Are you aware that over 46% of searches that are carried out on Google are local? As a business person, you are probably already very conversant with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Unfortunately, not many people ever bother to focus on the local aspect of search engine optimization. If you fall into this category, you are doing your business a huge disservice. Local searches constitute a huge chunk of the queries that are made on search engines every day. If you are the owner of a bar, a restaurant or any other localized business, that’s something that you will need to keep in mind when coming up with your digital marketing strategies. In this article, we are going to give you 5 local SEO strategies that will help grow your business.

Set up your Google Business Profile

If you wish to have your business appear on local searches, the first thing that you will need to do is to set up your Google Business Profile. Business Profile was formerly known as Google My Business. By signing up, you will essentially be putting information about your business out there so that people looking for the services that you offer will be able to find you. 

What information is required when setting up your Business Profile? 

It’s not that difficult to set up your Google Business profile. You will be done within an hour. The following is some of the information that you will be required to provide while setting up your business profile; 

  • Your business’ name
  • Its location (address)
  • Contact details, including your phone number, fax, and email
  • Its operating hours
  • Information about the services that you offer

Why is Google Business Profile important for local businesses? 

You will also need to verify your business profile. Google will send a code to your given address. You will then use this code to complete the verification process. But why is having a Google business profile important for local businesses? 

Setting up your Business Profile on Google means your business will be able to appear on Google Maps, Google organic, and on Google Earth. Google Maps in particular is very important. Let’s say someone is looking for a restaurant near their location. If you have set up your Profile, your business will appear on Maps for such searches. It means people will be able to easily find you. 

Optimize your website for local searches

The second local SEO strategy that you can use to help grow your business is to create a website that contains all the relevant information about your business. Your website represents your brand on the internet. Most businesses these days have websites. However, where many fail is in optimizing these sites for local SEO. 

Let’s say you own a restaurant in Stuart, Florida, in the United States. You want to make this plainly clear on your website. That will make it easy for people and search engines to find you. You could, as an example, have “Best restaurant in Stuart, Florida,” as the description of your website. Also make sure that your address, phone number, and other relevant information are on there. 

Another thing that you will need to do is to make sure that your content marketing is focused on your location. The goal is to make your business as visible as it can be within your locality. That way, it will be easier for Google and other search engines to find you. 

Remember, local businesses have a limited range. Gyms, as an example, can only attract people from an average of 4 miles around their physical locations. So, your content needs to speak to people within your neighborhood. What is it that they like? What are the most prominent local events? Leverage all this to promote your business. 

Always seek to upgrade your site speed

We have already noted that your website is your business’ representative on the internet. You need to make sure that it is the best that it can be. You wouldn’t want your brand to be associated with a rather slow, unprofessionally crafted site, would you? 

Also note that site speed is important to all SEO, not just to local SEO. Google and other search engines reward sites that load fast. One thing to note is that most searches are now being carried out from mobile devices. So, you need to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile. 

If someone is looking for a restaurant or a gym, as an example, they are likely to do so from a phone or from a tablet. If your page pops up but takes too long to load, that person will likely move on to another page. Site speed is influenced by a host of factors. 

You can try Google’s AMP for your site. You also need to choose a web host that’s up to the task. Sometimes, you will need to pay a bit more for better performance. The good news is that there are many affordable web hosts that are actually very good out there.   

There are also a lot of other steps that you can do to optimize your site to be friendly to search engines. That includes doing proper keyword research to understand what people are looking for and including these keywords in your content. You should also do a lot of link-building work to boost your website’s rank.   

Be active on social media

This is an often neglected SEO strategy for local businesses. The truth of today’s environment is that a lot of your customers spend much of their time on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you wish to find them, then you need to have a presence on these platforms. 

Local businesses need to create Facebook and Instagram pages. Instagram in particular works very well for businesses such as restaurants and bars. It’s not enough to simply create a page. You should make sure that the page is constantly updated with relevant content. 

Back to the example of a restaurant, you can post pictures of the items on your menu. With time, your followership will grow on social media, and it will be easy for you to convince people to visit your physical store or to order online. 

Make sure that your business has a presence in local directories

Last but not least, you should make sure that your business has a presence on all the relevant local directories. What’s relevant depends on where you are. If you are in the United States, you will want to claim your business page on such platforms as Yelp and TripAdvisor. 

There are many local business directories out there. You will have to carry out research to find out what’s relevant in your area. Having a listing is another great way of ensuring that the people who are looking for your services will be able to find you. 

Posted by Raul Harman