Building your business online depends entirely on your ability to reach people. You can have the best website in the world, but if people aren’t stopping by and checking out what you have to offer, the effort will be wasted. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
SEO helps you get eyes on your site, displaying your brand and various pages of your site in search results when people actively seek out the kinds of products and services that you offer. SEO, however, comes in multiple forms and it’s important to understand the differences. Local SEO will help you find customers in your local area, encouraging people who live in the same region that your business operates in, and helps expand your customer base.
Let’s take a look at local SEO, how it works, and some of the best tools you can use to ensure more people see your site.
Local SEO is a form of search engine optimization that encourages people from specific areas to visit your website and access your services or buy your products. It’s a super-effective way of letting people in your local community know that you’re there, whether you live in a small town, or whether you cater to people across a huge portion of your state. Local SEO allows you to determine your company’s parameters and focus your efforts on people searching for businesses like yours within those same geographic locations.
Local SEO works through keywords that include geographic data. The most traditional kind of local search includes a keyword relating to the product or service you sell, and then the name of a location. If you’re a plumber in Wisconsin, then the keywords you use will include “plumbing” and “Wisconsin.” When people search those terms, you’ll be one of the companies that appear on the search engine results page (SERP). Your ranking on that page, of course, depends entirely on your ability to fully utilize SEO tools.
Another more modern form of local search includes the words “near me.” Naturally, this changes depending on the user and their location. A person in Wisconsin searching for a “plumber near me” will not find listings useful if those plumbers are in Washington. Therefore, your website must be equipped to deal with such requests – meaning you must understand what it takes to ensure Google and other search engines know where your business is located and the regions you serve. This is where local SEO tools come in handy.
With the right tools, you can ensure your online presence is understandable to the algorithms that dictate SERPs.
If your business only operates in a specific part of your state, or if you’re a small company serving a town or city, then it’s essential that you understand local SEO tools.
It ensures you are fully prepared to compete against businesses offering similar products and services and helps you connect with local people in the same way that you would have through local directories before the Internet came about!
There are lots of reasons why you should be taking local SEO seriously. The most important one is that you need to reach customers, and customers are often actively seeking out businesses just like yours! When you use the right SEO tools, you connect yourselves with people who are ready and waiting to give you their money in exchange for the products or services you offer.
Why would you want to lose out on that?
Research has shown time and time again, too, that search engine optimization is a powerful tool for businesses. For instance, some 46% of all Google searches these days are looking for local information. Almost half of all searches come from people trying to find out information about their local area, or searching for businesses near them.
They could be restaurants or bars, plumbers or welders, it doesn’t matter. People are always searching to see what is available around them, and if you want to capitalize on that, there are SEO tools that can help you.
The rise of smartphones has impacted this increase in local search, too. More people are using their phones while they’re out, searching for nearby cafes and stores, and visiting them soon after. One study suggested that 88% of people searching for a local business visit a business they find during that search in the following 24 hours. So if someone finds you on a local search results page, there’s a high chance they’ll be paying your or one of your competitors a visit.
It’s time to get in on the action. By 2021, mobile devices are expected to produce some $1.4 trillion in local sales, and businesses that aren’t present in local searches won’t get a piece of that pie.
We’ve compiled some of the best local SEO tools that you can use to improve your company’s rankings on local search pages and attract new customers.
The following 10 local SEO tools will help you appear in search results pages, and improve your visibility on those pages. They’ll help you establish your business as an attractive option to people searching for businesses like yours, show what you’ve got to offer, and make it easy for people to get in touch with you.
Choose the tools based on your level of visibility, the help you need, and what suits your needs best.
Free Review Monitoring helps you stay on top of the reviews people leave about your business. It’s important you know what reviews are being published and where, for a couple of reasons. The first is that any negative review can be very harmful to your brand, and it’s always important to respond where possible.
With Free Review Monitoring, you’ll be updated on any review of your business from industry-specific websites and various other online platforms. It catches things that Google News and Google Alerts often miss, and ensure you always know what people are saying.
It’s also important because it helps you find positive reviews. Once you know they’re out there, you can use quotes from those reviews on your website and proudly display what people have said about your brand.
If you’re new to SEO, this tool helps you to get to grips with it. Consider it a checklist of everything you need to implement to ensure that your business is discoverable by people searching for companies like yours in the local area.
Each item on the checklist is clearly labeled and offers a “learn more” function that explains exactly what it is, how you can do it, and how you know when you’ve achieved it. It’s ideal for newcomers, or for people who have multiple businesses to work on. It ensures you do everything you need to compete with other businesses in your town, city, or state.
Moz Local is a local SEO tool that helps improve accuracy in search, improve your online presence, and ensure that your business listings are accurate. The platform makes it easy for you to change the location of your business and keep it up to date for searchers and lets you update your profile in real-time. That means you can change location data on your profile, on partner sites, and ensure customers always see the most up-to-date information about your business.
