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Local SEO Strategies: Optimizing Backlinks for Geo-Targeted Success

May 5, 2024
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‍A business with high search rankings is a synonym for a thriving business.

‍Is this statement too bold? Well, not quite.

‍The websites on the first page in Google always get more clicks, with the top search result getting an average Click-Through Rate (CTR) of 27.6%, to be exact.

‍All the next pages (even the second one!) are only good for hiding something, whether it’s your snacks for Netflix binge-watching, all the awkward moments of your life, or, well…

Local SEO Strategies

‍Source: Digital Synopsis

‍Jokes aside, if you want more people to land on your page, you need good rankings. Period. Whether you like it or not.

‍But SEO can take on many different faces. This is why even though many people rate it as some kind of silver bullet that fixes almost every issue, it can also be pretty complicated.

‍So, in this guide, we’ll go through all the details of location-based SEO as this is one of the major topics of effective optimization for any business.

What Is Local Search Engine Optimization?

‍Local SEO is a specific aspect of search engine optimization where you focus on leveling up and taking your online visibility for a specific region or location to a higher position.

‍So, for example, imagine you own an Italian restaurant in Seattle, a city with a population of around 750,000 and hundreds of restaurants.

‍How do you stand out from all these other establishments in local search results and attract more customers?

‍Right, by making your brand the first thing that pops up when anyone searches for a restaurant with a menu like yours. Sounds good, right?

Why Is Local SEO Important for Businesses?

Local SEO Strategies

‍Source: @theseoguy_ on X

‍You might shrug at this point. After all, taking out ads and printing a couple hundred flyers can get you enough customers to survive.

‍So, apart from making your business more visible in online searches, what else can local SEO do for your brand? Turns out the answer is “a lot.”

Targeted traffic. Instead of handing out flyers to people who are not interested, you can concentrate on those who actually need your services.

  • There are 8.5 billion searches on Google every day, and almost half of all that traffic (46%, to be exact) is from people looking for local businesses.
  • These are your potential clients who are already interested in finding something around a particular area.
  • If you use the right keywords in your content, it’s even easier to nudge them to your site (more on that later).

More foot traffic.Also, data show that 60% of consumers go on to contact businesses after seeing them on local SERPs.

  • Optimizing for “open now near me” searches can improve your foot traffic. Studies show that “open now near me” searches can go as high as 400%.
  • 76% of people who are doing local searches on their phones actually go on to visit the store the same day.
  • As a result, you end up making a lot more sales and profit than you would normally make without search engine optimization.

Higher customers’ trust.Plus, local search engine optimization helps you build more trust for your brand.

  • A Think with Google 2023 study found that 75% of people looked at reviews first before buying new products.
  • By investing in local practices for SEO, you will help people find your Google business profile faster and see all the nice things (hopefully) others are saying about you.

A major force and voice in your niche.Regional SEO also means that you are outranking other competitors who are not paying attention to it.

  • Plus, it’s actually cheaper than taking out paid ads every time you want to increase sales.

On-Page vs. Off-Page Regional SEO

‍Usually, when people talk about search engine optimization, sooner or later, you will hear them say things like “on-page” and “off-page SEO.”

‍But what does that mean, especially in the context of local optimization?

‍On-page SEO is meant to describe the activities that happen on your site and help search engines find, crawl, and index your page without any hitch.

‍These eventually lead to your web pages ranking higher in local search results.

‍Examples of regional on-page SEO practices include writing content based on locally relevant keywords, content optimization, internal linking, etc.

‍The idea is to make your website match what people search for in that location.

‍On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to practices that happen outside of your website.

‍Examples include external linking (aka link building), brand mentions on social media and other websites, listings in online directories, etc.

‍Here is a handy comparison of the two:

CRO & SEO

5 Steps to Make Your SEO Geo-Targeted

‍An effective regional geo-targeted SEO strategy is one that cleverly combines both on-page and off-page search engine optimization tactics.

