How do I get found in local search results?
There are several things that you can do to improve your chances of getting found locally, (and a fair warning - this blog is pretty lengthy) so let's get right into it.
Here’s a brief overview of what we will get into:
Optimize your website
Google Business Profile aka 'Google My Business'
Optimize your website
First and possibly most importantly, if you want to be found in local search results – make sure that your website (and each individual page on your website) is optimized and ready to be crawled and indexed by search engines.
Because here’s the thing, SEO is optimizing your online presence on a search engine over time.
SEO integration ensures that your website itself is fully optimized and ready to be indexed or crawled by search engines. Essentially, this tells a search engine (such as Google) that there is a new website (or content) published on the internet that needs to be crawled so that the content on the site will begin to appear in relevant search queries.
Now let’s discuss several ways in which you can do so:
If you have absolutely no idea where to start – begin with the data from the search bar on your website to collect information about what people are searching for on your site.
Or sit down and write a list of all the words, terms and phrases that come to mind when you think of your business or industry (also consider products and services).
Learn more about SEO keywords here.
Headings and sub-headings (H1s and H2s) Next, create page titles, headers, sub-headings and descriptions to break up sections on your website but that also mention your specific area or city.
Using descriptive and meaningful headings can make the page easier to navigate by creating structure which helps others quickly find the information they need.
Headings are important as they tell a search engine that crawls your website what that specific page is about. The main header (H1) is your primary heading tag for your page.
Sub-headings (H2s, H3s, H4s, etc.,) also help indicate to a search engine what the website is about.
For example, a typical heading on a website may be something like, “we are a Florida based company,” however, instead try to be more specific such as, “Miami based plumber” (or whatever your specific city/town is).
As for sub-headings (H2s and H3s), instead of generic statements such as “About Us,” or “Our Services,” again, consider sub-headings that are more specific to what it is that you’re offering (and where you are offering it).
For example, “Why you need roof repairs in Miami” or “Ready for hurricane season in Miami? If not, it might be time for a roof repair.”
Learn more about SEO basics in our 20-minute video, SEO Made Simple here.
Include relevant photos
Original photos (not stock) are a great addition to your website as they help a visitor to your site become familiar with your brand and build trust.
For instance, when you include a photo with a popular destination in your local area or city – people from that city are more than likely going to recognize it and will feel more comfortable that your business is in their local area. Also, consider staff photos as these are a great way to personalize your website (and help Google understand more about your business – location, team, etc.,).
Blogs are an incredible asset to your website as they not only help to enhance SEO by providing the opportunity to include relevant keywords and phrases, but they also provide space to do things such as mention specific locations, places, and events that people search for.
For instance, “things to do in Dallas, Texas,” or “places to visit in Washington D.C. during the winter.”
Of course, blog posts will be dependent on what your business does/provides; however, blogs truly are an incredible value add to both your website and to your customer/client.
Most importantly, think about the type of helpful/useful content that you can create that your customer/client might actually be searching for to come across your post.
And don’t be afraid to get creative!
Creativity in blogs can lead to what is known as topical association or other general (but relevant) topics that is associated with your business/industry – that might also be useful to your customer/client.
Check out our TikTok video for more information about Topical Association.
Overall, a blog:
keeps your website dedicated to more broad phrases and questions, for example, “things to do in Atlanta,” while also allowing you to target and rank for specific and long-tail keywords
allows space for specificity (more specificity = less competition)
allows space for the use of a variety of synonyms and relevant phrases
improves chances to rank for other related search queries
Most people turn to Google because they have identified a problem or have a question and are seeking a solution or an answer. With a blog, you are able to do just that. You can provide a person with exactly what they're looking for and include additional valuable information. This then means that they are more likely to spend time engaging on your website (especially if your website and content valuable and credible). And the more time that a person spends on your website is a good indicator to Google (and other search engines) that your website is useful and relevant to a person's search query.
Reminder: it is Google's job to provide the most useful, relevant, and timely search result possible to a person's search query.
Also keep in mind that 70% of traffic comes from long-tail keywords as they are more aligned with a buyer's intent. And because of the specificity, there is a higher chance of conversion due to being in the later stages of the search cycle and buyer's funnel.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sections are an extremely beneficial feature to include on your website. Both to improve user experience and to increase your chances of getting found in local searches.
FAQ sections provide opportunities to include more unique content, for example consider questions including:
“Does the Alexandria location accept cash?”
