Improve your local SEO in 3 steps

Smaller retailers have always struggled to compete with big box stores on price, but thanks partly to a ‘buy local’ movement that came out of the pandemic, we are seeing more people shop locally. If you’re a local retailer looking to take advantage of this, the first place you need to start is online, with local SEO.

What is local SEO (search engine optimization) and how can it help local shoppers find you? Local SEO is a process that improves search engine visibility for local businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. These improvements will help people shop locally or when 2-day shipping isn’t fast enough. Here are 3 steps you can start to take today to improve your local SEO.

#1 Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Biltmore Estate Google Business ProfileIf your business profile has an incorrect address or doesn’t exist, your customers won’t find you. It may seem obvious, but 90% of all internet searches are performed on Google. You will want to update and maintain your profile regularly to remain in local search results. The items to pay close attention to are:

  • Location, hours, website, and phone number and don’t forget to select the category that best fits your retail business.
  • Be sure to interact with customers through images of your business and products/services.
  • Respond to customer reviews and remember to stay positive, the internet is forever.
  • Attract new customers with promotions, events, and online ads.

If it’s been a while since you updated your profile or you don’t currently have a Google business profile, start here.

#2 Improve Your Online Relevance

The search engine’s goal is always to serve up the most relevant result to the query. To make sure your business is relevant, make sure you’re targeting keywords or phrases that potential customers might be searching for. If you’re a local sporting goods retailer that sells tennis rackets and pickleball paddles, make sure and list these items seperately on your website and don’t group them together with content like, “we carry supplies for all your racket sport needs”.

To improve your relevance make sure you:

  • Choose the most relevant categories when listing your business in directories and incorporate those categories throughout your online content
  • Create backlinks from local and other compatible websites
  • Incorporate pertinent keywords into your retail business description and content
  • Improve your on-page SEO (Free SEO Tools)

#3 Take Advantage of ‘Near Me’ Searches

Fresh baked chocolate chip cookiesWhat happens when it’s 9:45 at night and you need fresh baked cookies pronto? Most of us will go to Google and type “fresh baked cookies near me”, the ambitious people reading this will just whip up a dozen cookies and put them in the oven. But in this instant gratification society, who’s got time for that? According to Google ‘near me’ searches have been on a steady incline since 2015. So, how does the average retailer take advantage of ‘near me’ searches?

Here are 5 ways to improve your chances of being seen:

    1. Update your Google business profile… it’s worth repeating.
    2. Create a different web page and Google profile for each location you operate.
    3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, nearly 60% of searches are performed on a mobile device.
    4. Make sure important text isn’t in an image-only format, screen readers and search engines can’t read images, and make sure to always fill in the alt text of an image. If the text is long or really important include it in your content.
    5. Encourage customers to leave Google reviews for your business, sometimes a customer review may mention a keyword that you overlooked.

The main takeaway, regardless of industry, you should constantly be updating your online presence, even if your business doesn’t sell online. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to local SEO, but we feel that if you focus on these three topics, you’ll be off to a good start.