Local SEO: A comprehensive guide to how we improve your local rankings
Are you looking to grow your local business? Do you want to reach more potential customers in your local area effectively and economically? Would you like to improve your search rankings with your local target audience and draw more traffic to your website? You need a local SEO strategy if you answered yes to any of these questions.
At Invite Them Home, we have used our expert Milwaukee SEO services to help local businesses nationwide flourish. We want to do the same for you and your business! Read on to see how you can harness SEO to improve your local search performance and reach the right audience at the right time.
Table of Contents
What is local SEO?
Local SEO (search engine optimization) involves enhancing the online presence of local and regional organizations. Local SEO requires emphasizing your specific geographical area and competing with your local competitors. The primary objective is to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for local searches. Local SEO enhances your online presence to generate more business from mobile and desktop searches near your business. In fact, we have tools that look at mobile and desktop searches by city, county, or state to give us the data we need to deliver the best results.
Small businesses seeking to thrive must focus on targeted and effective marketing strategies. Local SEO is a tried and true method to elevate your small business’s visibility and attract relevant customers.
How is Local SEO different from National SEO?
A luxury car mechanic in Miami’s strategies will be different from those of a tractor mechanic in rural Kentucky. Forbes highlights a few significant differences between local and national SEO:
Appealing to the right audience is a pillar of SEO. National SEO requires companies to have web content that caters to a diverse audience, while local SEO demands content that is tailored to the needs of a specific location.
National and local SEO also differ in keyword research. National SEO targets broad keywords and phrases that relate to a product or service without a geographical intent. In contrast, local SEO aims to be searchable in specific areas and targets similar keywords and phrases with a location qualifier. For instance, “Bouncy Houses near me” or “Birmingham Bouncy Houses” are examples of local SEO, while “best Bouncy Houses” is not location-specific. Understanding the difference is crucial for optimizing your website for search engines. The good news is that as a local business, you do not need to compete with everyone but only your local competitors, and we help you do that.
When a company engages in national SEO, they face fierce competition due to the vast number of competitors targeting the entire nation. This means that you could go from competing against a few strong brands on a local level to being behind hundreds of others. Achieving success in national SEO requires a proven track record and a significant investment in your SEO budget to overcome the multitude of competitors.
Local SEO focuses on similar businesses in your region of the map. This is enough of a challenge for most businesses, so before expanding to national SEO, you need to establish dominance over your local competitors.
National and local SEO differ greatly in terms of website design. Businesses with a national focus aim to appeal to a wide market with their website design. Conversely, a site optimized for local SEO has a highly targeted approach that is specifically designed for their local market. These sites prioritize consistent name, address, and phone number information across all online platforms for optimal local organic search rankings.
Do local businesses need search engine optimization?
How to do local SEO step-by-step
Analyze your current local Google search performance:
When you contact our team at Invite Them Home, we will start with a free SEO audit of your existing website. Our local SEO tools will show you how your website stacks up against local competitors in your industry. Provide us with your website, top three competitors, and targeted search keywords, and our free site audit will unveil hidden issues that may be hindering optimal performance.
Our SEO audits will include the following:
- Website Google top 20 keyword visibility (ordinarily blank)
- Your Estimated Search Traffic
- The number of top 100 keywords
- The number of your paid keywords, if any
- Your top 5 keywords ranked by traffic
- Your Keyword rank distribution
- Your top ten competitors in organic traffic
- And a free SEMRUSH technical SEO audit!
This comprehensive data analysis will help you gain valuable insights into your website's performance. We will also generate reports for up to four competitors you've listed in your free SEO report request.
Check out your local competition:
When it comes to local SEO, competitors require a distinct, targeted approach. Unlike national SEO campaigns that target hundreds or thousands of keywords, local SEO generally focuses on 20-100 keywords. This is because local SEO is defined by its physical community and is designed to support small businesses, franchises, and physical goods and services.
