As a brick-and-mortar business owner, you know how important it is to attract local customers to your storefront.
But in today’s digital age, it is not enough to rely solely on foot traffic. That is where local SEO comes in – by optimizing your website and online presence for local searches, you can increase your visibility and drive more customers to your business.
In this article, we will explore some of the top techniques for improving local SEO in 2023. The nice thing about all these tips is, as a business owner, you can accomplish all these yourself. You do not need to hire a Kelowna SEO firm to do the work for you.
1. Optimize Your Website for Local Searches
The first step in improving your local SEO is to optimize your website for local searches. This means including location-specific keywords in your website’s content and meta tags, such as your city, state, or neighborhood. For example, if you own a coffee shop in downtown Kelowna, you might use keywords like “Kelowna coffee shop” or “downtown Kelowna cafe” throughout your website.
In addition to incorporating local keywords, you should also make sure your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed. This is especially important for local searches, as many users will be searching for businesses on their mobile devices while they are out and about.
2. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including in search results and in Google Map results. If you haven’t already claimed your GMB listing, now is the time to do so.
To optimize your GMB listing, make sure all of your business information is accurate and up-to-date, including your name, address, and phone number (NAP). You should also include high-quality photos of your business and products, as well as your business hours and any special promotions or events.
In addition, if you can, you should create regular posts to share on your GMB listing. These could be updates relating to your business, or even special promotions you wish to let your customers know about.
It is important to note that Google map rankings are different than Google organic rankings. While each product does influence the other, there is no direct correlation between ranking in maps or ranking organically. Each service has it’s own ranking algorithms.
3. Get Listed in Online Directories and Local Citations
In addition to claiming your GMB listing, you should also make sure your business is listed in other online directories and local citations. These can include Yelp, Yellow Pages, and other industry-specific directories.
Make sure your business information is consistent across all of these directories, including your NAP and website URL. This will help to establish trust with search engines and improve your local search rankings.
You should also regularly review these listings to ensure all the information is correct. And, of course, if anything changes with your business, be sure to update the local directories. Therefore you should keep track of all local listings you have claimed and/or created across all the local sites you are aware of.
4. Encourage Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are an important factor in local SEO, as they can help to improve your business’s visibility and reputation. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing, Yelp, and other review sites.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including links to your business profiles on these sites on your website and in your email signature. Google maps provides shortened URLs to help with this. You can also use other URL shorteners (such as bit.ly) to generate URLs to send to your customers. Shortened URLs are less intimidating and do encourage your customers to click on them.
You should also respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews, as this shows potential customers that you value their feedback. Replying to negative reviews, for example, may result in the customer changing their opinion (and improving their rating and review) of your business.
5. Create Local Content
Creating local content is another effective way to improve your local SEO. This can include blog posts, videos, and other types of content that are relevant to your local audience.
For example, if you own a clothing store in Vernon, BC, you might create a blog post about the latest fashion trends for summer in Vernon. This type of content can help to attract local customers to your website and improve your search rankings for location-specific keywords.
An effective strategy to help promote this local content is to be sure to share it both on local sites (such as on your Google map’s listing) as well as your social media profiles. Be sure to share the links to your posts. To help encourage click through’s to your new articles, be sure to include a unique image with the social media post as images in posts helps.
Conclusion: Putting it All Together
Improving your local SEO is essential for brick-and-mortar businesses looking to attract more customers and increase their visibility online. By optimizing your website for local searches, claiming and optimizing your GMB listing, getting listed in online directories, encouraging customer reviews, and creating local content, you can improve your local search rankings and drive more traffic to your business.
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