Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial component of any marketing strategy. But if your small business is trying to directly compete with large corporations, you may have trouble increasing your visibility in search engine results.
That’s when it makes more sense to focus on local SEO. If the majority of your customers are coming from within your own community, you’ll want to target those consumers on a local level. By implementing local SEO techniques as part of your digital marketing strategy, you’ll be in a better position – literally – to reach nearby customers looking for solutions.
But how exactly can you make an impact with local SEO? Let’s take a closer look at just three tips you’ll want to try in 2022.
Generate More Online Reviews
Online reviews are more important than ever. In fact, most people trust online reviews just as much (or even more than) personal recommendations from friends and family.
If you run a local business, having online reviews can build customer trust, improve brand perception, and increase your overall brand awareness.
But most brands don’t receive a bunch of reviews by chance. In most cases, customers won’t be inclined to leave a review unless it’s overwhelmingly negative. For more positive experiences, customers often forget to share their thoughts publicly.
That’s why you’ll need to remind your customers how big an impact these reviews can have on your business. Whether you let them know verbally during a sale, send out an email blast, or post something on social media, let them know how much you’ll appreciate it if they share an honest review of their experience with you. You can also use review management software to automate some of these tasks.
Make it easy for them to leave a review, as well. Share direct links and let them know which platforms you want to focus on. Yelp, Facebook, Google, and other industry-specific sites are all popular options. Monitor these platforms regularly to identify and respond to new reviews that come in – and make sure to always showcase your customer service skills with every review.
The more online reviews you have, the more prominently your brand might appear in search results. Not only will listings on multiple platforms increase your brand visibility, but Google may be more likely to recommend you if customers have given you their vote of confidence.
When you’re trying to reach local customers, don’t underestimate the power of reviews. Consumers in your area are likely to seek out reviews first – and they’re often ready to buy. If you impress them with your customer feedback, you’ll increase your conversions.
Utilize Google Business Profile
We mentioned above that Google is a great place for customers to share their thoughts on your business. This is thanks to Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business.
Google Business Profile is a completely free tool that allows business owners to list critical information about their companies and connect with customers in the area. You can share details like your hours of operation, contact information, products and services, special offers, pertinent updates, and images. You can also chat directly with customers through Google Business Profile and track leads that originate from your Google business listing.
Be sure to optimize your listings, as well, with relevant keywords. This can help your listing appear when customers are looking for solutions you can help with.
Having a well-optimized Google Business Profile increases the likelihood that your brand will appear more prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs). You could even show up in places like the “map pack,” which can drastically increase your traffic and sales.
Add Local Keywords to Your Site
Your Google Business Profile isn’t the only place where you can use local keywords to your advantage. You can also add them to your website in order to reach customers in your community.
If you service a specific location or you have different locations throughout a certain area, it’s smart to optimize your site with local keywords. Rather than targeting overly broad terms, you can narrow it down so that your site will show up for customers who are looking for your services and are located nearby.
While local keywords generally have a lower search volume than broad keywords, the traffic that you receive for local keywords will often be more valuable. Appearing in every search for “plumber” on the 11th page of results won’t do you much good. But if you show up on page one for “emergency plumber in Gary Indiana,” you’ll probably do better business as a result.
Don’t forget to make separate pages for service areas or different locations. You might also consider adding an FAQ page that’s optimized with local keywords to increase your visibility in voice-powered searches (which tend to be performed by local customers on mobile devices).
Improve Your Ability to Appear in Local SERPs
Developing and executing an SEO strategy is far from simple. But if you own a small business, local SEO should certainly be on your radar. With these tips in mind, you can get 2022 off to a successful start.