If you were to find a vet doctor to take your pet animal to, the first thing you might do is check Google. You might search for ”vet doctor near me” or just ”vet doctor” if your Google map is on. Google will then load a list of vet doctors closest to you, displaying information such as website, phone number, address and map direction, pictures, and customers’ reviews.
Local SEO connects your business with local customers who are ready to make a purchase. It represents search engine optimization that makes your business noticeable to customers within your geographic location. It is the set of practices you do to make residents and travelers in your town find your business when they search online.
Why You Should Focus on Local SEO
In case you didn’t know, ”searches of “[Business] near me” have grown 350x in the last 10 years” according to Google My Business. You should also know that Google takes the lion’s share of internet searches — more than 90% market share. Additionally, 46% of the more than 2 trillion searches that are done on Google every year is for local products and services, that is, local searches.
One of the reasons why ”near me” searches is growing rapidly is the convenience it offers. Most people would rather google ”vet doctor near me” than walk or drive from street to street searching for a vet doctor. It is even more convenient when potential customers can make bookings from your local business listing on search engines.
Appearing on local search results that are related to your business is a form of marketing, now imagine this happens every time someone in your geographic location searches for products and services related to your business. This is why local SEO has become competitive, every local business wants to be on the top spot of local search results. You too should aim for the top spot because most internet users don’t go past the first page of search engine results, and not only that, the first result, the first business listing, in this case, is often seen as the most prominent.
Best Practices That Will Make Your Business Rank in Local Searches (Near Me Searches)
While there are several practices you can do to rank high on local search results, these few tips will help you get started on a good foundation.
- Google My Business (GMB)
GMB is arguably the most effective way to do local SEO, it is free and easy to set up. All you need to do is sign up to register or claim your business – if you fall into this category. Then, enter all the necessary details such as business name, address, phone number, hours open, URL, etc. Consistency is key when doing local SEO, therefore, ensure that your details on GMB match your details on your website and everywhere else. Also, make sure you get verified by GMB.
- Get Positive Reviews from your Customers
Build social trust by getting customers to review your business online. Google makes it easy for customers to leave reviews, all they need to do is go to Google Map, search for your business and leave a review. Another way to get customers’ reviews is on your website. Set up schema markup on your site, so that when Google crawls your website, it will be able to share the reviews on your local business listing.
- Set up a Google ”Near Me” Ad
Another effective strategy you can use to rank on local search results is by paying for a ”Near Me” ad on Google. Choose a budget, pick your location and select a target range around your zip code, then specify your preferred distance. This will determine the location your local search ad will come up in local search results. You also have to choose the keywords you want your local search ad to rank for. As a vet doctor, you could choose ”best vet doctor in Inglewood” or ”best vet doctor in Los Angeles” depending on how far you want to reach.
- Geotag Your Images
Geocoding your images will give you an edge, it will associate images to a location and back to your business, thus, making your business rank on local search results. Use schema markup for this as well, precisely ImageObject markup. When uploading pictures to your website, watch out for the ContentLocation element and set it to your business location. Use the markup to add more information about your images when you’re uploading them.
You can also use Flickr. Upload your pictures, geotag them and link to the images on your Flickr page, then link back the images’ descriptions to your site. To make this easier, use a GPS-enabled camera.
- Include Local Events Your Business Participate in
If your business is sponsoring or participating in any local event, ensure that Google knows. Again, use Schema Markup for this, use the location element in the Event Markup to add your details.
- Your Address Description is Important
Use landmarks in your location to describe your business address. This will make it easier for people to locate. You can also include a map direction on your site, schema markup will help with this. Include driving direction as well. Lastly, be consistent with your business details across all platforms, for example, if you used ”Street” on your website, don’t shorten it to ”St.” on GMB. Google might read it as another address.
- Make your Website Mobile-friendly
You can do this by using themes that can function on both desktop and mobile. You have to reduce your website bounce rate and increase your webpage loading speed. Do this by providing quality content on your site, by using simple navigation and webpage system, etc. Also, ensure that your website is not zoomed out when loading on mobile devices.
Over to You
The truth is that people are already talking about your business online. Whether it’s some social media mentions, your company name in the unclaimed business listings on search engines, or some blogposts reference. It’s almost impossible for your business to be completely offline, so, why not control how your business is presented online to local customers?