Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimization of the internet to target your local area. Let’s say you have a computer repair shop if someone across the country or globe searches for computer repairs and finds your website. It is not worth it, as you will not be able to provide services to those customers. You need to target the audience that you can serve; maybe you can serve customers within say 40 miles. Anything further than that would not be worth targeting; this is where local search engine optimization comes into play.
By working on a few aspects of your on-page and off-page SEO, you can rank higher in your local searches. We will discuss 10 such points here.
1. Google My Business
When it comes to search engines there is no name bigger than Google, for most people Google is the only search engine they use. Google gives an advantage to local businesses in their search results, as you will see below. When I search for the term “computer repair” the first three results are not the ones with the best website or the best overall SEO, they are local businesses based close to my location.
So, if you have a local customer repair shop, you want to be listed within these three. And the first step to getting onto this list is to claim your Google My Business page. This is a page for local businesses where they can mention details about their business like their days and time available, and their contact details.
2. Bing Places For Business
Even though most people use Google to conduct their online search, there are still people who use Bing as their search engine. And just like Google gives an advantage to local businesses, so does Bing. You should claim your Bing Business Places page as well; you don’t want to ignore 20-30% of the people, who are using Bing.
3. Select the Correct Business Category
You need to select the correct business category for both Google My Business and Bing Places for Businesses. The category is what tells the search engine when it should show your page to the user. You want the page to be shown to the target audience as this would increase the click-through rate.
4. Add Details to These Pages
Just creating these pages is not enough; you need to add related photos, contact details, details about your business. You can take pictures of your office, products, and staff, these photos would add credibility to your business. These photos would also show up on the image searches on Google and Bling.
When you add contact details, store timings, and maps to your business, the search engine sees this information as useful to the end-user, and this helps your page land in the top three listings.
5. Facebook Page
Create a Facebook business page, there are many cases where a search engine does not show your website, or your business listing in the top local searches but instead shows your Facebook page. Plus there are many people who search for products and services within Facebook itself, by creating a business page on Facebook; you can increase your local reach.
6. Get Listed On Review Sites
Getting listed on review sites is an important step in local search engine optimization. You can register on sites related to your field. There are many review sites that are available, and you don’t need to run ads on them, you just register and ask your customers/clients to leave your reviews there.
When you get positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Glassdoor, you increase the chances of being ranked higher in search engines.
7. Get Positive Reviews
One way to rank higher, or in the first three listings is to get positive reviews. The more positive review your customers/clients give you on review sites/Google reviews the better your chances to get higher up in the ranks.
Do remember that Google’s policies are against you paying for reviews or offering anything in exchange for reviews. Google and other search engines want to see genuine reviews that help the end-user.
8. Local Online Directories
Register on all the local online directories, there are a lot of online directories to list your business on. It is true that Google does not consider this as a big factor while ranking sites, but we want to take every advantage no matter how small.
9. Keep Engaged
So you have listed your business on every local review site, on every directory, and have business pages on both Google and Bing. You now start to receive online reviews, as a business owner you need to try and respond to each review, whether the review was positive or negative. If there is a positive review leave a thank you note, let the customer/client feel that they are appreciated.
If there is a negative review, be prompt and see what the reason for the negative review was, fix the issue and thank the reviewer for the opportunity to improve. When you handle a negative review professionally and respond to the customer/client promptly, you would see that many times they would go ahead and change the review into a positive one.
10. Use Social Media
Get your business on to every social media platform, engage with your community. See what makes your community tick. By being visible in your local community, you will increase the traffic to your business page/website. This, in turn, would get the search engine to see you as an important part of the community and rank you higher.
11. Bonus Tip- Get Help
Local Search Engine Optimization requires time; you need to be able to invest time into this activity on a regular basis. Being a business owner you may not have time to do these activates productively, what you can do is hire local search engine experts to do these things for you.
They can set up all your pages, update your website accordingly, and help you get on page one. You can also hire virtual assistants to help you maintain a good brand name by reply to reviews and questions that your customers/clients post online.
Hiring offshore employees does not cost a lot; in fact, you can save up to 70% when you use an offshore outsourcing company.
If you want to rank your business locally, you need to invest time or money into local search engine optimization. You can follow the steps mentioned above to rank higher in search engines, or you can hire local search engine experts from Optimal Virtual Employee. All candidates at Optimal are highly skilled and experienced in their fields. You can hire offshore employees from OVE at hourly and monthly rates.