- Published: Mar 5, 2021
- Last Updated: Sep 19, 2023
- 10 min. read
Macy StormSenior Content Creator
- Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
Rodger owns a small coffee shop in the city of Morro Bay, California. The city’s residents love to come in and chat with him while he prepares their drinks. While Rodger loves seeing and chatting with his regulars, he starts to wonder if he could do more to drive new customers to his business.
If you’re like Rodger, you’re wondering if there’s a way for you to attract local customers to your business. There is — that strategy is called local search engine optimization (SEO). This strategy helps you optimize your local presence to drive more customers to your business.
Want to know how to dominate local SEO this year?
Here are six tips we’ll cover in this blog post:
- Target Local Keywords
- Claim Your Google My Business Listing
- Optimize Your Presence On Local Directories
- Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
- Manage Reviews
- Optimize For Voice Search
P.S. Want to see where your site’s SEO currently stands? Use our free SEO checker to find out!
1. Target local keywords
If you want to know how to dominate local SEO this year, start by targeting local keywords. Local keywords are location-specific phrases that generate results related to a geographic location. For example, “coffee shop in Morro Bay, CA” is a local keyword.
You want to incorporate local keywords on your site so you can appear in searches when people want to find a business like yours. To find local keywords, start by conducting keyword research. You can use numerous keyword research tools, like KeywordsFX, to help you find locally relevant terms.
For example, if you wanted your bakery to improve its local search rankings in Los Angeles, you may try to rank for terms like:
- Los Angeles bakery
- Bakery in Los Angeles
- LA bakery
- Bakery in Los Angeles, CA
Once you have your keywords selected, you can integrate them into your site to help you rank for local searches.
2. Claim your Google My Business listing
The next step in this local SEO guide is to claim your Google My Business listing. This listing appears at the top of local searches in a feature known as the local SEO 3-pack. It’s a valuable tool for helping you get local leads to visit your business.
Once you claim your Google My Business listing, start filling it out. First, start by verifying that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is correct. Your listing should have your business’s legal name and not a nickname.
If your coffee shop was called “Buzzards Coffee & Espresso,” but people just called your business “Buzzards,” you would still need to have the full name on your listing. You’ll also want to add other important information about your company, like your email address and hours of operation. Additionally, you’ll want to verify that you’ve selected the right Google My Business category.
This category helps determine where your listing appears in search results. It also impacts features you can have in your listing. Choosing a restaurant-type category, for example, gives you access to uploading a menu and offering delivery services.
After you add all the information to your listing, the last thing you’ll want to do is focus on the visual aspect of your listing. Pictures play a fundamental role in helping you get more local leads for your business. Google My Business listings with 100 images or more get 1065% more clicks and 520% more phone calls.
You can add pictures of your business, products, and team to your listing to help generate more local interest. So, if you want to know how to dominate local SEO this year, start by claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing to generate more local traffic for your company.
3. Optimize your presence on local directories
Aside from Google My Business, people will find your business through other local directories. So, if you want to dominate local SEO this year, you must optimize your presence on local directories. It’s paramount that you build consistent listings across the web for your business.
You want to ensure that, no matter where your audience finds you, they get the most accurate information about your company. Not to mention, conflicting information can result in a Google My Business listing suspension, which can hurt your ability to obtain local traffic. So, look at every local directory you’re listed on and make sure the information is accurate.
Some popular directories include:
- Angie’s List
To help you check all your local listings, you can use a tool like LocalFX. This tool will help you spot inaccuracies or problems with any of your local listings. It also makes it easy to update and sync your listings across the web without updating each listing one at a time.
4. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
The next thing we’ll cover in this guide to local SEO this year is mobile-friendliness. Mobile-friendliness is a critical component for helping you rank in search results and deliver a positive user experience for your audience. When people look for a local business, they often use their mobile devices to search for a local company.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, those users will likely bounce from your site and visit a competitor’s instead. Not to mention, Google takes your site’s mobile version into account when ranking your site. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you won’t rank well in search results.
