When I think of SEO, I think about that room that looks so nice, tidy and clean until you open up the closed closet door or look under the bed and everything comes pouring out and you find yourself in a big mess. That is exactly how figuring out search can feel!
You are stuck with a choice. Living in denial that everything is working how it is supposed to, that Google has it all figured out and blame them when business is slow and slam the door closed. Or you can get down to the root of what is going on behind that closed door, where that mess came from, learn how to manage it, maybe even find out what needs to be fixed and make some good change that will impact long-term results.
If you are still reading we guess you are ready to get to work! Below we don’t promise to have all the answers to your SEO questions but we did want to focus on localization with hopes that will give you a good place to start!
Everyone wants the benefits of Google’s free local traffic results but the chances of that happening for your business is slim. When you search almost anything in Google the first two to four results are all going to be paid ads. So not only are your competitors beating you but they are paying good money to beat you! There is no such thing as free local traffic anymore.
But we aren’t saying you shouldn’t be focusing on localization as part of your SEO strategy because of these paid ads. In fact, with mobile, it’s more important than ever that you have a localization plan in place. However, there needs to be more to that than hoping your customers write lots of good reviews and crossing your fingers you pop up in the first three slots on a Google search. That is why we wanted to share three different localization strategies below. You need to be putting a little bit more into localization and we think combining these three tactics is a good place to start!
What Is Your End Goal?
More important than trying to be one of the top ranking results in a Google search, is getting customers! Just like with anything you are doing, you can’t rely on one strategy when it comes to search you need to look a plan that ties together a variety of campaigns. Afterall, you aren’t only trying to get customers one way, or at least we hope not, so you probably shouldn’t be using search in only one way either. We want you to use the below question to help you think about search from an outside perspective, to think like the customer is when they are searching for a business like yours.
How Could Your Customers Use Search To Find You?
We all know people aren’t only finding out about your service or product because they are coming directly to your website. Direct clicks aren’t happening as much you probably think they are. Take a look below at the three questions you need to be able to answer about your customers in order to understand local SEO. By doing this you will see there are parts of search you can control and influence.
1. What other websites show up when you use Google to search your business?
Does Yelp come up?
A blog post?
A Reddit feed?
A Pinterest post?
Some other place you could get your website on? If other search-type sites are showing up in your results- a place other than Google people go to get advice then maybe you can incorporate them into your strategy and focus on increasing your ranking on there too. Make sure your business is a part of these communities and ask to be a part of them.
That might mean writing a guest blog, having them guest blog on your site, joining forms and creating your own social pages and managing them properly with content people want to read. The moral of the story is that people need to be able to find your website in more than one way. The more chances you give someone to stumble across your link the higher the odds they will click and the easier (the closer to the top it gets) your page is to find on Google.
2. Are your customers using their voice to search?
Some industries are noticing the increased amount of people using voice to search and are investing in it. From talking into your mobile phone to asking Amazon’s Alexa, people now have a few different ways and devices to ask when it comes to finding what is going on locally through voice search and you need to know about them.
I truly think voice search is going to impact and help the local businesses the most. Even from personal experience that is when it seems to make the most sense to use:
What time does Publix close?
What is the top rated sushi restaurant in my area?
When is Beauty And The Beast playing next?
Where can I rent a bike nearby?
Just because you might find voice search silly doesn’t mean other people do! People are using it (and the numbers can only go up from here) so don’t ignore it now and wait for it to become popular to become an expert. Start learning and understanding how your consumers might use it so when it truly is the most popular way to search you are already ranking high. You have to remember the way and what types of questions people ask through voice is different from what they type into their phones or web browser. Maybe this could open up a search term or phrase for you to actually rank first in and drive new business?
3. Are you optimizing for “Near Me” searches?
No, Google does not just do this for you! You need to be doing your part so Google remembers to add you to those “near me” searches that are being used more and more. Here is what a blog post from Local SEO has to say about increasing your odds for coming up:
- Having a higher raw count of backlinks with your city/state in the anchor text correlated very highly with better rankings.
- On top of that, the % of backlinks with geo-optimized anchor text correlated quite highly with “near me” search success.
- No matter what Google says, link-building is a critical tactic in dominating local SERPs (search engine results page).
- Reviews correlated quite highly with “near me” search success.
- Being closer (to the searcher) doesn’t necessarily mean you rank higher. Our data showed that being in the same city as a “near me” search had more correlation with positive performance then being closer.
- Also, please stop spamming your city/state info in on domain content. Our research has shown it doesn’t correlate with higher rankings on traditional or “near me” searches.
So get to work on trying to win those “near me” searches with the above tips! You don’t want to assume anything when it comes to search, there are things you need to be doing on your end so you pop up!
Wrap It Up
We are a mobile-first world and slowly becoming a mobile-only world, with that comes the need to understand and have a solid local search plan in place. Figuring out how to use localization and SEO together needs to be high on your marketing to do!
I hope the above information showed that you can understand what goes on behind the closed doors of a Google search engine. That you can influence results and by using the above three strategies, positively impact where you place and really use localization as a marketing tool.