Customers have a desire to shop locally – and if you’re a business owner, you want to be found locally. Here’s how you can improve your local SEO.
Spend any time chatting with a Boomer about life and it’s only a matter of time before they start reminiscing about the ‘local store’.
The local store was where you knew the name of the owner because they were also your neighbour; where the butcher withheld lamb chops every week because they knew you come in on a Thursday; where the pharmacist reminded you to get your prescription renewed because they had been dispensing it to you for years.
Like wall-mounted phones and metal rubbish bins, listening to the older generation lament the loss of the local store is a bit of a head-scratcher.
That’s because every savvy young shopper knows that shopping local isn’t old hat – it’s very much now hat. Everyone’s doing it, and every wise business knows it.
In fact, according to Google, searches including the words ‘near me’ are growing by a staggering 500 per cent every year!
What this means is that customers have a strong desire to shop locally – and if you’re a business owner, you want to be found locally.
Promoting your business locally can seem tricky given that the Internet is a world-wide platform, but there are steps you can take right now to build your brand locally and be found locally. It’s called local SEO and those who understand it are reaping the rewards.
Here are our top tips for building links to improve your local SEO.
1. Build links through local travel and review websites
Did you know that about 98 per cent of customers read online reviews before purchasing?
Normally, these customers are well into the buying cycle – they’ve made the decision to buy what it is you’re offering, and now they want confirmation that your business is the best to purchase from.
To build local SEO, you need top ratings, and the best way to do this is to encourage your customers to leave five-star reviews.
You can do this by emailing or texting the customer after a purchase, and by offering an incentive, such as a discount on their next purchase. Sharing reviews on social media also frequently prompts others to leave reviews and build your SEO.
As part of your link building campaign, you may need to contact local travel sites directly, providing them with information about your business as well as positive reviews you’ve received.
2. Host an event or promotion and build links via digital PR
Running an event can really build your brand’s local presence. You might, for example, sponsor the local footy club or local park restoration project. You could also hold a fundraiser to raise money for a beloved community project or run a workshop that targets local businesses.
Make the most of any link building PR campaign by making sure you advertise locally. You can create a press release and send it to local newspapers, radio stations and Facebook groups, which are great channels to tap into the local community. Include a URL for your website and ask if this can be included in any coverage.
Just make sure that you are clear on the demographic you’re wanting to target and the messaging you want to convey, to make sure the advertising hits the mark.
3. Build links via listings in local business directories
In numerous studies, about 94 per cent of consumers said they have consulted a business information site directly to find details about a local business. These include Bing, Facebook, and Google Business Profile.
Link building by being accepted into online business directories normally involves completing a form. Take your time to do this well. Include details such as opening hours and location, but make sure you are specific and descriptive about the service you offer or the products you sell.
4. Build links by blogging about local topics
You already know that creating fresh and regular content increases your SEO – so, to grow your local SEO make sure some of that content covers local topics.
According to a Demand Gen report, 60 per cent of buyers read posts in the early stages of the purchase process, making it great for generating leads.
Content is an excellent way to establish your business as experts in your field, which will set you apart from your competitors. Local content will establish you as the local expert.
Post your content widely on social media, with the aim of encouraging locals to spread the word. As part of your link building campaign, tag other local organisations or events and they may link back.
5. Target competitor backlinks
Find out who is providing your competitors with backlinks, not just to have a snoop, but because if they are linking to your competitors they might also link to you.
You can check out your competitors’ backlinks using tools like Ubersuggest, Moz or SEMRush. Simply enter the URL of one of your competitors and you’ll get a list of domains currently linking to the site.
Once you have this list, use your marketing strategy to approach the websites and suggest they link to you also.
6. Search for unlinked brand mentions
They’re discussing your brand or products, so why not ask them to link to your website also?
You can find out who is mentioning your brand by using tools such as BrandMentions, which will supply you with unlinked brand mentions.
Then reach out to the website owners, encouraging them to link to you. In exchange for the backlink, you might offer a reciprocal link or social media mention, or you might even offer their readers a discount or promotional deal.
7. Build good relations with local publications and bloggers
The best public relations are the genuine ones. Yes, local ads and campaigns work well, but the longest, deepest PR campaigns are built from forming real connections with local identities, businesses and bloggers.
Back in the day we used to call it networking, and the principal remains the same. Collaborating regularly with local bloggers or personalities helps form real connections to the local community.
The result? Rather than being another business listed on an events or business page, you’ll get mentioned in their blogs and posts, raising your local SEO exponentially.
Speak to the marketing strategy experts
The easiest way to boost your local SEO and link building is to call in the experts who understand it best.
Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, that can develop a ‘near me’ search campaign that will help your business grow its brand and achieve real bottom line results.
However, an SEO strategy is only one piece of the marketing puzzle and a holistic marketing approach is our speciality. To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.