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Overlooked Local SEO Tricks That Your Competitors Are Ignoring

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For a local business, it can be hard to compete with the bigger brands online. However, if you are strategic in your local search engine optimization (SEO) approach, you can easily improve your brand’s visibility and increase your sales.

Here are four overlooked local SEO tactics to reach your localized audience and rise as the top-ranking business in your community:

  • Optimize your Google My Business Listing
  • Get Local Links for Off-Page
  • Local Business Schema
  • Include Local Keywords

Optimize your Google My Business Listing

If you’re just getting started with local SEO, Google My Business is the best place to focus your early efforts. It’s the crème de la crème of local search. Many providers of SEO services use it, but only the best ones know how to truly optimize it.

Creating and verifying your GMB listing is a walk in the park, so we’re going to focus on fleshing out your profile. It’s important to add as much information and media as you can to your GMB listing. Include a business profile video, your open hours, the area/s you serve, a public phone number, and your website URL. According to Google, GMB listings with photos and complete details see 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps and 35% more clicks to their website.

Community Management

To ensure you’re further optimized for Google My Business, it’s important to drive customer engagement through community management. This involves responding authentically to reviews, especially the positive ones. Responding to reviews encourages future customers to leave their own, lets you show your appreciation to the reviewer for their support, and also makes the positive reviews stand out. Google has some great tips on the best practices to get reviews for your GMB listing.

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By verifying your GMB listing, the search engine could potentially reward your business with the much-coveted sidebar space in the local search results.

Don’t do this mainly for SEO too. Keeping your contact details up-to-date and having reviews means you’re giving great opportunities for potential customers to find you. Today, finding current information is now more important than ever due to 2020’s disruption in business operations and consumer shopping behavior.

Get Local Links for Off-Page

When we think about link building, the traditional thought process is that you want domains with high authority to link back to your site, and you want as many of them as possible. However, that method is not always applicable for a small or medium-sized local business.

Look at it from this angle: a local business only does business within the confines of a specific area. So, if you’re doing business in your city but getting traffic from a high-authority website whose headquarters is in another country, that traffic might prove to be worthless in the end.

So where do the linking opportunities lie? Here are some types of local links that you can build for your business:

  • Local newspapers
  • Media outlets that do local features of businesses in your industry
  • Local event pages
  • FAQ forums
  • Local charities that you can sponsor or volunteer for

You can also explore other local businesses and see where they have acquired press. This will help you gain insights into how they have built links in the same local space. You can also find local writers or bloggers who support local businesses. The opportunities are vast if you know where to look.

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Local Business Schema

Schema markup is a set of microdata that all search engines can understand. It helps search engines return more valuable and information-rich results for users. 

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When your website has schema markup, users can easily see in the search results what your website is all about, what you do, how much the products/services cost, and plenty of other stuff. For instance, a website that sells books could have pages such as the genres they offer, their Delivery details, their Contact Us page, and their FAQs page as part of their schema markup. That’s why it’s been likened to a virtual business card.

Of course, schema markup is not just beneficial for users, it helps you rank better in the search results too. Improved visibility is shown to increase click-through rates and rich snippets make your webpages appear more prominently in search results. Additionally, less than 1/3 of Google’s search results have schema markup. This presents a huge opportunity for you to get a leg up over your competitors.

Include Local Keywords

Keywords are important for any SEO strategy but in this case, local keywords in your website’s body content (and not just your metadata) will be to your advantage.

For instance, let’s say you’re a bakery owner. Instead of just using “best wedding cake designer” or “minimalist birthday cake with free delivery” in your product pages or blog posts, you can sprinkle in local keywords to show customers that you’re operating within a specific area. Localized keywords will include “minimalist birthday cake with free delivery in (insert city)” or “best wedding cake designer in (insert city).”

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Create individual pages for location-specific services

Does your business have multiple locations? You can add location-specific pages to your website, allowing more use of local keywords for each branch. You can include a brief write-up (optimized with keywords) that’s unique to each area. 

Localized content will also help your business relate better to potential clients. Using content in the right context will help you connect with your target audience and reel in those sales.

Don’t Miss Out on Local SEO Opportunities

If someone’s looking for a good Italian restaurant online and the top listings are from 100 miles away, it doesn’t really help them. People want relevant content when they search, specifically content that caters to their specific needs. 

For many businesses, a fundamental rule is “be where your customers are.” That’s why law firms are clustered near the courthouse and restaurants are in central business districts. Location matters when you have a physical building, the same rings true for your website. If you truly want to stand out against the competition online, you need to be where your customers are searching.

Local SEO is one of the best ways your local business can attract more customers and even compete with the big brands and international chains in your area. You get the most out of SEO by targeting the people who matter most — local customers who are looking for nearby businesses like yours. 

Take the time to study the tactics listed above to finetune your local SEO strategy and get your business in front of your local community.

Marc Bartolome is a strategist and enabler of hundreds of successful digital marketing campaigns. Always looking out for the little guys, he specialises in helping SMEs create a bigger impact online - which is why he writes blog posts like this.