For startup businesses, it is crucial to get on the radar of potential customers as soon as possible. And with local SEO techniques, you can do just that.
Local SEO involves the optimization of your online assets to attract more business from people in your locality. This can be done by targeting local keywords and phrases, understanding Google's local pack rules, building local citations, and using other on-page SEO strategies.
By ensuring your startup's website and social media presence are optimized for local search, you can reach more of your target market and get your business growing faster.
Here is a helpful guide for startup businesses on getting started with local SEO and driving their growth.
Target Local Keywords and Phrases
One of the most essential aspects of local SEO is targeting keywords and phrases relevant to your business and location. By targeting these keywords, you can ensure that your website appears higher in search results when people in your area search for businesses like yours.
To find the right keywords to target, you can use a tool like Google Keyword Planner. This tool will allow you to see how often specific keywords are searched for in your area. You can then use these keywords on your website, in your meta tags, and in your content to help improve your website's ranking in local search results.
It's important to understand that local SEO is not just about targeting keywords that include your city or state. Instead, it would be best if you focus your targeted keyword phrases in areas that are specifically relevant to what your business does.
For example, if you are a startup that provides online marketing services, you should target keywords like "internet marketing," "online marketing," and "SEO services." By targeting these keywords, you can reach more of your target market.
Another important aspect of local SEO is understanding how Google's Search Engine Results Page (SERP) works. This page is what displays when someone searches for a keyword or phrase on Google. And it includes both organic and paid listings.
Organic listings are the results that appear because of a webpage’s relevance to the search term. Paid listings, on the other hand, are results that appear because the website has paid Google to display its listing in that spot.
As a growing brand, you may find it necessary to balance your ranking in both organic and paid listings. After all, appearing in both can help you reach a wider audience and grow your business faster.
Understand Google's Local Pack Rules
Another important aspect of local SEO is understanding how Google's local pack works. The local pack is the section of Google's search results that shows three local businesses that are relevant to the searcher's query.
To be included in the local pack, your business must have a physical address and be listed in Google Business Profile. Additionally, your website must be optimized for local SEO. This means that you need to have your city and state included on your website and in your content.
Google Business Profile (GBP) makes it possible for your business to appear in the local pack and gives you the ability to control how your business appears in local search results.
To get started with GBP, you need to create a profile for your business. This can be done by going to google.com/business. From there, you will need to enter your business information, including your name, address, and phone number. You will also need to choose a category for your business and write a description. Once your profile is created, you can add photos, videos, and other content to help improve your ranking in the local pack.
Optimizing your GBP can be a great way to improve your ranking in the local pack and reach more of your target market. However, it's essential to understand that there is no guarantee that your business will be included in the local pack. That being said, here are a couple of tips you can deploy to increase your chances:
Make sure your business information is accurate and up-to-date. This includes your name, address, phone number, and hours of operation.
Add as much content to your GBP profile as possible. This can include photos, videos, services offered, and anything else that would be relevant to potential customers.
Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your GBP profile. Google uses customer reviews when determining which businesses to include in the local pack. So, the more positive reviews you have, the better your chance of being included.
Respond to all customer reviews – both positive and negative. Google also takes into account how well a business responds to reviews. So, ensure you regularly reply to all reviews left on your GBP profile.
Build Local Citations
In addition to optimizing your website for local SEO, you also need to build local citations.
Citations are business mentions that include your name and address on other websites. These citations help to improve your ranking in local search results and can also help to increase traffic to your website.
There are a few different ways that you can build local citations. One way is to submit your business information to online directories, such as Yelp and Yellow Pages. Another way is to create profiles for your business on social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as get listed in local chamber of commerce directories and other business directories.
To find other places where you can build local citations, you can use a tool like Moz Local. This tool allows you to enter your business information and then shows you a list of directories where you can submit your listing.
When building local citations, it's important to remember the significance of your "NAP." NAP is an acronym for name, address, and phone number. It's important that your NAP is consistent across all of your listings. This means that if your business name is "Acme Widgets," you should never list it as "Acme Widget Company" or "Acme Corporation." Doing so can confuse Google and hurt your ranking in local search results.
The same rules apply to your address and phone number. You should always list your full street address, including the city and state. And you should use the same phone number on all of your listings. If you have a toll-free number, be sure to include that as well.
Create Compelling Content
If you want to drive traffic to your website and improve your ranking in local search results, you need to create and share compelling content. This content can be in the form of blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, or anything else that would be relevant to your target market.
When creating content, it's important to keep your target market in mind. What are they interested in? What type of information are they looking for? You need to create content that appeals to their needs and interests.
In addition to creating useful content, you also need to make sure that your website is easily navigable and that your content is easy to find. This means using effective website design and organization techniques.
Use On-Page SEO Strategies
In addition to the above local SEO strategies, you also need to ensure your website is optimized for on-page SEO. This means that you need to conduct thorough keyword research, optimize your metadata, and use other optimization techniques.
Your locally targeted keywords and phrases should be utilized in the body of your content as well as in H1 and H2 headings. There's no need to inundate your pages with keywords because it appears spammy to the algorithm and is unnatural to read. This is why many SEO agencies will recommend a certain percentage usage, such as 1-3%.
One of the easiest ways to optimize your website for on-page SEO is to use a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO. This plugin allows you to easily optimize meta tags, title tags, and other optimization features to your website.
Finally, you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. This means that it should be easy to navigate on a mobile device and should have a responsive design. You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly.
Using Local SEO to Drive Your Business Success
Local SEO is an excellent way for startups to reach more of their target market and drive growth. By taking easy first steps such as optimizing your website for local SEO, building local citations, and using on-page SEO strategies, you can quickly improve your ranking in local search results and increase traffic to your website.
Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.