Local SEO: How to Get Started - Musselwhite Marketing

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Local SEO: How to Get Started

Does your business really need local SEO? Discover who benefits from local search and why it's essential to your marketing strategy.

A lot of businesses have asked us about local SEO and if they really need it. After optimizing and managing several local SEO campaigns, we can say with full confidence that if you’re a local business wanting more website traffic, in-store visitors and more sales, then the answer is an emphatic yes! But don’t wait too long because Google has a long track record of changing things,

Businesses That Benefit from Local SEO and Why

Businesses of all types and sizes that engage with or service customers in a specific local or region should consider using local SEO to increase and improve their online visibility and reputation with potential clients.

This includes a combination of businesses such as independent insurance agencies, home service contractors, Realtors, and more.

Read a few examples and get started.

Independent Insurance Agencies

Local SEO can play an important role in your local search results especially for those searching via their smartphone because Google provides a call button directly in the local search results on their phone

We know many agencies have difficulty attracting new clients. Generally, when someone needs insurance, they conduct a Google search and contact one or two of the agencies listed at the top of the results. Which is why you should strive to reach the top of the search engine results (especially the Google 3 pack) in order to attract those searching for your services and or products.

In the not too distant past (which seems like eons ago – lol), insurance agencies would place an ad in the Yellow pages and wait for prospects to call. Today however, the overwhelming amount of folks search for local local insurance agents and their agencies online, and we all know Google is the market leader for search.

When done correctly, local SEO can increase the insurance agencies ranking in search results for their location, and the dominant CTA (call to action) will be the “call us” button. Making it easier to be found and contacted by local searchers exactly when they are actively searching!

In spite of rapid changes, advertising remains one of the biggest expenses for businesses of all sizes. Increasing your Google rankings gives you a steady stream of free traffic that can be converted into clients.

Free Traffic and Fast Results

While big box national agencies wait an average of 6 months to a year to see improvements in their Google rankings, small agencies have a tremendous advantage. In your local market you compete primarily against other small, personalized agencies rather than those located nationwide. As many of your competitors may not yet be utilizing local SEO, it is possible that you could reach page one of Google rankings in 30 days or less!

Home Service Contractors

If you’re a general contractor, carpenter, electrician, painter, etc…it’s no secret that attracting new clients presents some unique challenges. When someone needs your services, they will likely run a Google search and call the first few companies that appear on the list. It is imperative that you get into the top spot of your target market if you want to build a customer list.

Local SEO for home service contractors is a subset of SEO focused on local businesses such as HVAC to make a company stand out organically on Google for searches in a specific geographic market(s). In local search engine optimization, a number of activities are involved, but these are the most crucial ones:

  • Your company name, phone number, and physical address (“NAP” information.) must be displayed uniformly on each page of your website. 
  • Cultivate positive user reviews on high-profile, reputable review sites devoted to your and related industries, as well as on Google My Business and other social media platforms. Positive reviews not only boost local SEO, but also benefit your lead generation and brand image in obvious ways. Reviews are marketing gold assets!
  • Citations are considered a ranking factor for local SEO. Having your business listed in trusted online directories sends signals to Google that improves their degree of certainty that your business exists. Mentions of your company tell Google (and humans) your business is reputable and successful.
  • Create and manage a Google Business Profile page for each of your physical locations. Because it’s a Google property, an active company presence there with growing user reviews, gets favored exposure from Google when users are searching for home service contractor services.

The Google search results provide a user with an easy way to find a plumber (for instance) and read reviews. If the user has a plumber emergency however, they can make a direct call, or access the website instantly. 

Realtors

The benefits of local SEO for Realtors include the following: Local citation building which helps build online visibility and creates brand awareness and trust. Driving more traffic to your real estate website is possible by optimizing your site for local search. Building citations is cost-effective and delivers a high ROI.

Google maps may also display your real estate profile if you have a Google Business Profile. This means that if a local user searches for a real estate business in your area, your business could appear in the map results.

How local SEO will benefit you and your company.

As much as we like and promote local SEO, you must understand that growing your local SEO presence is a big undertaking and not something that can be done in a day requiring a little bit of time every day over a long period of time.

To be clear, not all businesses will benefit from local SEO. Online only ecommerce sites, businesses that don’t want to share their local information, and private online sellers who want to keep their information private are likely not great candidates for local SEO services.

Local SEO Does Not Replace Organic SEO

On Google, local search rankings appear in the Map Pack, but you should also pay attention to your organic ranking. Google can then better understand your overall prominence, which is one of the three factors that contribute to local rankings.

SEO tricks and tactics have been around forever, but search has evolved many times over, even more so since Panda took its bite.

The emphasis today is on “user experience signals” (UXS) such as UX signals, E-A-T, high-quality content (HQC), high-quality links

But make no mistake – there are still several local enhanced factors SEO that you need to get right, including:

  • Finding the right keywords and topics to target
  • Making sure your technical SEO is up to par
  • Posting and publishing the highest quality content possible
  • Link building to make your website stand out enough in Google’s eyes
  • Double-checking and implementing your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information is accurate across many linking sites.

The organic SEO methods you use for ranking may differ slightly if you use a local focus as opposed to more traditional methods.

Local Search and Voice Search

Smartphones, Amazon Echo, and Google Home devices have given rise to a rising popularity for voice search.

Today, it is easier to say “find an electrician near me” or “find a Realtor near me” for most people than type it out in a regular search.

As a result, it’s not surprising to see a rise in local voice-based search queries.

If you’re in a service based business, try using keyword variations that include questions for industries that are service-oriented.

A few of our favorite and most important tools are Semrush‘s topic search tool, SpyFu, and AnswerThe Public which all provide ways to see questions people are interested in. This is a fantastic way to target keywords that have geographical intent.

If your business is a local brick-and-mortar, and/or service-related business, such as a restaurant, insurance agency, HVAC or Realtor, it’s a good idea to use conversational keywords to try to get more Google traffic 

Mobile Search is Local search

The lines have blurred between mobile search and local search. In other words, a large portion of local searches are done on local devices which is one reason why Google considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor.

And because Google Map Pack listings have been optimized by Google for mobile searchers it’s up to you to create user-friendly experiences on your website. You must also ensure Google understands that via good technical SEO practices.

It truly is a mobile search first world today and you’d be wise to proceed with all of your marketing efforts accordingly.

Local SEO is a dedicated strategy.

But, that doesn’t mean it deserves to take up all of your time! 

SEO is a puzzle that when solved can produce dividends for you and your business.

Want Help with SEO?

At Musselwhite Marketing, we specialize in helping insurance agencies, home service contractors and Realtors attract more local clients through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote

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Charles Musselwhite is an author, speaker and  co-owner of Musselwhite Marketing (est 2009) along with his wife Linda Musselwhite. Together they are “CaLM” (Charles and Linda M). Charles is an Ontraport Certified Expert and a previous DigitalMarketer Certified Partner holding several DM certifications.

Connect with Charles on LinkedIn.

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