SEO (search engine optimization) is undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool. Although it is a long-term strategy, it can still generate site traffic from people actively searching for your products and services.
Local SEO can be a great strategy to reach people in your local area if you are selling to only a certain location. What is local SEO? How can you optimize your eCommerce store for it?
What is local SEO? Why is it important?
If you search for “mechanic” in Google from your home, you will get a list comprising all nearby auto shops. Let’s suppose you are on the road and need a flat tire. You’ll find a completely different list depending on where you are located if you search for the exact same keyword 100 miles away from your home. This is local SEO at its best.
Local SEO is a way to optimize your website for specific areas. This is a good idea for a local retail store looking to draw foot traffic. However, it’s also a good idea for a delivery company within 20 miles or an online shop that sells merchandise for Dallas residents.
Local SEO strategies help you to focus on the people closest to your target audience rather than the rest of the country and the world. This will result in more qualified customers finding your site and making a purchase.
Let’s cherish some ways you can optimize your website for local SEO. Also, we will discuss the best off-site steps.
1. Start with SEO basics
Google is committed to offering the most accurate and enjoyable search results for any given keyword. To top search engines, you must prove these two things:
- Your website has valuable, meaningful content that is related to certain keywords or topics.
- Your website provides an exceptional experience for visitors.
You can do basic SEO optimization by following these steps:
- Blog posts are a consistent source of high-quality high-quality content.
- Responsive website design allows users to access your content from any device.
- A store that is easy to navigate.
- A site that loads quickly
- Trusted sources provide high-quality links for your store.
- Secure website with an SSL certificate
2. Optimize for your area
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to get started with local SEO. There are several steps worth following in order to target your local area. Below, you will find the most effective and common.
Claim your Google My Business listing google My Business is a free tool that helps local businesses manage their company’s listing on Google. This listing will appear on Google Search and Google Maps with your business name, address, hours of operation, reviews, and any additional information.
Register for an account to provide as much information about your store as you can. You can add photos and respond to reviews.
This guide from Search Engine Journal offers everything needed to claim and verify your listing, besides tips for managing it perfectly.
Claim your listing in other major directories
In the past, it was beneficial to list your company in every directory that you could find. Google’s algorithm now focuses more on other ranking factors. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include your company in meaningful directories relevant to your industry. These still have some weight and can be a sign of trust for potential customers.
These are just a few business directories that you might want to consider. You can choose which directories you want to focus on depending on your industry, your products, and audience:
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Angie’s List
It is important to ensure that all listings contain accurate information about your business. This includes your name and contact information. You should also ensure updating everything if it changes.
3. Adjust your target keywords
Keywords are phrases you want to rank for in searches by potential customers within your local area. You might target generic terms such as “craft beer,” “vintage book,” or “family-friendly hotel.”
However, to narrow down your keywords in your area, you would use terms like: “craft brewery in Louisville,” “vintage book for sale in St. Paul,” and “best family-friendly vacation in Smith County.”
How can you choose the right keywords to target your business? It is important to strike a balance between keywords that people actually search for and phrases that you can rank for. These are some ways to do it:
- Use Google Keyword Planner. This free tool allows you to type in a start phrase and find similar keywords. You can also see information such as search volume.
- Google will allow you to type phrases. You can simply type a phrase into Google. If you type “Davidson coffee,” it will suggest similar terms such as “Davidson coffee shop,” or “downtown Davidson espresso,” and “vegan coffee shop” in Davidson.
- Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMRush are two examples of tools you can use. These tools give you detailed information about your target audience’s online searches.
Once you have chosen the best keywords, integrate them naturally into your website. Instead of stuffing keywords everywhere, make sure to use them in phrases that make sense. This is the same way as you would talk to a friend, colleague, or coworker.
Although you don’t necessarily want to alter your entire SEO strategy in order to include these keywords, it is possible to add them to page titles and meta descriptions.
