Over the last two years, consumers have increasingly begun to rely on internet searches to find nearby products and services. Today, 46% of all Google searches have local intent, and 88% of local mobile searches result in a purchase within 24 hours. Without a website optimized for local SEO, your business is at risk of being overlooked (especially by mobile consumers), which could seriously inhibit its growth.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of designing and optimizing a website to target local search traffic. Like traditional SEO, it involves on-site (also known as on-page) optimization and off-site strategies; however, location plays a central role when choosing keywords, backlinks, etc.
Given proper time, if your website incorporates local SEO best practices, it will show up on the first page of results when consumers in your area input searches with local intent. (For example, “Thai restaurants near me” or “best coffee shop open right now.”) Furthermore, your business will appear on Google Maps and have a much higher chance of being featured in Google’s coveted local 3-pack.
Below, we’ll outline seven simple steps you can take to improve your business website’s local search visibility:
7 Essential Tips to Boost Local SEO
1. Create a Google My Business profile.
Even if you don’t have a website yet, you can start establishing your local presence online by creating a Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a free service that displays your business information in local search results and places it on Google Maps.
It will also allow you to collect customer reviews to improve services and increase satisfaction. GMB gives local customers all of the information they need to find your business (especially important if you’re still waiting for your website design and development company to set up your website).
To create a GMB profile, sign in to Google Maps, navigate the top-left menu, and click “add your business.” Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your profile, providing as much information as possible. If you have a website, link it to your GMB profile for an instant local SEO boost.
2. Insert your business location in strategic places on your website.
Just mentioning your location somewhere on your website isn’t enough to generate local traffic. For best results, you’ll need to include your location information in all of the following elements of your website:
- Body text
- Title tags
- Anchor tags
- Image alt text
- Meta description
However, be careful to avoid “stuffing” the body text of your site with too many location-based keywords. Using a keyword too frequently on the same page can penalise your website by Google.
3. Use the right keywords.
To select effective keywords, you’ll need to know which terms local consumers use when they look for businesses like yours. There are multiple online tools, such as Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush, you can use to find keywords relevant to your niche.
However, if you’re new to SEO, we strongly recommend working with an SEO consulting company rather than trying to conduct keyword research on your own. Many keywords are highly competitive, so choosing the best search terms typically requires insider SEO knowledge and careful planning.
4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
With approximately one-third of all mobile searches now related to location, it’s crucial to assess your website’s performance on mobile devices. Fortunately, Google provides a free tool that you can use to test for mobile friendliness. Based on the results of this test, you can ask a website design and development company to address any mobile performance issues found on your website.
5. Keep your NAP information up to date.
NAP stands for Name And Place information (i.e., the name of your business, address, and phone number). It’s critically important to keep your NAP information consistent everywhere people can find your business online.
If your NAP differs from place to place, Google may assume your business isn’t legitimate, which could harm your local page rank. If you have moved or changed your phone number recently, make sure you update your website and your social media profiles, GMB profile, Yellow Pages listing, etc.
6. Submit your website to online directories.
Listing your business in online directories is one of the most effective ways to increase local traffic. This practice also generates high-quality links back to your site, which raises its authority with Google and other search engines.
In addition to listing your business with large national directories, like Google My Business, Bing Places, and Foursquare, look for directories that focus exclusively on your local area. (If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, try Local Toronto Business and ConnexLocal.)
Local directories are typically less competitive and more targeted, so they’re a great way to help your business stand out. Plus, signing up with multiple directories will generate more links back to your site, which is advantageous from an SEO perspective.
7. Create local content.
If your business targets local consumers, your content strategy should do the same. In addition to including local keywords in your content, consider emphasizing your location in your blog articles, videos, and social media posts. For example, you might write about your company’s history in the community, connect your content to local news, or film local industry events. You can also host local guest bloggers on your site.
If you plan to outsource content creation to a branding agency, choose an agency located in (or near) your area to maintain an authentic local voice.
Get Expert Local SEO Services in Toronto
While it is possible to perform some local SEO services yourself, many aspects of search engine optimization aren’t beginner-friendly. To harvest the full potential of local SEO, we recommend asking an SEO consulting company to perform an in-depth audit of your website and conduct keyword research. Working with SEO professionals is the most efficient path to improving the local page rank of your website and preventing costly errors.
To learn more about how a Toronto SEO consulting company can improve your local search performance, contact AllinBrand today. Our team can guide you throughout the optimization process and take over time-consuming tasks like keyword research, content creation, and web design and development – So you can focus on your business and your customers