’ve changed this in the past.
- Your business address – Your address should be consistent. Mind the shortcuts (street vs. st) because Google might consider these as different addresses.
- Your contact number – Include your contact information with the local area code.
- Your email address – If you don’t have a phone, provide your email address as another way of contacting your business.
- A map with your location pinned – This gives customers an idea of where your business is located.
5. Claim your business listing.
Customers may be looking for you online and not finding the correct information because your business listings are not updated. This results in lost opportunities for your business and frustration for interested customers. Claim your business listings on the following:
- Google My Business
- Google Local Guides
- Other top directories that show up if you search your brand’s reviews
6. Encourage customers to leave reviews and testimonials.
Getting reviews from customers is a way of boosting the credibility of your business and getting found by more customers. To encourage customers to leave a review, you should:
- Include a link on your social media profiles and website to direct customers to a review page.
- Contact them to ask if they can leave genuine reviews.
- Resolve negative reviews immediately.
7. Check your business for incorrect information across platforms.
Rebranding or changing a business name may result in inconsistencies in information across different platforms. When updating business information, look for the following:
- Incorrect or incomplete brand name, including abbreviations. BBB often lists the alternative names for your business, so be sure to check their website.
- Wrong company address, especially if you have moved offices.
- Toll-free numbers; customers prefer local numbers because these show the business is legitimate and within their local area.
8. Optimize your social media accounts.
A big fraction of your traffic will come from your social media marketing efforts. To make sure you’re driving targeted traffic, do these:
- Include the website link in your profile and posts.
- Write a keyword-rich description of your company with a link to your homepage.
- Post varying types of content that are relevant to your local community.
9. Participate in local outreach programs.
Building trust locally is how you prove to Google that you should rank for local search results. The trick is to look for the trusted influencers in your area and to establish a connection with them. These are some ways to start building citations that improve your local SEO:
- Reach out to community leaders and participate in outreach programs.
- Sponsor an event in the vicinity.
- Ask a local authority if you can guest post on their website, with a link back to your own website.
With an effective local SEO strategy, you can get more traction with local customers and have more chances of outranking the competition. Follow this checklist and get a better shot at distinguishing your small business from the rest.