Why You Need a Location-Specific Digital Strategy
Local search continues to grow in importance, which means you need a location-specific digital strategy to show up in the moments that matter most. Search algorithms have changed and continue to evolve constantly placing more weight in location than branded searches. Your digital strategy must take location into consideration or else risk not being seen by search engines and potential renters.
What is Local Search and Why is It Important?
Local search marketing involves anything you do on the web to promote your physical business. This applies to single small and medium businesses as well as national enterprise brands and chains. Local businesses can take advantage of a variety of techniques and skills to increase their visibility on the Internet and throughout search engine results pages (SERPs) by optimizing for local search signals.
According to Search Engine Journal, 97 percent of consumers searched online for local businesses in 2017, with 12 percent looking for a local business online every day. 50 percent of people who did a local search on their phone went to a physical store within one day. 18 percent of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day. Fast-moving customers have high expectations for relevant, immediate, hyper-personalized local information, which speaks to the importance of having a location-specific digital strategy.
Local Search Best Practices
Understanding local search best practices gives businesses a competitive edge online. Familiarize yourself with each aspect of local SEO in order to compete based on geography.
Google My Business
The first step in establishing your local-specific digital strategy is to claim your Google My Business page. Your GMB page should include a business description and links to your website. Here you’ll categorize your business, upload photos, include a local phone number and address, add your hours (if applicable), and get real reviews from your customers.
Citations, or instances where your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) appear on other websites, need to be consistent. Ensure you have your full NAP across your entire website and that these exact same details appear throughout the Internet. Citations don’t need to be linked, as long as they reference your business NAP consistently in the same way. Citations help increase your presence on Google.
On and off-page optimization carry a lot of weight in your local digital strategy. Adding relevant city, neighborhood, and regional keywords to your on-page SEO strategy, including title tags, H1s, page URLs, content, and image ALT text all help your local search rankings. Your website should focus on keywords about products and services, but also include relevant local terms to the cities your business serves.
Off-page SEO involves improving search engine and user perception of your site’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. This can be accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet linking to or promoting your website. Off-page SEO also includes social media marketing, blogging, linked and unlinked brand mentions, and influencer marketing.
Local reviews directly impact local search ranking, which means you’ll want to encourage happy customers to share their experiences. Local reviews include more than just Google reviews — Yelp and Facebook should also be included in your efforts to gain local reviews. Make sure you claim your listing on review sites and respond to every review. High-quality, positive reviews improve your business visibility according to Google.
Localized Link Building
Local SEO relies more on links from other local websites that are relevant to your business than standard SEO campaigns. Localized link building involves acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. Search engines use links to discover new web pages and to help determine how well a page should rank in their results. Linking to another website effectively tells search engines that the linked site is a good resource, a vote of confidence for the brand.
Growing Importance of a Location-Specific Digital Strategy
Google continues to adjust and update its algorithm in order to improve search results. The need for a local-specific digital strategy grows in importance with every change to the algorithm. Start by claiming and updating your Google My Business page, encourage renters to post positive reviews, and investigate your online citations to ensure NAP consistency. Integrating local keywords throughout your on-page SEO and building links through off-page SEO will be beneficial to your local-specific digital strategy.
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