Our Top 5 Tips to Dominate Local Search in 2021
There's no doubt that many local businesses struggled in 2020. And while the pandemic continues, things are slowly starting to get back to normal. What that really means for business owners is that there are new opportunities to grow in 2021.
One of the best ways to do that is by focusing on local SEO. Local searches are more important than ever, as Google knows that most people are looking for results nearby. But how can you leverage the power of local search in order to increase your brand visibility, traffic, and sales this year? The following tips will help you dominate local search results in 2021.
Utilize Local Keywords
Whether you're running ads or writing fresh content for your website, it's often beneficial to get specific. While you might assume that it'll better to get your site seen by more people, that really doesn't matter if those people don't translate into customers. The name of the game is to attract the right people -- and that often requires you to be a little more limited in targeting certain terms.
While you don't have to ditch broad keywords entirely, it'll behoove you to utilize local keywords whenever possible. As long as search volume exists, you'll more easily appeal to customers in your area who are looking for relevant solutions. Think about using some near me search terms or optimizing for your city in meta descriptions, title tags, and other content.
In addition to using location-based keywords in your copy, you might want to think about creating separate location pages for each area you service. If there are a few different towns or cities nearby that you travel to or you have multiple business locations, it might make sense to have a different landing page for each area. That can increase your chances of showing up in relevant search results.
Optimize For Mobile and Voice
Mobile users play a huge role in helping local businesses thrive. When you conduct a search on your smartphone, you're most likely looking for a business within the immediate vicinity. As such, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile users and that your web design is truly responsive. This can eliminate barriers that might otherwise drive mobile traffic away.
Voice search is also becoming more popular among mobile users who are looking for local results. Using Siri or Alexa to locate a nearby business is a lot easier than typing on a screen when you're on the go. To appeal to voice search functionality, consider creating FAQ pages with complete questions (rather than fragmented keyword phrases) and write in a conversational tone. This can make it more likely for your business to appear in voice-powered search results.
Update GMB and Local Listings
Another thing you can do to maximize your chances of appearing in local search results is to claim and update pertinent local listings. Google My Business, in particular, is a helpful platform for small businesses because it can really increase your visibility in SERPs.
Be sure to claim and fill out your GMB profile and that this information is consistent with other local listings information you have elsewhere online. Not only can this help with brand awareness, but it'll also increase your chances of appearing in the map pack -- making it even easier for customers to support you.
Pay Attention to Online Reviews
Online reviews are crucial for small businesses in the digital age. Website testimonials can't hurt, but they aren't seen as totally objective by potential customers. Most consumers consider online reviews to be as valuable as personal recommendations, so it's important for you to generate them!
In fact, these sites may actually show up more prominently in SERPs if someone conducts a search for your business name. A business without any online reviews at all might be perceived as untrustworthy, so you'll want to solicit honest reviews from customers for Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business. If you receive any negative reviews, don't panic. How you respond will usually matter more than the review itself. Rather than getting defensive or trying to have the review removed, lead with empathy and show anyone who might be reading exactly why you deserve their business.
Secure Quality Backlinks
Link-building is an important part of any marketing strategy, but it's essential for local businesses. Having a strong backlink profile can help your site be seen as more authoritative and valuable, as backlinks basically serve as an endorsement from others online. Since Google is more likely to reward quality websites with search result improvements, it makes sense to focus on improving your domain authority through link building.
Of course, the catch is to secure links from sites that Google already trusts. There are a few different ways to do that if you own a local business. One of the SEO deliverables you might be familiar with is a guest post. This refers to unique content that's posted on a reputable website with a link back to your own. You might consider pitching a guest post to another business or locally-owned website in your area that operates within a similar niche (without being a direct competitor). This can provide the site owner with high-quality content and help you generate both traffic and "link juice" to your site. You could also contribute to an industry round-up or create an infographic that other site owners would be interested in sharing.
It's not always easy to level the playing field when you're a small business owner. But with these marketing tips in mind, you can utilize local search to your advantage and increase the likelihood that your site will be found online.