Do you have a website that’s failing to bring in new customers?

Over 75% of potential customers who make a shopping-related search will visit a store they like within 24 hours, so if you’re neglecting local SEO, you’re putting yourself behind your competitors.

But what can local businesses like yours do to improve their local search marketing efforts?

Well, here are 6 local SEO tips you should use to improve your Google ranking for local customers.

Business Listings Matter

If you haven’t already done so, claim your Google My Business profile. In our opinion, it’s one of the most essential tools for improving your local search marketing efforts.

Google My Business acts as a central point for businesses to control their details and presence on Google search results. Registration is free, and once your profile is established and confirmed, you can look to optimise it.

Thankfully, optimisation is pretty simple. Remember, on all listings, to include NAP – that’s name, address and phone number – and to keep these up to date. Add other details that are relevant too, such as opening hours, a detailed business description, as well as appealing business photos.

You should look to duplicate the same content across other business listings sites. Here’s a list of 35 different business listings to help you get started.

Effective Keyword Research

Every time you make a Google search, you’re typing in keywords. They’re the words or phrases that help Google match your search request to content that should be relevant.

For local city SEO, it’s important to do effective keyword research for your site to make sure your page content is reaching local customers when they make searches.

For example, if you’re a local plumber in Sheffield, you’d want to appear in results for ‘local plumbers Sheffield’.

A great way to do some keyword research is by using Google’s own Keyword Planner Tool. You can use the tool to filter out poor keywords and find healthy, potentially useful ones to target in your site’s content.

Content Is King

Of course, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of website content itself on local search marketing. If your content is poor or filled with the wrong sorts of SEO techniques, you’re going to be damaging your search ranking.

Before we talk about the content, don’t forget some basic SEO techniques you should definitely use. Each page should have title and meta descriptions included, which will show up during Google searches.

With a list of researched keywords handy, you should then look to build content that’s useful for customers. Building localised landing pages is a great way to do it, and you can combine them with Google Adsense ads to improve any marketing efforts.

If you’re wondering what else you could do to improve your site content for improved sales, these 8 design tips should help.

Carefully Cultivated Link Building

A high-quality link profile is important to build the reputation of your website for Google’s ranking algorithm. If other, high-quality sources are linking to your website, Google will trust (and rank) your site higher.

This will require a bit of marketing savvy on your part. Why not see if you can gain local reviews or comment from local newspapers, for instance? This works especially well for restaurants.

Any opportunity for local link building should be exploited. Another possibility is to find your local chambers of commerce and see if they can promote your site. Organisations like these are high quality, trusted, and links from their website will help your own local SEO efforts in the long run.

Reviews from Customers

90% of customers will check reviews for a business online before they visit them. Responding to customer reviews is essential to crafting the best local SEO approach for your business.

Reviews are another reason why controlling your local business and review listings is important. Many listing sites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and even Google Maps listings (controlled via My Business) offer options for customer reviews.

Not only do they allow customers to review your business, they also allow you to reply to them. Responding to critical feedback in a constructive manner can show customers they matter, which can help build brand loyalty.

But it isn’t just about the customers. References to your business, with reviews, build legitimacy for your business which will increase your presence in search results.

You can even obtain star reviews on your actual web page listings, which can help you stand out against your competitors.

Optimised Web Code

We touched briefly on the importance of ensuring that title and meta descriptions are included on all of your web pages, but you shouldn’t stop there.

Using ‘structured data markup’ to your code, or ‘schema’ code, can help Google’s web crawling bot rank your pages more effectively. Don’t worry, this isn’t as complicated as it sounds, especially if you hire effective web design services.

The schema code simply adds extra information for the web crawler to pick up, which will then show up in Google searches. The star reviews we’ve mentioned are an example of this, thanks to the ‘aggregateRating’ schema tag, but Schema is very flexible.

You can find a schema layout that would suit your business or niche from the Schema project website here. If that’s too complicated, Google will help you generate your own with their Structured Data Markup Helper tool.

Use These Local SEO Tips Effectively

With these local SEO tips, you can make a real impact on the number of visitors to your site, as well as how many can be converted into customers.

The upkeep is important. Don’t forget to keep your details consistent across all of your business listings, and respond to feedback from customers. The better your review scores, the higher you’ll appear in searches on Google Maps, for instance.

With good quality, optimized content you’re well on your way towards effective local SEO. If you find yourself needing a helping hand, why not try Samson? Check out the local SEO services we could offer to supercharge your local web presence.

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