Do you run a local business, meaning one that receives customers at a specific location or provides services in a defined geographic area? If so, you need to understand the importance of local SEO.

Simply put, local SEO is just like regular organic SEO, but it has an additional geographical component. Its objective is to get a business to rank high in search results when a user looks for a company that is local to them. After all, if you run a business that mainly serves a particular geographic area, you want people from that area visiting your website.

The Importance of Local SEO

As a growing number of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses that offer products or services they’re interested in, ensuring that they can find your business is crucial. According to data collected by HubSpot, 46 percent of all searches made on Google are local, and 89 percent of consumers use their smartphone to find a local business at least once a week. If you don’t pay attention to your local SEO, you’re missing out on a lot of valuable traffic and are losing customers to the competition.

As a local business owner, you’ll want your listing to show up in Google’s “3-pack.” These are the top three results for a local search and are featured prominently on the results page.

Getting Started

There are many elements that go into local SEO. Some are unique to it, while others are the same as with regular organic SEO. Here are some things you can do to start optimizing your website for local searches:

Include Full Contact Information on Your Website

Your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) is an essential element in local SEO. Displaying complete and accurate business information is crucial if you want to be featured at the top of local search results.

SEO experts recommend that you create a dedicated contact page for your business that clearly displays the most critical contact information, being your name, address, and phone number. You should also add your email address, links to any social media profiles associated with your business and your hours of operation. It’s also a good idea to include a map to your location on your contact page.

An excellent local SEO practice is to include your name, address and phone number in the footer of all your pages. As many individuals now use a smartphone to perform local searches, it’s also a good idea to make your phone number clickable.

By displaying complete and accurate business information on your website, you let Google associate your site with your business, make it easier for your customers to get in touch with you and increase your chances of ending up in one of the top spots of local search results.

Add Schema Markup to Your Site

Schema markup is designed to make it easier for search engines like Google and Bing to immediately see what a website is about and to get relevant information about it that they can use in their indexes.

There are many free tools available online that let you quickly generate Schema markup, which you can then paste in the code of your website. This markup includes essential information about your business, such as its type, name, an image for your logo and opening hours.

Set Up Your Online Profiles

Local SEO involves more than just optimizing your website. To get the most benefits, you need to work on optimizing your company’s entire online presence. This means ensuring that your business has a listing on the top online platforms, most notably Google My Business and that the information it contains is accurate.

Filling out your profile on Google My Business is easy and takes just a few minutes. Make sure that your business name, address and phone number are entered exactly as they appear on your website. You can also add information on your opening hours, as well as photos of your business and the products it offers.

While your Google My Business listing is the most important element of your online presence outside your website, there’s also other places you’ll want your business to be present. This includes review sites such as Yelp and social media like Facebook and Twitter. Remember to keep your business information consistent, most notably the way you spell your business name, across all of your profiles.

By creating profiles for your business across the top online platforms, you’ll increase your visibility among customers and give your SEO a boost.

Conclusion

By optimizing your website, ensuring that it displays complete and accurate business information and building up your online profiles, you can make your business look more reputable to Google and rank better in local searches.

There are also many other things you can do to improve your local SEO, such as getting positive reviews from your customers, having your business mentioned by other reputable websites, adding quality locally-optimized content on your site and maintaining an active social media presence. You can do further research on SEO to find more techniques that you can implement to further optimize your online presence and increase your chances of appearing in the top 3 local results. You can also take a peek at the SEO services we offer here.

References:

16 Stats That Prove the Importance of Local SEO [Infographic] | Hubspot

Google My Business Set Up | Google

How To Rank For “Near Me” Searches | Podium

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