Local SEO is a big deal. Whether you run a small business or a larger company with several locations, you risk being invisible to ready-and-willing customers without a viable local SEO strategy — you might as well take the signs off your building and just wave as shoppers pass by.
What exactly is local SEO? It’s what gets you found when people speak “chimney sweep company in southeast Portland” or “24-hour laundromats in Phoenix” into their smartphones. Search queries are becoming increasingly conversational as Web users shift from desktops to mobile.
Of course, local SEO benefits traditional desktop searches, too (i.e. “Portland chimney sweep company” or “24-hr laundromat Phoenix”). But local SEO flourishes by capturing mobile users in your neighborhood.
Capitalizing on this growing trend isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of work. Here, we’ll review six pro tips to customize your local SEO strategy according to your type of business.
Tip 1: Get Squared With Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing service that can get your business seen on Google Search and Maps. In addition to being a valuable tool for consumers, you can use GMB to read and respond to customer reviews, learn how customers find your website online and more.
Just one listing is needed for businesses with single brick-and-mortar locations. If your business has multiple locations, then you’ll need more GMB listings. Or you can hide your address in GMB if you don’t want your address shown, which is useful for home-based businesses.
In a nutshell, your customers must be able to find contact information that’s local to them. You can’t cultivate a good local SEO strategy without that foundational step.
Tip 2: Localize Your Website Content
People who search for goods and services on Google aren’t interested in general, non-specific information — they want localized information that’s relevant to where they live. They want to see local contact information, familiar locator maps and endorsements from neighborhood organizations. They also want to see exactly how you serve their neck of the woods.
If your business is based from a single brick-and-mortar location with just one service area, then your website should have pages for each service, product model or category of products you provide. If based out of more than one location, then your website also needs pages for each business location with unique contact information prominently displayed. Single-location businesses with multiple service areas need separate pages for each major city or region they serve — you get the idea.
Tip 3: Don’t Thin out Your Content
Thin content is an SEO killer. Website content is regarded as thin when it’s too short, low-quality or hardly changed across several pages. The problem is that thin content creates a poor user experience. Google doesn’t want to give its users a bad experience so the ranking algorithm penalizes websites with thin content.
Why does this matter for local SEO? Some marketers attempt to cut corners by reusing content when making region-specific webpages. Don’t do this! Invest the time (or money) to get unique, high-quality content for each of your locations or service areas.