13 Proven Ways to Immediately Improve your Local SEO Ranking
Is your website working for you? And I’m not asking if you have a website and it displays information about what you do on there. I mean, is your website showing up in local search engine results? Do you have keywords included on the pages of your website? Are you consistently attracting a steady stream of online customers to your business? If not, keep on reading to learn how you can improve your local SEO ranking immediately.
Perhaps you’ve never given SEO a thought before, or maybe you don’t even know what that means. SEO refers to search engine optimization, which is the process of structuring your website content in a way that helps your website rank among the top search results for search terms related to your business.
Local SEO Matters for Small Businesses
If you believe you don’t need to worry about optimizing your website because you’re a small business owner, I have some big news for you. SEO is extremely important for your business. When someone searches “Restaurants near me,” how far down the list do you think they scroll to find a place for a quick bite? Do you think they’re searching pages and pages of search results to find your business?
No. In turn, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers to your business.
In fact, 95% of small businesses say they plan on investing more in digital marketing in 2019, but only 35% of them plan to invest more in SEO. What does this mean? Investing in SEO this year, even in a small way, puts you ahead of most of your local competitors, which leads to increased online traffic/sales for your business. By just investing a small amount of your time in optimizing your website, you could make exponentially more money from increased search engine traffic to your website. The future is digital, after all.
If you think SEO is way over your head, or you simply don’t know where to begin, don’t fret! Below, I’m listing a few quick, easy tips you can implement on your website today to begin immediately improving your local SEO rankings.
1: Make or Update Your Google My Business Listing.
If you want to increase local search traffic to your business, you absolutely need to verify your business information with Google My Business. Fill out your business information as fully as possible and keep it updated. You need to have a physical location and street address to set up or claim a listing. By listing your business category, contact information, images and business hours, you’re giving your website a big boost in local searches over your competitors right away. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to set up or claim your listing, a few minutes that really adds up.
2: Ensure NAP and Keyword Consistency Across Listings.
NAP stands for name, address and phone number, which is essential contact information for all businesses. Keep this information updated and consistent across all your business listings. Try to use similar keywords in the titles of all your business listings as well. These little tricks seem small, but really make an impact in your local SEO rankings. Most of your competitors aren’t doing these small things and are missing out big time. But not you, because you’re smart – you’re reading this article.
3: Maintain Business Listings on Multiple Websites.
Not only should you verify your business information with Google My Business, but also list your business information on websites like Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, LinkedIn, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, Care.com, etc. Wherever you list your business information, keep the essentials updated, which includes pictures and videos of your business. Not only are you widening your overall reach by listing your business information on multiple websites for free and gaining more traction that way, you’re also boosting your local SEO rankings. The more websites that backlink to your site, the more credible your site looks to Google.
Also, be sure to ask for reviews across your various business listings, since everyone checks online reviews these days. Online reviews might be one of the most essential elements to boosting your local SEO rankings – do not overlook these.
4: Request and Encourage Google Reviews from Customers.
If you really, really, really want to boost your local SEO rankings, one of the best and quickest ways to do this is by getting a lot of great Google reviews for your business. Seriously, Google reviews are a weighty factor in determining your local SEO ranking. They fall under the customer proof factor and constitute some of the strongest signals for your local SEO ranking in Google search results. Ask your customers to leave you a review on not just Google, but across your social media sites and various business listings as well. If your customers aren’t already doing so, encourage them to leave reviews by following up with them via email or letter. Consider incentivizing customers to leave reviews by holding monthly raffles or giveaways, giving those who leave reviews a discount, etc.
I am not saying go out and buy good Google reviews. Make sure your reviews are authentic and from genuine customers. But only a very small fraction of people leave reviews on their own, even if they’ve had a pleasurable experience at a business and would recommend that business to a friend. So don’t be afraid to give your customers a little encouragement to leave a review. It takes only a minute of their time, but has a huge and lasting impact on your local SEO rankings for years to come.
Of course, reviews from other websites also improve your search result rankings for your local area. But when possible, strive to gain more reviews on Google to drive more traffic directly to your business.
5: Obtain Local Media Coverage.
You might wonder how landing in your local newspaper will boost your local search engine result ranking, but just bare with me on this one for a second. Say your business partners with another local business in the area to put on a community event. You write a press release with information about this event and send it to the local media outlets in the area. Your local paper decides to do a quick write up on your event. Not only do they publish your press release in their physical newspaper, but they also release a version of every article online. In the online version of their article, make sure they link to your website from theirs.
This is how you boost your local SEO rankings through media coverage. Media publications are indexed higher on Google, which means they have high domain authority. When a media outlet links back to your website in an article, your local SEO rankings will rise immediately. That’s how much weight these backlinks hold for your business.
Get in good with journalists in your area, hold or sponsor local events and garner some local media coverage for your business. The more media coverage over time, the better for your local search engine rankings.
6: Build New, High Quality Backlinks.
Keep things current and come across as a top authority in your field to not only boost your local SEO rankings, but stay on top of them over time.
Keeping things current also means evaluating and updating the backlinks (or other websites that link to your website pages) to your website. If the only articles linking to your website were written in 2003, they are now outdated and in need of an update. Ditch these old links by constructing a plan to build new, higher quality backlinks for your website.
This looks different to everyone and depends largely on the nature of your business. However, consider contributing to outside websites and journals related to your niche, giving interviews and going on podcasts or holding a presentation at a local university. Use these opportunities and the online coverage that comes with them to build new, high quality backlinks to your website, which helps to boost your local SEO ranking.