4. Write content specific to your area
You might already be creating high-quality content regularly, such as blog posts, videos, and eBooks. You’re already a pro at creating quality content, such as blog posts, videos, and eBooks. Google and potential customers can easily see your expertise through content.
While you are focusing on local SEO, it is important to also shift the topics that you write about. What are the most common queries customers fire about your region? If you are a seller of gardening products, you might write about the plants in your area and their harvest times. You might also be able to share your guide with dog parks around the city if you make custom collars.
Do you remember those local keywords that we mentioned earlier? It is now that you can incorporate these keywords naturally into your blog posts.
You might create a blog post listing the top things to do in San Francisco if one of your keywords is cooking classes. Next, create a headline that reads “Take a cooking class in San Francisco” and then write about your offerings.
5. Focus on reviews
Reviews are superb indicators of the quality of your product and business. Search engines love them. Reviews are also beneficial beyond local SEO, as potential customers will look at reviews before deciding where to shop or eat.
How do you get reviews? Never pay for reviews. Search engines will quickly figure out your strategy, and you’ll lose customer confidence.
Asking for reviews online is the best way to get them. Post a sign in your storefront, and include this insert in your product packaging. You can also include a review request in your transactional emails.
First, focus on Google reviews. Then, spread the word to other local directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Be responsive to as many reviews and as kind as possible to unhappy customers.
6. Generate local links
A trusted source linking to your site is essentially Google vetting. For SEO, quality backlinks are a great strategy. This is also true for local SEO. Instead of searching for links from generic websites, search for sites that are experts in your area. These are some ways to generate links for your website:
- Write a guest blog post for a local blogger.
- Participating in local events
- Being listed in county or city directories.
- Sponsor a local charity
- A feature story in a local newspaper/magazine.
Google will allow you to find trusted websites in your local area by doing a simple search. Reaching out to influencers and other businesses should be beneficial. Instead of expecting them to do something for you, ask them to help write a guide to your area or a blog post.
7. Add structured data to your site
Search engines use structured data to find information. This is a great way to provide specific information about your website to Google. It increases the likelihood that you will be featured in special search results such as answer boxes and carousels.
If you are a local restaurant and you post online recipes, structured data could be used to give Google information such as cook time, calorie count, reader reviews, etc. Rich snippets are when a user searches for a recipe, and the result appears richer than usual.
This helps search engines understand how to categorize your content and makes your recipe stand out to searchers, increasing their likelihood of clicking.
There are numerous types of structured data, such as:
- Book information, including author and quote details, as well as purchase links.
- Events with information such as date, time, and location.
- Information about local businesses, including ratings, directions, and links.
- Information about products, including price, availability, and reviews.
- Q&A with questions and answers.
Concentrate on those that are relevant to your business.
How to handle multiple locations
What if you have more than one website and multiple locations? Here are a handful of vital tips to help you manage local SEO.
- Create separate landing pages. Be specific and don’t include information for all stores on one page. Each store should have its own page with contact information, reviews, hours, and news. Each page should contain local business structured data.
- Make separate Google My Business listings. Register for each location, and ensure that the data is current. A similar process applies to other directories.
- Create blog posts that are specific. Write content specific to each location. These posts can include employee stories, hyper-local news, or topics that are specific to each location.
- Build links to each page. Link to the appropriate landing pages for each location when you are creating backlinks. This is particularly relevant when you are promoting news or events about a particular store.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews about each location. You can gain reviews by following the steps, but only for each location.
Begin your local SEO for long-term success
The world believes that Local SEO is a long-term strategy for marketing. While it may take some time for your website’s ranking to rise, steady and consistent work will make it worthwhile. The increase in qualified, free traffic to your online shop is well worth the effort.
We offer amazing SEO service, where our 10 years of experienced SEO experts do their best to rank your desired keywords, no matter the hard ones. You can start with our basic SEO plan, and once you feel that you’re getting greater results than what you pay for, then you can certainly extend your plan.