In this comprehensive SEO guide, we’re going to show you how you can win at search ranking in 2021.
Small and medium-sized businesses rely on local search more than ever. Seven out of 10 consumers search Google to obtain local information. So, if your business website isn’t optimized for local search, you’re likely missing out on more than half of your prospective clients.
With so many changes every year, you feel a ton of pressure to update your SEO strategy. But it won’t matter if you’re not into local SEO. You lost some ground last year, but this year is your chance for redemption. Build upon local SEO to keep your brand relevant, and this article serves as your comprehensive guide.
Good Local SEO Practices
- Start with Google My Business listing – If you haven’t done so, set up a Google My Business listing. It’s the digital equivalent of the Yellow Pages. If you intend to rank in the local search, a GMB listing makes perfect sense. There’s no reason to skip this step – it carries weight in local SEO, plus setting it up takes minutes. See to it that you put all the details about your business. This must include your products/services, the main business category, and the secondary business category. Filling out the subcategory is critical in your Google Maps rank.
- List your business in online directories – GMB isn’t the only listing out there. List your business in other relevant online directories, but don’t overdo it. The key term is “relevant” since all the others are trash and won’t do your business any good concerning local SEO. Focus your effort and time on these directories:
- Review your NAP information – Be consistent with the business information you put on your listings, especially the name and place. Google wants the information to be accurate for it to trust your business. Even an honest mistake on inputting the wrong phone number could become a red flag for Google, giving it a reason to stop displaying your listing. Even the smallest details must be consistent, like how you write abbreviations and company suffixes. If you prefer “inc.” instead of “incorporated,” do it in all your listings.
- Focus on local keywords – Shift your attention to local keywords this year, but don’t ignore the value of long-tail keywords for your business, too. If you didn’t climb up to the SERPs last year, you might have undermined keyword research value. This time see to it that you compare search volumes for a couple of almost similar search terms. You may feel like there’s no point in it, but there’s a significant difference in impact for “roof repair, Vancouver” versus “roof repair, VBC.”
- Rethink your SEO strategy by using local keywords – Once you’ve figured out a new set of local keywords, the next step is to optimize your business website with them. This isn’t a newfound strategy, yet it’s still as useful and indispensable this year as it was a decade ago. Optimizing your site is no cakewalk as it involves several components that are worthy of a separate discussion. Anyhow, the fundamental rule is for your homepage and the product/service pages to showcase the local keywords, specifically in the following:
- Meta description
- Title tags
Gone were the days when you can insert keywords while ignoring the natural flow of content. Google hates keyword stuffing and unnatural placements, so see that you’re putting value to your content by flawlessly incorporating the local keywords.
- Create local content – It only makes sense to fill your pages with local content since you’re shifting to local SEO this year. Unfortunately, your current content marketing strategy is all but local. You’ve learned a while back that non-local content reaches a broader audience (and supposedly more web traffic), but you can’t take full advantage of it since you’re a local business. Maximizing your efforts in content marketing for an improved lead generation means creating local content.
- Create a mobile-friendly website – You may skip this part if you’ve done this already, and we’d be surprised if you haven’t. You know how impactful a mobile-friendly website is for SEO in general, and it’s essential for local SEO, too. Almost 40% of mobile searches are location focused. It means that almost half of consumers who stumble upon your site via a local search are using their mobile devices. Imagine the number of opportunities you’re missing out if your site isn’t mobile responsive. That’s scary.
- Place value on inbound links – Inbound links boost local SEO when you know how to do it right. Put some effort in building those links this year but focus on the proven strategies. Come up with a list of acquaintances who are in some way related to your business, i.e., wholesalers, contractors, business partners, and suppliers. Search for relevant pages on their respective websites where you’re allowed to place contextual links. You’ll use this link to contact those businesses and then recommend the link placements. Aside from this strategy, you can also generate inbound links via guest posting. Offer to write content for related businesses with the condition that you place a link to your site.
- Create location pages – If you happen to have branches of your business, then you must rank in local searches in those areas, too. The most convenient way to do this is by creating location pages. Come up with a service page for each city instead of having just one service page for all your branches. You may optimize these pages for local search terms. But be sure that you use unique content for each page. The last thing you want is for Google to see it as duplicate content.
Though you’re setting your sights on local SEO for 2021, don’t turn your back on traditional SEO. Remember that Google factors in your website’s ranking in organic SERPs in local SEO. The lack of implementation of some of the components of traditional SEO may even adversely affect local SEO.