What is Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Your website could be perfectly organized, have engaging visuals, and function seamlessly, but is it optimized for web users to find it? If you’re a small business and you want people in the area you’re based in to find your website, you will need to implement local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
The good news is if your website has good organization and is filled with content about your products or services, you likely already have some good SEO value. The next necessary step is to integrate good local SEO techniques to your website to reach potential customers in your service area.
Local SEO can begin before you even get off the ground as a small business. Depending on your plans for scaling your business or your industry, including the neighborhood or city you serve in your name can be great for targeting your local area.
At the very least, your web page copy should include keywords that target your local market while telling users about what you do. There’s a bit of research that will go into this, and there are a variety of ways you can research effective keywords based on what people in your market search for. You might find there is value in including keywords targeting the entire metro area or even your whole state. Other times, it’s best to stick to targeting just your city.
Best Practices for Local SEO
When doing keyword research, you’ll likely find that the most effective keywords are some combination of your product or service and a target location. So if you’re a used car dealership in Cleveland, you’ll probably include keywords like “Cleveland used car dealership” or “used cars in Cleveland” on your website.
While this seems simple enough, there are right and wrong ways to go about this. As a small business, you should always be creating a good user experience across all marketing channels, especially on your website. A mistake many small businesses make is creating a website focused on getting Google’s attention rather than creating a good user experience. All of your local SEO keywords should be integrated into copy or blog content that is enjoyable to read and improves the user experience.
If you’re stuffing keywords into nonsensical sentences for the sake of SEO value, your visitors won’t be too impressed when they actually land on your website. Not to mention, these sorts of strategies violate the terms of service for most search engines, which could get you banned entirely!
If you’re including clear and concise webpage copy and content that provides value to your users, which will often naturally include good keywords anyway, your website will be much better suited for organic search rankings and success overall.
Google My Business
Another essential practice for good local SEO is to create a Google My Business profile. If you search for a local service, you’ll find there are always three boxes that pop up at the top of your screen with business information. These are businesses that have created effective Google My Business profiles, which tells you just how important signing up for this free service is. On Google My Business, you can add your contact information, hours of operation, address, photos, and a description of your business for web users to find. All of this greatly boosts your website’s local SEO value and makes it possible for your business to organically show up right at the top of users’ screens when they make a search.
There’s never a bad time to focus on local SEO for your website, but it’s best to do it sooner than later to allow your potential customers to discover just what makes your business so valuable.