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When potential clients type in “mortgage companies near me” or “top law firms near me” is your business listing being seen? That’s the goal of Local SEO.
If you’re not appearing in their searches, you might be missing out on a goldmine of opportunities to elevate your brand’s visibility and reach in Google and search engine results pages.
In a “Google first” type world, mastering local SEO is more important than ever to capture this free-flowing traffic.
Let’s venture into the world of local SEO and give you actionable steps to take today to seize the top spots in Google’s coveted rankings.
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that optimizes a business’s online presence to attract more customers from relevant local searches on search engines.
In other words, it’s about getting to the top of Google search results, especially Google Maps search results where people are searching for “businesses near me.”
Let’s examine some scenarios where local SEO can help your business get more search engine traffic:
- Mortgage companies SEO: A mortgage firm in Detroit employing local SEO strategies might ensure that a family searching for “home loans in Detroit” will find their business at the top of the search results, thereby connecting the family with the right lender nearby.
- Law firm local SEO: A law office in Ann Arbor could use local SEO to feature prominently when potential clients in the area search for “best divorce attorneys in Ann Arbor”, making it easier for locals to find their services during a time of need.
- Senior living communities local SEO: A senior living community in Michigan might use local SEO techniques to appear in searches when families in the region look for “best senior living communities in Michigan”, helping them showcase their amenities to the right audience, potentially filling up vacancies faster.
- Financial technology companies local SEO: A fintech company based in Lansing could leverage local SEO to reach entrepreneurs in the vicinity searching for “innovative payment solutions in Lansing”, ensuring they connect with local businesses looking to streamline their financial processes.
Why business owners should invest in local SEO
Our world today is a “digital-first” environment where everybody is glued to their phones or computers.
If you want new people to discover your website, especially people within your immediate vicinity, you’ll need to invest in local SEO to boost your website’s visibility.
By investing in local SEO, business owners can solidify their online presence and build a trustworthy and recognizable brand in their community.
Increasing online visibility
Local SEO enhances your online visibility, especially to people within Google’s “proximity factor” which is based on the distance between your business’s physical location and the Google user’s location as they’re performing the search.
Law firm scenario: In the highly competitive legal sector, a law firm in Grand Rapids can use local SEO to optimize its Google Business listing, making sure people find them when searching for “personal injury lawyer grand rapids.”
Hopefully, this law firm will appear in the coveted “local pack” or the top 3 spots, dramatically increasing their chances of being contacted.
Driving organic traffic
Organic traffic is free web traffic brought in through a Google search or other unpaid methods. Organic traffic is high in quality because it’s people who are actively searching for the services you offer.
Consider this mortgage scenario: A mortgage broker in Detroit writes a series of blog posts on their website, such as “How to get a home loan in Detroit.” With the proper local SEO strategies, this broker could rank high in search results, attracting organic traffic from local clients.
Boosting local foot traffic to physical locations
Physical brick-and-mortar locations, such as stores or senior living communities can use local SEO to attract real foot traffic while also promoting their online presence.
An example in senior living communities: A senior living community in Lansing could host a series of free webinars on senior living options and caregiving tips, optimized for local SEO and residents, to attract local families looking for senior living options in the Lansing area.
Families who find these resources might be more likely to visit the community in person, increasing footfall to the establishment.
How to get into Google Maps’ top search results: the “local pack”
Landing in Google’s “Local Pack”, the top three search results displayed for local queries, is a coveted spot that can significantly increase your business visibility.
Here’s how you can aim to secure your position at the top.
Google Business optimization
Your local SEO journey begins with your website, followed by your Google Business listing. It will show your business’s location, address, number, and services offered.
Follow these tips to get your Google Business profile in order:
- Complete all sections of your profile with accurate and up-to-date information.
- Add high-quality images of your business premises, team, and products/services.
- Use a local phone number for better local relevance.
- Add your location’s physical address.
Collect genuine reviews
Encourage your satisfied clients (not your difficult clients) to leave positive reviews on your Google Business profile.
Example: A senior living community could create a simple guide or video on how to guide family members on how to leave a review, making the process hassle-free for them.
- Encourage past, satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. Be careful not to bribe them, as this violates Google’s policies.
- Respond promptly to reviews to show engagement, even negative reviews.
Google prefers to highlight websites that “play nice with others,” in this instance, websites that have a lot of backlinks, which shows that your website is trustworthy because so many other websites link their visitors back to your website.
Follow these tips for more backlinks:
- Obtain backlinks from local businesses and organizations. Identify potential partners, such as healthcare providers, recreational centers, or pharmacies, for example. Then partner with them to share a guest blog to share insights or experiences.
- Sponsor local events or community activities to get mentioned on local websites and local news sources. For instance, charity runs, festivals, or free workshops.
