On-page Strategies to Improve Your Local SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is by no means a new concept. It’s been an integral aspect of digital marketing for years and, as search engines evolve, will continue to be vital. No business, regardless of field or industry, can ignore the benefits of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). However, there are many aspects of SEO worth discussing, as well as different subgroups. The most notable ones in this context are on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, and general and local SEO, respectively. So in this article, we’ll make some fundamental distinctions and explore on-page strategies to improve your local SEO.
What’s the difference between SEO types?
First and foremost, let’s define SEO types. SEO strategies are broadly divided into three groups;
- On-page SEO: the optimization of elements on the page, such as content and images
- Off-page SEO: the optimization of off-page elements, such as backlinks
- Technical SEO: the optimization of technical elements, such as website structure and sitemaps
Each of these groups requires its own approach, of course. The reason why we’ll be focusing on on-page strategies to improve your local SEO is simple; off-page and technical SEO aren’t location-specific.
How does local SEO differ from SEO?
In essence, local SEO is a subgroup of SEO. The two overlap somewhat, but local SEO naturally has a stricter focus.
Throughout its history, SEO has been optimizing websites and pages for search engines across the board. It does so by abiding by search engines’ algorithms and such factors as the following:
- Keywords and keyword density
- Mobile-friendliness and loading speeds
- Content quality and structure
- Content engagement and social signals
- Image format, compression, and alt. tags
Local SEO still adheres to those factors but also focuses on local factors such as the following:
- Local reviews and citations
- Locally relevant content keywords
- Local link popularity and social signals
Thus, the two are not opposed in any way. Put simply, local SEO is a specialized subgroup of SEO that aims to optimize content for specific local markets.
Efficient on-page strategies to improve your local SEO
With all that in mind, let’s explore some on-page strategies to improve your local SEO.
#1 Optimize your content for local keywords
Your content itself often isn’t the first page element visitors see, but it’s the most substantive one. That’s not merely because quality content is king anyway, but also because content creation affects local SEO. Specifically, creating content for locally valuable keywords is the cornerstone of local SEO. That’s why building content with this factor in mind is among the most popular SEO activities with professional guidance today.
First, there are two basic local keyword focuses:
- “Near me”; the search queries that are geo-specific in relation to the user’s current location, such as “bike shops near me”
- Location keywords: the search queries that are location-specific, such as “best bike shops around New Jersey”
Next, there are location-specific keywords such as:
- Local monuments and landmarks
- Entertainment venues
- Local history and other information
Thus, your very first step should be to identify which keywords are worth your time and effort. Use your keyword research tools of choice, as well as analytics tools like Google Analytics, in this pursuit. Analyze your local competition without copying them, and identify which local keywords are worth building content around. Finally, ensure content quality; your content should remain valuable on its own, with local factors only woven in when appropriate.
#2 Optimize headlines for engagement and locality
Next, still on the subject of content, consider structural on-page strategies to improve your local SEO. A proper structure, including bullet points, lists, and headlines, is already vital for SEO and engagement, but injecting some locality affects your local SEO as well.
In this step, the standard best practices apply; use headlines appropriately, with a single H1 and H2s, then H3s, and so forth. Use keywords in headlines when appropriate, while still being mindful of keyword density. However, to boost your local SEO, you can also inject local keywords. Consider, for example, how the headlines “The best bike repair services” and “New Jersey’s best bike repair services” differ. Both use the same service-related keywords, but the latter is locally specific. You can use such on-page strategies to improve your local SEO without hampering your general SEO efforts.
#3 Optimize your pages for mobile devices
Similarly, mobile-friendliness is an established SEO factor. Google itself has stated as much, so it’s inescapable. However, it also massively affects local SEO.
Caption: As Google Maps and other apps become increasingly mobile-friendly, your content should do so too.
Consider how many local search queries are made on mobile devices. The number is staggering and only continues to increase; some research places it at over 40% of all queries. Furthermore, Google’s own app landscape, including GMB, is equally mobile-friendly and mobile-focused. As such, mobile-friendliness can only be considered a vital piece of local SEO strategies. Consider the usual strategies for this step, such as:
- Optimized, compressed images
- Clean interface and content structure
- Fast loading speeds
These, and others, can only help your efforts across the board and future-proof your website while ensuring a better ROI.
#4 Display accurate NAP information across all pages
A much simpler step lies in your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information. Consistency and accuracy with such details are always vital, but they also drastically affect local SEO.
The usual benefits of accurate, accessible information aside, Google My Business (GMB) draws your NAP information from your website. For the sake of text economy, we can’t delve into GMB itself at length, but GMB is a vital aspect of local SEO. As such, you should ensure your NAP information is accurate. What’s more, to remain on-page, you should ensure it’s visible across all pages. Consider the header or, more traditionally, the footer for this purpose.
#5 Get local citations and quality backlinks
Finally, a factor that overlaps with off-page SEO lies in local citations and backlinks. This step is equally important, as it sends search engines the proper local signals that your website offers local value.
You should thus build a solid backlink strategy as usual, but also be mindful of doing so with a local focus. At the same time, in terms of on-page strategies, consider including links to local websites of interest in your content. This will help boost your own authenticity and trustworthiness, as well as hopefully build real-world relationships with local businesses.