The concept of Local SEO is relatively straightforward: you want to make sure that your digital marketing efforts are focused on reaching local customers. The problem is that many business owners don’t know where to begin. You might be thinking the same thing – especially if you’re reading this article, and you’re wondering where to begin. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. From here, you can follow a straightforward seven-step process to Local SEO success.
Step one: Define your target audience and segment
The very first step in any SEO strategy is to clearly define your target audience and segment. This is going to be your ideal audience – the people you want to reach with your content, products, and services. You should also consider creating marketing segments based on previous research or anecdotal evidence. For example, you may have observed that people who live in a certain area visit your website more than others. You can create a segment for these “heavy users”, identifying them by their preferred search terms and comparing them to similar groups.
The benefit of having these segments is that you can target specific groups of people with your online marketing. While it may be beneficial to target all potential customers, at the end of the day, this approach can be detrimental to your efforts. If you want to grow your business in a certain area, you need to focus on that area specifically – rather than the entire country.
Step two: Create key-word rich content
The next step in any SEO strategy is to create key-word rich content. When people think about SEO, they typically think about content – particularly content that is highly relevant to the topic the page is discussing. When an SEO consultant or digital marketer says they are “optimizing” a website, they are essentially referring to the content on that site – specifically, the content’s ability to rank well in search results. Since your goal is to rank for local terms, you should identify these terms and seek to appear for them as often as possible. The general rule of thumb is to create content that is around 150 words or more and contains at least three to five key words.
Step three: Make sure that your links are relevant and natural
Now that you have your content, it’s time to interlace it with relevant and natural links. When someone performs a search on Google, the first thing that comes up is the search result itself. Below the search result is a section that provides additional links to other websites that may be relevant. In this case, there are two organic link types that show up:
The first type of organic link, which you can track using a free tool like Google Analytics, is referred to as a “natural link”. These are links that you genuinely want to appear in the search results and are not paid links. Typically, your customers are going to be entering your site’s URL into the search bar, so you want these to be as close to “natural” as possible. You should create links that are relevant to what the user is looking for and add them to your content where applicable.
Step four: Use social media to gain credibility and spread the word about your business
One of the most effective ways to gain credibility and authority with your target audience is to use social media. The problem is that not many people understand how to use social media for SEO success. While you may be tempted to just throw up a few funny status updates or share an article that was just written about your industry, that’s not going to cut it. You need to approach social media from a legitimate SEO perspective – by creating high-quality content that will attract and engage your audience on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Step five: Use online directories to get your business listed
Once you have some content out there, it’s a good idea to submit it to online directories. Directories are a valuable part of any SEO campaign because they allow you to get your content in front of thousands of potential customers who may not have heard of you before. There are dozens of directories that you can choose from when creating content, including Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Local.us.
To get started, simply visit the directory’s website and create a listing for your business. You should ask a friend or family member to check out your listing once it’s created to ensure that it’s accurate. You can also use online tools like Freshsnow.com to quickly create a local SEO profile and get connected to local business people.
Step six: Optimize your website for mobile users
Even if you don’t have a mobile device, you likely use apps on your phone. To ensure that your site is easily accessible on mobile devices, you need to optimize it for use on smaller screens. This means creating smaller images, using hemi-text (half-tone) graphics, and using the right colors. It’s also a good idea to test your site on various mobile devices to see how it looks on various screen sizes.
Step seven: Measure the results of your efforts
Finally, you need to measure the results of your efforts. This is particularly important if you want to determine if your Local SEO campaign was successful or not. You should track the number of unique visitors to your site, the time spent on the site, the pages per visit, and the conversions – both successful and unsuccessful. While it’s tempting to just look at the number of visitors, this is a fairly ineffective measurement because it doesn’t indicate if these are truly local customers – or if you’re just getting a lot of random Web surfers who happen to land on your site.
To learn more, speak with a reputable SEO consultant in your area or look into hiring one to help you with your campaign. You can also measure the success of your SEO campaign using free tools like Google Analytics, which we mentioned earlier in this article. Now that you’re equipped with the basics of Local SEO, you can begin your campaign and grow your business to fit your dreams.