How to build a strong local SEO strategy

Post-pandemic, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has acquired a much more local focus. That’s not to say that regular SEO is less important – but reaching the modern customer strongly hinges on local SEO efforts. Between mobile voice searches and location-specific, “near me” searches both spikings, it is crucial that you cater to both. That’s no simple feat, however, and requires a robust local SEO strategy. As one of the top digital marketing agencies in New York, we at Digital Dot are here to help.

What is local SEO?

A close-up of a smartphone displaying the Google Maps app.
A strong local SEO strategy aims to increase your business’s local visibility.

To briefly explore the fundamentals, SEO optimizes content for search engines across all of its forms. Marketers typically divide regular SEO into 3 main subgroups, each with its own focus:

  • On-page. This subgroup delves into on-page optimization, such as images and alternative text.
  • Off-page. Instead, off-page SEO focuses on off-page activities and strategies such as link building.
  • Technical. Finally, this subgroup helps ensure technical website health, through such means as XML sitemaps.

Local SEO was usually regarded as the 4th subset, which focuses on local visibility – optimizing websites and content for “near me” searches, Google Maps searches, and so on. Today, as mobile traffic surpasses desktop traffic and local searches rise, local SEO has evolved into an invaluable business asset.

Local SEO allows businesses to get on the literal map of tech-savvy audiences on the move, yielding excellent returns. It primarily does so through Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business (GMB), but it also relies on other factors – as we’ll cover next.

When do you need local SEO?

That said, it’s notable that a select few businesses may not need a strong focus on local SEO. As a New York SEO company, we strongly suggest not neglecting it, but some may afford to not prioritize it.

In brief, you do need a strong local SEO strategy if:

  • Your business targets local audiences
  • You need to increase organic traffic
  • Regular SEO strategies call for more backlinks and website authority
  • You need to raise local brand awareness
  • You are operating in multiple locations

Even if none of the above applies to your business, local SEO will still complement your existing online visibility. It also comes with minimal costs, and can even be fueled by your current social media strategies.

How to build a strong local SEO strategy

With its benefits in mind, let us now explore how exactly you may set up or solidify your strategy.

#1 Audit your website

First, before entertaining optimizations, you should ensure your website performs at its best. Not doing so can sabotage your efforts, as mistakes and oversights will devalue the traffic you do acquire.

Letter cubes spelling out “SEO audit”.
An SEO audit will ensure your strategy starts on solid foundations.

SEO audits will slightly vary in what they cover, but will typically include elements from all aforementioned SEO subgroups like:

  • Sluggish website speeds
  • Poorly optimized images
  • Broken internal and inbound links
  • Improper or missing HTML and XML sitemaps
  • Poor mobile-friendliness

Thankfully, many popular marketing tools offer such audit options as well. However, to be sure, we’d recommend consulting professionals to ensure no oversights slip through. Digital Dot offers a free digital marketing analysis for websites – all you need to do is contact us.

#2 Analyze your competitors

With one eye inward, you may next turn to your competitors. Learning from their successes and failures can inform your course and guide you in the right direction.

People looking at a pie chart on a laptop screen.
Competitor analysis is a crucial practice, and local SEO benefits from it no less.

Conduct competitor analysis to pinpoint such aspects of their strategies as:

  • How does their GBP profile look?
  • Which keywords are they targeting?
  • What sets their website and content apart from their peers?

Keyword analysis tends to be the most important element, of course, as keywords spearhead content strategies. However, such visual elements as web design are very noteworthy as well. As a web design company NYC, we can cite multiple cases when simple visual polish made a stark difference.

#3 Optimize your Google Business Profile

These aside, any strong local SEO strategy hinges very strongly on GBP. That’s where Google will derive your business’s trustworthiness and authority, and that’s what it will serve its users.

To get started in this regard, consider the following in order:

  • Set up your GBP profile. The process is quick and easy, but remember to pay attention to detail.
  • Ensure your information’s accuracy. Your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) information should always be accurate and up to date.
  • Add relevant images. A plain profile with no visual flair will fail to capture your audiences’ attention.
  • Promote your website. Doing so prominently will offer visitors a direct path to your website and into your sales funnel.
  • Post and cross-post. Finally, remember to stay active on GBP; you may cross-post social media content on it to help you do so.

Notably, this final point is a primary reason why social media marketing NYC services now overlap with local SEO more strongly.

#4 Produce locally valuable content and share it

Finally, with your profile in order, you may then focus on the fundamentals of any strong local SEO strategy. In the words of Bill Gates, “content is king”.

A white megaphone on a chair.
Remember, consistently promoting your content is just as important as crafting it.

To do so, you will need a locally-focused content strategy:

  • Identify locally valuable keywords. Beyond your location itself, those will typically include local monuments, landmarks, and other locally significant keywords. As you explore your options, don’t forget to include name variations only local audiences use.
  • Craft content around them for local audiences. With keywords in hand, you may begin to craft content around them. You may explore your location’s history, outline its sights for newcomers, and otherwise delve into what makes it unique.
  • Promote your content to local websites and outlets. Finally, you may promote your content where your local audiences will find it. Networking with your local peers won’t just help forge business relations, but it will also generate backlinks that SEO values highly.

As you do, it is also crucial to remember that you’re catering to your local audiences’ search intent. As such, you should not shy away from long-tail keywords – voice search increasingly favors them as well.

If you need a more detailed guide to GBP activity, you may also consult our article on GBP posts.

Conclusion

To summarize, local SEO leverages GBP and local content and backlinks to optimize websites and content for local searches. As such, any strong local SEO strategy hinges on these elements as well as on information accuracy and consistency.

Once arguably underappreciated, local SEO has now become an invaluable asset for all businesses that seek to attract local audiences. While brief, hopefully, this article helped convince you of its newfound value.

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