“How much does a roof repair cost on average in Miami?”
“How much is a pet teeth cleaning in Los Angeles?”
With an FAQ section – you can answer the question in detail (and if necessary) you can also link to a blog post to go into even further detail to provide even more helpful/useful content to your website visitor.
Google Business Profile
Next, make sure to link your site to your Google Business Profile (GBP), previously known as Google My Business; because if your site has nothing for local searches and your competitor does – who do you think Google will choose to show in local search results?
With that being said, make sure to set up Google Business Profile (GBP).
Google Business Profile, is more so for physical and service-area-based businesses, however, even if you service clients globally, it doesn’t hurt to set this up to increase brand awareness in your local area.
This will also make it so that your business appears on Google Maps and in Google Local Pack. Learn more about Google Local Pack in our blog post here.
Remember that Google quite literally tells you what they want to see from you and your business – if you look at GBP, you’ll see there are features or spaces for you to include content (images, information) - take advantage of this!
They show you what they want displayed and if you fulfill what they want – you have a much better chance of appearing above other businesses that don’t fill out this information.
Also, Google does not want people to leave their search engine – they would rather people not go to your website – therefore it’s more beneficial for you to include as much information as possible. So, ask yourself, is the stuff and content on my website reflecting what is on Google Business Profile?
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
ensure that ALL contact information and any information regarding your business is up-to-date and accurate anywhere that it might be located on the internet. This is because if Google (or any search engine) comes across conflicting information (such as incorrect phone number or business address) this hinders your rankings as Google will not be able to determine which address or phone number is the correct one.
this is especially important if you have several locations – make sure each location is up-to-date and accurate and include storefront photos of each location if possible as people appreciate images and/or visuals.
respond to ALL reviews that you receive (both positive and negative). You cannot delete a negative review, but you can reply to it and try and amend the situation so that the reviewer can possibly modify their negative review or delete it altogether.
Google provides a Q&A section – make sure to set time aside each month to go through this and respond to ALL questions. This will enhance a person’s experience (as they will get their questions answered immediately and people love instant gratification); AND this increases the chances of a person clicking on your website which positively increases the click-through-rate (CTR).
include relevant photos. As previously mentioned, photos are a great way to build trust and familiarity with your customers. Not to mention, as of April 2022, Google introduced image multisearch; which allows people to search both images and text at the same time. Learn more about Image Multisearch here.
This is important for brick & mortar businesses (especially if you have multiple locations)
Service based businesses can also include photos of their service in creative ways
Finally, track your results.
Use Google Analytics (a free tool) to help you to see if your website and pages on your site are performing well or not.
Things to consider when tracking your website results:
are you gaining traffic?
is there an issue with the content?
is there an issue with conversion? (Do you need to focus on building more trust?)
look at your competitors and see what their pages include that your website doesn’t
The point is - optimize as much as possible, track results, and check them often.
Local hashtags & location tags
Example of Location Tag on Instagram
To increase the chances of having your ideal customer/client come across your content on social media, (just as with your website), make sure to include local keywords in your captions and hashtags; and take advantage of location tags.
Instead of only using broad and competitive hashtags, for example, #Dallas - again, think more creatively and specifically.
These are just a few examples that can hopefully help you spark your own ideas that are relevant to your own local area but if you need additional clarification, schedule a Clarity Call with us here.
This is another one that might sound obvious; but really start to focus on creating unique content that people in your local area and/or your ideal customer/client would search for and want to engage and interact with (hint: content that is useful to them).
Consider ways in which you can get creative with your content.
For example, consider diversifying your content through location-specific information; such as including testimonials/reviews that are specific to your location (this helps people in your area identify and become familiar with your brand).
Dentist office: a series about recommended products to use that can also be found at local pharmacies (mom & pop shops)
Real estate: a series about local coffee shops and/or best cafés and restaurants in local areas
Tile & Flooring: a series about the best ways to keep your tiles looking brand new and where to find these products
Being an online business owner – it's easy to forget that you can also get involved in your physical local area and not just the digital space.
How to do this?
attend local markets
small business events
city council meetings
show up at events in your area and start to introduce yourself to others and become well-known in your community (don’t forget to bring your business cards!)
host small business events/meet ups of your own!
To learn more about the basics of SEO (and all that you need to know) to best optimize your website and begin to strategically build your online presence – check out our digital course and lifetime membership SEO Made Simple here.
Chief Creative Officer