Search Engine Optimization (if you are not familiar with SEO read this before continuing) is one of the most time-consuming aspects of marketing your website and business, there are no shortcuts. In the end, it pays the largest dividends, by driving the highest quality traffic and the largest number of leads to your website. Local Duluth SEO takes your general SEO efforts to the next level and adds a geographic focus, targeting the area where your business is located, which for most businesses is where their clients are as well. To better illustrate the process of Local SEO we will use Duluth Minnesota (proud home of Faster Solutions) as an example, but the information and tactics discussed can be applied to any location.
Why It’s Important
4 out of 5 consumers use search to find local information, making local search POWERFUL for small businesses! If your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on up to 80% of your potential customers. Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local prospects/customers. Search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results for the user to rely on. Local SEO important and beneficial, in fact, local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay relevant. Today we will provide examples of building up strong Local SEO in Duluth*.
Best Practice Local SEO
- Optimize your Google My Business account
- Improve on-page SEO by updating your website
- Excel on the Wild Wild Web
It may sound overwhelming but it’s entirely feasible to succeed in all three areas with patience and perseverance. Let’s do this!
Optimize Google My Business
I have just opened a small restaurant in Downtown Duluth, Minnesota but my location is in an area that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic and I know in order to be successful I will need to reach out of town visitors in Duluth. By claiming (or creating a listing if your business is new) my local business, in Google My Business, I can ensure my restaurant will quickly be added to google map listings and become visible in local search, when someone searches for “Places to eat in Duluth MN” or any other local search terms related to dining in Duluth. In addition, I can add my restaurant’s phone number, business hours, a link to my website, a keyword rich description, quality images, and more.
I must verify my business so it will be published by Google. This involves receiving a call from Google to the number associated with my business or a postcard that will be mailed to my businesses address. If the business is brand new like my imaginary restaurant, expect the only option to be a mailing, which can take up to 2 weeks to arrive. So for my imaginary Duluth restaurant’s Local SEO I would likely request my verification letter prior to opening so I have it ready and can get my business published as soon as I open my brick and mortar doors.
Local SEO Benefits – Now my restaurant will appear in local search on maps either when someone searches for Duluth MN restaurants on a desktop or based on location data when they search on mobile and are in Duluth. All the business information and images I want to share, my phone number (which mobile users can click-to-call), and all other relevant information is available. Most importantly for my restaurant, I can now make social media posts within my account, encourage my customers to share reviews online, and respond to reviews on my google my business listing. Responding to all reviews, good or bad, is the best practice.
A google maps result for an optimized and un-optimized Google My Business listing.
Updating Content On Website
Once I’ve optimized my business for Google My Business, I need to focus my attention on my website so potential local customers/clients have a good experience when they get to my website. Let’s look at five website updates I can do to improve my local SEO.
- I improve my internal links – External links pointing to my site are ideal but by adjusting my internal linking will also boost my SEO rankings. It will support website navigation, assist information architecture and website hierarchy. It distributes page authority and ranking power among pages.
- I optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and content – whew that sounds like a mouthful! Content, content, content. View every blog post as an opportunity for an indexed page for my site, a page that I can target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages. When I write a new piece of content, I need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, page title, header, meta description, and body. Highlighting customer success stories or case studies is a great tip for creating geo-targeted content.
- I add location pages to my website. If I have more than one location, I create location pages. These pages provide my potential local customers with store hours, unique location descriptions, parking/transit info, promotions, testimonials from other happy customers and more. I don’t want to duplicate content across multiple location pages, I make them unique to each location. If I only have one location it is very important to create an About Us page that is locally descriptive. I add a Google Map to my website, individually on location pages or, for just one location, I place it on the Contact Us page.
- I create local content. After all, Google just keeps getting smarter. My content has to be written for my users, not a search engine. If I want to attract a local crowd in Duluth, Minnesota it is important that my content is focused on local or industry news. I want to be the local authority for my industry by promoting local industry information such as gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content. I must always be providing top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what my business sells. If I own a commercial construction company in Duluth, Minnesota and I want to attract businesses that are new to our area, I may want to help them become acquainted with Duluth. I can do this by creating content that becomes a resource to businesses such as a map of local service providers, a business directory for networking, or a calendar of city events for new businesses. This will provide value for my prospective customers/clients as well as provide relevant on-page local signals to the search engines.
- I want to ensure my website is mobile-friendly. 9 out of 10 smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices – local search and mobile search go hand in hand! Locally, some of the most common ways people will use my site on their mobile phone – looking up my reviews, finding directions to my location, and looking for my contact info. Having a mobile-friendly site will make it easy..
Excel on WWW!
So far, I’ve optimized my business for Google My Business and updated my website for an internal SEO boost. Now I am going to use NAP (Name/Address/Phone) consistency, directories, and inbound links to take my business even closer to that top spot in local search for Duluth, Minnesota.
- Name, Address, Phone Consistency- I want to make it easy for people and search engines to find me. I am going to set up my NAP (with area code) as crawlable HTML text on your site. I don’t want my NAP to be within an image, images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text. NAP is commonly in the footer or header.
- Optimize Online Directories and Citations- Again I want consistency, I am going to verify that my citations are consistent and complete. I want to avoid discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of a suite number, or wrong phone number. Google needs to be able to determine my information is correct otherwise it may not show my business at all in search results. I remove any duplicate listings I find. I am a member of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and I like to highlight that for the external inbound link.
- Get Inbound Links that have Relevance & Authority- I view my inbound links as an opportunity to boost my local SEO. Each inbound link tells Google I am a legitimate company and my inbound links raise my domain authority. Look for sponsorships, partnerships, guest blog posting opportunities or scholarships. I started with my own personal network, including the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. It’s also a good idea to sponsor a webinar, meet-up, host a community event, or promote something local you love. This is the way I build relationships so I feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you.
- Get Social- I engage regularly with social media and add posts to Google My Business. Content shared on social media is more important now than ever before. Think of it as having a conversation with your customers or potential customers. Make sure you are regularly engaging with “followers.” I do this to further align social and search.
Local SEO can be a time consuming and difficult process, but the time, effort, and the cost is well worth it for many local businesses when weighed against the increased exposure and revenue it generates. If you would like to learn more about Local SEO in the Duluth Minnesota area or anywhere else we would be happy to help. Please Contact Us Today or Request A Quote.