For small and medium-sized businesses, ranking locally for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial. It's simple: if you're not ranking locally, your competitors are, and they're capturing more of the market.
While SEO is a long-game that generally takes time to see impressive results, there are some steps you can take to rank your local business quickly on Google.
Why Local SEO Matters
A lot of online traffic consists of people looking for local information. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are local. And, these searches are turning into real actions the majority of the time.
After a local search, 88% of people on a mobile device will either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
If people are searching for a company within five miles, 72% of individuals will visit the store after their search.
And lastly, 78% of location-based mobile searches lead to an offline purchase. The numbers don't lie; local searches equal sales.
Conduct a quick search (Milwaukee + your industry) and see where you show up. Your business should be easy to find online and should show up on the first page.
According to Google statistics, 92% of searchers choose a company that shows up on the first page results.
If you're not in the top results, it's time to act quickly. You will need to implement a thorough SEO strategy (or hire a Milwaukee SEO agency) to achieve sustainable results.
But that won't help your business immediately. So, consider taking the steps we outline below to get some quick local SEO results in Google.
Tip One: Enter Complete Company Data
Google is continuously optimizing to offer its users the most accurate and relevant information. As a result, Google prioritizes and favors businesses that seem to provide detailed, up-to-date information that keeps users happy.
Businesses with the most accurate and complete information will match up with more searches. To ensure that you're adhering to Google's standards, make sure that your business information is entered into a Google My Business (GMB) profile.
This profile will provide customers with information about your physical address, hours, phone number, category, attributes, and more.
Along with making sure this information is complete, you want to update it to reflect any changes. Google will prompt account owners every time there's a holiday with a notification "are your hours changing for the upcoming holiday?"
If your company's hours are changing, such as extending hours for Milwaukee New Year's celebrations, make sure to update them.
Customers will be kept happy as they have the most reliable information, and Google will know you're monitoring your online details.
If you move or change a phone number, always remember to make the changes online.
If your business has multiple locations, make a Google My Business profile for each one.
Tip Two: Verify Your Business Location
Google determines local ranking based on three factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. When you verify your business' location, Google will know to show your profile for local results.
If you have multiple business locations, verify each of them.
Tip Three: Manage and Respond to Reviews
Responding to online reviews is an aspect of SEO known as online reputation management.
Many companies choose to outsource this function to Milwaukee SEO companies, as it's such a delicate process.
You need to make sure you respond to both positive and negative reviews. Interacting with your customers online shows that you value their business and feedback.
Here's the Digital Reputation section of our dashboard. Here clients can respond to reviews directly and see the general sentiment of their company online.
The more positive reviews you can collect online, the more it increases your business' visibility, and the chances of you ranking higher.
You can obtain more reviews by sending out a link requesting a review in emails, order confirmations, and on your website.
Tip Four: Add Photos
Photos help customers determine what you have to offer and if it's what they're looking for. This will help both customers and Google determine the type and quality of goods or services you offer.
Always add good-quality photos that showcase your business offerings in a positive, enticing light.
Tip Five: Steal From the Competition
You know the saying… if you can't beat them, join them!
If you look up "Milwaukee + your product/service" in various formats and see one or two companies continually ranking at the top, you've just acquired your target. They are clearly doing a great job, so why not emulate them?
You can use websites to understand what keywords your competitors are ranking for. We suggest using www.SEMrush.com.
Simply enter your competitor's URL, such as www.companysite.com, and look through the results on SEMrush. Specifically, look at the top organic keywords the business is ranking for.
Now, armed with this knowledge, you can proceed with two tactics.
First, take your favorite three keywords from your competitor and write long-format blog posts for them. Make sure that the blog is informative, entertaining, and useful to audiences.
If you can provide genuinely relevant information for people searching for that keyword, your ranking will go up.
For example, let's say you're a plastic surgeon in Milwaukee, and a competitor is ranking higher than you for "Milwaukee plastic surgery." You can take that phrase and write a detailed blog on the "most popular Milwaukee plastic surgery procedures."
As interest and visitors grow for your article, your position for the keyword will rise.
The second approach is to take the competitor keywords and put them into your keyword planner to get new ideas.
The keyword planner will give you keyword ideas that are similar but may be easier to rank for if your competitor hasn't thought of them or prioritized them.
For example, inserting "Milwaukee plastic surgery" into the keyword planner comes back with "Rhinoplasty Milwaukee" as one of the suggestions.
This more specific keyword may not be targeted by other plastic surgeons but gets as much traffic as the more broad keywords!
