3 Tips For Improving Local SEO

You may be familiar with general search engine optimization (SEO) practices, but local SEO is somewhat different and requires a refined strategy. Improving your local SEO is critical for attracting more customers in your community and not being overlooked.

Use Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a game-changer in local SEO, but surprisingly, most businesses do not use the service. Using GMB can actually be more important than having a website since it will be the first interaction potential customers will have when searching for your business or businesses within your niche. The service allows you to manage your directory listing, which includes information about your business and allows your location to appear on Google Maps. Since Google Maps is useful to people driving, walking, or using mass transit, you must make use of this tool.

Additionally, this is where you interact with customers. Customers can leave reviews and you can respond to them for everyone to see. You may want to insert images related to your business, such as the storefront, merchandise, or menu offerings. Imagine someone is going to a doctor's appointment and while they're waiting, they use Google to search for nearby places to eat lunch. If your restaurant happened to be within walking distance of the doctor's office and you didn't have a GMB profile, you just missed an opportunity to attract a new customer who might stop by every time they have an appointment.

Build An Interactive Website

With many local businesses not having a website or simply using their website as a way to show basic information, having a more interactive website can help. Interactivity will depend on your type of business. A restaurant may want to take steps to allow online ordering and reservations. This also serves as a way to show your menu offerings and does not rely exclusively on third-party ordering services to promote your restaurant. Similarly, local retail stores can benefit from including their inventory on their website.

Remember, your biggest competitors as a local retail store will be mass merchandisers or small businesses that operate primarily or exclusively online. This means that if potential customers have no clue whether you carry a specific item or if it is in stock, they are more likely to go somewhere else and make their purchase. When you keep your inventory updated online, it will be more tempting for local customers to stop by and not have to wait for delivery. Interactivity can include having a website that is optimized for voice searches. Many people use voice searches on their mobile device because it is easier and convenient. Having website content that includes contact information and keywords related to your location can help you appear in voice searches.

Invest In Targeted Advertising

Targeted advertising can be used on search engines or social media to bring more attention to your business. It is also a sneaky way to potentially lure customers from similar stores. When you use targeted ads, the goals is to have your ads appear when people search for keywords related to your business or they represent a relevant demographic. For example, your ad would appear when people search for restaurants in your delivery area. People who live in certain cities who follow related brands would also see your ads.

One benefit of using this approach is you may attract customers who primarily rely on online stores. They may not realize there is a local store that sells art supplies or furniture, but since they see your ads, they might become interested in what you have to offer. Similarly, your new BBQ restaurant may be relatively unknown, but advertising can help you compete against a more established BBQ restaurant that may attract customers from name recognition or history within the community alone.

Local SEO can be more challenging than general SEO practices. Your main goal should be to put your business on the map when people search for similar local business. The more visible you are in search results and advertising, the more likely you can capture new customers.