Today, over 50 percent of mobile users visit the physical stores within 24 hours after performing local searches. This is definitely a very good news for brick-and-mortar stores looking to increase foot traffic. Taking into account the cutthroat competition these entrepreneurs face from big businesses, driving this traffic into their stores can be huge for them.

But how exactly can they achieve that?

Through Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

SEO is the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of traffic to your website via organic search engine results. If you run a small business or a multi-location business, you need a local SEO strategy. Four out of five consumers use search to find local information, which makes local SEO a powerful tool for small businesses.

In this article, we provide key tips to help you optimize your business for local SEO and drive traffic to your business.

Create a Google My Business Page

Typically, Google is the first place people look up to when searching for a local business. Google My Business is a free listing that businesses can create for each of their locations. It provides location information such as business address and phone number as well as the call-to-action buttons (contact, get directions, and visit our website).

Set up your Google My Business page to make sure your business shows up at the top of the search.

Create Local Content

Local SEO is about understanding what the local people are searching for on the internet, the words they’re using, the answers they are seeking, and the type of content they wish to consume.

As a content creator for a small business, it’s important that you focus on writing about local or industry news that attracts local audiences. For instance, if you are a security company trying to attract clients that are new to the area, you can create a map of local service providers and other helpful resources to help your clients get acquainted with your area.

Add Location Pages to Your Website

Create location pages for your business if you have more than one physical location. Your location page provides readers with key business information such as promotions, parking/transit information, unique store descriptions, business hours, testimonials from other customers, etc.

Try as much as possible to avoid duplicate content across multiple location pages. Create a locally descriptive About Us page if your businesses are in a single location. Adding a Google Map to your website will get you bonus points.

Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

Did you know that over 70 percent of internet users conduct their searches on their smartphones? That’s right. Local search and mobile search go hand in hand. Mobile-friendly websites perform better in search and provide better user experience.

Since mobile-friendly sites are easier to navigate, users will spend more time on your website which will lead to more conversions. In most cases, internet users will use their smartphones to look for contact information, find directions to your business, and look up reviews.

Use VPN to Conduct Local Market Research

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) application changes your IP address and encrypts your data thereby making it impossible for others to snoop on you when using public Wi-Fi networks. Simply put, a VPN allows you to access the public internet using a private connection.

A VPN can also replace your location to a virtual one, when you connect to a VPN server location of your choice. Location change can be very useful in SEO. You will gain more insights into your target market.

Perhaps you are based in an entirely different location to the area that you’d like to target. VPN can help you conduct local market research if your business is not located in the market.

You will be able to conduct online searches in your targeted areas just as a local person would. You will be able to find out who is bidding for the top position in the area, what their ad copies are, and most importantly, how to effectively reach the local audience.

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