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Local SEO – we’ve all heard of it before, especially in the last few years. It’s quite the buzzword now. But what exactly is it? It’s pretty simple. Yoast defines it as a way to “optimize your website to rank better for your local audience…if the target audience for your business is actually located in or near the city you have your office or shop, you’ll need to practice at least some local SEO as well.” And it makes sense – in order to drive more business, you should be going after a business that is in the same geographical area as you! Seems easy enough, right?

There are a number of ways to go about optimizing for local SEO, which we will delve into some more.

To just name a few, though, you can claim your business’ listing, making sure your location information appears correctly in search, managing your online reviews, and engaging with customers on social media. The reason it is so important to do  this is that in a study conducted by Hubspot, it was shown that nearly half of all Google searches are local. When it comes to SEO though, it can be tricky – one thing will work one week, and the next maybe not. However, it’s important to just stick with it and be consistent, as local SEO will only continue to grow.

So, when it comes to incorporating local SEO optimization into your strategy, we put together a few of our recommendations, tips, and methods that work best.

Increasing use of voice search. Nowadays, you’re able to search just about anything on your phone using the voice search tool. Ask Siri anything from “Where can I get the best sandwich in town?” to “What is the meaning of life?” and she’ll give you an answer of some sort. With voice search becoming more accurate and advanced, usage will only increase more. But what does this have to do with local SEO?

One source says, “A combination of advancements in technology, virtual assistants, and the rise of voice-activated home devices has led to an estimation being made that around 50 percent of all searches will be done with voice by 2020.” So, when it comes to local SEO, there will be a greater emphasis on long-tail keywords in the coming years. What this means is that people will not be using simple keywords which are normally short phrases as much. Instead, searches will be more conversational and natural – hence the need for long-tail keywords.

In order to adapt to this coming change, we recommend having content on your website be more natural sounding as well so that Google will then favor content that can answer specific questions. “With the majority of voice searches starting with “who, what, where, when, why, and how”, you should aim to build content that answers these questions.” One tool that can help with this is Long Tail Pro, which helps you discover long-tail keywords that could increase your content’s rank on Google.

Online reviews matter. Sure, we’ve always known that, but did you know that Google and other search engines use reviews to rank search results? Up to nearly 10% too! What’s even more shocking is that a survey conducted by Podium showed that “93% of consumers say that online reviews have an impact on their purchase decision” and “the minimum star rating of a business consumers would consider engaging with is a 3.3.” So, how does this impact local SEO?

Having a reliable system in place to collect reviews and display them online helps a lot! According to a Moz report, “review signals such as quantity, frequency, and diversity are among the top factors that determine your local SEO rankings.” And with people only turning to and trusting online reviews more and more, it’s worth it to invest some extra time into this area of your business and have a strategy moving forward.

Create and share local content. Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, not too many companies do! Tech HQ writes, “When blogging specifically for local SEO, you should create hyperlocal content that is specific to your exact area. For instance, you may choose to write about local events or festivals that large businesses may not think are worth covering, and tie in how your business relates. You can write about your company’s history and roots, and how your business engages with the local community.” Even better, interview customers and use their success stories with your products or services rather than writing about your products or services alone. Doing so will only increase your visibility in the area and hopefully bring in more customers!

We get it – SEO can be tricky, so we know local SEO can seem even more intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. With some time, a good amount of effort, and a lot of patience though, you can become an SEO pro and get your business’ name out in your community even more.

RenderTribe can help, too! We have 9+ years of SEO experience under our belt and are ready to help. Our RenderLab process identifies the unique pieces that fit in your overall marketing strategy and aligns your plan with overall business objectives. We help build the foundation for measurement, expertise, and the tactical execution needed to support the plan.

Let us help you grow your bottom line. Contact us today.

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