Not every business is big enough to reach an international audience. But in most cases, that’s actually a good thing! If your business is brand new or you want your own neighbourhood to check out your service, having a website optimized with local SEO can help.

Why Local SEO Works

There are many benefits to focus on applying local SEO practices to your website:

  • It improves local SERP results, meaning it will be more likely your website will show up on page 1.
  • Your target audience is more focused, so sales and conversions are more likely to happen.
  • There’s less competition on a local scale, so your rankings on search engines will improve.
  • You can create local connections with like-minded businesses.
  • It’s crucial for mobile traffic (one of four reasons why it’s important to have a mobile website; check out our post to find out what the other reasons are).
  • It helps boost your business’s credibility and trustworthiness among your customers.
  • National companies need local SEO, too; in fact, local SEO can benefit businesses of all types, not just those with a physical location.

Now that we know how helpful this SEO is, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Think Local

By this we mean think about your target audience. You may not realize it, but most customers may live right in your own neighbourhood. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to participate on a local scale such as attending events, annual festivals, conferences, and conventions. These are all great networking opportunities. In addition, it’s a good idea to network with your local Chamber of Commerce, manufacturers/affiliates, and business improvement committees to name a few.

However you decide to think local, do so with the goal of building strong relationships first.

  1. Take Advantage of Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are more like phrases rather than single words like “flowers”, “cars”, etc. A good example of a long-tail keyword we’re going to use is “used cars for sale near me”—or, even better, “used 1999 Ford truck for sale in Edmonton”. These are phrases that indicate a customer is serious about the purchase they want to make.

Conducting keyword research is only a small step forward to properly optimizing a website and boosting your online presence. You need to put these keywords to good use, and that means writing unique content that coincides with the following tip:

Target Humans, Not Robots

Having appropriate long-tail keywords on hand for your website is great, but the thing about most keywords is the most popular ones don’t read naturally online. For example, “dentist near me” sounds like a great keyword to target, but writing sentences such as “Contact our office if you’d like to speak to a dentist near me” right on your website looks unprofessional. If you want to target that keyword, you can, but here is how to do it the right way:

  • Add your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to the contact page on your website
  • Add a little more content than simply your NAP to the contact page; a call to action plus describing a separate means of contact if one option won’t work could suffice.
  • Adding a Google map to the contact page can help optimize it for those types of keywords as well.
  • If you have more than one physical location, make sure you list both on your website and not one or the other or nothing at all. This will help your customers out when it comes to setting up appointments or contacting you.
  1. Directories (When Done Right) are Your Friend

No website will be found online if they’re not listed in a directory, such as in Yellow Pages. This does not mean you should rely on Yellow Pages 100% (we have thoughts on the subject you can learn about here), but rather look at listing your business online as if it were a physical location. Even if your business is purely an online one, registering a physical address as well as applying the website link to a directory can help boost its presence.

Here are some decent directories to consider:

  • Your own website, first and foremost
  • Google Places (i.e. Google+ Local)
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • Twitter
  • Angie’s List
  • TripAdvisor (for hotels, restaurants, etc.)
  • YouTube (if you have videos to share)
  • org
  • com
  • Yellow Pages
  • Bizjournal
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce website

Do not apply your website link or your NAP to any directories that look spammy or non-user-friendly. For more guidance about directories, refer to our previous blog post on the subject.

For those businesses with multiple locations, it’s best to apply the one address where you receive the most customers or clients to your directories. Add a description about the other locations in your about section. This would be the easiest route to take, as opposed to adding separate directories under the same name (Google hates when websites do this!).

  1. Have an Optimized Website

Not only should your business have a website in the first place for local SEO to work, but also it should be mobile-friendly and adhere to white-hat SEO practices. Without this, all of the aforementioned tips in this article will be useless to you. Business cards are great, but they only go so far in terms of marketing your business. Having an optimized website will help your business out on both a local and national scale. However, if there is no SEO on your website at all, then again, our tips will be useless, because that’s what websites need in order to be found more easily online.

If white-hat optimization or a website in general is what you need, we can help. Call us at V3 Media today. If you still have lots of questions about local SEO or you need help in optimizing your website, let us know in a one-on-one consultation. We’re happy to help!