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Best Practices for Improving Local SEO Rankings

Updated: Feb 28, 2023 @ 7:48 AM

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What’s Local SEO?

If you’re a Houston business owner that wants to attract more local customers & clients, local search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for your internet marketing strategy.

Local SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website and online presence to appear as a result for customers who are searching for products or services in your local area.

Importance of Local SEO for Small Businesses

According to Google, 46% of all searches have a local intent. In other words, nearly half of all searches on the world’s largest search engine are for local businesses.

Effectively optimizing your website and social media profiles with local SEO in mind can improve your visibility in local search results which will drive more business to your doorstep. This is good for business!

Understanding Local SEO

Local SEO vs Traditional SEO

Local SEO focuses on optimizing your website and online presence for local search queries as opposed to ranking in a way that has broad national or international appeal.

Factors that Impact Local Search Rankings

  • Relevance: How relevant your business is to the user’s search query
  • Proximity: How close your business is to the user’s location
  • Prominence: How well-known your business is in the local community and online

Once you understand these factors and how they impact your search rankings, you’re ready to start the process of optimizing your website and online presence for better local visibility in the search engines.

Keyword Research for Local SEO

Keyword research is a fundamental component of any SEO strategy, and it’s especially important for local SEO. Outlined below are a few best practices for conducting keyword research from a local SEO perspective.

Identifying the Best Keywords to Target for Local Search

The best tactics for identifying the right local search keywords include:

  • Conducting keyword research using tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs
  • Focusing on long-tail keywords that are more specific and targeted to your business and location
  • Using location-specific modifiers in your keyword strategy, such as “near me,” “in [city name],” or “best [product or service] in [city name]”

Learn More: Keyword Research for SEO: An Overview

Using Long-Tail Keywords & Location-Specific Modifiers

Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases that are less competitive than broad, one-word keywords. Location-specific modifiers are words or phrases that indicate a specific location, such as a city or neighborhood.

To leverage long-tail keywords and location-specific modifiers, try the following;

  • Include them in your website’s meta tags, headers, and content
  • Use them in your Google My Business listing and other online directories
  • Create location-specific landing pages on your website that target specific keywords and locations

Optimizing Your Website for Local SEO

On-page optimization is the process of optimizing the content and structure of your website to improve its visibility in search engine results. For local SEO, on-page optimization involves optimizing your website’s content and structure for location-specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business.

Optimizing Meta Tags, Headers, and Content for Local Search

  • Including your target keywords in your meta title and meta description tags.
  • Using location-specific modifiers in your meta tags and headers.
  • Creating location-specific landing pages on your website that target specific keywords and locations.
  • Including your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) in the header or footer of your website.
  • Including your NAP on every page of your website.
  • Creating high-quality, informative content that is relevant to your target audience and includes your target keywords and phrases.

Implementing Structured Data Markup to Enhance Local Search Visibility

Structured data markup is a type of code that helps search engines better understand the content of your website.

To implement structured data markup do the following;

Need help with Schema Markup? Try using a WordPress Plugin like RankMath or a Schema markup generator like RankRanger. If it’s confusing or you need professional help, contact us.

Off-Page Optimization for Local SEO

Off-page optimization means optimizing your website’s external factors to improve its ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). To impact local SEO, incorporate location-specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business throughout your off-site properties.

Your website’s external factors and off-site properties may include;

  • directory listings & business profile web pages,
  • blogs and blog posts that link to you,
  • reviews of your business on other websites,
  • profiles on social media platforms,
  • video uploads (the description section),
  • other websites you own, and other internet properties that can reference your business or even link to your website.

Building Local Citations & Backlinks

A few tips for building local citations and backlinks include the following;

  • Listing your business in local directories, such as Yelp, Google My Business, Yellow Pages, and Bing Places for Business,
  • Building backlinks from local websites, such as local news sites, blogs, and community organizations,
  • Getting listed on local business associations, such as the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau,
  • And Creating and promoting high-quality content that’s relevant to your target audience and includes your target keywords and phrases.

