Here's a question for you: would you prefer your advert to be seen by 100 people who are local to you and who are interested in your services, or would you prefer your advert to be seen by 10,000 people who could be anywhere in the world and who might not necessarily care about your services?
When newbies to the SEO field come in, most will answer the latter; it's better for an advert to be seen by more people than fewer people, but is it really?
Let's take an example for a second. You're a plumber who can logistically only work within a 1-hour commute of your home. It makes much more sense for you to have your advert seen by local people looking for a plumber than by people in a different state or country who aren't even interested in plumbing.
This is where Local SEO really comes into its own.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the term given to search engine optimization that is focused on your local area and optimization that will help you build your business and brand locally rather than nationally or internationally.
While most companies will do well to boost their general SEO, local SEO is an important part of building strong foundations for local businesses to grow within their community.
The key with local SEO is building your brand with real people in real communities. You want to be that brand or business that people will recommend to their friends when they need your service or product.
In the marketing world, there's a saying: Word of mouth advertising is the best advertising money can't buy. While money can't buy you recommendations, building good local SEO is the next best thing!
7 Ways to Build your Personal Authority and Improve your Local SEO Rankings
Focus On Local Keywords
This one seems simple, right? That's because it is! If you want to be found locally, you need to be letting Google know that you are a local business that will serve people in the local area.
When people search for 'Web Design Wolverhampton' they want to be given options for web design companies in Wolverhampton, not web design companies in Winnepeg!
Incidentally, ALT agency, the agency at the top of the ranks for 'Web Design Wolverhampton' knows this and worked incredibly hard to get themselves to the top of that particularly competitive keyword using a variety of great SEO techniques, including great local SEO.
Build Your Google My Business Page
You're after a cake shop within an hour's drive from your home, where do you go?
Most people will head straight to either Google Maps or Google search, and both of these options will throw up all kinds of results, but here's the secret: those results are only there because the owners have a Google My Business listing and use it regularly.
Claim your business listing, fill it in with as much info as possible, make sure you're on Google Maps, and update it regularly with posts, images, videos, and anything else that is relevant to your business. It's free and easy to do, but it makes a huge difference.
Promote Your Business On Local Pages
This tip is less about pure content SEO and more about outbound marketing, but it goes hand in hand with good SEO.
Promoting your business on local pages is a great way to get your business name out there to the local community.
In the world of digital marketing, this means using local social media groups like Facebook Community Groups and other local social networks like the UK's Next Door.
Be warned with this one: some group admins on Facebook have rules about posting business adverts, and many will delete you from the group for being too spammy.
Answer Locals' Questions Publicly
Following straight on from the idea of promoting your services in local groups, don't forget to be helpful to locals who need an answer to a question.
If you're in a community group and someone asks for advice, don't immediately give your website address and leave the conversation; that's being spammy.
It's much better if you can answer their question as best as possible and offer them the opportunity to find out more by visiting your website or giving you a call. Businesses who aren't afraid to answer questions will get a good reputation and naturally encourage more warm leads from it.
This is a great way to also send local traffic to your website, which will have a knock-on effect of showing Google that your website is helpful for locals.
Ask for Recommendations
So you've done lots of work locally, and your customers love your products or services, now what?
It may seem uncomfortable at first, but you need to be asking them for recommendations, and preferably recommendations that are public and visible to others looking.
The best option for most businesses is to ask for a review on Google, as nearly everyone has a Google account and the ability to log on and review your services.
Be upfront to your customers and clients with a simple question post-purchase, such as;
"Hey, if you liked my product/service, it would be really helpful if you could spare five minutes leaving me a review to let others know; this really helps my business."
Most people will be happy to as long as they've had good service.
Don't forget to leave a reply to say thank you to them for taking the time to leave you a review too!
Stay Consistent In Your Branding
One of the things that small local businesses suffer from is inconsistent branding.
If your business is not in marketing, the whole idea of branding can seem a bit of a mystery and sometimes too complicated to bother with, but getting your branding right can make so much difference to your local SEO and local marketing efforts that it's worth having a quick read of some branding tips articles to get some knowledge.
The basics of branding include:
- Picking one business name and sticking with it.
- Using the same logo across all of your uniforms, marketing materials, social media posts, etc.
- Sticking to only a few brand colors (3 minimum, around 5 is usually the max).
- Using a consistent brand 'voice' and language
- Sticking with topics related to your niche or brand (no epic political or religious rants when it's nothing to do with your business).
- Using your business social media pages and your business blog page for your business, and not for personal reasons.
Use Services For Your Niche
The final tip in this article is one that many local-focused businesses just don't do, and that is to use services designed for your niche.
There are various options out there when it comes to advertising and building your local SEO with related services, and you should be using them to help build your brand.
In the UK, for example, TrustATrader.com is a great directory designed for tradespeople (builders, plumbers, electricians, etc.), and bigger websites like AutoTrader are great for car salespeople.
Find what works for your industry and exploit that little helping hand for your local SEO efforts.