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Tips from BizLab: Everything you need to know about local SEO

Did you know that 96% of people learn about local businesses online? And nearly half of all Google searches are for local businesses. If you don’t have a local SEO (search engine optimization) strategy you could be missing out on valuable opportunities for your business or organization. Let’s dive deeper into local SEO and discover some actionable and strategies for optimizing your business’s online presence.

headshot of local seo Mark Collins, owner of OnWebLocal

This month’s BizLab was hosted by one of our members, Mark Collins. Mark is the founder of OnWebLocal which provides SEO services to small to medium sized regional businesses and national firms. He’s also a very active member of our Groundwork community and leads our mid-week meditations in New Bedford! Mark kicked off his presentation by discussing how local SEO plays a significant role in increasing traffic (and in turn sales) to your business. Let’s explore some of what we learned from Mark.

What is Local SEO?

SEO focuses on improving your ranking in online search results so more people can find, contact, and buy from your business. There’s national SEO and local SEO, so let’s talk about the difference.

To put it simply, national SEO focuses on your business’ visibility on a national or global scale. In contrast, local SEO focuses on improving your visibility in local search rankings.

Now that you have an understanding of the difference between national SEO and local SEO, let’s zoom in on local SEO.

Why is local SEO important? 

  • Increased Visibility: Local SEO helps your business appear in relevant local search results, ensuring that people in your area can find you easily when searching for products or services you offer.
  • Targeted Traffic: By optimizing for local searches, you attract highly targeted traffic from potential customers who are actively looking for what you provide in your area. This can lead to higher conversion rates compared to general organic traffic.
  • Competitive Advantage: Many consumers prefer to support local businesses, and local SEO can help you compete more effectively against larger national or international companies by increasing your visibility to local customers.
  • Google Business Profile: Optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business is a key component of local SEO. A well-optimized listing can significantly improve your chances of appearing in Google’s local pack (the map section that appears at the top of search results for local queries).
  • Voice Search: With technology always evolving, there’s been an increase in users who utilize voice to search. Voice search results cater to businesses who have properly optimized Google Pages.
  • Online Reviews: Local SEO strategies often involve managing and encouraging online reviews from satisfied customers. Positive reviews can improve your reputation and credibility, leading to more trust from potential customers.
BizLab meeting on Local SEO with Mark Collins at Groundwork New Bedford

So, how does the algorithm work when it comes to local SEO?

There are 3 key areas to consider in local SEO:

  • Proximity: This is the physical distance between the user conducting the search and the business’s location. When a user searches for a local service or product, search engines aim to display businesses that are close to the user’s location. This ensures that users receive results that are most relevant and convenient to them based on their location.
  • Prominence: This focuses on how well-known and reputable a business is, both online and offline. This include things like mentions of the business name, address, and phone number across the web. The quality and quantity of online reviews. The business’s overall online presence, and its offline reputation. Businesses with high prominence are more likely to appear higher in local search results, even if they’re not the closest to the user’s location.
  • Relevance: This is all about how closely the business’ offerings match the user’s search intent. This analyzes different factors such as the business’s website content, their Google Business Profile listing, keywords, categories, etc.

Now that we have a bit of a background on local SEO, how can we optimize our Google Business Profile and online platforms so we show up in searches? 

Actionable Strategies to Optimize Your Online Presence

Mirror Website Information to Google

Make sure that your business information is accurate and consistent across all online platform. And make sure it matches what’s on your Google Business Profile. Make sure your whole Google Business Page is complete! Businesses with completed business pages rank higher. This means including your products/services, hours of operations, photos, phone numbers, etc.

Optimize with Keywords

Optimizing your website and content with relevant keywords helps improve relevance and increases the likelihood of your business appearing in relevant searches. Here are some tips for optimization:

  • Use your blog to embed links to your products and services, and link back to main page often. This will enhance the user experience, engagement, and improve the overall keyword optimization of your website.
  • Have separate webpages for each service/product and optimize each webpage for that service/product. This improves local SEO by allowing for more targeted optimization, enhances user experience by providing relevant information, and increases the likelihood of ranking for specific keywords.
  • Add footer links to your website. This provides easy navigation for users to access important pages, enhances SEO by distributing link equity throughout the site, and improves overall site usability.
  • Repeat your keywords in alt text on photos. Use descriptive alt text that accurately describes the image and includes relevant keywords naturally. This not only improves local SEO but also enhances accessibility for users with disabilities.
  • Embed website link into all pages and social profiles. This ensures consistent branding and user engagement, increases visibility, and drives traffic. Also, make sure your social profiles are updated with relevant content to maintain consistency, audience engagement, and credibility.

Reviews

Having social proof via reviews is a big factor in getting your page to rank higher. Ask EVERYONE to review your business on Google and other platforms!

Expand

Go beyond Google and ensure your business pages are established on Bing and Apple Maps. Try getting onto business directories and verticals, particularly industry specific websites and directories to expand your local online presence.

Understanding the power of local SEO, especially in today’s digital world, can significantly impact the success of your business. Mark’s insights during this month’s BizLab shed light on how crucial it is for local businesses and entrepreneurs to harness the potential of local SEO to increase visibility and attract targeted traffic in their communities. Hopefully you can take some of these tips and level up your online game!

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Raelyn Couto