Do you really need to pay attention to Local SEO?
Way to go! You’re on your way to great SEO.
And if you’re an online business, you might think that you’re ‘done’ with SEO, or at least that you can keep rinsing and repeating the steps above.
But not quite…if you don’t have local search set up, you’re leaving a lot of SEO power on the table.
(note: This is primarily for service based businesses and brick-and-mortar shops. If you’re an e-commerce retailer, this won’t apply to you nearly as much. We’d recommend continuing to focus on the steps above for e-commerce that isn’t geographically specific).
What is Local SEO?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Local SEO means optimizing the pages of your website to be found in local search results. And even if your business is online (like most of the Clapping Dog Media audience!), optimizing for local SEO is an untapped resource that can drive traffic to your site PLUS, it can help you develop rewarding local business relationships. On top of all of that having great SEO in one area boosts your SEO in other areas, so adding this on is just a good idea.
How to Get Great Local SEO
1. Create a Google My Business Page
If you do nothing else at all on this list, do this. If you only have 10-15 minutes to do local SEO, do this. It’s easy, it’s efficient, and it will be a great starting point for all things local SEO. This is the box that shows up when people search for “XYZ near me”. If Google knows where you are, they can send people your way.
2. Optimize the pages on your website for local search
Keep in mind that Google ranks individual pages, not entire website. So if you work in multiple geographic areas, this can really benefit you. Say you’re a wedding photographer based in Ann Arbor, but you love to do destination weddings in Florida. You can create separate pages on your website for both of these locations, and show up in search results for each.
Here’s how to optimize for multiple geographic locations:
- First, you need a dedicated page for each geographic location you serve. Make it crystal clear on that page that you serve that location.
- Input lots of photos, and include a detailed alt tag for each photo. This is essential. Those alt tags will also show up in image search for your locations and venues, giving you another SEO boost.
- Get backlinks for those geographic locations by writing relevant guest posts, getting featured in relevant regional publications, etc.
- Use keywords in your content tailored to that geographic location.
3) Put the geographic markers into your content
This is a big (and obvious!) one, but I’m always surprised at how often people forget to do this. Your website needs to say where you’re located. If you’re a wedding photographer in Dallas, your website needs to say this! I think that people get so caught up in writing their main website content that they overlook import details like where they are located. I’ve been on more than a few websites where I had to track down the location of that service provider, and it’s a frustrating experience, PLUS all of those people are missing the opportunity to be found in search results for that location.
Other geographic markers can include:
- Zip Codes
Think about the areas that you do serve or want to serve, and tailor your content to that. Google will pick up on these cues, and the next time someone searches “Marketing Agency Bay Area” you’re much more likely to show up if you’re written “Bay Area” into your content (note: Google *might* know enough to associate San Francisco with Bay Area, so if you’ve written only the former you could still show up for the latter, but why make Google work harder for you? Mention both names).
4. Make your name, address and phone number consistent across the web
Poor little Google. He’s smart, but he’s book smart, not street smart, you know? So when you’re putting your contact information on the internet, it needs to be exactly the same every time, otherwise Google sees them as multiple addresses, and not different versions of the same one.
Same thing goes for your name. If you use your middle name, then use it every time. If you go by a nickname, (like Clapping Dog Media CEO, Meg Clarke (aka Megan)), use the same version of your name every time.
In short, Google doesn’t know enough to know that Meg Clarke and Megan Clarke is the same person. And the last thing you want to do with SEO is compete with yourself, so keep it consistent, ok?
Yes, local SEO can make a difference for your online business
Even if your business is an online entity with the potential to serve customers from anywhere (go you!), local SEO can still make a big difference for you. There are just some people in the world who prefer face to face interaction, they are looking for YOU and what you have to offer in your town. So make it easy on them! Doing these steps above shouldn’t take you more than an hour or two, and will make a big difference in search results for your online biz.
Plus, SEO is a rising tide that lifts all boats, so when you have good SEO in one respect, you make it easier to get better SEO across the board for yourself.
We’re cheering you on!
Remember to sign up for our FREE SEO Audit to get a better understanding of how Google sees your website.
Clapping Dog Media Team
Meg, Ashley, Tina, and Rachael