Worked on SEO strategies before but never tried local SEO? You might be wondering how to make a start.
Local SEO is essential for small businesses that want to attract more clients that are closer to home. Indeed, four out of five of us use Google to find local businesses. While an all-encompassing SEO campaign should remain a vital part of your attack on the rankings, you need to turn up the heat on your local SEO efforts. If you don’t, you risk losing out to your competitors, while all your prospective customers who need your service never hear about you.
A lot has changed since the days when we advertized our trade solely in the local newspaper, radio, and shop windows. Those ad spaces still matter, but search engines have changed the game entirely. Are you ready to take the fight to your rivals on Google? Let’s take a look at how to outrank your competitors with local SEO.
1. Optimize Your Title and Meta Tags
Title and meta tags must make it super clear what your business offers and where it’s located.
Title and meta tags need to give prospective customers a clear understanding of what your service is all about, encouraging them to click on your website. They are a vital part of local SEO.
Let’s imagine we’re doing the local SEO for a dentist in Brooklyn. Some of the keywords we would use for the page’s various title and meta tags might look like this:
- Experienced dentist Brooklyn.
- Emergency dentist Brooklyn.
- Brooklyn experienced dentist.
Two things you’ll notice:
• First, the name of the city and service is in the tags.
• Second, notice how grammatically incorrect these lines are? It doesn’t matter. When it comes to keywords in your local SEO, it’s OK to leave prepositions, such as “in,” out because Google will fill the gap. However, there are two more important reasons why we might write our local SEO title and meta tags like this:
1. Optimized title and meta tags can be no more than 50 and 160 characters respectively. This means you need to make every single word count. Missing prepositions like “in” is fine.
2. Do your keyword research. Keywords like “experienced dentist in Brooklyn” are just as popular as “experienced dentist Brooklyn.” Don’t worry about perfect grammar. A title and meta tag are there to point people in the right direction. As long as the gist is right, they will get there.
When it comes to optimizing your title and meta tags, stick to within the recommended character amount, and be specific and to-the-point.
You should include these three things in your title and meta tags:
- The name of the city and service
- The name of the business
- Compelling words that grab attention – such as “trusted,” “leading,” or “experienced.”
Once you start to optimize your title and meta tags with the right keywords, make sure you track your local rankings.
2. Use Online Citations and Directories
Are you taking advantage of listing your business in an online directory? If you aren’t, you could be missing out on a massive opportunity to get in front of more customers.
There are a handful of popular online business directories, such as CitySearch, Merchant Circle, and Yelp. You can use Google to find local directories, too. Find a few that are relevant to your service, and use them to help you improve your visibility.
People are always in need of a service, and a great way to improve your online visibility is by adding your business to an online directory. It’s really easy to do, and there are a number of advantages. These include:
1. Online business directories are authoritative sites that rank high for service search terms. For example, “insurance.” If your business is near the top of an online directory for this particular term and a customer clicks on said directory, there is a very good chance they’ll find you.
2. The more directories you submit your business to, the more visibility you’ll have online.
3. An online business directory lets you provide all kinds of useful information to prospective customers, including your types of services, your location, your products, and so on.
Online directories are a great way to rank high on Google
3. Use Online Reviews
Online review sites make it easier to rank for keywords related to your niche