Did you know that over half of internet searches worldwide have local intent? This means that of the more than 8 billion searches Google sees daily, about 4 million are for local products and services. That’s A LOT of searches.
When it comes to Houston, there are over 9 million monthly searches containing the word “Houston” with transactional intent. Fellow Houstonians are out there looking for local solutions. Are you situating yourself as one?
There are many ways to improve your ranking on the SERPs (search engine results page), and the goal of any SEO strategy is to get you in the first three links of page one. Luckily for you, there are many paths you can take to get started on this.
Let’s explore the most effective local SEO services Houston business owners can utilize.
What is Local SEO? Why Does It Matter?
Before we get started, let’s talk about what local SEO is. In short, local SEO is an SEO strategy aimed at improving your rankings within the local search results. Marketing has evolved tremendously, and billboards, flyers, and radio commercials can help with brand recognition within your local community, but bringing your business online and easily findable will effectively move your customers deeper down the Buyer’s Journey.
Let’s say you own a Financial Advisory business in Houston. Your website looks great, does a good job explaining your company, and even has your address. Your customers love you, and word of mouth has helped your business grow, but you see very few leads, if any, coming in from the website you spent money and time on. This is where local SEO comes into play. When your customers search “Houston financial advisor” or “financial advising near me,” you want to show up!
How Can I Optimize for Local SEO?
There are a variety of strategies you can utilize to help you start ranking higher and higher in the SERPs. Some of our favorite local SEO strategies are:
- Google Business Profile
- Local Listings
- Geofenced Ads
- Local Content
- Competitor Gap Analysis
Choosing a service will ultimately depend on your company’s industry, goals, and budget put aside for marketing efforts. Deciding what is right for you will require careful consideration. To help, I’ve dived deeper into each strategy to assist you in determining which ones to consider. Let’s get started!
1. Set Up A Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile is one of the easiest and most effective ways to position your business online, especially if your business relies on local customers. And did I mention it’s FREE?
A Google Business Profile allows you to list your business on local searches and Google Maps. Going back to my financial advisory business example, if a potential customer in Houston searches “financial advisor near me,” you want Google to recognize your business as an answer to the query and show your business on the map.
A Google Business profile is an easy step to reach this goal. Getting your business to the 3-pack results (the top 3 results for Google local searches) takes additional local SEO strategies, however.
2. Add Your Business To Local Listings
Local listings are a great way to take your local SEO up a notch. Local listings are an online mention of your business and NAP information (name, address, and phone number/website). The more local directories your business is listed in, the more likely your business is to appear in a local search.
Some popular local directories include:
- Google/Bing and Yelp
- Angi (FKA Angie’s List)
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Company Directory
Houston has its fair share of local business directories too! Some Houston directories you may consider adding your business to include:
Getting your business listed on these directories is one thing, but it’s important to maintain these listings using local listing management.
Local listing management involves consistently verifying and updating every listing connected to your business. These updates can include new addresses, new social media accounts, and updated hours. Keeping all your listings accurate is a critical aspect of local SEO optimization, and depending on the number of listings, this can take a great amount of time.
If the thought of local listings excites you, but the idea of local listing management overwhelms you, we recommend hiring a digital marketing agency to handle this ongoing project. You can run your business with the comfort that your local listings are effectively managed.
3. Invest in Geofencing Ads
Remember when I said marketing has evolved? Here’s more proof. Geofencing ads (AKA geofence marketing) involve creating a geofence around a specific geographic region and delivering ads to smartphone, tablet, or laptop users once they enter that “fence.” You can set your geofence almost anywhere, whether it be around your business or even your competition.
If your Houston-based Financial Planning business wants to target a more affluent audience, you may set your geofence around Piney Point Village or Galleria-Uptown. Maybe you even target people near an Amegy, Allegiance Bank, or even your competitor, “Harry’s Financial Planning.”
Paid ads are a great option for many bigger businesses looking for a fast solution; for smaller companies with a smaller budget, there are other options!
4. Create Local Content Regularly
Creating content revolving around local SEO can incorporate videos, articles, images, and more intended to meet the needs of potential local customers. Having content on your website optimized for local SEO will help improve your rankings in the SERPs and situate you as an authoritative source of information for Google.
Local content you can create includes:
- Blogs targeting local keywords (e.g., “Houston financial planning”)
- Service pages showcasing services specific to your area
- Robust location pages
Although this strategy is cost-effective, it will take time to begin seeing results. That is why effective content planning involves keyword research, keyword mapping, and regular optimizations to the strategy. We often recommend a content strategy in addition to paid ads.
Let’s say you already have your Google Business profile set up, you are listed in over 20 local directories, your geofencing ads are up and running, and you regularly publish local content. It’s all going great, but your competition is still performing better, and you’re still losing customers to them. What can you do? Enter the Competitive Gap Analysis.
5. Conduct a Competitor Gap Analysis
One of my favorite local SEO services is the Competitor Gap Analysis. This research and analysis will give you insight into your competition’s marketing strategies. What’s more local than that?
Investing in competitor research will help you answer questions like:
- What keywords is my competition targeting?
- Are they running ads?
- What keywords do they organically rank for?
- Is my competition targeting my company?
This intensive research will answer all these questions and even help you determine other competitors you didn’t even know you had. Then you can use this research to assess keyword gaps and develop a content strategy to close those gaps.
There are various tools you can use to conduct this research. Still, we recommend hiring a Houston SEO Company to make sense of the data and compile it into an easily digestible presentation/spreadsheet.
Are you ready to rise above the competition?
Local SEO can help you show up where your customers are and when they’re searching for solutions to their problems. Your costumes are out there, and we can help you find them!
If you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, our team of experts is prepared to help you choose between all the local SEO services Houston businesses can benefit from.
Contact us today and rise above the competition tomorrow! What are you waiting for?!