For example, a custom cheese carver in Neenah, Wisconsin, would aim for long-tail key words like "custom cheese carving Winnebago county," or "Lake Winnebago cheese sculptures for sale."
Local businesses offer limited products and services within the parameters of their local population. However, competitive analysis for regional SEO becomes complicated when there is more than one business location, as each location poses unique challenges.
Although the portion of keywords considered in local competition analysis is smaller, the complexities of local search significantly affect these keywords. Invite Them Home has access to specific local SEO tools that we will use to find the best keywords for you to target.
Run a keyword audit
A local SEO Audit is a precise evaluation of your online presence and current search engine results page (SERP) ranking. This audit will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your website, as well as specific steps to increase your ranking.
Simply put, it's like a survey or checklist to help ensure that your site works for you. The natural starting point for an audit is to examine SERPs for the keywords and phrases that align with your business goals. This research can help you determine where you stand relative to your competitors and their web content.
For instance, a celebrity dog-walking company in Los Angeles wouldn't want to waste their time on the keywords "dog walkers" and "celebrity dogs," as they would be merely a drop in the ocean with no chance of being seen by their local A-list pooches. Instead, they should focus their content marketing using keywords specific to LA, like "best dog walkers in Hollywood Hills."
There are several helpful keyword research tools we use to make it easy to gather search results for specific groups of keywords, and analyze metrics such as search volume and keyword difficulty. Invite Them Home will choose a tool that breaks down the different types of search features so that you can develop strategies or tactics accordingly.
For a small business running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns, we will pay close attention to the keywords and search terms you are using there. Likely, top-performing PPC keywords will also be top performers for SEO. Both SEO and PPC should complement each other for optimal results.
To create content that addresses the intent of searchers, it's crucial to consider the various ways and phrases your audience may use to find you or your offerings at different stages of the buying cycle. A broad keyword view will help you focus your attention and improve your overall digital presence.
Take a look at your Google Business Profile and Bing Places for Business listings
Google My Business (also known as Google Business Profile) provides a free business listing feature that enables you to showcase your contact information, the products or services you offer, location, reviews, and other relevant business information. This profile increases your business's visibility and the likelihood of appearing in Google Search, Google Maps, and other Google services.
According to Google: "Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search."
To benefit from this platform, your business must have a physical location and provide in-person services. For instance, if you own a pizza restaurant in Boston, a GBP is a must. If you run virtual yoga classes from the International Space Station, you can skip this part.
Google My Business is valuable for businesses of all sizes as it gives a competitive advantage to manage your online presence and attract customers searching for your business on Google Search and Google Maps.
In order to be effective, your GMP must provide complete, accurate information about your business. Besides sharing photos of your products or services, you can access and edit critical business information such as location, name, and operating hours. You can also respond to each online review, boosting your business engagement.
Your GBP is free, and it's an excellent tool to build your business. Creating an account is simple - you claim your business and fill in your details. Google sends a postcard to the address you specified to verify you are the business owner. However, some businesses can get verified via phone or email.
Once verified, you can add essential details and track how your listing performs. ITH will show you how to use your GBP to monitor your business's impressions, clicks, and subscribers over time, providing a good understanding of how your customers perceive your business.
Similar features are available in Bing Places for Business, and we are seeing some indications of increasing use of Bing as their AI tools are currently more advanced than Google's.
Review your reviews
Recent studies have shown that for listings on Google Maps, the average number of reviews for a listing had a significantly stronger impact on its SEO rankings compared to the average rating. This means that your reviews don't have to be perfect. However, having positive reviews is still highly beneficial. In fact, 88% of users say both good and bad reviews make the difference in choosing a business.
How do you get more reviews, you wonder? Ask for them! Make sure you have a place on your website for customers to leave reviews easily. After interacting with a customer, send follow-up e-mails or postcards requesting a review. Not only does this help businesses boost their number of reviews on Google, it's good customer service!
