If you want your site to be found for local searches and gain local customers, but are not sure where to start, you’ll need to focus on local search engine optimization (Local SEO).
There are plenty of ways to improve your ranking and I’ve outlined the top 10 methods. Try the local SEO hacks below to attain high local rankings in search engines and get found on page one.
1. Use on-page SEO
To rank highly, it’s important to optimize every page on your website. Ensure that each page on your website is optimized with a title, heading tags, and properly labeled images.
Do keyword research and choose keywords that are appropriate for your website.
A great tool to help you do keyword research is SurferSEO. It provides everything you need to start ranking for articles that you right.
Forget about trying to rank globally, but instead, look at adding local place names. For example, “restaurants in Chicago” instead of “restaurants.
2. Create amazing content
Having 20-30 articles on your website that cover topics that your customers care about can be invaluable. In fact, this is the most important part of local SEO. Content is King.
It’s a good idea to cover a range of topics that will help you build topical authority so that when Google scans your site, it can see that you have a well-rounded range of articles on a topic.
Writing isn’t for everyone, and it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to writing content. If writing isn’t your thing, AI blogging tools might be the way to go for you.
I’d encourage you to use SEO software to help you plan your content. SurferSEO can help with keyword research, content planning, and content writing – so you know what keywords you should be including in your content, and where.
3. Build your domain authority (DA)
Domain authority is a metric used by search engines to gauge how established a website is based on a number of factors. DA is one of the most powerful ways to get more traffic and is often overlooked by website and business owners.
Your DA (or sometimes referred to as DR) can be increased by actively promoting your website online. This is done through backlinks (getting other websites to link to your site).
Commenting on popular blogs, forums, and online communities such as Quora and Reddit can sometimes help. But really that’s old advice.
It’s far more powerful to get links from other sites in your niche or industry that talk about the same topics that you do on your site.
4. Speed up your website loading time
Website loading time is a ranking factor that many website owners fail to address. If your website is slow to load, users will click off it quickly. This high bounce rate will have a negative impact on your local SEO efforts.
5. Get onto Google Maps
If you want your business to appear on Google Maps, you’ll need to verify it with Google My Business. Once you’ve done this, your business will have a greater chance of appearing on the map on the first-page search results.
6. Get onto local business listing websites
Start by searching for sites in your industry or niche that allow you to create a business account with a link to your site. These can often be paid, but not only with they provide a valuable backlink to your site, they will also help you find new customers that are ready to buy.
7. Build local citations
What are local citations? Citations are when your business name, address, and phone number are listed on the web. These citations help to boost your visibility on Google Maps and the local search results. The more of these your website has the better it will perform.
Be consistent with the wording across all your listings. If you are not consistent, it may harm your overall visibility.
Most companies can benefit from structured and unstructured citations. But you don’t need to get them from every site that you come across. It’s better to set up citations on good-quality websites that have very good DA scores (30 and above).
To create the citations that you actually need, follow these four steps:
Get listed with three of the main data aggregators.
In the US, there are currently three main data aggregators:
Submit your site to other core websites in your country.
The main sites in the US are:
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
There are a number of services that will handle this submission process for you, for example; Yext, BrightLocal, or Whitespark.
Submit to popular local sites and industry-specific sites
This could be sites like local directories, chambers of commerce, and local business listings for your particular industry.
Pursue unstructured citations
Unstructured quotations are a completely different animal. They typically come from articles, feedback, and blog posts about your business. It is more difficult to procure than standardized citations as your business will generally need to catch the interest of a journalist or blogger. Nonetheless, these can be extremely powerful ways of getting traffic to your site.
8. Earn reviews from customers
Encourage your customers to publish reviews of your products or services. These reviews help to build trust in the search engines, plus you will be building trust in the general public too.
9. Build a community
You may be good at bringing people together. You could create a forum or build a social media presence dedicated to the needs of your prospective customers. As this community grows you can then send your audience to your website or offers.
These customers will be more likely to share your site and this can have many benefits. As you probably know, word of mouth is incredibly powerful.
10. Build an intuitive, responsive website
Google loves good quality websites that users enjoy browsing. The better experience you can provide for your website visitors and the more value you can give them, the better this looks in Google’s eyes.
If your site isn’t up to scratch, it might be time for a rebuild.
Even with the free web-builder software available today like Wix and Wordpress, there are still plenty of local businesses with poor websites. Although these are free, it can be difficult to create a site that has a professional polish. Sometimes it’s best to pay for an expert to create a professional website – especially if you want to outrank these poorer websites.
A responsive website is essential to ensure that the website works on all devices. These days, most web traffic comes from mobile devices, so you must make your website mobile-friendly in addition to desktops.
My top 3 website building tools are:
- WordPress with OxygenBuilder
All of these are paid services with different levels of complexity, but we generally find that overall the cost is less than attempting to manage a free WordPress site for example. Plus you’ll end up with something much better than a free Wix site.
Local SEO hacks summary
The #1 hack to increase your ranking is to focus on creating amazing content that people want to read.
Local SEO hack #2 is to get high-quality backlinks to your site. The higher DA (DR) these backlinks have, the higher your DA will get.
When you focus on these local SEO techniques, you can easily beat other businesses in your local area and get onto page 1 of Google.