According to statistics, 46% of all Google searches are done in order to find local information, with 97% done to find a local business to visit in person.
This means that people use search engines more than ever to orient themselves and find retail stores and other places to visit. So with that in mind, how do you place your own establishment close to the top of the list? What kind of content do you have to create in order to boost your local search ranking and to help people find your brand more frequently than before?
1. Claim and Use your Links
The first step should be to claim your business pages on Google as soon as possible. Just as you are looking for visitors and customers for your business, those same people are looking for establishments that suit their interests. Depending on how specialized or niche your establishment is, this will allow you to reach a new audience fairly easily.
Once that’s done, you should integrate those pages into your blog content and throughout the website you’ve created for your business. It’s worth noting that you should always use up-to-date contact and address information once you claim your Google pages. This will boost your SEO optimization and SERP ranking across the board, so make sure to integrate claimed links into your writing as organically as possible.
2. Use Local Keywords
Every country, territory, and industry has certain keywords that are representative of that particular field. For example, a pizza establishment should use keywords related to different toppings, dough, flavors and other elements of the dish in their content.
In doing so, you will show up on Google’s and other search engine result pages more frequently, especially for tourists and travelers. Tools such as Google Adwords and SEM Rush are perfectly suited to help you find local keywords to rely on, so make sure to spread them out evenly throughout your text.
3. Include Local Links
When it comes to including local links in your content, you should generally avoid talking about or mentioning competitive brands and establishments. Not only is it not considered fair sportsmanship but it will also potentially drive your customers away to other businesses.
What you should do instead is mention local brands, companies, and businesses related to your industry. Coming back to the example of a pizza restaurant, you can mention businesses that offer sweets, local gyms, coffee shops, and other commonly-associated places. These links will help your pages rank higher in Google’s search while also eliminating the possibility of confusing your business with another in the same industry.
4. Implement Content Optimization Platforms
In terms of sheer content production, it’s good practice to keep several optimization platforms handy throughout the process. These will help you produce quality content which will, in turn, be able to provide your business with good local search ranking:
Any written content should be legible and easy to read. This tool will quickly analyze your writing and provide constructive feedback on what you can do to make it more accessible to readers.
If you want to provide visibility for your establishment in terms of tourists and travelers, localization is a necessity. Content localization services will provide you with all the assistance you need in order to retrofit your content into different languages.
Proofreading and spellchecking are important aspects of content creation, especially in terms of SEO. Make sure to give this platform a shot before publishing any content aimed at boosting your local search ranking.
If you don’t have a suitable text editor already and want to use a cloud-based service to create your content, this is the perfect solution to your problems. The tool is designed with versatility and cross-platform synchronization in mind, meaning that you can write texts and articles through smart devices and desktops alike.
5. Format and Tag Content
While this affects global SEO more than local, tagging and formatting your content is still very important for good ranking placement. Formatting your written content is fairly straightforward and CMSs such as WordPress offer very clear options for doing so. Just don’t forget to tag your headings, subheadings and other prominent elements on your website and landing page.
This tagging allows people who search for anything related to the content you wrote to find your website, especially if you are geographically close to where they are currently. Content tagging is a great strategy for gaining further local visibility when someone searches for businesses related to your industry, as well.
6. Create and Embed Multimedia
Multimedia content such as photos, videos, and customer testimonials will further boost your local (and global) search engine ranking. This is especially important for your blog, product portfolio (or menu, depending on the industry), and landing page.
The more visual information you provide for potential customers and visitors, the easier it will be for people to find your establishment. Don’t rely on stock photos or royalty-free photography found around the web. The more interesting and original your photos are, the more trust you will gain with anyone willing to give your products or services a go.
7. Encourage Google Reviews
Google’s review system is your best friend and worst enemy when it comes to local search ranking. According to published statistics, 74% of consumers trust businesses with positive reviews more than they would otherwise. This means that people often decide whether or not to visit an establishment based on what they read on Google. In order to make this system work in your advantage, you should encourage existing visitors to leave positive reviews on your behalf.
Emphasize the importance of Google reviews to your visitors through subtle calls to action in menus or business cards around the establishment. As a quick fix, you can even ask your employees or B2B network associates to leave some reviews to give you a search ranking bump. The best way to encourage positive Google reviews, however, is to provide quality services to your consumers and maintain the promises you set in your content, website and marketing materials.
8. Respond to Every Message
Lastly, potential consumers and visitors will often message your business page directly through Google. These messages or comments will show up on your Google business listing but it is up to you to respond to them in a timely fashion. These posts are permanently kept online for every potential customer to see, so the way you treat comments and messages will reflect your business culture.
Make sure to be professional but casual and welcoming at the same time when answering questions on Google. Don’t leave your commenters hanging without an answer because it will reflect poorly on the way you treat your stakeholders. Be diplomatic and forthcoming, accept constructive criticism and invite people to visit your establishment in every answer you provide.
In the end, creating content aimed at local search ranking and SEO might seem tricky at first, especially if your business is in a populated area. Build your brand reputation through consistent, quality content with local links and Google business page updates. The right crowd will find its way to your business and you will soon find the time and resources you’ve poured into your local search ranking to be worth it.
**About the Author: Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of the word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin has been gaining experience in the publishing industry, with a focus on marketing strategy for publishers and authors. You can find her on Facebook.