When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), local is the name of the game. If you want to get search rankings that will benefit your business, you need to be prioritizing your local SEO. Local SEO simply means optimizing your online content in a way that will lead more local customers to your site. In other words, when someone nearby is looking for a business like yours, you want them to find you!

Here’s what you need to know about local SEO and how you can use it to your advantage:

Why does local SEO matter?

The internet is a global phenomenon, but the reasons most of us use it every day are closer to home. We use the internet to find driving directions, to get weather reports, and to find local businesses. Did you know that as many as 46 percent of all Google searches are local? If you aren’t optimizing your content for local searches, you’re going to be at a disadvantage compared to your competition.

How can you tell what keywords you should use?

The key to doing local SEO the right way is to do keyword research. You want to figure out which keywords and keyword phrases are most likely to bring customers to your website, and then to start using those terms in your content. A lot of these phrases are simply combinations of service and location. For instance, if you own a comic book store in Tucson, one of your top keyword phrases is likely to be, simply, “comic book store in Tucson.” Then, you can include variations such as “Tucson comic books” or “best comic books in Tucson.” To get more variations, try entering part of your service or location into Google and see what the Autocomplete function suggests.

What location should I be optimizing for?

In most cases, you’ll want to optimize for your exact location. If you live in a smaller town, however, you may want to optimize your content for the largest nearest city. If you’re a dentist in Sahuarita or Green Valley, you’ll probably want to optimize for Tucson as well as for your actual location. Businesses in large urban areas such as New York City may even want to optimize for the specific neighborhoods they are located in. As in other areas of SEO, your strategy here depends on a number of factors, including the size of your city, how competitive your area is for the services you offer, and what the most popular local searches are.

How can Google My Business help me?

If you haven’t already, you should claim your Google My Business listing. This is a simple step to take, and it will ensure that the information that comes up in search results that mention your business is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you haven’t claimed your listing, you’ll be less likely to show up on local search results, and thus less likely to get new local customers. You can optimize your Google My Business listing by adding details such as your hours of business, all of your current phone numbers, and as many of the services you offer as possible. The more information you can add that is relevant to your customers, the more useful your listing will be. If you have more than one physical location, you only need one Google My Business listing, but you’ll want to add all of your locations’ addresses to the listing.

How much do my Google reviews matter?

It’s important to keep an eye on any reviews of your business that are added to Google. Many of your potential customers will check out your reviews before they decide to patronize you, as a lot of people use reviews to decide what businesses they shop with. In addition, online reviews are believed to be one of the factors used to determine your search rankings. That’s why they should play a role in your local SEO strategy.

Be sure to ask your customers to write reviews of your business on Google, especially if you’ve received positive feedback from them about your products or services. If any negative reviews are posted, make sure that you respond to them in a cordial and professional way. Some negative reviews may be inevitable, but engaging with them in a productive way can help to balance them out.

Are you looking to revitalize your online content? When you partner with Pennington Creative, we’ll help you transform your entire online marketing strategy from the ground up. From your website copy to your social media accounts, we’ll provide you with the content you need to reach customers. We have experience with a wide range of content categories, and we’re ready to use that expertise to help you. If you’re ready to start planning your new marketing campaign, drop us a line through our website today!

About the Author

Justyn - Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects
Justyn Dillingham

Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects