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SEO 16 min read

Local Awareness: SEO Methods To Increase Local Involvement

Local Awareness: SEO Methods To Increase Local Involvement
Local Awareness: SEO Methods To Increase Local Involvement
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is super important if you run a business that operates regionally. This is mainly because many of your customers are now online, and when they need a service just like yours, they turn to Google.

The thing with local SEO is that it can work very similarly to regular SEO. The major difference is that it's focused on local searches, which means you need to be more specific with your SEO campaign. You need to filter out national searches and target highly qualified, localized customers who are either interested to learn more about your business or who are ready to buy right now.

In this article, we're going to share the best SEO methods that will boost local awareness, so that your service has a chance of ranking higher on Google, becoming more visible to more potential customers, and helping you generate more leads.

Find Local Keywords

A local keyword is a keyword that potential customers are typing into Google whenever they're searching for products and services just like yours. When you start to rank for these keywords, you can drive targeted and highly qualified local traffic away from your competitors - and towards your website.

Naturally, as a local business, it's very easy to assume you know what keywords your customers are searching for. As an example, a dentist in Manhattan might assume that their customers are typing in "dentist in Manhattan." This is probably true - their customers probably are typing in that exact phrase.

But what about the other phrases that will truly help you drive targeted traffic?

Local SERP Features. How to Optimize Your Website for Keywords that Return Map in Results

And what about user intent?

When optimizing your content with local keywords, it's important that you research them the right way. A good way to start is by brainstorming and then listing all the different services you offer. For example, a dentist might offer teeth cleaning services, emergency dentist services, root canal services, and more.

If you're not sure about all the services you offer, or which a customer might inquire about, consult your team and existing customers. Then, once you've got your terms, check out any synonyms that might be useful, and which your customers might be using when they type your business into Google. For instance, "teeth cleaning" and "teeth whitening" might mean the same thing but it's important to use both.

Next, you'll need to use a keyword research tool to pull up search volume data.

Search volume data lets you know how many people are searching for each local keyword each month on average. Whilst we don't recommend that you put too much stock into search volume, it's still worth checking out because it shows you which keywords to focus on, which ones to compete for - and which ones to perhaps leave aside for now. In essence, search volume lets you know which keywords (and content) you should be prioritizing.

Advanced solutions such as Serpstat allow you to streamline all these different processes within one tool, simply switching between the available options. From keyword research to domain, rank, and competitor analysis, all the way to analyzing backlinks and contextual advertising, it's handy to have all the needed tools in one place. Crunching these into customized reports is icing on the cake, making SEO easier not only for the work phase but easily digestible for your supervisors as well.
Serpstat's Keyword Research tool
Serpstat's Keyword Research tool
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When it comes to optimizing your content with keywords, there are a few ways in which you can do it:

  • Add the main keyword to your title and at least one H2

  • Add the main keyword to your first paragraph

  • Sprinkle a few more of your main keywords throughout your content

  • Optimize your metadata with keywords

You can set up Text Analytics with Serpstat's tool to optimize your website for better local ranking:
Serpstat's Text Analytics tool
Serpstat's Text Analytics tool

List Your Business On Google My Business

Google My Business is a free tool that lets you add your business to Google. After adding it, people searching for your product or service in your area will see it listed. They will see your address, your phone number (if you've added it), any other contact details, as well as your opening hours (if you've added them), and customer reviews.

They will also see it on Google Maps, which essentially means that your business is suddenly much more visible in search results.

For instance, if you're a plumber in New York and someone types in "plumbers in New York," there's a big chance that your business will appear alongside the other plumbers in New York.

How do you add your business to Google My Business?

It's actually a really simple process. First, you need to sign in using your business's Google Account, before entering your address in the search bar.

Then, just head over to the "Business Profile" tab and add your business.

Or, you can begin by typing in your businesses name:
Similar to Google My Business, there are other local business directories you can add your business to for more visibility in the SERPs. These include:
  • Yelp
  • Yahoo!
  • Bing Places
  • Foursquare

Generate More Online Reviews

Online reviews are such an important SEO method for raising local awareness that they should be non-negotiable.

In other words, if you want to rank higher in the SERPs and get seen by more customers, you have to generate as many online reviews as you can.

How are online reviews related to SEO?

It's largely down to review signals (keywords in Google reviews, high numerical Google ratings, and the quantity of Google reviews with text) - which Google uses as a ranking factor. Remember that Google is always trying to find ways of improving user experience by giving users the search results that either match their query or are valuable, helpful content.

