Being visible online has become more challenging for businesses of all sizes. Digitizing your business can be a game-changer regardless of how big or small your business is.
But how do you get started? SEO (search engine optimization) gives wings to fly high in the digital world. Google searches for local information account for around half of all searches. Local shops and services are becoming increasingly important as we connect globally. Is there a way to make your website visible to these people and claim this valuable traffic?
Even though local SEO is not new in 2022, its importance continues to increase-if that even seems possible. Almost half of all online searches are for local information, and nearly a third of all consumers look up local businesses on the web every day.
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Local SEO checklist for 2022
You will not survive if you don’t have local customers. This makes local SEO an essential part of your digital marketing campaign. Let’s start with a definition. In local SEO, you optimize your website so that it can rank on the first page of the major search engines – such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo – for relevant queries about your particular city, state, or country.
To provide better results for users, search engines consider their geographical location. Your marketing strategy should include local SEO, as it is a valuable tool for driving more traffic to your website and getting in front of local searchers.
The local SEO checklist for 2022 is as follows:
- Mobile-Friendly Website
- Keyword Search
- Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
- NAP Information
- Image Optimization
- Include Google map in the Contact Information Page
- Update “Google My Business” Page (GMB)
- Schema ( or Structure Data Markup )
- Public Citations
- Social media presence
- High-Quality, Engaging Content
- Anchor Text Optimization
You need to understand the different components that makeup search engine optimization or SEO, as it is familiarly called, to take advantage of this checklist and use it effectively. Let’s start by understanding all points in detail.
1) Create Responsive and mobile-friendly Website
Quality websites can attract more viewers and convert them to customers. Having a website allows you to share your business information like services and products on the Internet.
Almost every business owner says that a mobile website is essential, and local businesses are no exception. Mobiles are convenient for finding useful information without having to open your laptop or desktop, whether you’re looking for a recipe or a racecourse. Experience is everything – as is ranking on SERPs as well.
Your site needs to be mobile-friendly to gain organic traffic from mobile users – who are very numerous. When your visitors leave your website just because they can’t access it on their smartphone, it’s time to update it to a mobile-friendly one.
Your site can be configured for multiple devices here, and search engines can better understand it. Mobile-friendly websites allow you to customize the size of your web design according to the screen of the device you’re using. Make sure your site works well regardless of whether it is viewed on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other digital device.
2) Keyword Search
Choosing the right keywords and phrases for your local business, including your products and services, is the first step to local SEO success. In terms of locations, make sure your keyword is not just your city or town, but also your county, region, etc.
These are the steps you need to take:
- Consider the monthly search volume when creating your keyword list.
- Find new keyword ideas and get estimated search traffic for highly relevant targeted keywords by using a keyword tool (such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, etc.).
- Sort out keywords with a reasonable search volume and demonstrate a medium to low level of competition.
- The title tag should be optimized according to those keywords.
3) Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
The title tag for your page is one of the most important elements of your on-page SEO. The title tag shows at the top of the browser tab. Users and Google bots can gain a broader understanding of what to expect after clicking the link.
- When describing a page, always include target keywords
- In the beginning, place the keyword
- Keep the length under 60 characters to ensure a full SERP display
- If possible, mention the brand
The next component is the meta description – the short snippet of text shown on search engine results pages.
- Keep it unique, informative, and interesting
- Keep it limited to 140-160 characters
- Use your target keyword
- Do not stuff with keywords
Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, but they do indirectly affect rankings. Even so, it is still a vital marketing message that can either cause a click-through to your website or a search engine click-through to another website.
4) NAP Information
A website’s NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) must be listed to rank well for local SEO. Search engines tend to pick up NAP data or information when ranking for geo-targeted searches.
Also, make sure your NAP is consistent – it means your address should be the same on your website and anywhere else on the Internet, such as yellow pages and business listings.
Red flags for your website are any indication of discrepancy or manipulation. Don’t make Google suspicious by messing with your NAP. In the above or footer section of your webpage, display your company’s name, address, and phone number. Be transparent and gain the confidence of your customers.
5) Image Optimization
Images play a key role in local search engine optimization. Among the most effective SEO techniques, image optimization grabs the attention of Google search engines.
Search engines, on the other hand, are not the same. Images are not seen the same way by search engines as they are by people. You will have to make more effort in describing the image using the important keywords to provide relevant information.
