One of the easiest ways to attract highly targeted traffic and get more customers to your startup is by optimizing it for local SEO. Local SEO is an aspect of search engine optimization that enables you to “inform” Google that you want your website to be displayed when users from a specific location are looking for information.
To understand this concept, let’s take a quick lesson on how Google works.
Google 101: How Google works.
This infographic about how Google works show that Google has a complex, powerful algorithm that decides the result that will be displayed each time someone makes a search. However, in order for the result to be relevant, Google sometimes considers the location of the person doing the search. For example, of a user in Nigeria searches Google for “hotels around me”, her result will be different from someone doing the same search in Dublin, Ireland. Each of them will find a result relevant to them. The big lesson here is that Google results are designed to vary according to location of the user,
The good news for your startup is that if you have identified where the majority of your users are based, you can “tell” Google to display your website to visitors searching from that region only. This way, you can be sure that your website visitors are likely to turn to your customers. Unfortunately, if your website does not specify your target audience, you are giving Google a hard time to classify it and you will end up losing valuable traffic and business leads.
4 Simple Ways to Improve Your local SEO.
Here are the top 4 simple tricks I have uncovered that you can use to make your website become more “visible” in local results, especially when someone is searching for information about your business.
1. Use Google Search console.
One of the free Google tools I mentioned in this post (number 15) is Google Search Console. It is a powerful SEO machine and one of its functions is that you can use it to notify Google what you want your site to rank for. The “country targeting” feature enables you to specify a primary location in Google search result that shows your pages.
You can achieve this in 3 easy steps.
Step 1: Go to Google Console. Firstly, you should add your website to Google Search console if you have not done so. You can easily set it up using this guideline.
Step 2: By default, your site is configured for international exposure, you should change it to Nigeria or your preferred country of choice. Visit the “search traffic” console and click on “international targeting” to modify it to your country of choice.
Step 3: Save your setting and Google will position your website to be more relevant to searches from your country of choice.
2. List your business on Google My Business.
Another local SEO strategy is to configure your site for Google My Business. According to Google, “listing your business with Google My Business makes it optimized for local searches”. You can find more information about this and how to set it up on their official support forum.
3. Publish content that your local community will find useful.
If you have a blog as part of your traffic generation strategies, you should write posts that your expected local audience will find useful. These guides on LocalizedDigital and SEOMechanic share insights how to use this strategy to drive traffic to you your startup.
While writing blog posts might seem difficult at first, its impact on your business is high. Take for example, our team at ProbityBooks; a local invoicing and accounting startup experimented with this concept by publishing a post that is locally relevant to our community of users. The post ended up ranking on the first page of Google ahead of 50 million results, within 10 hours of posting. The post also drove a sizable traffic to the site.
The major key to this strategy is that your content must be have information that is relevant to the local community. You can use tools like Google Trends or Google keyword tools to track keywords or searches that your local audience are interested in. You can also search online forums like NairaLand to understand some of the pain points of your local market and publish a content that meet that needs.
4. Use Structured data and Open Graph markup
According to Google, “When you use structured data to markup content, you help Google better understand its context for display in Search, and you achieve better distribution of your content to users from Search”. This rich snippets provides more information that enables Google to display it for locally relevant searches and enables the content eligible to appear better in Google Search.
If you use WordPress, you can easily download a plugin to fix this or you might need to go ask your developer for assistance.
Conclusion (Will local SEO bring real ROI?)
If you take action on the 4 recommendations above, you will see improvement in your website ranking for local search on Google. I am sure Implementing these tips has the potential to yield a big impact to your business. Try any of the steps and let me know how it helps your traffic by leaving a comment.
Wole Ogunlade is a growth strategist for early-stage startups. His growth strategy helped VoguePay 2.5X user growth in 3 months. He is available as growth advisor for well-funded and early stage startups. His latest project is #HackGrowth; a meetups for startup founders and growth marketers and he is serving as mentor for Tony Elumelu Foundation programme for entrepreneurs (TEEP)
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