Today we’re going to be talking about local SEO and the role it plays for local businesses in the Jacksonville area. Many people don’t fully understand the power of local SEO and how local businesses can use it to attract thousands of new customers every month. So in this article, we’ll be taking a look at what local SEO is and how to take advantage of it to boost your business.

What is Local SEO?

First things first, what is local SEO? It’s essentially the practice of optimizing your website and online marketing strategy for Google’s local search results. But what does this actually mean?

To summarize, local SEO relies on specific elements such as:

  • Your business name and address
  • Your NAP (name, address, phone number)
  • Your category and location
  • Your website’s IP address
  • Your business hours and photos taken in your actual office

These are just some of the things you can focus on and tweak to position yourself higher in Google Maps and related searches.

The Benefits Of Local SEO

Even if you’re not working in a local industry or are looking to start your own local business, local SEO has a lot to offer regardless of your existing business setup. We’re going to review some of the top benefits of having a rocking local SEO strategy that you’ll see impact your business.

Let’s take a look at the top 4 benefits.

1. More Traffic

One of the biggest reasons why local businesses invest in local SEO is because it helps to bring them more traffic. And as we all know, more traffic means more sales and more potential customers. So let’s take a look at how you can use local SEO to bring you more traffic.

2. Higher Rankings In Local Searches

Local SEO aims to increase your ranking in local search results, which is why it’s often called local SEO optimization. Every day, millions of people enter search terms into Google that are related to their local area. When a user enters a search term like the one above, Google will return a map with local results. These include popular restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. As you can see, Google simply lists these businesses by their name and address.

Businesses want to appear in these local search results for several reasons. This includes being able to reach a much larger audience than they would be able to otherwise. And when you think about it, it makes sense. After all, how many people would your business attract if you had an average website with no reviews? Probably not many. And how many would you attract if you had a local business listing on Google maps with a few positive reviews? A lot more.

So if you want to bring more people to your door, make sure you optimize your site for local SEO. It is that simple.

3. Better Brand Awareness

Did you know that around 80% of consumers search for local businesses on Google before visiting them? This figure may even be higher for big cities.

Think about it, if a potential customer knows little or nothing about your business beforehand, they’re not going to venture too far to visit unless they have absolutely no other choice. But if they know about your business and have heard good things about it, they’re much more likely to go out of their way and visit your store.

4. Better Leads & Lower CPCs

When someone searches for a local business on Google, they’re often closer to purchasing than they may realize. And this is why local SEO is so important. After all, if you’re constantly showing up in local search results, you’re more likely to get more visitors to your website and ultimately receive more leads and lower cost-per-click (CPC).

As you can see, there are many great advantages to local SEO, including the four we’ve just covered. If you’re looking to bring new customers to your business, local SEO is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. You’ll just need to implement it correctly.

How To Optimize Your Site For Local SEO

If you want to get more local customers searching for your business online, there are certain things you should be doing on your website and within your local listings. In this section, we will be going through the key steps you can follow to ensure you’re in a position to attract more local customers.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

As you know, Google looks at so much more than your website’s design when determining where to show it in search results. And one of the most important factors Google looks at is whether or not your site is mobile friendly. If Google thinks your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it will downgrade you as a result.

This means that if someone searches for your business on their phone, they won’t see your listing appear on page 1. Instead, it will show up much lower down, often in the 3rd or 4th position.

It doesn’t take long to make sure your site is mobile-friendly either. A quick way to do this is by installing the Google Mobile-Friendly Chrome extension. This will instantly let you know whether or not your site is mobile-friendly.

If it isn’t, you can use the Mobile Tester tool to see how your site appears on a mobile device and make adjustments accordingly.

Optimize Your NAP (Name, Address, And Phone Number) For Local SEO

Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that only 18% of local businesses have a complete NAP on their website? If you don’t have a full NAP on your website, you’re making a big mistake as you’ll be missing out on hundreds of customers every single month.

So how do you optimize your NAP for local SEO?

Add Your NAP To Your Contact Page

The first thing you should do is add your NAP to your contact page.

Yes, this is pretty simple. But you’d be amazed at how many businesses leave this at default or don’t add it at all. Remember, if you’re not going to add these details to your contact page, a potential customer will have to look elsewhere to find it, such as your Google business listing.

And now that we’ve covered how to optimize your NAP for local SEO, let’s talk about NAP consistency.

NAP Consistency

Another important aspect of local SEO related to your NAP is ensuring you have consistent NAP across all your marketing efforts.

Why is this so important? Well, if you have inconsistent NAP across your marketing efforts, Google will see this as a form of deception and may penalize you as a result.

In essence, you want to ensure you have the same NAP on all your websites and listings. It’s also important that they’re 100% consistent with each other as well.

