The Business Owner’s Guide to Local SEO in Under 10 Minutes
Let’s start with the most important piece of information: 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines when deciding which local business to work with. If you’re not ranking on Google then by default you’re already missing out on 80% of your local market’s new prospects. And the other half of this statistic reveals that 1 in 5 consumers find businesses through other means: paid advertisement, referrals, and social media. What this means for you is that by harnessing local SEO, you can have the lion’s share of new business. If you’re a company who hasn’t worked with a local SEO expert, it’s means you’ve been surviving off of the scraps, aka the 1 in 5 customers who don’t go through Google and instead go through ads or referral sources. And if this is you, then you’re actually lucky because it means you have the potential to quadruple your business by accessing the other 4 in 5 customers that use search engines.
To help you master and get started with local SEO, we’ve created this in-depth guide to give you started with your local SEO.
1. Get More Clients With Local Search Engine Optimization – Google My Business
Regular search engine optimization has two components: Your on-page SEO and your off-page SEO. Local SEO adds a third layer to it with your Google My Business listing. And don’t feel overwhelmed, the fundamentals are easier than you’d think and this guide will show you exactly what to do.
If you’ve searched for a local business on Google, then you’d notice that towards the top of the search engine results page there is a map with businesses listed on it. It’s in this “map pack” that your GMB listing will have its chance to shine. This also means that by ranking your Google My Business and by ranking your website, you can effectively have two spots on page 1 of Google. If you want a chance at capturing that local revenue, then you’re going to need a professional listing with Google.
The steps to getting started are simple:
- Sign up for your GMB listing here https://www.google.com/business/.
- Order your verification code by following the sign up prompts.
- Once you get your verification letter, log back into the address above and enter it.
Congratulations, you’ll now have your own Google My Business listing and are ready to start optimizing for Local SEO. Now we’ll go over the fundamentals on how to optimize your GMB listing.
- Start by filling out the various sections of your Google My Business listing including your hours, website, contact information, uploading photos of your business.
- Reach out to your clients and ask for reviews. Guide your clients with their review writing by asking them to be specific about the product/service you offered, and in what city the work was completed in.
- Write a 300 word post about your business and include a relevant photo at least once per month.
2. SEO Expert Technique: Optimizing Your On-Page Content
Now it’s time to get working on your website with some SEO expert techniques. Mainly, there are 6 things you will need to edit:
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
Every indexed page on your website has the opportunity to rank and show up on a search engine results page. This is why having proper SEO for each page matters. For example, before writing that new blog post, it’s important for you to know what keywords you want it to rank for because good content is worthless if no-one is reading it. By knowing the keywords you’re trying to rank for, you can then optimize your URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, content and photos.
For example, if you’re a business owner in Las Vegas, having photos taken in Las Vegas (yes, the location of the photo helps), with alt-tags such as “[description of the photo] Las Vegas” takes you one step closer to a fully optimized post or page. Ideally, you want to go even further and optimize the 5 other items to include geo-specific keywords. And at first, it can feel overwhelming. However, one trick to help write powerful content and optimize it around certain keywords is just to put your keywords in bold. This will give you the opportunity to visually see how well you’re doing.
By making sure every page that’s supposed to rank for a local term is optimized around those local terms, you’ll naturally help your Google My Business listing along with your website
3. Using Locations Pages For Your Local Search Engine Optimization
Everything covered in the last point leads to this one: if you’re trying to rank locally, then you need to have a locations page. Having a locations page for every location you’re trying to rank for, along with a Google My Business listing for each page your trying to rank for will help you target multiple areas without having to do a boat load of work. Your “locations page” should list all of your locations should then lead to your “city pages”. So for example, a company with six locations would display all their locations on the locations page but then also have a city page dedicated to each city.
Having a locations page makes it easy for you to rank multiple locations while doing only a portion of the work. And here’s how. By funneling the links from your blog posts, from your outreach campaigns, and from your power page to your locations page, you essentially create a power house page capable of ranking what’s below it. Imagine hundreds of little streams adding water to a big lake and then that big lake funneling it down to just a few rivers.
If you’re a single location business with no intention of expanding than you might not need to go so far as a locations page – instead, just focus on growing your city page.
By applying the lessons from step 2 to the locations page you built on step 3, you’re going to have the basics of your on-page SEO strategy completed.
4. Amplify Your Local SEO With This Content Creation Trick
So far, you’ve optimized your website’s 6 core fundamentals and you’ve added structure to your site with your locations page. In this section, you’ll learn the easy way to amplify your work so far. In short, you’re going to be creating geo-specific content for each city/location you’re trying to rank in. The content doesn’t actually have to be about your industry, it just has to be about the city you’re targeting. Using the lessons around step 2, you would create that content and include the following:
- External link that points to that city’s government website.
- Internal link that points to your city page.
- External link that points to something relevant to your business niche.
So far example, if I wanted to create a piece of content to help me rank for “las vegas seo expert“, I would create an article about Las Vegas, include 1 link to the Las Vegas City Hall page, 1 link to an SEO resource and 1 link to my Las Vegas city page. By having relevant internal pages linking to your city pages, you’re going to be telling Google what your business is about as well as telling them where your business is located. The result is that your local rankings will experience a dramatic boost. For low competition industries, this alone is enough to get your business indexed and send you in the right direction. However, this the main focus of this article is not on internal linking, for more information on that, check out Kissmetric’s 7 Commandments of Internal Linking.
5. Bump Your Competition Off The Search Engine Results Pages To Increase Your Revenue
If you’ve read this far then you’re different – in a good way of course. Most business owners would skim and look for the easy answers but you’re actually trying to learn. The truth is that the strategies we mentioned in steps 2-4 can be used to do something far more powerful and that’s ranking multiple pages for the same keywords on page 1 of Google.
Now, you wouldn’t want to do this with your website as that would violate Googles terms of service but your business has other online properties such as your Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and so on. By creating search engine optimized content on these other websites and powering them up using some of the strategies we mentioned here, you can actually have multiple properties that you own on page 1. The advantage to this is that you get the remove your competition from the picture while also increasing your own revenue.
In short, you get to send the competitors into a downward spiral and send your business into an upward one by focusing on digital properties besides your website.
Wrapping Up Our Local SEO Guide
By having a GMB listing and using the strategies mentioned above, you’ll dramatically increase the chances of you ranking your content without doing much work. For a business owner looking to get started, these are the perfect steps to take before hiring a local expert. To sum it all up, create your GMB listing, optimize it, optimize your on site SEO with the 6 key functions we talked about above, create your locations power page, create content for each location, and then start ranking your other properties.
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