7: Review your Internal Link Structure.
Many small business owners make the mistake of only linking to their website pages in their main website navigation bar. Although you should link to important pages in your navigation menu, this should not be the only places you link to website pages and relevant articles.
Add links to relevant pages, blog articles, videos, social media pages, etc. throughout the copy of all your website pages. For example, if I have a paragraph about lavender on my homepage, I want to link to my product page where customers can purchase lavender in that paragraph, in addition to a blog post I wrote about the top ten uses for lavender. If I have a video about how to make lavender essential oil at home, I might want to link to that video in the paragraph, too.
While reviewing the internal link structure of your website, replace and update any broken or old links you come across on pages or articles. By improving the internal link structure of your website, you’ll experience a nice boost in your local search engine rankings.
8: Check your Website’s Responsiveness.
Up to 70% of all web traffic happens on a mobile device. Most of the people visiting your website are doing so on a mobile device. But have you actually checked what your website looks like on a mobile device lately?
In order to rise in local rankings, you need to make sure your website is mobile optimized. In this day and age, it’s a non-negotiable. If your website doesn’t look good on mobile devices, your bounce rate will be high and your local SEO rankings low.
The easiest way to make sure your website looks good on any size screen is by ensuring it is responsive. This means that your website images, text, etc. scale proportionally according to the dimensions of the screen it is being viewed on. Having a website that is easy to use on mobile devices, tablets, TV monitors, etc. is essential to boosting and maintaining high local rankings.
To check if your website design is responsive, view your website on a mobile device or tablet, or simply shrink your browser window down. Does your website resize properly according to change in screen size, or does it look like a mangled mess? You can also use websites such as mattkersley.com, responsivetest.net and Google Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your website is mobile-friendly.
If your website isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly already, reach out to Mobile Mind Agency for a quote for a much-needed web design update.
9: Include your Location and Targeted Keywords in Title Tags.
Whether or not you’re aware, every page on your website has its own title tag and description attached to it. This information is located in the HTML code in the header of your web pages and is not visible on the front-end of your website.
To boost your local search engine rankings, optimize your website titles and descriptions. Include keywords related to your niche, your services and the content appearing on that particular website page. For local SEO purposes, include your location or the local area you want your website to pop up in search results in titles and descriptions.
10: Address your Customer’s Needs as well as your Services.
In your website copy and content, you probably focus on the services your business provides to others and your qualifications to be providing those services. However, how many pages address your customer’s needs and how your services fill those needs?
For example, if you’re a yoga teacher, don’t just talk about the classes you offer during the week. Also discuss what specific needs/issues of your customers your services address, whether they be weight loss, strength training or something entirely different. How does your business fit your customers’ needs? After all, if your customer has an injury that prevents them from weight lifting, they’ll google ways to strength train in the area without physical stress. If you have a webpage or section on your website discussing how your strength training yoga class in the area gives your customers the opportunity to strength train without physical stress, guess whose business that person is calling first. All from a simple Google search.
The easiest ways to address your customers’ needs are by starting a blog on your website or including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section to answer commonly asked inquiries. Consider creating entire webpages dedicated to providing an in-depth understanding into how your services address a particular customer need.
When you not only optimize your website with keywords related to the services you provide, but also for keywords addressing your customers’ common needs, you pick up on a lot more traffic to your website. An increase in traffic to your website with low bounce rates will boost your local search engine rankings over time.
11: Optimize Website Images and Videos for Search Results.
When it comes to boosting your local search rankings, it’s all in the details. By compressing, properly sizing and renaming images using targeted keywords, you can optimize images and videos on your website for search results.
Save images in .jpeg or .png image formats. Use a website such as picresize.com to compress images without compromising image quality. Name your images by including targeted keywords and the location you want to rank in.
Upload your videos to a platform like Youtube or Vimeo first, and use this platform to optimize your video for search results. Embed these videos on your website to boost your local search engine rankings.
By optimizing your images and videos, there’s a better chance your website will pop up in Google image and video results, increasing your website traffic. More website traffic means better local search engine rankings, which means more customers coming through your store’s door.
12: Provide Quality and Engaging Content for your Customers.
How satisfied customers are during and after landing on your website is a very important factor for determining where you land in local search engine rankings. Google wants to put the most relevant, best, most engaging websites at the top of search results. Does yours fit the bill?
When pondering this, ask yourself questions like:
- How user-friendly is your website?
- Is your website easy to navigate on all devices?
- Can you easily find the most important pages and information?
- Is it obvious what your website is about without having to dig for that information?
- Are there pop ups on your website or ads? Are they easy to scroll past, or do they take up too much of the screen?
Each of these seemingly small details and much more make up the entire user experience on your website. The best way to ensure your website visitors leave your site satisfied is by displaying quality, engaging content throughout your website. Lay your website out in a simple way that makes sense, is easy to navigate, engaging to be on and you’ll boost your local search rankings in no time.
13: When All Else Fails, Enlist Help to Boost your Local Search Rankings!
There are plenty of other things you can do to boost your local search engine rankings, but the tips above cover basics you can implement on your website right away that cost you absolutely nothing. This is especially useful for small business owners who don’t have all of the time or money in the world to invest in website SEO.
If you really want to get serious about boosting your local search engine rankings, enlist the help of your local southern New Jersey SEO expert at Mobile Mind Agency. Feel free to get in touch at anytime by filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page for a free quote for any digital marketing services.