Local SEO is certainly one of those terms that have made their way across the internet in recent years. There’s certainly an assumption that businesses need local SEO to survive, but it’s always important that you take a look at whether or not your own business really needs such a strategy. Before you go all-in, it’s a good idea to take a look at the factors below.
Do You Have a Physical Location?
The businesses that most need local SEO work are those with physical locations or that travel to specific locations. If there’s a chance that people in your area are looking for a product or service that you offer, you need to make sure that your name pops up near the top of the search. Every business with a brick and mortar location needs to invest in this type of strategy. Additionally, any business that has a team deploy to a certain area needs to use local SEO.
Where Are Your Customers Located?
It’s generally a good idea to target your marketing where your customers are located. If most of your customers are local or come to your area to do business, a local SEO strategy is a must. If you’re mostly shipping out items to an international client base, though, you’ll want to put more of your efforts into ranking intercontinentally. Generally, local business should focus on a local strategy while ecommerce businesses or other types of B2B companies can focus on a more general SEO approach.
Do You Do Business Online?
Doing business online definitely requires a good SEO strategy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to focus on local SEO. If the bulk of your business is conducted online, you might be better off focusing on strategies that would allow you to bring in customers from outside your own area. It’s not a bad idea to throw some local SEO in the mix if you do business locally or if you notice that many of your customers are in one target area, but those who are primarily online might not need to focus quite as much on local SEO.
How Successful is Your Current Strategy?
The often-overlooked issue that businesses tend to face when looking at new strategies is that of their current efforts in the same space. If your current marketing or SEO strategy is already bringing in the kind of numbers that you need to grow, it might not be necessary to pivot and make a huge change. Only you know the efficacy of your own marketing, so look at your own numbers before you switch to a new strategy.
If you do decide that you want to focus on local SEO, here are some of the first steps you will need to take to immediately start ranking well.
Set Up With Google
The first and arguably most important step in preparing your local SEO strategy is registering your company with Google My Business. Doing this allows you to “claim” your business on Google and make any adjustments on the back end. These adjustments may include a new address, phone number, website, or business hours.
To claim your listing, visit google.com/business. From there you can choose to sign in with your existing business or list a new business. Follow the instructions for “Manage My Business.” You may need to add your business to Google if it is a brand new business. Remember that the next steps rely on the Google portion being done, so be sure to get this done first. Having access to your listing on Google will allow you to respond to reviews in a timely manner and can even help you to improve your website in specific areas.
Update Your Website
If you do decide that your businesses best serves a specific location or area, your website should reflect this. Use long tail keywords to show that the focus is on a specific location and with a specific service. If you have multiple locations or service an area, create a page on your site that tells your potential customers where they can find you or if you work where they are.
Focus on Local Needs
As you expand the content on your website, particularly on your company blog, make sure that you focus on the needs of your local client base. For example, home builders may want to write about the challenges of the terrain or weather in home building. Childcare providers should write according to the median income of the area and how that affects the client needs.
Any and all content on your site should be specific to your service area and should show that you understand what information and services people are looking for. This will help when Google searches your site for high-quality, unique content.
Manage Your Reputation
Every business with a Google setup has rankings and reviews. Simply put, the better your reviews, the more authority you have with people searching for you. Managing your reputation online is key to getting the leg up on your local competitors.
One way to work on reputation management is to ask for reviews from customers who have had a positive experience. Right after working with them ask if they would be willing to leave you a review. If you ask nicely and have made a good impression, you have nothing to worry about.
If you find that you have multiple negative reviews online, always respond to them. This shows potential customers that you take concerns seriously and want to improve. Give solutions to problems and work toward coming to a satisfactory conclusion to the problem. How you respond to the negative comments is just as important as garnering positive ones.
Do you need a local SEO strategy? If you have a physical location or you want to grow your business locally, it’s a necessity. Take a look at how your current efforts are working and then make the switch if and when it makes sense. Be sure to follow these steps to get your local SEO strategy started on the right foot.