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SEO for Local Business: a simple (but complete) guide 2021

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So you are telling me that you have set up your Local business account on Google and struggling to rank higher? Even though being the best in your segment, you are unable to capture the right audience. 

This is no problem at all. With some quick local SEO tips, you can rank higher in the local search results and attract more potential customers to your store. 

It helps you to harness the complete power of the internet and drive traffic towards your business. But first, let’s understand what Local SEO is? 

What is local SEO?

Local SEO means optimizing your local presence to attract more customers via local searches. 

The searches can take place on any search engine like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Your business profile needs to be optimized for every search platform. 

While Google dominates the local market by 87% approximately, we still can get customers via other platforms. But let’s talk about Google first. 

Google shows search results in two formats for local businesses. The first is the ‘snack pack’ while the second one is the organic results. 

What is a snack pack? Let’s understand with the help of an image. 

You can see when you search for garage door repair near me; it shows only three local service providers on the top. 

The snack pack is also called the ‘google-3 pack’, which is the box that appears on the top of a local Google search. It shows the top 3 local business listings. 

While if you scroll down, you can see something like this. 

What you are looking at are the regular organic results. 

Remember: Even in Google, the search can take place with different methods, i.e., via maps, voice search, or videos. 

Now that you understand Local SEO, let’s jump to the basics of optimizing your local business listings. 

Basics of Local SEO

Your basic SEO needs to be done right before you jump to the deeper SEO strategies. Let’s see what those are:

  1. Make sure that if you have a website, it is mobile optimized. Around 65% of users are using mobile for local searches. 
  2. Make sure you have all the primary business data in one place. It may come in handy later. 
  3. Make sure your website doesn’t look like a cluster of all the information. Break your information up into bite-sized paragraphs.
  4. If you have listed your local business, make sure all the information is clearly mentioned, and you haven’t skipped any part. 

6 SEO for local business tips

I am assuming that you have listed yourself in the Google my business listings. If not, set up your local business account, input the complete information, and verify your business. 

  1. Keyword research – Think like a customer! Let’s say your garage door needs some repair. How would you search? 
  • Garage door repairs near me
  • Garage door repairs
  • Sam’s garage door repair (if you know a place and want other information)
  • Contact sam’s garage door repair 
  • What time does sam’s garage door repair close? 
  • Emergency garage door repair near me 
  • Best garage door repairs near me 

And there can be many other ways. This is called brainstorming SILs (service in locals). But how do you do that? 

It’s simple! Make a list of all the features, products, and services you offer offline and online. 

Pro tip 1: Make sure you use all the plurals and variations of the keywords. Example: garage door repairs, garage door repair. Garage door repairing near me. 

Pro tip 2: Ahrefs is an excellent tool for keyword planning. You can enter your services and location, and it will suggest a bunch of keywords with other information like search volume. 

Pro tip 3: If you live in a small area, try researching keywords for the nearest major city. 

Pro tip 4: Google autocomplete is the best tool for finding the essential keywords.

  1. List your business for other search engines – 

Let’s take the example of ‘Bing Places.’

Go and search for your business name. If you already see your name there, then see the full listing (This means you are already listed). 

There is a link at the bottom of the listing – ‘Is this your business?.’ Click on it, and you will be directed to a page where you can claim your business. 

Provide the location and business type, and it will provide you with an option of ‘Import data from Google my business.’ Because you are already listed on GMB, it will save your time as you can have it auto import changes from Google my business weekly or monthly.

A similar option will be provided on other search engines as well. 

  1. NAP citations – 

What are NAP citations? 

~ Citations are online NAP mentions of your business – Name, Address, Phone.

There are structured and unstructured citations. Structured citations are influential because they prove that you are verified by Google, whereas unstructured citations only mislead Google and your potential customers. 

Also, people may search your business on social media platforms like Facebook as well. Structured citations allow customers to find you easily. 

You will see that at some places, your phone number differs from the google listing. This shows unstructured and inconsistent data. You can check if there is any inconsistent data about your business here – using the Moz tool. 

  1. On-page SEO

Now there is no end to the on-page SEO tips. It keeps growing every now and then with the news rules by Google. 

But there are some tips that are consistent and very useful. Here is the updated list of On-Page SEO tips:

  • Using keywords in H1, title tags, URLs.
  • Short and easy URLs
  • Enticing your meta description

           These are the traditional tips. There are a few more. Let’s learn them as well. 

If you provide services on multiple areas, make sure to have separate and optimized landing pages for each of them. That is, have location-specific landing pages. 

  • Optimize your homepage according to the primary location. If you don’t want to restrict yourself with the location, then only optimize yourself with the main service keyword. 

Click on the local businesses radio button, add the URL for one of your pages and click on start tagging. You can tag your phone number, address, and all other details. 

  1. Link building for local sites

While one of the best and easiest ways to build a link is to start guest blogging. There are many other ways, but all of them couldn’t be completed into this article (You wouldn’t want to get distracted)

  1. Reviews and other activities
  • Be active on GMB. You should respond to all the reviews, positive or negative. 
  • Look out for any incorrect edits. 
  • Keep posting about new products, offers, updates for your customers. 

Keep publishing new content, images, other media to be in regular touch with your customers. You can post blogs that provide value to the readers. 

Pro tip: Always go for quality over quantity. You can create location-based content to attract more customers. 

Takeaway: Make sure you don’t skip the working hours. Most searches are related to see the operating hours of a business. It helps people plan their schedule of when to call or visit your store. 

~ If you provide exceptional services during a natural calamity or the Covid-19 pandemic, make sure to display that on your account. 

While most business owners avoid Local SEO for their businesses, it is the most essential part to drive traffic and get your leads converted into customers. 

Small steps can bring you better returns. Your end goal is to attract customers, and merely listing yourself in Google My Business listings won’t provide much. 

I always say to think like a customer! You are also a customer to someone, and just like you need quality and values from them, your customers require the same from you. 

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