SEO is as important for local businesses and service providers as it is for large national and multinational companies. In fact, there are times when local SEO is even more important. For example, imagine you are a freelance plumber – you might be one of 50 or 100 who operate in your local area. How do you ensure that you rank higher than the others whenever someone does a Google search for a plumber in your city? Here are 10 tips for effective local SEO that will help.
More and more people are searching for local businesses, products, and services using mobile devices. In addition, Google is now giving priority to websites that are mobile-friendly. Put those two things together, and you have your first tip – make sure your website works on mobile devices, and if it doesn't, fix it.
Check the content on your website and remove all of the old SEO tactics, such as any long lists of geographical locations. These aren't effective anymore, and won't help your visitors. Instead make sure you have a good level of content on each page (at least 300 words) and that it is genuinely helpful, informative, and engaging for the reader.
3. Title tags
You should also check the title tags of your page. They should be descriptive and include the keyword that your page is targeting. They should also include the city or state that you are targeting.
4. H1 headers
The same applies to H1 headers applied to title tags: make sure you have H1 headers that include your page's keyword and your geographical location.
5. Get listed on directories
Pick about 20 business directories and get your website listed. This includes Yelp and other large online directories, as well as directories that are specific to your area or sector. Make sure your name, address, and phone number is exactly the same in each of these directories.
6. Google My Business Page
The Google My Business page is one of the local directories you should get listed on. Pay particular attention to it though, and fill out all of the information with as much detail as you can.
7. Encourage customers to leave online reviews
Online reviews are scary for some businesses, but they are great for SEO. You can even turn negative reviews in your favor if you handle them properly.
8. Create content
Search engines prefer websites that are regularly updated with content over static websites. Writing a blog (or getting someone to write it for you) is one of the easiest ways to do this.
9. Build local links
Reach out to local businesses and ask them to link to your website. This includes businesses you partner with, suppliers, customers, charities that you contribute to, local business organizations, etc.
10. Engage on social media
Search engines look at social signals so you should build up a following on social media and engage with your audience.
A lot of the tips on this list require a time commitment. However, they will all help you rank higher in search engines, which in turn should get more customers for your business.