Top 6 Local SEO Tips to Dominate Google Search Results

Top 6 Local SEO Tips to Dominate Google Search Results

January 25, 2023
(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

As a local small business, you will do almost anything to get in front of potential clients. You can use the power of the internet and internet marketing to ensure you’re in front of local searchers when they are looking for your services.

The problem is that many local small businesses’ websites aren’t optimized for search engines, let alone local search. The bottom line is that you are throwing away a huge opportunity to reach potential clients in your service area and drive additional traffic, incremental revenue, and more sales.

The Top 6 Proven Local SEO Tips

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online presence to attract more business from local customers. Here are my top six tips to help you improve your local SEO:

1. Claim Your Google Business Profile

The first thing any small business needs to do is to claim your Google Business Profile (GBP). The GBP is a free online listing that appears directly on Google Maps and Google Search results pages when someone does what Google deems a local search or searches for a specific business or service.

The Google Business Profile allows you, the small business, or someone affiliated with your business to update and manage an array of options and information.

This includes:

  • Location
  • Phone Number(s)
  • Hours of Operation
  • Reviews
  • Photos

With the GBP, you want to think of it as putting information directly into Google's Databases. Therefore you must ensure your data is accurate and up-to-date at all times. I recommend checking on your profile at least once a month.

Here are seven additional tips to help you optimize your Google Business Profile

  1. Add high-quality photos of your business, services, and/or products.
  2. Use Google Business Profile categories to describe your business and your products or services accurately.
  3. Encourage clients to leave reviews, as positive reviews can improve your ranking in local search results and give searchers confidence in your business.
  4. Respond to both positive and negative reviews. This shows not only Google but prospective clients that you value their feedback and are willing to address any issues they may have.
  5. Use Google Posts to share updates about your business, such as new products, sales, or events.
  6. Utilize GBP Insights to track your profile's performance and make data-driven decisions about your online presence.
  7. Regularly update your GBP with new information, videos, and photos to keep it fresh and accurate.

2. Get Listed in Online Directories

In addition to Google Business Profile (GBP), there are many other online directories where you can list your business, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and local chamber of commerce websites. These listings can help improve your visibility in local search results.

3. Optimize Your Website for Local Keywords

Use local keywords in your website's content and meta tags to help search engines understand the location and context of your business. For example, if you own a coffee shop in Hickory, North Carolina, include phrases like "coffee shop in Hickory, NC" and "best coffee in Hickory" in your website's content.

4. Encourage Reviews and Testimonials

Online reviews and testimonials can help improve your local SEO by showing search engines that your business is popular and well-regarded by your clients. It also indicates to searchers the “social proof” aspect we humans crave.

Why Reviews and Testimonials Work

According to Dr. Robert B Cialdini, author of “Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion,” he says that:

“In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to accept the actions of others – because those actions reduce our uncertainty about what is correct behavior there.

One way uncertainty develops is through a lack of familiarity with the situation. Under such circumstances, people are especially likely to follow the lead of others… Customers who weren’t in a position to rely on existing experience in the situation had the strongest tendency to resort to social proof.”

He continues to tell the story of Sylvan Goldman, who owned several small grocery stores in the early 1930s. He realized people would stop shopping when the small baskets provided were full or too heavy. He went on to contraption that was the predecessor of today’s modern shopping cart. The first iteration was so unfamiliar-looking that shoppers wouldn’t use them. Frustrated and on the verge of giving up, Goldman tried one more idea to lessen shoppers’ uncertainty and hesitation based on social proof. Goldman hired “shoppers” to push the carts around the store. His actual shoppers quickly followed suit. His innovation swept the country, and he died a wealthy man with an estate worth more than $400 million.

As you can see, the social proof of the fake “shoppers” encouraged the real shoppers to use Goldman’s carts.

How to Encourage Reviews and Testimonials

When it comes to soliciting reviews and testimonials, two things you do not want to do is offer incentives for people to leave reviews, such as discounts or special promotions. Additionally, you don’t want to hire people to go and leave reviews, either. Both methods are against almost all the review site’s terms of service and are borderline unethical.

What you can do is:

  1. Make it easy to leave reviews by providing clear instructions and links to review sites.
  2. Respond to all positive or negative reviews to show that you value their feedback.
  3. Display reviews prominently on your website or social media accounts to encourage others to leave reviews. Note: If you use these, slightly reword them or use a third-party system to embed them. Copy and pasting them directly will get you dinged in the search engines.
  4. Reach out to satisfied clients and ask if they would be willing to leave a review.
  5. Offer excellent service to increase the likelihood of positive reviews.

5. Use Local Structured Data

Structured data is a way to markup your website's content so that search engines can better understand the meaning and context of your pages. By using structured data, you can help search engines understand that your business is located in a specific geographical area, which can improve your local SEO.

What is Structured Data

Structured data, also known as schema, is a standardized format for describing the content and information on a webpage. It helps search engines understand the meaning and context of the information on a webpage. It will also help improve the visibility of your website pages in the search engine results pages.

6. What are Local Landing Pages

Local landing pages, geo landing pages, or geographic pages are designed to target a specific geographical location within your service area.

These pages will:

  • Focus on one geographical location and one service you provide
  • Include information such as store hours, location, and contact information
  • Include maps and directions to the business as appropriate
  • Include information, parks, and history about the area being serviced to inform Google you know the area

Final Thoughts

Your service area business needs to be found on the internet for your services. If you have a physical location, then it is even more important to be found online. Therefore you must ensure that your local small business website is optimized for search engines and local search.

Don’t waste a huge opportunity to reach your potential clients in your service area by not doing the things I mentioned.

However, if you find you need help, then reach out to me. I am here to help you and your business grow. I also offer a free consultation because my goal is to help as many small businesses as possible, even if we aren’t the best fit.

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  January 25, 2023

Chad is a Partner and our Chief Smarketing Officer. He will help you survey your small business needs, educating you on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad is passionate about rural marketing in the United States and North Carolina. He also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

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