As the digital ecosystem has turned into the battleground for advertising, no business, big or small, can now afford not to have an online presence. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective ways to structure your business presence online.
Search engines such as Google is where most consumers now begin their search for products or services. Businesses not in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), preferably in one of the top positions, are missing out on a lot of potential customers.
But with that being said, not every business wants to grab the top spot for every related keyword on the national level. Several small businesses mostly cater to local customers. The SEO strategy for such small businesses is built around local search.
For such businesses, it is essential to focus on Local SEO. Here are the top 3 factors that could determine the ranking for such businesses in 2021.
1. Getting Listed on ‘Google My Business’
Getting the business listed on GMB (Google My Businesses) is one of the first steps to take for those looking to rank in local searches. A free tool from Google, it has a significant impact on local search results.
Moreover, unlike most other aspects of SEO, getting a business listed on GMB is quick and easy.
However, businesses need to ensure that they complete 100% of the GMB profile, including website link, address, photos, product/service description, business hours, and business category.
This is important because, as per research by Google, local businesses with complete profiles are twice as likely to be considered reputable.
2. Use of Local and Hyper-local Keywords
Another basic aspect of local SEO is targeting local keywords, preferably long-tail local keywords. For instance, catering business targeting customers from within Mumbai should check out search volumes for keywords such as “catering service, Mumbai,” “catering, Mumbai,” etc.
Businesses can also go hyper-local and add the name of the suburb within the city, where the business is located or targeting a specific audience. For instance, including names of suburbs such as Navi Mumbai, Goregaon, etc., can help a business target a specific audience.
Once you have a list of such keywords, ensure that your website and GMB listing is optimized for the same.
Most small businesses that do well in local searches also create local content when they only want to target nearby customers. For instance, a blog post titled “How to Find Best Caterers in Mumbai” can prove beneficial for your specific audience and hence improve your local SEO if you have a catering business in Mumbai.
3. Google Maps Can Define Your Presence
As per research by Google, “near me” searches have increased by more than 78% in India between 2018-19.
This term often activates the map pack in search results. In other words, searchers will find a list of local businesses with their locations above the organic results when the search term includes “near me.”
Businesses aiming to improve their local SEO should definitely be a part of this map pack. This can be done by listing the business on Google Maps.
If you’ve successfully registered your business on GMB, the chances are that your business might already be listed on Google Maps. But if not, you can do it for free by visiting Google Maps.
Claim your business listing after registering so that local people are able to see your business in search results when they enter related keywords and every time they are finding something on Google Maps.
Local SEO Success in 2021
While SEO will always be about optimizing a website for search engines, there can be significant differences in strategies based on what you are trying to achieve. If local SEO is what you are aiming for, these are some of the basics that will at least help you start getting some amount of local traction.
Once you are done with the basics, you can then go ahead and work on complex concepts to boost your local rankings further, such as
- Get positive ratings and reviews on your listings from your happy customers.
- Getting backlinks to your sites from authentic and relevant websites.
- Listing your business in local directories.
- Work towards improving the average time spent by a visitor on your website.