Google My Business Optimization

Google My Business & Local SEO

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including in Google search results and on Google Maps.

Searching for a local business with me cell phone - Local SEOOptimizing your GMB listing is important for local SEO.

If your business can rank in the Google Maps 3 pack, it’s the best way to help potential customers find and engage with your business online.

If you want to grow foot traffic to your brick & mortar location in Houston, ranking in the Google Maps 3 Pack is key.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Optimizing your GMB listing includes the following;

  • Claiming and verifying your listing to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date,
  • Providing complete and detailed information about your business, including your physical address, phone number and other contact information, website, hours of operation, and services or products offered,
  • Adding high-quality photos and videos that showcase your business and its offerings,
  • Encouraging and responding to customer reviews to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction,
  • And Using Google Posts to share updates, promotions, and other content with your audience.

Tips for Managing Your Google My Business Listing

Best practices for managing your GMB listing include:

  • Regularly monitoring and updating your listing to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date,
  • Responding promptly and professionally to customer reviews and questions
  • Using GMB insights to gain valuable insights into how customers find and engage with your business online,
  • Reporting and resolving any issues or inaccuracies with your listing promptly.

Google My Business is a powerful tool that can boost your Google Maps listing’s ranking.

Google Maps, or the 3 pack local map pack that appears atop Google for search queries with local intent, is the most effective way to bring in traffic and phone calls from relevant users.

Reviews and Reputation Management

Reviews are important for local search rankings. Testimonials & reviews signal to search engines and potential customers the quality and trustworthiness of your business.

Reputation management entails monitoring and managing your online reviews to ensure that they accurately reflect your business. Responding to all reviews is a great way to show that your business is responsive and attentive to its customers & clients.

How to Encourage Positive Reviews

Tips for getting good reviews include:

  • Asking satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and other online directories,
  • Making it easy for customers to leave reviews by providing links and instructions on your website and in your emails,
  • Offering incentives, such as discounts or freebies, for leaving a review,
  • and Responding to positive reviews with gratitude and appreciation.

Responding to Negative Reviews

A few pointers for responding to negative reviews include:

  • Responding promptly and professionally to the negative review,
  • Apologizing for any negative experience the customer may have had,
  • Offering a solution or compensation for the issue, if possible,
  • And Taking the conversation offline, if necessary, to resolve the issue privately.

Tools for Reputation Management

There are several tools available to help you manage your online reputation, including:

These tools scan the internet for reviews of your business and aggregate them in a user-friendly portal which makes them easier for you to manage.

Tracking Local SEO Campaign Performance

Measuring and tracking your campaign’s performance will help gauge the effectiveness of your local SEO strategy. Once you have handle on things, you can make the necessary adjustments to improve your rankings & results.

Key Metrics for Measuring Local SEO Performance

Some key metrics for measuring local SEO success include:

  • Google My Business insights, which provides data on how customers find and interact with your business on Google,
  • Website analytics, which provide data on your website’s traffic, engagement, and conversions,
  • Local search rankings, which indicate how well your website is performing in local search results for your target keywords and phrases,
  • And Online reviews, which provide insight into customer satisfaction and the reputation of your business online,

Tools for Tracking Performance

There are several tools available to help you track and measure your local SEO performance, including:

Need Help with Local Search Optimization?

Get in Touch with VizTV Media Services

If you’re ready to work on improving your website’s visibility in local search results, get in touch with VizTV Media Services today. We offer a range of internet market services designed to help small businesses succeed online.

We’ve helped numerous Houston law firms, local contractors, and other small businesses to grow by leveraging the power of search.

If you have questions or would like to get started, contact us at 713-443-7578 today or send us a message using our contact form.

About The Author

I'm Ray'Von D. Shanklin (AKA VizFact), owner, and founder of VizTV Media Services. I'm a webmaster, SEO specialist, videographer, graphic designer, PPC campaign expert, and an all-around heck of a guy. If you have any questions or need help, reach out to me.

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