Get Found Online: A Local SEO Guide for Businesses?

If you have decided to start your own business, you might have considered the option of opening up a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online storefront. If you’re thinking about starting your business online, but are worried about where your customers will come from and how they will find you, then local search engine optimization (SEO) may be what you need to finally get your business off the ground and running. But local SEO can be tricky, especially when there are so many other businesses vying for their own slice of the digital pie that Google provides.

Competitor Analysis

One of the first steps in any good local SEO campaign is to assess who your competition is. This can be done by searching for your main keywords and seeing who ranks above you in the search results. Once you have a good understanding of your competition, you can start to formulate a plan to outrank them.

Keyword Research

The first step to any good SEO campaign is keyword research. You need to find out what potential customers are searching for when they’re looking for businesses like yours. To do this, you can use a keyword research tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer.

On-Page SEO

  1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their smartphones to search the internet, so you want to make sure your site can be easily viewed on a small screen. 
  2. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions. When potential customers search for businesses like yours, you want your site to come up in the results. Using keywords can help make sure you show up in relevant searches. 
  3. Optimize your images. Images will usually be one of the first things a person sees when they come to your page. Adding captions with keywords can help make them more likely to appear in search engine results. 
  4. Link internally from relevant pages of your site, and externally from other sites that link back to you. Search engines like Google prioritize websites that are linked together by what’s called backlinks. 
  5. Check for broken links – this could mean that some of your links aren’t working properly or have been deleted altogether!

Off-Page Optimization

  1. Get listed in online directories and on review sites. 
  2. Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across the web. 
  3. Build up your social media presence. 
  4. Earn backlinks from high-quality websites. 
  5. Engage with others through blog commenting, guest blogging, and link building. 
  6. Include local keywords in your copywriting to increase relevancy to search engines. 
  7. Optimize your website for mobile users by adding a sitemap and responsive design. 
  8. Keep an eye out for opportunities that may arise from changes in Google’s algorithm or policy changes.

Link Building

One of the most important aspects of local SEO is link building. This is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. This signals to search engines that your site is a credible and authoritative source of information. There are a few ways to build links, such as writing guest blog posts, creating directory listings, and adding your business to online directories.

Tracking and Reporting

You can’t improve your local SEO if you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. Make sure to set up tracking and reporting from the start so you can gauge your progress and adjust your strategy as needed. To begin, find out which keywords are driving traffic to your site. There are many free tools available that will help with this task, such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools), Moz or SEMrush. Once you know which keywords are bringing in traffic, see where they rank on a SERP (search engine results page).

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