For a local business, reaching the best search ranking position for your main keywords can revolutionize your business. Aside from the obvious traffic increases, a top position helps to brand you as a major name in the field. Whenever a searcher looks for a niche term in your industry, your name should appear in a prominent place, helping solidify your reputation.
SEO is never easy, particularly when you are dealing with competitive search terms.
Local SEO, while often less competitive, still faces the same challenges of algorithm changes, negative SEO, and link penalties. The following tips, though, are examples of local SEO techniques that are working right now.
Optimize with Geo-Targeted Keywords
To reach all the important local terms in your area, use geo-targeted keywords in the most important areas. Of course, you don’t want to over-optimize, but you can switch the surrounding towns and cities to cover an entire region. The title and heading tags are all areas where it makes sense to use local keywords, but you can also add them sparingly to content and image alt tags.
Request Positive Reviews from Clients
Click-through rate (CTR) is an important part of SEO. To improve your CTR you need to create a good title and description, but local search also offers another option. Having five stars by your brand will instantly create trust, encouraging searchers to look further at your service. For the stars to show, as opposed to a text link, you need at least five reviews, but aim to get as many as possible by speaking to clients after work is completed.
Get Targeted Backlinks with Press Releases
Press releases are still fairly effective for general SEO, but they can make a greater impact with local terms. The aim is to get your content syndicated across a large network of sites, so you need to make your press story interesting and newsworthy. For best results, use a premium PR service, while also directly emailing local sites and blogs. As your press release starts to gain traction, you can expect backlinks from local and niche sites, helping to give you authority and relevance.
Gain Quality Citations
Citations are references to your site that appear across the web. Local businesses often benefit most from featuring in quality directories, particularly if they are local or industry-specific. Sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages are best known, but also look for smaller directories that focus on your niche. Citations are effective for getting your site ranked in the Google Local Pack, ensuring you have a prime position in the search results.
Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Google research found that 50 percent of mobile users who conducted a local search would subsequently visit a store within one day. Mobile users searching for local businesses are often highly motivated, while broader searches might be more associated with casual browsing. Many local sites are fairly old and static, so they might need to be updated with a responsive design to reach this mobile audience.
Expand Your Network with Social Media
Local SEO is still highly reliant on backlinks. Social media is a great way to share content, leading to an increase in links from a variety of sites. While social media can be time-consuming, you can use service like Hootsuite or IFTTT to automate many of the processes. A consistent social media policy should enable you to grow your followers, leading to more shares and greater visibility. Certain niches might not be particularly suited to social media and content marketing, but you can bypass this problem by writing about a more popular associated topic. For example, a computer repair store could create how-to guides and tips for less tech-savvy users.
With the help of these SEO techniques, you stand the best chance of ranking a site for local terms at this point in time.
Naturally, the SEO world always has to stay on top of new changes and outdated methods, but most of these tips should be evergreen. There is no single plan that works for every search term, with Google and the other search engines rewarding different backlink profiles on a regular basis. However, if you can perform regular analysis of your competitors and your ranking changes, you will be able to adapt to the requirements of the niche.