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local-business-searchHaving the right SEO strategy is important for any business, but it is especially crucial for small businesses. Local businesses must appeal to people in their service area, emphasizing the importance of local search marketing.

However, to ensure your business ranks for local search, you will need to create a specific SEO strategy.

How is a local SEO strategy different than a standard SEO strategy?

Local SEO vs. Traditional SEO

The focus of a local SEO strategy is to connect your business with the area that you serve. Establishing a clear connection between your area and your company shows Google that you fit the needs of individuals in that area.

A local SEO strategy allows you to appear in a “near me” search. Instead of listing your page among the many similar companies across the nation as it would in a standard search, a “near me” search restricts the results the individual sees to their specific geographic location. This is important for companies that cannot rely on an online store for business, including restaurants.

local-marketing-mobileIn many ways, a local SEO strategy can reduce the amount of competition you see in search. Because you are no longer competing with individuals from all over the world for the top spot, you can have a much smaller pool of competitors to work against for that prime position.

However, ranking for local SEO can have bigger stakes for companies. Many businesses who need to use a local SEO strategy need to actually get inside their brick-and-mortar to make a purchase, you need your SERP to attract attention and entice the individual to come into your store or restaurant.

Local SEO can also be competitive because of what is known as the Google Local 3-Pack. Within this Local 3-Pack, Google chooses the top 3 businesses that match the search and places them within a map. The companies within the 3 pack are more likely to see customers than those in lower positions.

How to Create a Local Search Strategy

Now that you understand why a local SEO strategy is so important, you’re probably wondering the best way to revolutionize your online behaviors so you can find your business within the Local 3-Pack. There are a few things you can do to increase your positioning.

local-3-packClaim Your Google My Business Page

Google give top positions in search results to companies that have thoroughly filled out their Google My Business page. The Google My Business page allows Google to display your business times, phone number, address, and reviews within search results.

If you want any chance of appearing in a Local 3-Pack, you will need to claim the Google My Business page for your company.

Write Content for Your Area

You may think that creating content specific to your area will confine you to only attracting individuals in your town, but if you’re a local business, that is exactly what you want. When you create content that does not link your business to your area, Google may not clearly see the connection between your service and your area.

To increase the likelihood that you will appear in a “near me” search, be sure to include local information in your web copy and blog posts. This should include adding the name of your town or city to your keywords, attaching it in page titles, headers, and more.

get-reviewsGet Great Reviews

For a local business looking to rank highly in a local search, you will need to secure as many five-star reviews as you can. Having great reviews entice individuals to come into your restaurant or store and increase your chances of appearing at the top of a list of search results.

Google likes to recommend businesses that have a proven track record of keeping customers happy. If you have dozens of negative reviews or even no reviews at all, you may struggle to catch Google’s attention. Ask happy customers to leave a positive message on review sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business.

Be careful, though – too many reviews all at once will raise a red flag for both Google and potential customers.

Use Online Business Directories

An online business directory, like Yelp, TravelAdvisor, or Foursquare, is basically a way for individuals to search for local businesses. This is crucial for connecting your business to the area and can also provide strong backlinks for your page.

Find any and all online directories that you can list your business on. Consider large nationwide directories but also local directories that may be specific to your area. This may include reaching out to visitors’ bureaus or blogs in your area.

business-directoryPerfecting Your Local SEO Strategy

If you’re looking to change your SEO strategy to be more localized, these tips are a good start. As you develop the connection between your area and business, you’ll see a steadier stream of leads coming in.

While it may seem overwhelming at first to change your SEO strategy, the benefits will be great. For help creating a local SEO strategy, you can consider hiring a professional, such as Internet Marketing Team.

Remember that SEO takes time and you will not see results immediately. But with persistence and the right approach, your SEO efforts will pay off.

Article by Jared Sherwood