Ergo, when a business has lots of positive reviews, it clearly tells Google that this is a business people trust, and which therefore deserves to rank higher.

Then there's Google My Business. When you get more online reviews on Google, your Google My Business clickthrough rate improves.

Not only that, but online reviews obviously help potential customers decide whether to choose Business A over Business B. Moreover, if you don't have any reviews at all (or just a handful), it's very hard for a first-time customer to choose you over a different business.

Naturally, you can't generate customer reviews all by yourself. Instead, you have to find ways of encouraging your customers to leave you a review. Here are some tips:

  • Ask! There's nothing illegal about emailing your customers to ask them to provide a review. The main thing is that you wait for a few days after they've made their purchase.

  • Make it easy for them to leave a review. Include a link in the email!

  • Explain to your customers why their reviews are helpful

Launch a Localized Content Marketing Campaign

Content marketing is inextricably linked to SEO because - as we mentioned earlier - Google is focused on delivering as much value to the end-user as possible. The more valuable your content is, the higher it will rank (provided the content is optimized, of course).

Valuable content is content that answers the user's queries as perfectly as possible. It's also well-presented (headers, white spaces, and generally easy on the eye).

Google can generally tell whether the content is useful or not by looking at the bounce rate and time spent on the page. If a page's bounce rate is high, it tells Google that that particular content isn't providing any value to the end-user. As a consequence, it may drop down the rankings.

Localized content marketing campaigns are a tad different from general content marketing campaigns. It increases your brand awareness and attracts targeted traffic to your site. As such, you need to focus on content that contains local information that people in your targeted area would be interested in.

However, while you need to keep your geographic region in mind, you can still be open to producing content that's shareable - such as "best of" lists.

It's also important to note that localized content marketing campaigns can be a great way of encouraging links from other local businesses, which will further help you rank. In fact, let's expand on this point.

Compilation Of The Best Content Marketing Techniques

Launch a Guest Post Campaign

In case you're not familiar with the concept, guest posting is basically writing for other blogs related to your niche (or at least relevant to your audience) in order to reach a wider audience and raise awareness of your brand, products, and services.

Guest posting can improve your SEO efforts in a few ways. First, it's really important that you guest post on as many high-authority sites as possible, as these will send you the most "link juice."

What's link juice?

Essentially, when you write a guest post, the idea is that you include a backlink to your website. When this backlink is coming from a high-authority website, Google then starts to trust your website more - and will thus start to rank it higher in the SERPs.

Second, guest posting gives you a chance to create more valuable content, which is exactly what Google wants.

When it comes to localized guest posting, it's a smart idea to target local businesses, charities etc., sites related as much as possible to your niche and audience. Naturally, a charity might not always be related to your niche, but provided they are local and share the same audience as you, they are still relevant enough to be targeted.

Here are some tips to help you launch a guest blogging campaign:

  • Create a spreadsheet of sites to target

  • Come up with content ideas and pitch them to different websites

  • Either write the content yourself or hire a writer

  • Communicate with other webmasters - the more helpful and communicative you are, the more local relationships you'll build

Why Guest Blogging Is Still A Powerful Inbound Tactic

Optimize For Mobile

46% of Google searches have local intent, while 81,100,000,000 local searches are done on a mobile device.

These are incredible statistics that should tell you one thing - you need to optimize your website for mobile users.

This might sound super easy, but the fact is that many businesses forget to carry out this task and focus on the desktop version of their site instead - assuming that it naturally functions well on mobile devices. Unless you optimize for mobile, the user experience might be poor, and you'll miss out on lots of potential customers.

There are a few ways to optimize your website for mobile use:

  • Use Google's PageSpeed Insights to find out how quickly your site loads on mobile devices

  • Compress your images for faster loading time

  • Use more white spaces for an easier user experience, as well as larger fonts

  • Implement a responsive design and theme

  • Be creative with how you use purchase buttons and calls to action

  • If possible, consider creating a mobile app

Wrapping up

Local SEO can be both simple and complex. It's simple in that it doesn't require you to massively deviate from your existing SEO campaign, but it's complex in that it still requires a lot of work to get up in the SERPs.

That said, it's really important that you don't neglect to work on other things that will help you climb in Google rankings, including fine-tuning the overall user experience on your website, making your website as secure as possible, and putting your customers first. Don't forget to use SEO tools as well!
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The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

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