Once you enter the digital arena, the sheer number of options to disseminate your brand can become rather overwhelming.
With so many options to consider, it’s no surprise that so many businesses would rather cast a wide net into the global market in the hopes of getting more viable traction than focus on the limited scope of their local audience.
However, let’s focus on this single piece of data that might have you instantly running to your SEO teams asking for more localised strategies: 82% of smartphone buyers opt for those local searches.
Everyone and their dog has already heard about the recent Google algorithm update that treats your mobile website version as the primary one.
Pair that with the abovementioned number, and you know that this means 2019 will exemplify the strongest ever focus on local SEO, and it’s time to crank up your game.
Use local directories to your advantage
A huge part of your SEO is focusing on being easy to find for more customers and protecting your reputation.
That simply means that if Google and other relevant search engines can verify your existence and confirm you are an actual, note-worthy business, they’ll be far more prone to put you in front of your audience when someone types in “shoe store near me”.
Make sure to list your business with Google My Business, Yelp for Business, Facebook for Business, Yahoo Local, Bing Places for Business, as well as many others directories that can later verify your brand and help you rank better.
Consistency is the key to using these to your advantage, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
Make the most of DIY options
Every single startup, big or small, as well as any growing business in need of SEO support, can benefit from learning the ropes of this aspect of your digital marketing strategy.
You may never be able to match the depths of technical knowledge many SEO experts in the industry boast, but mastering the essentials of local search optimisation and on-site optimisation can help you soar to new heights.
In fact, cutting-edge do it yourself SEO tool is more than enough to help you define your most vital keyword goals, your website architecture issues for SEO, as well as handling the most common issues and updates for ranking better in the SERPs.
Keywords still rule
This may go without saying, but from the perspective of local searches, you should keep in mind that your website content needs to have a number of elements that point to your whereabouts, your keywords included.
That means that everything from your meta descriptions, title tags, all the way to your blogs needs to include this piece of information.
This instantly makes your business easy to analyse and “place” as Google crawlers explore your web presence, thus increasing your chances of getting in front of the right people.
Even those search engine snippets of yours can contain some information indicating your location, thus being even more transparent in the eyes of your potential customer.
Reviews have never been more relevant
On a slightly different note, your content is not the only kind that is taken into account by search engines to rank you.
In fact, in 2019, there will be an even stronger focus on how your brand is already perceived by your audience.
Public and shared reviews and other forms of feedback are perfect for strengthening your position in the SERPs.
Incentivise and encourage regular customer feedback on Google as well as social media and your website, and don’t shy away from negative comments, too.
They are opportunities to improve your business and impress an even greater number of people willing to try your brand.
NAP front and centre
While different directories, social media channels, and your website may all have different fields to fill out to describe your work and your expertise, the one key element they all have in common are your NAP details.
Short for name, address, and phone number, NAP should be consistent across all channels where you list your business.
Any discrepancies may point to your business not being legitimate, and faulty information is one of those things Google and other search engines truly do not appreciate.
Make sure to keep your data consistent across the board, and your rankings will have a better chance of soaring.
It’s a strategy as old as our digital presence, but it has been refined many times over so that Google can filter links made in less than honourable ways.
That said, you should remember that Google keeps changing its algorithm, constantly finding ways to penalise those who misuse their back-linking methods.
However, if you stick to white-hat tactics to build a diverse link portfolio, and keep tweaking it to meet Google’s strict criteria, you’ll be well on your way to build awareness as well as your reputation through these links.
Local SEO: In Conclusion
With competition growing stronger than ever, 2019 will indeed be even more packed with startups and innovators finding their spot under the digital sun.
Use these local SEO strategies to protect and grow your brand visibility for your local audience, and you’ll have a far better chance of staying a few steps ahead of your competitors.
I’m a UK based freelance SEO consultant and digital marketer and I provide results-driven online consulting and digital marketing services to SMEs. Are you ready to grow in 2019? Get in touch today!