From 2016 through 2018, "near me" searches grew by over 500%. Today, consumers search for products and services based on proximity to their location. Businesses that haven't mastered local SEO risk missing out on web traffic and sales.
Try these five local SEO solutions so your business can start appearing in the searches that matter most:
- Optimize your Google My Business account
- Create and update your website
- Earn and manage positive online reviews
- Get listed in local directories
- Use location features on social media
Local SEO Solution #1: Google My Business
The first local SEO solution you explore should be setting up a Google My Business account. Why? Google will use the account to verify information about your business.
Once verified, you'll be eligible to appear in the local search sidebar that highlights local businesses. Google Maps will pull information from your Google My Business account, too. If your business already has an account, you can claim your account and get verified.
Next, update all your information to be sure it's accurate and consistent. Customers need to see the same details across all channels, or risk confusion.
Key pieces of information include your address, hours, and phone number. You can also add detailed information about your products or services, including keywords.
Photos and videos can also boost your business' local profile. By adding as much detail as possible, you can entice customers to your local business.
Local SEO Solution #2: A Fully Updated Website
If you don't have a website, it's time to make one! Creating and maintaining a website is the key to ranking in local searches.
Research shows individual web pages create more opportunities to rank in local searches. (In other words: Steer clear of trendy single page websites.) Creating a separate page for each of your locations can create more chances to appear in SERPs. Blog posts that refer to local attractions or landmarks serve as great local SEO solutions, too.
When adding content to your website, it pays to add details. Research shows that Google crawls for specific phrases like menu items or services. For example, a restaurant could rank for "margaritas near me," even if it serves a variety of cocktails.
Frequently updated content signals accuracy, so be sure to refresh your website often. Investing time and energy into regular blog content is one strategy that pays dividends.
HubSpot also recommends embedding Google Maps directly into your website. You can add maps to each of your location pages, too. This strategy may increase your chances of nabbing a top spot in search results.
Local SEO Solution #3: Positive Online Reviews
Today, consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family or friends. Reviews offer important social proof that can also make or break your business' local SEO.
Research shows that Google cares about reviews, too. One study found that online reviews influence 10% of Google's total ranking formula. Reviews and star ratings appear directly in Google Maps and search results.
If your business has an active Yelp or Trip Advisor page, you could end up appearing in multiple rankings on the same SERPs. This increases the likelihood that consumers will find your business.
You can manage your Google reviews directly through your Google My Business account. There, you can respond to negative reviews. You can also keep an eye out for positive reviews to use as testimonials on your website or social media.
Local SEO Solution #4: Local Directories
While Google My Business is important, it's not the only local business directory. In fact, being listed on as many online business directories as possible will actually enhance your local SEO on Google!
Instead of trying to get listed on every directory, pick the most relevant ones. This may vary for restaurants, childcare centers, boutiques, or other types of businesses.
Search Engine Journal recently compiled 21 directories that are still relevant in 2019. You can also research which directories list your competitors to make sure your business appears there, too.
Local SEO Solution #5: Location Features on Social Media
You can use social media to create stronger ties to your business' location. With time, your social media accounts can begin to drive significant web traffic. Your accounts might even appear in local search results.
Platforms such as Instagram allow users to tag geographic locations in their posts. You should always tag your location in your posts. If you want to encourage your fans to begin tagging your location, try running a contest and make location tagging one of the requirements.
Moz also recommends creating a Foursquare account. Founded in 2009, this social network allows users "check in" to destinations. Users can see what local businesses their friends frequent, creating a word-of-mouth buzz.
Most importantly, Pinterest and Instagram are both tied to the Foursquare's location database. When users upload photos on these social platforms, they're more likely to be prompted to add a location tag. You don't need to spend much time maintaining your Foursquare account; creating one is enough to reap the benefits.
While these tips can help you get started, there are lots of local SEO solutions worth trying. For more tips and tactics, download GoSite's free eGuide: 5 Steps to Get Started with Local Search.