Easy Tips for SEO-friendly Images:
- Include target keyword in the title of your image
- Placing the cursor over the image will reveal the title. You should use your main keyword or any near variation to describe the text.
- The Alt-Text attribute is added to the image tag in HTML code. Google bots read this to understand the image. This remains visible whenever the image fails to load.
- Before uploading your image, resize it.
Do not upload heavy files larger than 300kb, as website speed will be compromised. It’s best to compress images.
6) Include a map of Google on the Contact Us page
Another way to tell search engines and users where your business is located is to have a google map. It is as simple as visiting Google Maps, clicking on the top left menu, and clicking “add your business”; follow the instructions to complete the process. You can also track your exact location from your users’ current location.
7) Update “Google My Business” Page (GMB)
Businesses competing to rank higher in local search engine results will benefit from this free tool. The first steps are creating a business account and updating all the important information such as the business name, address, contact number, email, and business category.
It’s not over yet. Your business must be verified by mail.
Providing as relevant information as possible, such as areas you serve, working hours, business profile photos, and more begins once you have verified your listing. Other visitors can also read reviews reflected on your GMB profile if you ask your customers to do so.
In addition to business names, addresses, dates of events, phone numbers, and many other things, schemas also allow search engines to understand your local-based structured information. Use the right schema for your local business based on its type. Google and schema.org provide more information about local business schemas.
The following three formats are generally supported for writing schema markup on websites:
- JSON-LD (recommended)
However, run it through Google’s Structured Data testing tool before adding Schema markup to test its validity.
9) Public Citations
In the online world, citations are references to your business. You can list your business name, address, and phone number under a single citation.
For SEO practices, local citations are similar to backlinks. As well as relevance, the source of your citation should be appropriate. Search online extensively for highly relevant citation sources to find hyper-local directories.
Your business citations should not be published on websites or directories with low domain authority. The sites with the highest DA are Google Local, Facebook, Bing, Yelp, and Four Square.
Your business reference will be published on the website based on the Volume of Citations. Your local business reference will appear on each unique domain.
Local citations simplify the user experience and build a reputation if done right. Keeping the NAP consistent reduces user confusion and raises more questions about your local business.
10) Social media presence
Your business can benefit so much from social media if you carefully follow every single step. Creating a page for your business on popular social media websites is the first and foremost step. Think of them as extensions of your business’s individual landing pages rather than separate parts.
The same applies to social media profiles, which are important for generating buzz across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Although it’s not clear whether social media metrics – like likes, shares, followers, etc. – affect SERP rankings to some extent, many studies suggest they can influence users’ opinions.
The goal is to improve users’ web experience to connect them with the right people – businesses. It makes little sense for search engines to undermine the influence of social media profiles if social media websites provide them with some sense of direction.
11) High-Quality, Engaging Content
Creating informative and compelling localized content is an effective way to pique the people’s interest in living within a limited geographical market. However, it’s hard to discern the intent and local keywords to help you rank better for local SERP results.
Research low-competition keywords that would be relevant to local audiences using Google’s Keyword Planner. To identify your target market’s prevalent demographics and psychographics, most companies conduct standard research like interviews or online surveys.
Blog post ideas may also be a great source of interesting content, especially if the industry is highly competitive. Promote your business locally by organizing sponsored events, conferences, and lectures.
12) Anchor Text Optimization
The anchor text directs users to another relevant page with visible and clickable links. Google bots attempt to determine whether the linked target website is connected to the host in the anchor text.
There are two ways to provide visitors with helpful information: within your site (internal links) or outside sources (external links). If you use keyword-rich anchor text, Google will understand your business link profile and decide whether to aid you in ranking.
A warning from Google: “Every step that a website undertakes, from creating content to creating links, anchor texts, and everything in between, must add value to users. It is forbidden to use deceptive or manipulative techniques which undermine the spirit of ethical business practices.”
Make sure you use appropriate links instead of spamming every line with the same anchor text. As a result, a severe penalty should be imposed by Google.
Create a strategy for implementing the essential points on a local SEO checklist. If you have a local SEO agency, discuss it with them. Alternatively, seek out the assistance of a third party.
It’s recommended that you don’t skip any of the items in the list, even if you feel they aren’t very important.
SEOs who are experienced know two things about search engine optimization. One first benefit is that many small optimization adjustments can yield big results.
Second, patience is also an important component of SEO success. Search engine optimization takes time to work, so you should be patient. Try not to jump to result too soon; work your way through the list item by item and be patient; results will come.
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