Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that optimizes your website and search results to better target customers in your area. The process takes several weeks or months to see results, but it is a vital tool to improve web traffic from customers in your area.

Why is local SEO important?

Local SEO makes your business more visible to potential customers in your area. Think about the last time you searched for something you needed on Google: Depending on what you were searching for, it’s very likely the map showed up, listing local businesses, and if you were searching a specific company, a card may have appeared on the right-hand side. That’s local SEO in action — showing you results relevant to your location. 

How to improve local SEO on your website

Keywords are one simple way to improve local SEO on your website, however, if you use too many keywords it can result in keyword stuffing which can actually decrease your ranking. Instead, you should focus on writing useful, engaging content that incorporates the keywords you’re targeting in a natural way. 

Some keywords have a lot of competition, making it difficult to rank for them even when you do use them on your website. In those cases, you’ll want to look at long tail keywords, which are more specific keywords that are a bit easier to rank for. For example, a keyword that might be difficult for Vireo to rank for would be “website developer” but we could target something more specific like “website care plans” or “Saskatoon website design.” 

Another way to improve local SEO on a website is by adding the location of your business to the footer. This helps Google know where your business is located.

When we’re helping clients improve their SEO, we use developer tools like Google Lighthouse and other paid programs to review and monitor the site for performance and accessibility issues that we can fix. A huge part of search engine optimization is ensuring your website is running smoothly and delivering a positive experience for users. Some of that work is done when we’re building the website, like using proper HTML tags for headers (e.g. H1, H2, etc.) and ensuring there are alt tags on images.

How to improve local SEO off site

One of the best ways to improve local SEO without modifying your website is to make a Google Business Profile. This is the card that appears on the right hand side of the screen when someone searches your business name, and it will improve your ranking through activities like getting reviews and posting photos and updates. Having a Google Business Profile is also a good opportunity to control the information that people find about your business when they look you up.

Backlinking is another way to improve SEO off-site as it demonstrates the authority of your website to Google. A backlink is simply a link from another website to your website. For backlinks, both quality and quantity are important. However, much like keywords, if Google detects spamming of backlinks, your ranking may be penalized. Therefore, the quality of the backlink is more important than the quantity. Think of a backlink as an endorsement from one website to another — the more trusted the website that endorsed you, the higher quality the backlink. Backlinking may also provide more website traffic through a referral from other websites links to your website.

Local SEO is essential for businesses seeking to connect with local customers online. Local SEO ensures that your business is visible to potential customers and makes it more relevant to searches in your area. Using keywords strategically, avoiding keyword stuffing, and including your business location in the website footer all helps improve your local SEO, and creating a Google Business Profile can enhance your online presence, boost Google search engine rankings, and allow you to manage your business’s online information. In the digital age we live in, local SEO is a crucial tool for businesses looking to thrive in their local community.