Why Local SEO Matters and How to Make It Work for You

Good local search engine optimization, also known as SEO, sends tons of free traffic to your business’s website and eventually to your store. However, because this tool is so simple, many business owners underestimate the importance of adding a local slant to their content. This is one of the biggest mistakes a webmaster can make when it comes to planning their site. Here’s a look at what local SEO is, why you should care about it and how to use it to increase both web and physical traffic.

Why Local?

Once upon a time, when people wanted to find a restaurant or retail outlet near them, they turned to the yellow pages. Today, business owners who want to attract more local traffic should adjust their websites to optimize SEO for local searches. The keyword phrases used on their site should reflect their location in the local market, allowing them to catch the interest of potential customers in their area.

Listing Your Business Online

When people these days look for goods or services in their local area, they turn to Google instead of the phone book. A full 76 percent of smartphone users who search for local businesses on the internet end up visiting the business the same day. 

Unfortunately, these impressive results aren’t enough to get some business owners into the game. A recent study showed that only 44 percent of local retailers had claimed their online Google My Business listing, thus taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their company’s online presence. Creating a Google My Business listing counts as one of the most effective ways to bring traffic to your local site, particularly if you use some industry-specific keywords in your site’s content. 

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keyword phrases are the internet’s great equalizer. Here’s how they work. Suppose you’d like your website to rank for the keyword “mattress” because you own a bed and mattress store. There are hundreds of thousands of people who search for the word “mattresses” a month and competition is fierce. If you try to rank for that word, chances are you won’t succeed. However, you don’t need to. 

Let’s suppose that rather than using the keyword “mattress” on your site, you use a long-tail keyword phrase like “mattress stores in [your town].” Let’s further suppose that about 40 people a month search for that keyword phrase in your area. Now, consider what kind of chance your site has to rank at the top of the Google search. The odds have significantly improved. It’s also likely that the search will result in more sales because it attracts local people who are specifically interested in buying a mattress in your area.

Local Contest Incentives

People love freebies and contests. In marketing circles, few things do as much to increase your return on investment, or ROI, as having contests and giveaways. You don’t have to put up an elaborate or expensive prize in order to take advantage of this. Just offer some free merchandise or gift certificates to the people who visit your website. Ask them to redeem their prizes when they come into your local store. The local SEO search terms will attract people to your website. A pop-up or a banner advertising your giveaway will bring them in the door.

Make Your Metadata Local

Your site’s metadata such as the meta title and meta description help you to more fully optimize your website for a local search. These small but significant pieces of information give search engines a heads-up of sorts. When Google crawls your site, it will find these bits of information, and if you’ve added local keyword terms to your metadata, your site will get indexed accordingly.

Add Excellent Content to Your Website

Search engine results change constantly because webmasters sometimes update their websites daily. This means that even if you ranked yesterday for your local keyword of choice, you may not today. Adding new content to your site gives you a fighting chance of remaining at the top of the search engines. The easiest way to do this is to blog regularly. Possible blog topics include tutorials and product reviews. You can also write about the latest news in your industry. Of course, you should produce new content each time you add a new offering to your line.

Get Local Reviews

Review sites like Yelp can have an enormous impact on your local SEO efforts. Getting reviews for your business can be as simple as asking your customers to do it. Just make the request of them when they’re in your store. This will also help local customers looking for good local businesses online to come to your store because they’ve seen the good reviews.

Savvy webmasters know that localized content can make all the difference in how much traffic a website gets. Local keyword phrases, maps, and blogs that pertain to municipal or regional interests bring visitors first to a business’s website and ultimately into its brick-and-mortar location. When it comes to giving your business an inexpensive leg-up, few techniques can compete with local SEO.