And, it lets you clean up your data, delete duplicate profiles or information, and manage reviews.
SEO Scout and it’s schema generator helps you manage your structured data. The tool scans you URL or HTML code for schema in every format, making sure you’ve covered for all instances. If you’re not familiar with Microdata, HTML, JSON-LD, or otherwise, then this is ideal. It does the job for you, checking that the metadata behind your site is accurate and working properly.
The tool also checks your site’s data and compares it to Google’s guidelines, ensuring that the snippets people see on search engine results pages are accurate and function properly. That means your phone number appears in the right place, there’s a link directing people to your website, and more.
Answer the Public gives you instant, raw search insights. It shows you what your customers are searching, and the kinds of local keywords you should be using to grab their attention. Simply type in a word that relates to your business and you’ll be presented with the things people are searching right now in connection to that word.
You can choose your location and language, and you’ll be presented with all the relevant information you need to find keywords that best suit your business. The tool gives you the edge, helping you find keywords people are searching and which don’t already have too much competition.
As well as the above five platforms, Google offers a series of simple tools that help you manage your keywords and search engine rankings. These Google tools let you review your presence online, check you’re doing things right, analyze your audience and get insights that help you improve in the future.
Let’s take a look.
Google Analytics is perhaps one of the most powerful tools Google has to offer. It gives you an insight into the performance of your business, analyzing how many users accessed your site, how many sessions there were, the total number of page views, and even the amount of time people spend per session. This all gives you an important insight into what people do, the pages they like to visit, and where you could improve. It also offers geolocation analytics, showing you where visitors to your website primarily come from.
If people are accessing your site from another side of the country and the bounce rate is high (meaning they see your site and then quickly leave) then it suggests you need to improve your geolocation data. If people are visiting your site from a specific part of your local region, it gives you an idea of who likes your product most and where you should redirect campaign resources to. It’s a hugely powerful tool that you should use to keep track of how well your online presence is doing.
Google My Business (GMB) analytics is another powerful took. Consider this a Google Analytics page, but specifically for tracking people who access your website through Google snippets. Those are the entries on search engine results pages that show information about your business, some photographs, and contact details.
Google My Business shows total searches for your business, your average rating from customers who leave reviews on the snippet, your reviews, total views, photo views, and more. It helps you see how many people are interacting with your business on the Google search page and shows you where you might need to do more. If your ratings aren’t great, ask yourself why…and read the reviews!
If your photo views aren’t high…add better photos! And if you’re not getting enough hits, consider whether your local SEO is set up properly.
Google Search Console lets you analyze your geo keywords, as well as set them up. To create new geo keywords which include references to local regions in your city or state, go to the Google Search Console and then choose the website you want to set the keywords for.
On the left side of the page, you’ll see “Search Traffic.” Click that button and then choose “International Targeting.” Then, click on “Country” and select your chosen region. There are also other options that are more specific, allowing you to set local keywords and locations. That ensures your business is established as operating in one particular area.
Remember that it can take a couple of weeks in some instances for the geo-target to be updated, so it’s important you get started as soon as possible!
So this isn’t so much a tool as it is a process. Everyone should understand how SERP analysis works. It’s the process of checking what websites appear when you search the keywords that you focus on or keywords that just generally relate to your business.
If you’re a plumber in Madison, Wisconsin, search “plumber in Madison, Wisconsin” and see what comes up. If you’re on the list, it means your efforts are working. If you’re not, it either means your efforts are not working or not enough time has passed for the changes you have made to come into effect.
Consider not just the sites that appear in the search results, but also the sites that appear in the snippets. Google and similar search engines offer a special feature that allows you to analyze businesses that fit your search criteria. Here, you should examine all the data on your business listing to ensure it is true.
If you are struggling to appear high up on these results, you have more work to do.
Finally, you should always remember to analyze your competitors. Consider the very fact that your competitors are easy to find on Google the ultimate tool for improving your geo keywords. If your competitors are appearing higher up in the rankings than you, take a look at what they’re doing.
Analyze the content on their websites to see what keywords they’re using, and consider whether you could use the same ones, or find new ones that they aren’t taking full advantage of. Some of the tools we have introduced in this piece make it easy for you to find keywords with a competitive edge.
Check what products and services you’re best localizing based on what your competitors offer. Do this frequently!
The team at Comrade comprises highly skilled SEO and digital marketing experts who live, breathe, eat and sleep digital marketing — especially SEO. We’ll be glad to walk you through the most important elements of local SEO to ensure your business is targeted directly at people who are interested in doing business with you.
Get in touch today and we’ll talk to you about your web presence, what you can do better, and help make the process of localizing your SEO a breeze.
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