Here are just a few stats that show the relationship between mobile devices and local searches:
- 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day
- 54% of smartphone users search for business hours
- 53% of smartphone users search for store directions
- 18% of local smartphone searches result in a purchase within one day
So, if you want to know how to dominate local SEO this year, you need to start by ensuring your site is mobile-friendly. The best way to create a mobile-friendly site is to integrate responsive design. Responsive design enables your site to adapt to the screen of all devices, from laptops to smartphones.
As a result, your audience will have the best experience on their device and stay on your site longer. Curious to see if your site is mobile-friendly? Use our free mobile-friendly checker to find out!
5. Manage reviews
When you learn how to do local SEO, you discover just how vital your business’s reviews are to your success. If you want to dominate local SEO this year, you need to create a strategy to help you manage reviews for your business. Did you know that 92% of users trust recommendations over a brand?
Reviews serve as recommendations (and sometimes oppositions) for your brand. It’s fundamental that you manage your reviews by responding and taking in feedback from your customers. You can get reviews for your business on Google My Business, Facebook, and other local directories.
To help you manage your reviews, take time to respond to them. If you get positive reviews on your profile, take time to acknowledge their feedback and thank them for taking the time to write a review. It shows your audience that you’re listening and grateful for their patronage.
Additionally, you’ll want to take time to respond to negative reviews, too. When you receive negative reviews, you want to apologize for their poor experience and offer reconciliation. Negative reviews will happen, but it’s not the end of the world for your business.
People expect to see negative reviews — listings with all 5-star reviews leave users skeptical. People really care about seeing that you’re listening to negative feedback and providing solutions when things go wrong. When you actively acknowledge poor experiences and offer reconciliation, it builds people’s confidence in your business.
Managing reviews is one of the most important local SEO tips, so don’t wait any longer to start monitoring and responding to reviews about your company!
6. Optimize for voice search
If you want to know how to dominate local SEO this year, look to voice search to help you. More people are using voice search devices in their homes, from Siri in iPhones to Alexa in Amazon Echos, to find local businesses. Over 55% of users use voice search to find local businesses or explore the local area.
If you’re not optimizing for local search, you’re missing a prime opportunity to attract local leads. So, how can you get started with voice search optimization? Here are a few ways you can optimize for verbal searches:
- Optimize for questions: When people conduct voice searches, they do so in a query form. Instead of searching “bake a cake,” someone doing a voice search will say, “how do I bake a cake?” To help you appear for these queries, optimize for them and provide concise answers.
- Use slang and local phrases: Verbal searches often use local slang. For example, soft beverages are called “pop” in one part of the country, “soda” in another, and “Cola” in another. Identify your area’s local slang and optimize your pages for them.
- Keep answers short: When people conduct voice searches, they want answers fast. If you’re answering questions for your audience in your content, keep it short and avoid fluff. It will enable you to answer your audience’s questions efficiently.
How to dominate local SEO this year: Work with WebFX
As you can see in this guide to local SEO, many moving parts go into helping you build your local presence. When you’re busy running your business, you may not have the time to dedicate to local SEO.
Want to know how to dominate local SEO this year without lifting a finger? By partnering with WebFX, of course! We have a team of over 500 marketing experts that can help you craft a local SEO plan that fits your business’s needs.
You can count on us to build a custom SEO strategy that helps your company thrive online. Want to know what it’s like to work with us? Check out our 1090+ glowing client testimonials!
Macy is a marketing writer with over five years of experience creating content for dozens of industries including food and beverage, home services, and education. She also specializes in creating SEO and PPC content. Her work has been featured by Search Engine Journal, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, Clutch, and more. In her free time, Macy enjoys trying new crafts and reading comic books.
WebFX is a full-service marketing agency with 1000+ client reviews and a 4.9-star rating on Clutch! Find out how our expert team and revenue-accelerating tech can drive results for you! Learn more
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