Whenever you need a product or service, do you look for a shop outside the country or do you search for ones within your locality? Without a doubt, you will choose the business that is within your reach and this is the reason why local search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of any online marketing endeavour.
National SEO focuses on ranking your website across the country indexing but local SEO focuses on ranking in searches on your specific location. This relies heavily on marketing your brand, services, and products to the most accessible customers of them all — the locals.
Optimizing your local SEO gives you more relevant website traffic, leads, and conversions because the strategy targets your local base. This is a focused strategy that helps you compete effectively against other brands operating at a larger scale and with unlimited resources. When you focus on your local market and divert your SEO efforts on these, you gain an advantage over other bigger brands that are known for optimizing for broader keywords. You get a value proposition and bring in more traffic to your website.
As a small business owner, you can leverage your business by mastering the art of local SEO. Take these hints from an SEO expert in Montreal to help you get started with your marketing efforts:
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing of business profiles hosted by the most popular search engine in the world. When properly optimized, the listing will show searchers the best features of your business so it becomes easier for them to discover, learn, and contact you for orders or bookings. Optimizing your Google My Business profile requires that you access it and verify it with Google identifying you as its rightful owner.
Verifying your GMB account involves three steps: creating the profile, claiming, and verifying.
Once verified, you will be able to enjoy the following GMB privileges:
- Gain ownership and control of your business profile
- Provide timely and accurate information
- Include your logo, operation hours, payment methods, products and services, and other pertinent information to visitors
- Add images of your business
- Show and encourage customer review
- Respond to customer reviews
- Publish announcements and special offers
Regularly Ask for Customer Reviews
Gaining positive reviews is the word of mouth marketing in the digital age. When you have several customers writing positively about their experience with your business, it convinces others of the legitimacy of your products and services while encouraging them to also capitalize on these.
Here are some ways you can encourage your customers to leave reviews for your business:
- Ask for an in-person review after closing a sale
- Send a post-purchase email or text to encourage them to post a review of their experience
- Let them answer a short survey that directs to your GMB profile and website
- Respond to the existing reviews (positive or otherwise) in a professional way. Do not be scared of negative reviews because you can use them to make your business look more legitimate. Some customers are bound to have issues with your business and responding to these negative comments in a professional manner can earn you the trust of previous and would-be clients.
Optimize Voice Search
Voice search is a rapidly growing platform. Most people now want to use their mobile phones with voice features and voice AI devices to search online because it is more convenient for them.
You want to focus on using more long-tail keywords in optimizing for voice search. Adjust your SEO content to fit a conversational tone, as if someone is speaking, so it quickly answers the common WH questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how).
Also, make sure that you optimize for the search intent. Most voice searches are aimed at answering specific queries. Potential customers use voice search to get a quick and reliable answer for these questions so you need to provide them with this content.
Be With the Locals
How do you make your presence felt in your local market? The answer is by talking about experiences and people that they know about and can relate to. Here are some strategies that you can use to capture the locals’ attention:
- Write blogs about the local news stories, events, and activities
- Create videos of events you are spearheading especially if it involves causes and charities
- Set up a location-specific webpage on your website that contains high-quality content if your business serves various provinces and territories
Optimize Your Mobile Set
In Canada, there are 29.83 million mobile internet users as of 2020. The use of web-enabled phones gives Canadians the freedom to access their social media and other profiles for information, entertainment, or to meet a specific need. As a business, your goal is to be within reach of these prospective clients. You should be on every screen that they are using.
Traffic from mobile websites can be a great contributor to the success of your business. A 2017 study from Acquisio determined that traffic searches actually made more conversions with 75% of mobile searches exhibiting local intent that produced offline visits within the day.
To optimize for mobile, make sure that you do these:
- Ensure that your website does not take too long to load because mobile users want their sites to quickly appear
- Use bigger fonts because the screen is already very small
- Use images and copy without fillers because you want to give them the information they need to fit in the mobile screen
- Always aim for intuitive UI for great UX
Local SEO is a worthy investment. When you focus on creating content that taps your local clients first, you get a bigger chance at converting. When done right, it empowers your small business even if you are competing with bigger and well-funded businesses because the message is directed at people just within your vicinity.