Local SEO Checklist: Tips, Strategy & Services to Dominate Local Listings

Local SEO is a specific marketing strategy that can work wonders for your business. When you use it the way that you should, it can increase your visibility to potential customers in your community and drive new traffic to your site, store, or organization. We’ve put together a little local SEO checklist for you with important stats, tips, and advice on using professional SEO services

Why Local SEO Matters

Whether you’re a local charity, a real estate company, a law firm, boutique, or bookstore, you need to prioritize local SEO in your overall digital marketing strategy. To prove it, here are some facts:

  • Google, all by itself, processes over 3.5 billion searches a day.
  • Google is still the almighty king of search engines, owning over 86% of desktop searches and almost 95% of mobile searches.
  • Almost half of all Google searches are local listing searches.
  • Almost 60% of American consumers use voice search – which is primarily used for searching local restaurants, grocery stores, food delivery, clothing stores, and hospitality.
  • Voice search users are also looking for information on deals, promotions, events, locations, hours, and customer support.

Making sure your site is optimized for local SEO and that you’re actively employing local SEO strategies will give you a greater shot at biting off a nice slice of this pie.

why local seo matters, local seo stat

Local SEO Tips for Google

While some online searchers may be current customers and specifically look for you to get information or directions, many users are potential customers who are often searching for a service or product. 

As we noted above, the large majority of potential customers turn to Google when they need some type of resolution or answer in their time of need. Google calls this a micro-moment. So, how can you maximize the visibility of your business when someone searches for the products or services you provide?

Verify Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

You might be surprised just how many local businesses let this opportunity slip by. Oftentimes, your business may appear on Google Maps or local search results just because Google knows (almost) everything. However, it is important to claim your local listing so you have control over the information people see. You can then leverage the other tips below to increase your local search rank. 

Start the verification process by visiting gybo.com/business. You’ll typically need to verify ownership/management of your business location via a postcard being sent to your listed business address in order to make sure that you can receive mail (sorry, no P.O. boxes).

Choose Your GMB Business Categories Wisely

Don’t just pick any ol’ category because you think a lot of people will search for it. Your selected categories should be highly relevant to your business and service offerings. 

You don’t have to fill in all five categories for your business if only two or three fit the bill. Be specific and choose wisely.

Complete Your GMB Information

Make sure you provide potential customers with up-to-date, complete information:

  • Correct address – Don’t forget to include suite numbers, etc.
  • Business hours – Include any special hours like holidays too!
  • Description – A super opportunity to not only accurately describe your organization, what you do, and what you offer, but to include relevant keywords that potential customers might use when looking for your type of business.
  • Phone number – Add your digits.
  • Website URL – Add your root domain.
  • Fantastic photos – Give users a feel for your brand and what you have to offer.
  • 360° virtual tours – You can give your potential customers the full experience by letting them explore the inside of your business and surrounding area before they visit. (You’ll need to work with a Google Trusted Photographer and additional charges will apply.)

When anything changes – update your info asap! 

Implement Relevant Keywords

Adding service-related keywords can help you rank higher in local search results. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What does your company offer?
  • What are the key features of your company?
  • What do you want people to know about your business?

This should help you determine what keywords you should try including in your local listings. Don’t use too many. Just a few well-selected keywords should do the trick.

Track Website Visitors Coming From Your Local Listing(s)

Consider making your website URL a UTM link so you can monitor traffic coming from your business listing in your Google Analytics reports. This will give you better insight into which pages users navigate to. Plus, it can give you some ideas on how to improve user experience for local customers.

local seo gmb review exampleHow Online Reviews Impact Local SEO

It should come as no surprise that local business reviews are extremely important. Not only do potential customers read reviews before making a decision on where to go or what to buy, but they also play a role in how you rank in local searches. 

More and more, we’re finding that people are searching for things that are ‘the best’ or top-rated. People will often include a city, state, or simply add “near me” to find the best options in their area. 

Google’s local search algorithm will then consider searcher intent when returning search results. This is a combination of evaluating the number of reviews for the business and the aggregate rating of those reviews. 

So, make sure you ask your happy customers to leave you an honest review. Sounds easy, right? Not always. Let’s face it – humans can get lazy, forgetful, or just too busy sometimes. Make it as easy for your customers as possible. Here are a few tips for online reviews:

  • Does your business send customers follow-up emails? Include a link in the email that will directly bring them to where they can submit a review. Find out how!
  • In the same way, you can also use your social media platforms to ask for independent reviews of your products or services.
  • Study up on Google’s review policy. While offering incentives may seem like a good idea, you don’t want to take away from the credibility of the reviews. Be wary of offering any type of monetary incentive.

You can find full info on GMB guidelines here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177.