And just like that, you can be ranking at the top of Google search results for high-volume keywords.
Tip Six: Include Your NAP Everywhere to Get Into the Local Pack
We admit it, reading the title for tip six probably means very little to you. So, let's break it down.
Your NAP is your business Name, Address, and Phone Number.
When it comes to local SEO, it's incredibly helpful to have your NAP appear on as many pages on your website as possible (usually in the footer) such as your homepage, about us page, and contact us page.
Your NAP should also always appear in the same format, everywhere. This includes your website, your Google My Business listing, social media accounts, and more.
So, if you list your Milwaukee company business number 414-123-4567, list it that way everywhere. Don't change to +1 414-123-4567 and drop the +1 in other places. Be consistent, as this helps to verify to Google your business information.
(Pro Tip: Try to use your legal business name in your NAP, if it makes sense to do so.)
Once you have your NAP down, you can try to get into what SEO expert Neil Patel calls "the local pack." Have you ever Googled a local search and above the organic results comes a map with locations to businesses A, B, and C showcased? That is what Neil likes to refer to as the local pack.
There's no magic formula for getting into the local pack, but we assure you it makes a big difference if you can make it into this exclusive club.
You've probably experienced it yourself. Once Google provides those seemingly "top three" businesses for your search, you rarely scroll past them to consider anything else.
If you have consistent NAP information down in multiple places, it increases the chances Google will list you in the local pack. And, even if it doesn't work, NAP standardization is just good SEO practice that will help you rank better overall.
Tip Seven: Have a Mobile-Friendly Website
A lot of times, it can feel like extra work to consider mobile compatibility.
You already make changes and put in a lot of work into your website; now you have to consider the mobile appearance too? The simple answer is yes, yes, yes.
That's because 61% of mobile searchers say they're more likely to contact a business if the website was mobile-friendly.
On top of that, 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
And by 2021, mobile devices will be a part of more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. The mobile market is big and you need to make sure you have a slice of it.
Google knows this too and considers mobile-friendliness when ranking websites.
Explained in simple terms: if your competitor's website is mobile-friendly, and yours is not, Google will rank the competitor higher in mobile results.
There's a lot that goes into making a mobile-friendly site. You have to consider website responsiveness, mobile keywords, and mobile SEO.
If this isn't your area of expertise, it's likely best to contract out mobile SEO services Milwaukee with an agency. A marketing agency will be able to work wonders for your website in a short amount of time.
Tip Eight: Include Location in Your URLs
SEO experts have done some studies and proven that when it comes to local rankings, Google prefers domains that include a location name in the URL.
Take, for instance, our plastic surgeon example once more. When someone is researching "Milwaukee plastic surgery," Google will often rank a website such as milwaukeeplasticsurgeons.com higher than others.
This only works on the local level, but considering domains are often very cheap to purchase, it's a quick and easy move to improve your ranking.
It’s not required to have your location in the main domain though. If you’re plastic surgery company is called “Just Right Plastic Surgery” you can also make sure you have a Milwaukee page.
The URL would look something like this justrightplasticsurgery.com/milwaukee-plastic-surgery.
Tip Nine: Write Long-Form, Blog Content
The definition for long-form content varies from expert to expert, but most would agree that it's anywhere above 1,500 words and usually in the 2,000-4,000 word range.
It's been known in the SEO-world for several years now that long-form content performs better online.
In one study of average content length of the top 10 results, the top six results all had more than 2,300 words, while results seven to 10 saw decreasing word counts.
Long-form content often ranks well and garners more backlinks.
However, if you publish low-quality content, it won't matter how long it is, it just won't do well.
Instead, publish throughout, informative, entertaining content that helps users. This will reduce your bounce rate, increase your website authority, and improve your ranking overall.
Make a goal to blog frequently on topics relevant to your industry, business, and local area.
The "Milwaukee plastic surgeon" might choose to blog about the best season to get a cosmetic procedure in Milwaukee, the most common Milwaukee plastic surgeries, or new fillers introduced to their clinic.
If you can't blog consistently, consider hiring a Milwaukee SEO company to do it on your behalf.
Agency Jet: The Top Milwaukee SEO Company
Ranking high on Google's local search results can be tricky. Often, if you make the small changes we've suggested in this post, you will see improvements. Ultimately though, your business needs an SEO plan.
You can benefit significantly from hiring professionals for SEO services in Milwaukee. Agency Jet is one of the top Milwaukee SEO companies offering digital marketing services that will help you catch up and beat your competition online.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your business grow.
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