Local Search Engine Optimization is a different ball game as compared to an average SEO campaign. Not only do you have to work on the nitty-gritties of customary SEO, you will also have to incorporate an additional layer of complex local SEO parameters. This goes beyond simply having directory listings.

Since Google’s Pigeon update in 2014, local search results are rapidly changing and becoming more responsive. While local SEO can be confusing, here are a few strategies you can incorporate to ensure that your brand is locally optimized.

1. Optimize your sites for local searches
The first step is to identify keywords that are important to your business. Carefully craft locally focused or relevant keywords that have a strong search volume. Localise your brand by adding the locality name or the city name as a prefix to your keywords. Include the local address and local phone number in text, onto each page for search engines bots to crawl the information.

2. Invest in local on-page SEO activities
This strategy is quite simple, yet quite important. Add your local area of operation such as the city or region along with a relevant keyword within your title tag, landing page H1 tag, URL, page content and image ALT attributes of your landing pages. Furthermore, you can embed a Google map with your business location highlighted into your landing page.

3. NAP accuracy and consistency
Your full NAP (name, address, phone number) should be mentioned across your website, such that it is consistent through all site pages. These details must be exactly mirrored onto all other sites – local directories, listings, social media sites and so on.

4. Claim your Google My Business page
A key aspect for local SEO is to claim and verify your Google My Business page. Ensure that your page has a worded and unique business description complete with relevant links. You need to select the right business category for your brand, and make your page as visual as possible – add photos, inclusive of your profile image and cover photo. Remember to include a local phone number to your listing, along with a business address that is consistent across all local directories and your websites. If relevant, include business hours onto your profile.

5. Join relevant local directories
Local directories and listing profiles work great for discoverability of local businesses. You can create listings on Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yahoo Local and Just Dial to start with. Then, depending on your business domain, you can get listed on relevant directories (eg: TripAdvisor, Zomato, etc). Ensure that your business details are listed consistently and accurately across all local directories. Do not leave out more interactive sites such as Swarm and Foursquare – millennial consumers are highly social-savvy and love to check-in using these apps when they visit your business location!

6. Localise your social media sites
Your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media pages can also be locally optimized! You can customize your social media advertisements to reach your audience located within a certain geographical boundary, and you will be charged according to the impressions or clicks made by locally specified audience that you wish to target. Also, spend time in geo-tagging your social media updates such as tweets, status updates, visual content and so on. Proactively respond to audience queries that you feel your local business can provide solutions to – this enables your audience to perceive you as locally accessible and available.

7. Get local reviews
Local reviews do wonders to boost your brand’s local SEO ranking, so invest in getting some positive reviews from your consumers. For starters, use your existing customer database and enquire if they are willing or are interested in leaving you a review. You can offer incentives to write reviews for your brand. Encourage new customers to write reviews for your business on major directories or local listings.

A local business requires local SEO. All the traditional SEO techniques need to be modified to suit local SEO. The effort is definitely worth it when your business starts enjoying results on the top pages of Google.

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