Is creating a strategy for local SEO important, or even worth it?
Local businesses have historically struggled to compete with larger, more established businesses with a high Domain Authority when trying to rank for sought-after keywords.
For example, large national car sites with high Domain Authority, like Autowise, tend to outrank smaller local car dealerships such as LA-based Holmes Volvo Cars for the majority of national high-volume keywords.
This is often the case, especially for competitive keywords that are not local, as search engines tend to rank the site with the most authority in the form of links from other sites higher than small local sites for the highest-volume keywords.
That does not mean, however, that smaller, local car dealerships like Holmes Volvo Cars can’t use local SEO to rank and pull in their ideal local clients.
Local sites benefit more from ranking for local keywords than for high-volume national keywords, as their paying customers tend to be local anyway. This is good news, as local sites usually have an advantage over the larger sites when trying to rank for localized keywords in their niche.
Additionally, ranking for these local keywords is usually much more beneficial to these local sites in terms of revenue and getting customers and conversions. It turns out that being a local site, creating a local SEO strategy, and using your local standing to your advantage as a small business can allow you to rank locally, which is where all your customers are anyway.
Dismissing local SEO as unimportant, a waste of time, or too expensive or time-consuming is something many small, local businesses do to their detriment.
Small businesses who embrace the challenges of local SEO and create a local SEO strategy for their business are the ones who start to see their local rankings grow, and they gain more customers and more revenue as a result.
There is more than one way to create an effective local SEO strategy. However, the first step is to focus on building your website as an authority in the local space.
To build your site as an authority in your local space, you’ll want to make sure it has your address clearly marked. Notate it with schema markup so search engines know you are local.
You’ll also want an About page to make it clear your location and employees are local. Put a map on this page and make it clear where your business is located.
Mention your target local keywords on your website and make it clear that you are a local business.
All of these signals will show search engines that you are local. Customers in that area should see you in local search, and it will give you the best foundation and chance of being shown to your target market. Search engines will be able to clearly see that you are a local business that should be outranking big nationwide sites on local searches.
The next step is to focus on getting local links and directory links from sites in your area.
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Next, it is important to start to build local directory links and all types of local links possible to your website.
You can do this by Googling directories of similar businesses in your area and putting links in local niche directories for your business type.
Another way to find local directories and local links is to do an Ahrefs competitor backlink analysis and find the local directories linking to your competitors. Then, go after those links as well.
Building out a strong directory of local links in your area will help Google and other search engines discover your site, start to index it, and give it a foundation to appear in searches.
The next step is creating a Google Business listing and optimizing it for your location and services.
It is important to create a Google Business listing and use all fields possible to optimize it for your business type and location.
Doing this shows Google that you are truly a local business, and it gives Google the information it needs to start showing you in local searches.
This is one of the most important steps, so be sure not to overlook it as this will give you a huge jump locally.
This is also what will enable you to start appearing in the Google local search pack, which is often a huge traffic driver for local sites.
After that, you’ll want to start building brand authority links and general links to your site.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your website design and content are both unique compared to other sites on the web.
Finally, you can focus on keyword research and content creation.
Some winning moves are to focus on local keywords with at least a handful of searches a month and build a comprehensive local blog on your site that targets every single local keyword that has any sort of volume in your niche online.
Someone at your company should continually be doing keyword research and adding new article topics to a master list. Then, you should be writing articles weekly, or daily if possible, and posting them on your website to target these keywords.
Continually posting new local keyword-focused content is how your site will become a local authority in your niche and start ranking for all sorts of local keywords as search engines start viewing it as the “go-to” for your location and product or service.
This will take time, but if you implement all the steps above and create a targeted local SEO strategy using these tips, you should start to see rankings pop up in Google and grow over time.
It isn’t rocket science, but ranking locally in search engines does require creating a strategy, implementing the strategy, and continually putting in the work.
A lot of people wonder if writing local SEO content is different from writing other types of great SEO content that ranks.
The answer is: not really. Good content is good content, whether it is locally, nationally, or even internationally ranking content.
The key is to make sure your content has locally focused keywords, or it won’t be recognized by search engines as a local authority on the topic, making it less likely to rank for the local keywords your small business is targeting.
You can do your research by Googling the keyword you’re targeting and looking at the results list on page one. Look at the type of article that is already ranking on page one. Is it a listicle or some other type of content? Determine the content type and the intent of the content already ranking. Make sure you write an article that has the same content type and intent.
During the competitive research process, look at the articles already ranking and see what headings they include, what other keywords they mention, and what information they give readers. Then make sure your article has all the information the top sites are giving, and more. It is important to mention that you should not copy the competitor articles, but simply give your own, better, spin on the type of content. Add more information than your competitors to give readers even more of what they are looking for.
Doing these things during the research process will ensure your article has everything both Google and readers are looking for, making it the best resource available on the web and giving it the best chance to rank for your website.
Images are also a great SEO opportunity. Including an image allows you to save the image with a file name optimized for your target keyword, which you can also include in the “alt” tag of the image.
This gives your image the chance to rank for your target keywords in Google Images, which can be less competitive than Google Search.
It is important to keep in mind that you have to either own the copyright of the image or get permission to post it on your website, which means you either took the image yourself or purchased the rights to it. You can speak to a copyright lawyer to figure out if you own the rights if you are confused. You can’t simply copy an image from another website and post it on your own. This violates copyright laws and can end in a lawsuit or with you paying a fine to whoever rightfully owns the image.
Taking your own photos is one way to avoid the copyright hassle, as this means you own the rights to the image.
Taking photos yourself is also the best for SEO value, as your image has the original EXIF data stored inside it. This means that search engines recognize it as the original image and give it more value in searches, with a better chance of ranking. Search engines appreciate original, unique content and give it a higher ranking value than copied or duplicate content that is not original.
Local SEO strategy is important for all small local businesses. It is one of those time-consuming yet very necessary tasks that any small business must undertake to rank locally and gain more local customers and revenue.
Remember that the key tips to creating a local ranking strategy are:
– Position your site as a local authority using keywords, maps, and an About page
– Create a Google Business local listing
– Optimize your listing fully to help you rank on Google Maps and locally
– Get local directory links
– Focus on consistent, keyword-focused content creation.
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Doing these things and implementing a local SEO strategy over time will help your business grow its local SEO presence and increase your local SEO rankings. Remember that consistency is key and that publishing more content over time will give your business the best chance to rank locally.
To write great local SEO content, remember to target local keywords, do competitor research before publishing articles, and include SEO-optimized images in your content to have the best chance of ranking.
Local SEO is a rewarding venture for small businesses, and it should not be overlooked as a way to generate traffic, revenue, and customers.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite local SEO strategy is and what your favorite takeaway from this article is.