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by Analuz Abing and Jillian Q

July 15, 2019

Action Guides 5 min read

Local SEO for Beginners: 5 Ways You Can Win Local Search

Let’s say you arrived in a town you’re not familiar with — and you’re starving.

How long would it take you to find a good restaurant on foot? 15 to 30 minutes?

So you decide to pull out your phone and simply Google search the nearest food joint.

Easy, right? In just a click of a button, you can even check customer reviews and see what time the businesses stay open.

This is what most consumers are doing. They’re making informed decisions using a simple online search.

For small business to scale up, you need to turn to one of the most powerful marketing strategies out there: Local SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Anyone marketing their business online has heard of organic and local SEO.

The biggest difference between organic and local SEO is that geography plays a key role in the latter.

Basically, local SEO is the practice of optimizing websites for local searches. When done right, it becomes an effective strategy for businesses targeting nearby customers.

Think of it as the best way to compete against bigger brands — without spending for costly ads.

Sound good? Now, implementing local SEO might be confusing for beginners. So we’ve broken down simple, no-fuss tips to help you get started.

5 Easy SEO Tips to Win Local Search

1. Start with the fundamentals: your business website

1. Start with the fundamentals: your business website

Let’s say you run a small event planning service in South Jakarta. To help visitors find you online, you decide to set up a website.

For your website to rank in local search results, start prioritising the following tasks:

  • Create a list of local areas you’d want to rank on: For your South Jakarta event agency, you can list Jalan Kemang Raya or the entire city of Jakarta. From here, create long-tail keywords like “Event planner Jakarta” or “Event organiser Kemang”.
  • Write blogs or web content related to your long tail keywords: Stay on top of search results by including your long-tail keywords in your content.
  • Long tail keywords in H1 tags: An H1 tag is an HTML (HyperText Markup Language) element. It’s usually the header text on a site page. Web browsers interpret all HTML elements of a website. So, inserting relevant keywords in H1 tags can boost SEO result
  • Mobile-friendly: Did you know that more than 50% of online searches are done on mobile? Aside from landing on the search results of location-based devices, mobile optimized websites are prioritised by Google.
  • Fast website speed: Website speed is a major ranking factor for Google — and one of the most basic. To assess your website speed, head to Google Pagespeed Insights — this free tool provides an overview of your website performance as well as tips on how to improve it.
  • Location reference: Now here’s where local SEO steps in. Include your business’ location reference on the title tag AND add a link to your business on Google Maps. Search engines are known to recognise geographic location, directing users to local businesses.

2. Tap into the power of Google

2. Tap into the power of Google

A lot of local businesses aim to earn a spot in the “snack pack” — also known as “Google’s Local 3-Pack”. This list features the top three local businesses in an area before the top 10 organic results.

The result is based upon a searcher’s IP address or location, and the keyword niche used.

There’s no guaranteed formula to joining Google’s snack pack, but you can start by:

  • Creating your Google My Business (GMB) account. GMB makes your business profile available in searches and maps for potential customers.
  • Keeping your business profile authentic. Provide accurate business information — including business name, address, phone number, operating hours and photos. This lets Google easily match you with the right searches. Make sure to verify your business location as you set up GMB.
  • Updating your business profile as needed. Help Google display the right information about your business. If there’s a change in your contact details, address, etc., update your GMB profile.

3. Set up social media profiles for your business

social media presence

There are over 3 billion social media users globally, making it a great platform for widening your market reach. But creating an online account isn’t enough.

Optimise widely-used social media platforms with the following strategies:

Facebook

  • Change Facebook URL: Choose a URL that’s easy to remember and reflects your brand (ex: facebook.com/brand).
  • Brand categories: Input relevant keywords.
  • Basic information: Provide business name and description, phone number and complete address.
  • “About”: Provide all required information, including mission and other social media accounts.
  • Local Business: Mark your business page as “Local Business".

Twitter

  • Name and Username: Reflect your brand in here.
  • Bio: Maximize the 160-character limit to introduce your business.
  • Mark your location

Instagram

  • Username: Use brand name and location (ex: Samsung’s Instagram account, samsung_id)
  • Bio: Maximize the 150-character limit, introducing your business. Put address here if not possible in Username.
  • Geotagging: Engage nearby users by geotagging your posts.

4. Behold the power of backlinks

Backlinks — or inbound links — involves linking your website to external sites.

Link signals or backlinks is the second highest ranking factor for Google’s snack pack.

Get backlinks for your Local SEO. Sponsor local events, offer testimonials to local businesses and suppliers, and other actions that would entice local sites to link to you. The most common ways to get backlinks are link exchanging and guest blogging.

What are the qualities of a good backlink?

  • Relevant: Search engines can identify relevance. You can’t just exchange links with a site because it has great traffic. For example, if you provide pest removal services, exchange links with a store that sells pest removal tools.
  • A great deal of traffic: Have you found a relevant site? Find out its traffic to determine its authority.
  • Good content: Take a quick time to scan through the site’s content. Does it sound professional, reliable and informative?

5. Make a difference with details

Details can make or break the success of your Local SEO strategies. As you do your best to put together a great website and social media presence, pay the same level of attention to other details:

Add Metadata

Title tags and Meta descriptions are what users see first when your site pages appear on search results. Make a good impression by inserting keywords that would briefly describe your business.

Also, optimise them for local search by inserting the name of the city or region where your business operates.

Collect and monitor online reviews

Search engines don’t just look at the content you put out — they’re also monitoring content written about you.

Online reviews are the third highest ranking factor of Google’s snack pack, taking into account the quantity and frequency of reviews. Why?

Google provides users what is most relevant. The presence of reviews, regardless if there are bad ones, signals Google that a business is relevant. The more reviews you have and often you get them, the better your local ranking will be.

If you’re anxious about bad reviews, rectify it by responding immediately or flag it for removal.

Verify local business directory listings

Provide uniform business information across various directories — including your GMB account and social media pages — and have it verified.

Bottom line? Check every aspect of local SEO strategy — and don’t forget to update as needed.

Wrap up your thoughts

Favourable local SEO results take time, patience, and investments.

But when directed properly, it can boost your online presence, customer base, and most importantly, profit. For more SEO tips, check out our no-fuss guide to on and off page SEO here.

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1. Start with the fundamentals: your business website
2. Tap into the power of Google
3. Set up social media profiles for your business
4. Behold the power of backlinks
5. Make a difference with details