Support Local: 9 Effective Local SEO Strategies to Help You Stand out in 2019

Written by Zac Johnson
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There are almost 200 million active websites on the Internet. That equals fierce competition across all industries. If you’re a small business, you need to stand out to get noticed.

But how?

Local SEO is important for small business owners in the fight to get noticed. Keep up with the competition through these 9 local SEO strategies.

1. Online Business Directories: Get Listed!

Many people use Yelp when searching for local businesses. List your business on local directories. Make sure all the information is correct – don’t forget your business name, address, and phone number.

Keep your information consistent across all directories. If you change information on one directory change it on the others. Google and other search engines may not show your business in their search results if the info doesn’t match.

List your business on LinkedIn, Facebook, CitySearch, and Local.com. Even if your business isn’t ranking high on Google yet, it could come up on the first page in local listings.

A citation is when another site mentions your business. Citations drive traffic to your site. Good citations from a directory like Yelp help you rank higher in local searches.

2. Google My Business

Verify your business on Google My Business. This is a free tool provided by Google. This is one of the first things you should do when you’re getting started with local SEO strategies.

First, create an account and claim your business. If you already have a Google account, log on. If you don’t, go ahead and create one. Next, go to the URL google.com/business.

In the top right corner, click on the “Start now” button. Then enter your business name. You’ll agree to Google’s terms of service and then click “next.”

Enter your business address. You’ll have the option of hiding your address if you work from your home.

You’ll also list a business category. Be as accurate as possible so Google knows what types of customers should see your listing.

The last step is verifying your business. Verify by postcard, phone, or email. Not all options are available for all types of businesses. Follow the steps and use the method which works best for you.

3. Optimize for Local Searches

Now that you’ve verified your business, optimize for local marketing. People are more likely to visit your business after seeing it in a search result if your listing is complete.

Narrow your niche category as much as possible. If you own a French restaurant, don’t pick “restaurant” for the category. Pick, “French restaurant.” Write a thorough description of the business.

List your business operating hours and the types of payment you accept. Be sure and include 5-10 high-quality photos of your product.

Google uses positive reviews as a factor in search ranking. Ask for reviews on your “Google My Business,” page. Always respond to reviews, both positive and negative.

4. Use Lots of Images

Use lots of high-quality images on your website. Most people skim websites – large blocks of dense text are a turnoff. Intersperse text with images to keep people interested.

Always use ALT text in your images. This is the descriptor which comes up under the cursor when someone hovers over an image. Use keywords in your ALT text.

5. Title Tags and Meta Description

Title tags and meta descriptions are how Google previews your content in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). These descriptions aren’t seen on your website. They’re the descriptions you put into the HTML code.

Use interesting and unique descriptions of your business. Avoid writing too much or Google cuts off part of the description. Use relevant keywords at the beginning of the description.

These descriptions are what cause people to click through to your website. Include your city name in the description.

6. Publish Local Relevant Content

A blog helps establish your relevance and authority in the local market. Publish fresh content on a regular basis, such as once a week. Create content that’s unique and valuable to your target market.

If you’re a local plumber, post articles about how to do minor plumbing fixes. That’s valuable content. A customer who fixes a small problem based on your content is likely to call you when they need help with a big job.

Use relevant page titles. Include headers with keywords.

7. Include Key Services

This seems obvious but many businesses fail to do this. When a client lands on your homepage, they should know what products and services you offer.

Publish your key services and products where they’re easy to see. This is another place where you should narrow down your descriptors. If your business is a doctor’s office, describe what type.

List every specialty available in your office. Avoid generic descriptors and opt for specifics.

8. Use Keywords

Keywords are one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to SEO. Use keywords in all the content across your website. Make sure keywords appear in headers with the H1 tag.

Don’t overstuff keywords, though. They should appear natural in the content. There are many tools for researching keywords. You can compare these tools online.

9. Be Mobile Friendly

You can have all the best SEO practices nailed, but if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll lose a lot of clients. Over 70% of Americans use smartphones.

Many people do a mobile search while away from home. They go straight to the place of business that pops up in the SERP. You’ll lose those customers if they can’t look at your website from their smartphone.

Local SEO Strategies

Now that you know about effective local SEO strategies, get to work! Get listed and verified on Google My Business. Make sure you’re in the online business directories most relevant to your business.

Work on your keywords and publish fresh content on a regular basis. Don’t forget title tags, headers, and meta descriptions. And use lots of high-quality images between your text.

Don’t forget the basics like a detailed description of your business and the services you offer. Now you’re ready to rank high in local searches. Read more helpful marketing articles here.

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