‍How can you pull this off successfully? Well, here are a few good tricks you can start implementing right away:

#1 Keyword Research

‍If SEO is a house, then keyword research is the foundation that holds it all together. What does it look like?

‍It is a process where you use special software. It is called an SEO tool (for instance, Semrush, Ahrefs, or any other one you like).

‍You use those tools to discover the specific phrases and words your target customers are using for their online searches.

‍This information is vital to have since all of your SEO efforts will revolve around aligning with what your audience wants and needs.

‍Knowing what people need is the only way to improve online visibility and attract more leads.

‍Here’s one of the options for how you can do your keyword research to improve your ranking in local search results:

‍1. Open a tool of choice to enter general terms related to your business (e.g., Italian restaurant Seattle) and select your location.

‍This way, you can see a general overview of your keywords. Try to choose the ones that have lower Keyword Difficulty (KD) and higher search volume.

CRO & SEO

‍ Source: Semrush

‍2. You will also see related keywords and some sort of keyword clusters (keyword groups you can target in your content to rank for your keyword.

CRO & SEO

‍ Source: Semrush

‍3. Besides, no matter what SEO tool you’re using, you’ll get a list of pages that already rank at the top for your target keyword. Make sure to analyze them and try to create better content than what they have.

CRO & SEO

‍ Source: Semrush

‍4. Another useful thing is to check if any of your competitors are ranking for the same keywords and which keywords they are not yet covering (keyword gaps).

‍5. While researching, make a list (a spreadsheet) of your target local keywords and map them to the real or theoretical pages you can create and optimize.

‍6. Remember to add long-tail keywords to your mix, especially if you are new to SEO, as it will be much easier to rank for those (generally speaking).

#2 Create Quality Content for Location-Based SEO (Properly Optimized)

‍Now, you have all the ingredients. It’s time to cook up something worthwhile.

‍For your SEO geo-targeting strategy to produce the result you want, you need to create locally relevant content using those keywords you uncovered earlier.

‍You may be tempted to write only about your business. Yes, okay, but it is not a good idea to focus on just that in all your content.

‍You can also explore locally relevant topics like top free or cheap attractions in the area, local fairs, and community events.

‍Of course, the occasional line mentioning your business as the favorite hangout for visitors and locals won’t hurt. Just make sure it blends well with the rest of the content. Don’t forget to:

  • Optimize the content with strategically placed keywords;
  • Optimize your meta title, description, etc. with targeted keywords like those seen earlier in the keyword cluster for “Italian restaurant Seattle;”
  • Use H1, H2, H3, bullet points, and numbered lists to make the structure of your content neat and appealing;
  • Add optimized and compressed (if needed) images, videos, and visual assets; use keywords in the alt texts for the images;
  • Include a link or two to other pages on your website (internal links) and to a couple of other credible sources (external links);
  • Avoid over-optimization (e.g., keyword stuffing).

#3 Fix Your NAP Citations ASAP

‍NAP simply means your business Name, Address, and Phone number. This is key information that should appear in several key places, like

  • on every page of your website;
  • in local directories such as your Google business profile;
  • in third-party review sites, like Trustpilot, Yelp, etc.

‍But there’s more. Having your NAP details on as many pages as possible has many benefits.

‍They include easier navigation, easier access to these details, improved search ranking, and more.

‍So, don’t be shy and hold back from putting yourself out there in local directories, niche directories, etc.

‍And of course, don’t forget to add your contact details to your own website (including them in a header or a footer won’t hurt either).

‍Also, it’s important to check your NAP citations regularly for accuracy and update them.

#4 Prioritize Mobile Responsiveness

‍You probably do most of your online searches on your phone. Turns out everyone else is doing the same thing. Surprise-surprise:)

‍This is why mobile responsiveness can be a deal breaker for many people (and search engines, as well). 74% of customers say they return to a website if it is optimized for mobile devices.

