As Google emphasizes local search results, local businesses are re-evaluating their strategies. A recent study from Yelp found that 73% of consumers use online reviews as their primary source when looking for a local business. This has led to an increase in the number of businesses appearing in search results for keywords such as “new restaurants,” “plumbers,” and “dry cleaners.” The problem is that many businesses aren’t optimized for local search.

Local search engine optimization, or local SEO, allows businesses to rank higher for searches related to their business’s location. If you own a local business with a physical address, you can use local SEO techniques to drive more customers to your business and get them directly in front of your services. With local SEO, users can find you based on your physical address, what services you offer, and what kind of audience you serve.

Businesses that ignore local search will struggle to compete in their market. Even companies with a national audience are seeing an increase in traffic from Google, Bing, Yelp, and other local search engines. If you’re not optimizing your website for local search, you’re putting your business at risk. Read on to learn what you need to know about Local SEO in 2022 and some helpful tips and tricks for getting started.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is optimizing websites to rank organically in local search results. If your business has a physical address, such as a retail store, or other location-based information, you can use local SEO to appear in search results for people nearby. Gaining a high rank in local search results has long been a business goal. In the past, most companies would use paid advertisements on search engines like Google and Bing to appear toward the top of the list. This is why you’d often see ads for new car dealerships or real estate agents in the top place. Local SEO is the process of earning a high rank in local search results without actually buying ads. With the rise of mobile technology and the increasing use of voice search, local SEO has become increasingly important.

Why Is Local SEO Important?

If you own a local business, you know it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. With so many options for customers to choose from, it’s critical to have a marketing strategy in place that sets you apart from the rest. Local SEO is one way to attract customers looking for services like yours. Optimizing your website for local search makes it easier for people in your area to find you and get the help they need. You can also get more foot traffic and generate more leads by ranking highly in local search results. Local SEO is also important because it’s free. While paying for ads is an option, these can be costly. With local SEO, you can get your website to rank high without spending any money.

How to Perform Local SEO Audits

You should conduct a local SEO audit to identify any issues that might hold your business back. You can use free tools such as SEMrush (Listing Management Tool) and Bright local to perform a quick audit and find out where your website currently ranks for local search. You’ll want to focus on a few key areas during your audit and audit checklist:

  • Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) 
  • Make sure the information on your website matches what’s listed on your brick-and-mortar location. If you have multiple business locations, make sure each one is included.
  • Keyword Research – Review the keywords your competitors are currently ranking for and make a list for your website. Focus on keywords specific to your business, like “dry cleaners in Austin,” rather than keywords that are too general, like “dry cleaning.”
  • URL Structure – Make sure your website URLs use the right keywords and don’t contain anything that will negatively affect your rank.
  • On-Site Content – Review your on-site content and ensure it’s written for humans, not just Google.
  • External Links – Look at the links pointing to your website and make sure they’re relevant and not spammy. This can be done with a tool like Open Site Explorer.

How to Optimize Your Website for Local SEO?

Now that you’ve identified what needs to be improved, it’s time to get to work! Here are some tips for optimizing your website for local SEO:

  • Create a Google My Business Account 
  • A Google My Business account is the foundation for most local SEO strategies. This account enables you to add relevant information about your business, verify ownership of your site, and respond to reviews.
  • Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Page
  • If you’ve verified your business on Google My Business, you’ll have the option to create a Google business page. This is another important piece of local SEO.
  • Optimize Your URL Structure
  • Your URL structure is another important part of local SEO. URLs are often the first thing people see when they click on search results. Focus on keywords in your URLs.
  • Create High-Quality Content
  • Excellent content is a must for any successful SEO campaign. Your website should be packed with valuable content relevant to your target audience.
  • Create and Share Relevant Inbound Links
  • Local SEO is creating a website network that links back to your site. Focus on building links from related websites and directories.
  • Use Location and Keyword targeting
  • Make sure you’re using relevant keywords on your website. You can use tools like SEMrush to find keywords for your website.

Key Strategies for Success in 2022

As we move forward into 2022, it’s important to note that local SEO will continue to evolve. While many of these strategies will remain relevant, it’s a good idea to stay on top of new developments in SEO and make sure your website is prepared for the future.

  • Make Mobile-Friendly Content
  • More than half of Google searches are now on mobile devices. You’ll need to ensure your website is mobile-friendly to rank for local searches.
  • Invest in Quality Content
  • While creating content is essential, you also want to make sure it’s of high quality. Poorly written content won’t rank well in any search engine, regardless of the topic.
  • Local Citations

Summing up

As consumers spend more time online, the importance of local SEO will only continue to grow. If you own a local business, it’s critical to ensure your website is optimized for local search. There are a few key steps you’ll want to follow to get started. Start by performing an audit and making any needed changes to your site’s URL structure and content. Once you’ve corrected any issues, you can begin to work on attracting inbound links and attracting more foot traffic to your website. With some hard work, you can increase your website’s traffic and attract new customers with local SEO.