Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the difference between being seen, or not seen, online. A hair salon wants to be the first search result on Google when someone nearby searches for “haircut” – how else are your customers going to find you?
Working with search engine optimization can be perceived as complicated – Google’s algorithms use over 200 different factors to index and rank web pages! SEO is an ongoing process, both with technical aspects and also with creating good and relevant content.
For the smaller entrepreneur who mainly works with customers in the local area – such as the neighborhood’s pizzeria, hairdresser or gym – it is important to rank on keywords for customers who are in your vicinity. And that’s exactly what local search engine optimization, – and this article – is about.
Here are 5 simple tips on what you can do to boost your presence in the local search:
Here we go!
1. Make great local content
Search engine optimization is always about having relevant content for your visitors. In this aspect there is no difference between local search engine optimization and other SEO.
But when it comes to the local search, it is important to think about both content relevance and local relevance. If you have a restaurant, your search optimization strategy obviously needs to target the service you offer (content relevance). But you also need to target the place where you are located (local relevance).
And no, you can’t just put the name of your city in the title (something that was popular and actually worked before). Today you need to be local in everything you do.
Local content – how to do it?
So what does it mean to be local in everything you do? This means that you need to include your location in page title tags, H1 headers, content, alt texts for images, in your URL and in the meta descriptions – on all pages.
You can also blog about local things – it doesn’t necessarily always have to be explicitly connected to your business or product. It can be about a neighborhood in your city that inspires you, local producers who deliver products to you, what happens nearby, or similar.
It is always important to have backlinks – i.e. that other credible websites link to your site. Google interprets this as signals of high credibility. According to Moz, this accounts for almost one fifth of your local SEO success.
Local search optimization with stakeholders nearby
But while the big players need hundreds or thousands of backlinks, as a local player you can settle for significantly fewer. A handful to about twenty pages that link to you is just fine. So get in touch with customers, partners or sponsors in your area and ask them to spread the word.
3. Google My Business
According to Moz, this accounts for almost one fifth of local SEO power.
4. NAP – name, address & phone
NAP is an expression that is thrown around among people who deal with search engine optimization. NAP simply stands for name, address, phone. That is, name, address and telephone number.
These three things need to be consistent across all pages where they are listed. First of all, make sure that the contact information matches the profile you created on Google My Business, and then make sure that all other pages show the same contact information.
Pro tip: More advanced users can add Structured Data and Schema Markup to highlight your local content in the search engine result page.
5. Get reviews
Reviews, recommendations and comments mean that people are talking about your business — something that Google finds credible. So register your business on various business listing websites. Google My Business works well for most types of companies. If you work in the restaurant or hospitality industry you should be listed at Tripadvisor and Yelp. You can often send a request or a link to ask customers and clients for (honest) recommendations.
Pro tip: You can embed reviews on your WordPress website to increase your credibility and local SEO using these free plugins:
Secure your position on Google
Spend an hour learning more about local search optimization with a course via, for example, SemRush (tools that help you with search optimization and more). You can also hire an SEO expert on Fiverr or content creator and copywriter with a close eye on SEO to secure your position in the Google search result page (SERP).
Charlotta Duse is a freelance digital marketer based in Gothenburg. She helps customers all over Sweden to reach their target groups with the right messages.
Charlotta Duse offers, among other things, services such as copywriting and content writing, search engine optimization and photography.