Have you noticed that if you add the terms “near me” or “nearby” to your Google searches, the results change significantly? You may see different rankings for business. The ads on top of the results page often change.
Google automatically tries to pair you with products and services close to your geographical location if you let it. But adding “near me” still changes the results. Why? A new trend in online marketing called Local SEO.
Local SEO is exactly what it sounds like. Businesses optimize their websites to rank higher on searches that include terms like “near me” and “nearby.” This ensures that the people closest to them have the easiest time finding their business.
Makes sense, right? But many digital marketing agencies are still divided as to whether or not Local SEO is worth it.
For businesses located in Hawaii, local SEO is definitely worth it, and the best time to incorporate it into your online presence is yesterday. The second best time is now.
Why Local SEO Should Be On Your Priority List
So far in 2021, we’ve talked about how local businesses can survive and thrive amid changing economic conditions. The crux of our advice has been this: Attract local.
The reasons are obvious: Tourism is down 80% and recovery is far away. I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I do want to be realistic when I look at Hawaii’s business landscape over the next few years. The bad news is the revenue we used to depend on from tourists isn’t coming back for a while.
The good news is there are still 1.4 million people who call these islands home. Businesses here should pivot to meet the changing needs of the market, rather than waiting for recovery. Aside from embracing e-commerce to reach people on the mainland, Hawaiian businesses need to adopt Local SEO practices.
Additionally, Google made it easier for people to find products and services in their local vicinity. Slowly but surely, the commerce world is beginning to change its tune about the need for Local SEO, but there’s still time to get ahead of this wave and reap the rewards of an untapped market.
4 Practical Ways To Perform Better In Local Searches
If you focus on Local SEO now, you’ll soon be way ahead of other businesses in your area. Here’s how:
- Update Your Content With Search Terms.
To rank higher for searches that include “near me,” it’s important to include those terms in your content. Find ways to sprinkle the terms “near me,” “near you,” and “nearby” into your page content. This includes the language on your home page, about page, and any blog posts you have on your site.
Note: The more organic it looks, the better. Breaking up sentence flow or stacking keywords may make you rank a little bit higher… but when a potential customer reads your home page and realizes it doesn’t make sense, they’ll turn away.
We have a FREE guide to offer on how to get this process started. It talks about two things you need to make sure you rank high in organic local searches: Hyper-local keywords, and business contact information.
- Update Your Tags.
Your tags describe the content on each web page. They’re sort of like hashtags in Twitter posts. Google’s search engine reads your tags in addition to the content on the page, meaning you can optimize them just like you did with the on-page content.
Examples of tags are blog post categories, meta tags, and meta descriptions. A website with optimized tags has a slight edge over a business without them. That slight edge is all it takes to get their website a higher position on the results page.
Go through your website and add the words “Local,” “Near Me,” and “Nearby” to your blog categories and meta tags. If you need help editing your website to make this happen, feel free to give our office a call.
- Use Mobile AND Desktop Previews.
Besides optimizing our content for a local search, we also need to optimize our content for local viewers. Don’t forget about the human element as you work to rank higher for a machine. Once everything is set up, preview both the mobile and desktop versions of your site.
Though some may think that most near-me-searches occur on smartphones as someone is out and about, that’s actually not true. Most “X business near me” searches still happen on desktop. This means your business site needs to look attractive and feel fluid for both platforms.
This doesn’t involve changing your keywords again. It just means that you use both a smartphone and a desktop to look over your site, and make sure everything’s formatted well.
- Try Google Local Ad Services.
Finally, a good way to make sure you appear at the very top of local searches is through a paid ad campaign. Like I mentioned before, Local SEO is increasing its popularity. Part of this movement is Google Local Services Ads, a new platform to help you connect with your local customers.
When you pay for a Local Services Ad, you only pay when a prospective customer clicks on the ad. Additionally, just having an ad in the first place will help your business’s reputation, due to Google’s authentication process. So, running an ad, even if someone doesn’t click on it right away, can help establish your business’s authority in your market.
So if you’re looking for some extra firepower in local searches, check Google’s Local Services out. If you’re not sure about any of this, or would like some help optimizing your website to bring in more customers, don’t hesitate to give us a call!
Further Reading: What’s Happening With Local SEO in 2021?
Kihei Photo courtesy of Jad Limcaco on Unsplash