If you have a business that operates on a small scale, or has specific franchise locations, then you need to focus your marketing efforts on local SEO. Local search engine optimization is slightly different from that of national or global brands, as it aims to target only people living in relevant locations.
The goal is to appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) in specific local areas. So how do we do this? Here are some local and franchise SEO tips that any business can use.
Use Google My Business… And Optimize It!
Google My Business is Google’s tool that catalogues all the businesses in a local area. In order to be able to use Google My Business for your business’s location, you will need to claim it. To do this, you’ll need to create & sign into your Google My Business account and follow the instructions.
What this does for you is that it claims your business’s spot on Google Maps and, if Google is able to verify that your business is legitimate, gives you a spot on local search rankings right at the top. You might even get that coveted sidebar space.
Not only is this free, but it’s how Google gives that sidebar space. You need to optimize your Google My Business listing by making sure all the information on it is correct, and by giving an accurate description of your business. You should also encourage people to leave reviews of their experience!
Optimize For Local Keywords
Local keywords are a type of long tail keyword that specifies a business type, product, or service, along with a location appended to it.
Use Google Keyword Planner to help you find relevant local keywords. For example, if you run an HVAC company in Dallas, you may want to start in the Keyword Planner with ‘hvac contractor dallas’ and see what other kinds of keywords pop up. You want to only add relevant ones, so if you don’t offer HVAC maintenance, you won’t want to optimize for that term.
Use Online Business Directories
Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare are excellent places for your business to appear on. Why? Because not only do people still use these sites to find relevant businesses like yours, but this will help you in the search engines. Having your business information corroborated on a site like those will help legitimize your business and make it easier for people to find you.