Gain Insights From Your Google My Business Dashboard

Once you’ve created or claimed your local listing on Google, you’ll have access to the Insights tab. From here, you can keep an eye on how and where people discover your business listing, the actions customers take on your listing (website clicks, phone calls, and direction requests), and the number of phone calls and photo views. If these stats improve over time, you know you’re moving in the right direction!

google my business local insightslistings

What About Other Local Listing Sites and Voice Search?

Google is the #1 search engine, but it’s not the only one. Make sure your local listing information is consistent across all platforms – this is extremely important for voice search. As we mentioned previously, well over half of Americans use voice search, so this tactic can’t be ignored.

How do you get voice search to work for local SEO?

  • Optimize ALL local listings.
  • Be complete and consistent with your business info.
  • Cross-check your listings and see how they appear across the web; ensure there are no duplicates.
  • Add structured data to your website:

Local SEO Checklist for Your Website

Of course, your local listing rank isn’t everything you need to consider when upping your business game. Don’t forget about the basic strategies of search engine optimization, and make sure you check off all these boxes so you can maximize your online potential.

  • Is your website responsive/mobile-friendly? With more and more people using mobile devices for searching and shopping, your website must be mobile-responsive in order to gain maximum impact.
  • Does your website do a good job conveying your brand and message? This is done through written content, architecture, and visuals. Are you consistent, and do you effectively tell your story?
  • Do you stand out from your local competition? With a strong brand identity, you should avoid blending in with all the other white noise.
  • Does your site structure and navigation make sense? If your website isn’t functional and user-friendly, people won’t hang around to learn more about your business, and you’ll lose conversions. In turn, poor site navigation and lots of user dropouts will negatively affect your domain authority and search rankings.
  • Is it easy to find your contact and business location information? Similar to the advice above, people don’t want to play ‘Where’s Waldo’ when searching for info.
  • Does your website load quickly on desktop and mobile? Long page load times are frustrating. If your pages don’t load quickly, you’ll lose visitors and customers – which, again, won’t help your search rankings.
  • Do you have a strong social media presence? Are you engaging with your current and potential customers online? Having a strong and active social media marketing strategy does a lot for building your brand. Read more about choosing the right social media platform here: https://www.ironistic.com/choosing-the-right-social-media-platforms-for-your-business/
  • Do you have a good email marketing strategy? Can your current and potential customers easily join an email list to receive updates and special offers from your business, emails that keep bringing them back? Some people overlook email marketing – to their detriment. We tell you why email marketing is still a strong digital strategy in this Ironistic Insight: https://www.ironistic.com/why-is-email-marketing-important/
  • Are your website’s pages optimized for SEO? Besides implementing focused keywords within your front-end content, the backend of your content management system (CMS) offers up lots of opportunities for local SEO and general SEO:
    • Be intentional about what keyword you want to show up for in search rankings. 
    • Craft a good meta title (the title that shows up in search results) that includes your keyword + entices people to click on the link. 
    • Implement your keyword in your page’s images (alt description).
    • Write a great meta description (the lines of text that show up beneath your page’s title in search results). 
    • The meta description should also include your focus keyword.

Local SEO Services + a Little Ironistic Insight

local seo servicesGot more questions about local SEO or digital marketing in general? Have you gotten to this point, and you realize you need help? We understand that search engine optimization is not a straight and easy road. It takes time, creativity, focus, and dedication. 

If you need a team with the resources and experience to do the job right for you, Ironistic offers local SEO services + all sorts of digital strategy support to raise your profile and improve rankings and conversions.

We’ll also be happy to host an Ironistic workshop and share all our local listing insights with your team. Contact us for more information about setting up a virtual or in-person workshop.

Before we go, here are some final words of wisdom from our SEO-savvy team members:

Local SEO Tips From Ironistic Experts

Local business is so helpful because community often provides the basis for good working relationships. Much of local business often centers around helping each other out and word spreading because of the good work you do. This also happens through being involved in organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce, getting reviews online from local customers, targeting your website language to include keywords for local searches, building an email list for your regular customers, and hosting specials or demos for people to come find you in person and get to know you and your company. – Kristen Fischetti, Content Specialist
You need to think locally: What’s going on in your community? Sponsor a local event and volunteer as a team. Be present where your customers are. Collaborate with other local businesses, and cross-promote by offering combined promotions with other companies. Network — Get to know your customers, let them get to know you, and find out what they want. – Mary Ann Jacobsen, Human Resources
There are lots of ways to both get involved in your local community and promote your business at the same time. Having a fundraiser for a local charity, talking to the local newspaper, and putting up bulletins at local businesses that have their own bulletin board are a couple of things you could do. – David Shayne, Front End Developer

 

 

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