For example, you want to avoid using “The White Company” references on your homepage but “The White Co.” on Google My Business. You also shouldn’t use different NAP listings completely. One of the most important things to remember here is that Google will treat this kind of inconsistency as deception, which can result in a penalty if you’re not careful.

Provide Detailed Business Details

Your business profile should include all of the following:

  • Business name
  • Company size – number of employees
  • Business category
  • Detailed business description
  • Company address
  • Business telephone number
  • Opening hours
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ page links
  • Keywords — Hint: To add keywords to your business listing, Google recommends you use the “Edit business information” option and enter relevant location-based keywords. These will help you rank higher in local search results.
  • Include Reviews

Your Google My Business page will also allow you to display reviews that have been left for your business on third-party sites. These reviews can be a big help for local SEO as Google uses them to determine whether or not a business deserves a top position within its local search index.

To do this, go to the “Establish your business” section of your Google My Business dashboard and click on “Collect reviews”.

It’s also important to note that Google is said to favor reviews from sites like Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor over other review sites. As such, you’ll want to focus on getting positive reviews on these sites.

Add A Physical Address To Your Website

If you have a physical store, make sure you include an address on your website. It can be hidden in the footer or contact page, but having one is important.

This is because, although it’s much less common, Google will sometimes show local search results without a street address visible – such as the ones above. So if you have an address and physical location, you’re much more likely to appear.

Update Your Site Regularly

To keep your local SEO optimized, you’ll want to keep your website updated.

This includes updating your website’s content, images, and other factors that will help increase your rank in local search results. And the more recent your information is, the more it shows Google that you’re active and relevant within your industry.

The point here is that updating your website regularly will help your local SEO efforts. So instead of looking at local SEO as a one-time thing, make sure you keep your website updated overtime to keep your site optimized and increase your chances of appearing in local search results.

Optimize Your Business Listing On Google

If your business has been around for a while, it’s likely that it already has a Google My Business listing. If not, I highly recommend creating one, to begin with.

Adding your business to Google My Business is incredibly easy and will only take you a few minutes. You can do this by following the steps below:

First, you’ll want to locate the “Add a business” button on Google.com Make sure you’re signed in to your Google account beforehand Click “Yes, I’m in” and fill out the business information as best you can Add a logo and any other images that you think will help people find your business (optional) Click “Save”

If you already have a business listing on Google My Business, you need to make sure it’s as accurate as possible. I’ve gathered together some tips for optimizing your Google My Business listing below.

Provide Detailed Contact Information

More often than not, people will visit your business listing on Google first before visiting your actual website. So providing your NAP on your Google My Business listing will enable customers to easily locate your address, phone number, and more.

Create A Detailed Description About Your Business

Your description is an opportunity to tell people what you do and convince them to choose your business over competitors. The key here is providing as much information as you possibly can.

Add Images Of Your Business

Adding images of your business can be a great opportunity to provide people with a feel for your brand and show off what your business can offer them.

Parking Information And Driving Directions

This one is pretty simple. If you have parking in your area, you should add this information. This includes whether or not there is parking available at all, how much it costs, and how far away it is from your business.

You’ll also want to provide directions to your business so people don’t get lost. If you don’t know how to do this, simply copy and paste the driving directions to your business from Google Maps and you’ll be good to go.

Provide Customer Service Information

At the end of the day, customer service is incredibly important. This is because it directly impacts your conversion rates and ability to attract new customers.

So if your business is different from your local competitor in terms of customer service, then you should highlight the differences and show people what makes you the better option.

Keep Your Business Up To Date

As your business changes, it’s important to make sure your Google My Business listing is kept up to date. This can be done using the “Edit” option on your listing.

Remember, if you’re going to do this, also update your website to ensure the information is 100% consistent with each other.

Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Next up, let’s talk about social media. If you’re looking to help local SEO, optimizing your social media profiles is a good place to start. Here are three quick tips for doing this.

Add Your NAP To Your Social Media Profiles

Making sure your NAP is consistent across all of your marketing efforts is incredibly important. So ensuring it’s consistent across your social media profiles is an ideal place to start.

Avoid Spammy Links

When it comes to local SEO, getting links back to your website is a great way to help increase your chances of appearing in local search results. However, you don’t want to go overboard with spammy or irrelevant links.

Instead, focus on getting links from websites in your industry. This is the best way to naturally grow your local SEO efforts and get more traffic in the process.

In Summary

And that’s a wrap for local SEO. I know this was a long post, but I wanted to include everything there is to know about local SEO in one place. It’s important to fully understand local SEO and how it can impact your business so you can start taking advantage of it today.

So what do you think? Do you feel like you have a good handle on local SEO now or do you still have some questions? If you do, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you shortly with some expert advice.