Finally, it's important to respond to all of your reviews, both positive and negative. When people search for your business, they want to see that you care about your customers. Make each response tailored to the review; avoid generic automated responses that seem cold and uninterested.
Build those backlinks
Link building is the practice of acquiring backlinks from other websites back to your own, which helps to increase traffic to your site. When it comes to local SEO, link building involves acquiring backlinks from relevant local businesses. This strategy aims to boost your visibility in local search results and drive more traffic from customers who are more likely to make a purchase.
Building backlinks is crucial for a successful local SEO strategy. Firstly, it improves your domain authority. Google considers the number and quality of your backlinks when ranking your page. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the better your chances of ranking on page one of search results, but be wary of broken links that could work against you.
Second, link building helps you drive highly-targeted search engine traffic to your site, leading to increased sales. Finally, link building helps build brand visibility, which is crucial for building trust with your prospects and putting you above the competition.
If you're ready to start building your backlinks, there are several strategies you can use. Acquiring links from travel and local review websites is a great place to start. Hosting special events and promotions can also help you secure PR links while getting listed in local business directories is another effective tactic. Finally, creating a blog that focuses on local topics can help you showcase your expertise and target backlinks naturally.
To find and target competitor backlinks, we use our professional SEO tools to research where they are getting their backlinks from. This information may lead us to websites that can offer local link-building opportunities for your business.
Optimize your website's content for local SEO
Now that we know what keywords to target and what kind of content will be most effective, it's time to get writing! As a local SEO company, our copywriters at ITH are great at getting creative to develop web content optimized for your local SEO strategy.
For instance, a confetti company out of Columbus might write a great blog post about its recent debut at the Memorial Day parade. A beekeeper in Buffalo might write an informative article with some delicious honey-based recipes. Our copywriting service will help you determine what type of content is best for your niche and aid you in writing unique optimized content. We often do this with simple Zoom interviews, which releave you of the burden of putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. Of course, you always have the opportunity to give us feedback and edits before your content is posted to your website or other digital properties.
Stay on top of social media marketing
Social Media is a powerful tool for enhancing your brand's online presence. Putting your brand in front of people more often makes it more memorable, and people are more likely to share your content with friends or write about your brand online. Posts on a social network reach a wider in-person and online audience.
One of our go-to recommendations is to utilize social landing pages. Social landing pages, or "link in bio" pages, are an underrated social media tactic that can provide local SEO benefits. These mobile-friendly pages are designed to direct social media users to other pages, apps, and content you are promoting, making it easy for users to access your content from social media. These landing pages also attract links to your owned content, which can help boost traffic and improve your search engine ranking.
How much do local SEO services cost?
Now that we’ve given you some local SEO secrets, you may wonder if paying for SEO services is worth it. If you hire a digital marketing agency, a typical SEO campaign starts at $2,000 and goes up to $10,000 for a more comprehensive package. While you can try some of these techniques on your own, most business owners find it overwhelming to run audits, track competitors, write optimized content, and monitor results while keeping their business running.
We’re here to take that burden from you and help you get the most out of local SEO strategies. Hiring local SEO experts doesn’t have to break the bank. At Invite Them Home, you get a comprehensive SEO analysis for free, including a Zoom meeting to review the results. It doesn’t get cheaper than that! Once we determine what we can do for you, we will work out a plan that fits your budget and will bring you real results. Generally, our customers have a price range of $600 – $1200 per month, which covers reporting, strategy Zoom meetings, competitor tracking, and one or two blog posts a month, depending on their chosen budget.
Invite Your Neighbors Home!
We are one of the top SEO companies in Wisconsin for a reason. We are a full-service SEO agency providing SEO, content marketing, competitor tracking, and more.
While we have many nationwide customers, we proudly serve our neighbors in our metro area, including Waukesha, Brookfield, New Berlin, Oconomowoc, and beyond. We have a proven track record of helping small and mid-sized businesses maximize their local campaign performance. Contact us today for a free SEO audit and see how local SEO can bring your local audience to you!