Actionable Step by Step Guide to Local SEO 2019

Local SEO strategies are always fluid and in a state of flux. Approaches and plans are changed continuously year on year to keep in tune with the latest algorithms of major search engines. 2019 has been no exception and the year has seen a few tactics that have dominated the local SEO scenario.

What is Local SEO

Local search is a powerful tool for small businesses catering to a fixed community or a specific location. Almost 80% of consumers use local search, and hence if your business is not optimized for it, you will be missing out on business opportunities.

The difference may not be much between general organic search and local search – Best plumbers as against Best plumbers in New York– but it is enough to divert search results away from you if you are a plumber in New York. In a nutshell, local search is essential if you have to stay relevant in your business.

Local SEO is relevant to small businesses that work within a defined area and whose operation does not extend beyond the local community or town. Hence, the goal is to promote products and services to local customers. Search engines rely on a few parameters to put together information on local search. These include signals on local content, social media profiles, citations, and links to provide the best local search results to the user.

The Advantage of local SEO

As in SEO which is more generic, local SEO is the process of ranking your business and what it has to offer to the local people when they are searching for it. This will make your website stand out in local SERPs above your competitors, thus drawing in more traffic and increasing lead generation and conversions.

Additionally, potential customers use local search to find top businesses in a definite location. By improving online presence in local search, you will be catering to this segment of the population in a specific area.

For prospering in local search engine rankings, it is necessary that you follow practices and use tools that will get you there. Improving on-page SEO by updating the website and optimizing Google My Business account are some of the steps you can take. However, if all these tend to overwhelm you, hire best SEO company to create effective local SEO strategies for you.

Important Local SEO strategies in 2019

The main point now is – how do you optimize your strategy to get on top of local search results. Here is a step by step guide that you can follow in 2019 to help your website rank higher than your competitors.

  • Title and Meta Description – Title and Meta descriptions tags are the HTML elements that help to describe your content in the SERPs. It is a form of a preview of your content. Even though the number of visible characters is limited, Google has increased the width of the main search results page to 600px now. Hence in 2019, you get more space to write longer titles and descriptions.

With many websites vying for competition, you have to put titles and descriptions that will catch the attention of the visitor immediately and lead to a low click-through-rate (CTR). Most critically for local searches, the name of the city that you are operating in should be prominently mentioned

  • Improved local SEO through Local Directories – In a survey by Google, it was found that almost eighty percent of consumers uses search engines to conduct local searches. Hence, if you have not claimed your business online, you are missing out on searches from this section.

    It is critical therefore that as a local business, you should list your business on top online search directories like Yelp, foursqaure and hotfrog etc.

    Add your business name, address, and phone (NAP) correctly and ensure that they are the same in every directory. If they are not consistent, it will be tough for Google to determine which information is correct and can result in your business not showing up in SERPs at all.

Further, The NAP should be as a crawl-able HTML text on the site. Do not make the mistake of putting a NAP within images as search engines cannot crawl them like HTML text. It is recommended that the NAP is placed prominently on the header of a site or the footer.

  • Optimize “Google My Business” – For local SEO marketing, optimizing “Google My Business” is critical. Studies have shown that the most influencing factor on a consumer before a visit to a brick and mortar store is a complete and detailed listing of the business.

    This is not an easy and it is preferable that you hire the services of a leading digital marketing firm. You can be sure that your local SEO will be fully optimized and geared for local searches. 
  • Certain steps are followed for optimizing local searches.
  • First, the business category that fits your type of business and industry precisely should be selected.
  • Do not be generic about it and list your business in multiple categories.
  • Give a detailed description of your business, operating hours and types of payments accepted.
  • Upload a logo of your business for instant brand recognition.
  • Include a minimum of clear and quality photos of your products and services. This strategy is being extensively followed in 2019 in local SEO campaigns today.
  • Customer Reviews – In 2019, customer reviews for local search optimization has been given a lot of importance. Studies by Search Engine Journal show that eighty-eight percent of people trusts online reviews. It is not difficult to get reviews on social media platforms where most people are active.

    Facebook and “Google My Business” page are the two places that people usually look for addresses. So added attention should be given to these areas. 

Moreover, Google has explicitly laid down that positive reviews enhance online business visibility. It can, therefore, be taken as default that reviews influence local search engine ranking.   

  • Publish locally optimized content – Create content that caters to the local population. Include news and information about the local industry, miscellaneous local news, employees and other similar content that will arouse local interest. You can even add a calendar of exciting events in your locality in your blog.

    Additionally, every time you include fresh content, optimize the content by including high-volume keywords in the URL, Meta descriptions, body and title.
  • Include location pages – If you operate from a single location, include an About Us page on the website that provides store hours, store description, parking information, testimonials, and promotions.

    If you have multiple locations stores, do the same exercise for all of them but avoid duplicating content on each. Make an extra effort to add precise locations for all from Google Maps.  
  • Improve internal links – Improving internal linking is the standard practice of agencies offering SEO services and the same is true for local searches too. Internal links support website navigation, distributes page authority and ranking power and enables information architecture and website hierarchy. 
  • Have a responsive website – Most searches for local business is now carried out on smartphones. Generally, people use their mobile devices to find directions to your store, read reviews, and search for information to contact you.

    Further, more and more people are today searching for products and services on their mobile devices before arriving at a purchase decision. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you will lose out on sales opportunities.

    A responsive site is one that is equally well navigable, regardless of the size of the screen, from desktops to tablets to smartphones. 

These are highly important steps that you can follow to optimize local search strategies in 2019. To get professional help from our local SEO experts, contact us!

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