‍So, how do you make sure your site is responsive? Use a Google-native tool Google Search Console (GSC).

‍It will help you identify all the issues you have. Once you know them, try to fix them as fast as you can. What can you do to ensure mobile-friendliness in general?

  • Write in short paragraphs so it’s easy to read on small screens;
  • Use keywords that feature in local voice searches (you can be surprised, but yes, voice search is a thing);
  • Reduce your image and video file sizes (you can use any free online tool to optimize them);
  • Minify your HTML, CSS, and JS codes so there are no unnecessary spaces and characters that slow load speed (usually, you have this option easily available in your CMS);
  • Stay away from unnecessary pop-ups.

#5 Use Proven Off-Page SEO Tactics (Including Strategic Link Building)

CRO & SEO

‍Source: @JoeKillinger on X

‍Remember we said earlier that “near me searches” are now more popular than ever?

‍Apart from that, off-page SEO tactics like guest posting, getting links from directories, etc., are very effective ways to improve your visibility and strategically position your website to tap into this search traffic.

‍But what is local link building?

Local link building is an SEO tactic for geo-targeting that involves you getting quality links from relevant local websites to drive up your visibility.

‍How do we know this works?

‍The stats show that every page that snagged the top spot in SERPs has 3.8x more backlinks than the rest. But how do you get those local external links? There are many ways, including:

  1. Guest posting. Write guest articles for local blogs that link back to your business. The best way to go about this is to only work with regionally relevant sites that have natural backlink profiles.
  2. Local business listings. Since 94% of people use online directories to find details about any business, you want to make sure you appear on as many of those as possible.
  3. Local PR. Try to be active in your local community. What does that mean? You can consider organizing, sponsoring, or simply participating in local events. Maybe you will get into the local news, which can get you a link. Even if that’s not the case, you will at least see your target audience and have a chance to talk to them. Plus, it can improve your brand image.
  4. Unlinked mentions. What is this? FInding unlinked mentions means using SEO tools to check websites that mentioned your business without a link. Reach out to them and ask them to link to you.
  5. Local link building services. Building links and getting local citations in some industries can be a lot of hassle. But even in niches where this is relatively easy, it is still a very time-consuming process. That’s why many businesses save their time by using link building services or agencies. With LinksManagement, you can choose any page you want to link to you. And you won’t even need to worry about anything, outreachers will do everything for you.

The Major Challenges With Regional SEO & How to Overcome Them

CRO & SEO

‍Source: @ivarunchandak

‍Even if you have been doing local search engine optimization for a while, you can still run into some challenges from time to time.

‍But if you already know what to expect ahead of time, you will be ready and will have an easier time handling anything like:

  • Too much competition. It can be even more intense since you are all located within the same area.
  • ‍Your SEO skill will determine whether you get stuck with the rest or if you can climb up.

  • Duplicated online listings and inaccurate NAP listings. So, be sure to fix any inconsistencies quickly.
  • Content creation and distribution. For some people, creating local content can be a challenge, while others might struggle more with finding efficient ways to distribute the content.
  • ‍Try to be consistent without burning yourself down and use diverse mediums and formats.

  • Information overload and pressure. There are so many tips and changes that can help your business, but you can’t follow them all at once.
  • ‍Instead, try the most suitable options one by one; otherwise, it can get overwhelming.

  • The effectiveness of your local SEO. Measure your performance to understand your return on investment (ROI).
  • ‍It’s important to set clear KPIs from the start so you can track your progress and results.

Conclusion

‍Once you begin implementing SEO geo-targeting and start seeing results, you will never want to look back. You will only regret not starting earlier.

‍But regardless of how late you came to the scene, you can get faster results if you get some expert help from LinksManagement.

‍Of course, the occasional localized Facebook and Google ads won’t hurt. But if you want to achieve sustainable growth, focusing on regional SEO is crucial.

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