Local content marketing strategy
Creating a content marketing strategy that addresses the specific needs and specific keywords of your local audience will help you collect that free Google traffic.
- Create blog posts and articles focusing on local events, news, or activities, such as “How to Get a Mortgage in Houston.”
- Sprinkle local keywords judiciously into your content, such as headers, paragraphs, and article titles, for example, “A Guide to Detroit Law Firms” or “How to Get a Mortgage in Detroit in 2023.”
Local directories, citations, and news stories
One of the best ways to get seen by your community is to enter your website into local directories such as Angi, Yellow Pages, and other specialized, niche directories for your business, or by creating a newsworthy event that gets covered on local news sites.
Follow these tips:
- List your business in local directories with consistent information.
- Focus on getting mentioned in local media outlets.
Here’s a list of directories to consider based on each industry:
Senior living communities:
Financial technology companies:
Time frame and strategies for landing in the top three Google search results
Short-Term (3-6 months): Focus on setting up a comprehensive Google Business profile, optimizing your website for mobile devices, and starting a local content strategy based on writing educational “how-to” blogs.
Medium-Term (6-12 months): Work on building a solid backlink profile with local businesses and organizations, while steadily growing your collection of genuine reviews.
Long-Term (1 year and beyond): Continuously optimize your strategies, focusing on content creation and backlink building, while keeping track of the changes in Google’s algorithm to stay ahead.
How to optimize your website for local SEO
Your website is the most essential part of your local SEO strategy. Without a website, where would you be directing Google users to?
Let’s dive into strategies and real examples of how you can improve your website for better local SEO search results.
To start, make sure your website is technically sound and user-friendly—there are no broken links, slow loading times, or other common website mistakes that will cause your website to crash.
After that, populate your website with educational and helpful content that’s easy to find.
You may consider adding a FAQ page that answers common legal questions such as “How do I get a divorce in the state of Ohio?” which highlights your local area, and using question-based language that will attract more Google searchers.
Website optimization is a full topic in itself, but for now, focus on achieving these website optimization tips:
- Having a mobile-friendly design
- Speed up loading time
- Increase a clear name, address, and phone number on your website
- List a “mission statement” at the top of your website that tells people exactly what your website and business does, for example, “Compassionate medical malpractice lawyers in Michigan.”
- Encourage customer reviews
- Build quality backlinks
- Add social media profiles to your website
- Create and optimize landing pages for different local areas, such as “Michigan bank locations.”
Local keywords integration
Liberally add local keywords into your content to connect with your audience more effectively (and to get more clicks!).
For example, adding “Detroit financial technology solutions” to your website copy could attract more local traffic.
Creating locally focused content
Create a sense of community by creating locally focused content. For example, a senior living community could run a blog section of featured stores and testimonials from local residents.
Industry-specific local SEO strategies checklist
Here’s a quick checklist of local SEO strategies for different industries. Read through the list based on your specific industry and follow the suggestions to ensure you’re not letting local Google traffic slip through the cracks.
- Optimize website content for local search queries related to mortgage services and rates.
- Add mortgage calculators and online tools for more traffic and website engagement.
- Build local backlinks through partnerships with local real estate agencies and finance blogs.
- Showcase customer testimonials to build trust and establish a strong local reputation.
Related Reading: 60+ Mortgage Marketing Ideas to Fill Your Pipeline in 2023.
Download: 90-Day Mortgage Marketing Plan
- Implement a local SEO checklist that includes optimizing Google Business, local keyword integration, and mobile responsiveness.
- Create informative content that addresses local laws and regulations for more traffic and backlinks.
- Ensure consistency in NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) across all directory listings to enhance local presence.
Related Reading: Ultimate Legal Marketing Guide
Download: 90-Day Law Firm Marketing Plan
Senior living communities
- Add virtual tours, videos, and photos to attract potential new residents
- Engage with local communities through events, seminars, and collaborations.
- Leverage Local SEO strategies for promoting events and webinars targeted at the local audience.
Download: 90-Day Senior Living Marketing Plan
Financial technology companies
- Develop educational content (blogs, infographics, videos) focusing on local market trends and financial solutions.
- Target localized keywords in web content and ad campaigns to attract the right local audience.
- Engage with the local fintech community through forums, events, and social media platforms to boost local presence and authority.
Local SEO tools and trends to follow
To fine-tune your local SEO strategies, use essential tools such as:
- Google Analytics for tracking local traffic patterns (sources, duration on website)
- SEO auditing tools to analyze and optimize your website’s performance (page loading speed, backlinks, etc.)
As for the trends that are shaping the local SEO sphere, pay close attention to voice search optimization, a trend that is revolutionizing the way people search for local businesses and services.
Also, hyperlocal marketing, which focuses on targeting customers within a very specific geographic area such as a street or neighborhood, can be a potent strategy for enhancing your local presence.
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