5 Ways to Improve Local SEO & Attract New Business

Local SEO differs in many ways from the organic optimizations businesses make. Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps your business be more visible to local users for results on Google.

When I complete Local SEO Services as part of Search Engine Optimization strategy, I know that a business relies on being relevant to local consumers within its proximity. In the Captial Region, most Albany and Schenectady area businesses target customers within 30 minutes or so of the company.

1. Optimize for Google My Business

There is no surprise here. Google wants you to use Google My Business. A Google My Business account lets you easily connect with customers across Google’s services. It is the gold standard for local search. Google wants content from local businesses it can verify; My Business is their tool to do that

Google My Business Page

To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want your Search Optimization Specialist too:

  • Create and verify a Google My Business (GMB) page
  • Use Google Posts to post new content to your account
  • Encourage your best customers to leave honest and hopefully positive reviews
  • Respond quickly and authentically to customer reviews

If Google sees you are a local business with good reviews (and enough reviews), the search engine could potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.

This is not just for SEO. This helps keep your customers up to date with your contact information, website, hours of operation (including holidays). This also improves how potential customers find you.

Finding accurate information is more important than ever to businesses due to the COVID-19 disruption in consumer shopping behavior and increases in online shopping and contacting of businesses.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

This helps by establishing a local presence on Google Search and Maps by giving up-to-date information and details about your business on the

A detailed, powerful, and complete GMB listing with adequate reviews can single-handedly improve a business’s local SEO ranking.

2. Add posts to Google My Business

Google considers Google My Business posts and content shared on social media more important than previously before.

Create posts on Google My Business.

Local Roofing Company GMB Post

Posts can include business information offers or company updates in the form of text, photos, or videos to promote Business Profiles. They’re visible to users through: 

  • The “Updates” or “Overview” tabs of the Business Profile on mobile on Search and Maps based on various signals
  • The “From the Owner” section of the Business Profile on your computer on Search and Maps

How Does This Help Build New Business?

It lets your business directly communicate with your local customers, and it helps improve your customer experience with timely information.

3. Use Google’s Business Messages For Customer Conversations

Google’s Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that combines entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites. It allows businesses to correspond directly with customers straight from the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

If activated, a Google My Business profile will display a Message button that a user can start direct messaging with the business.

Google’s Business Messages Customer Smartphone Conversation

This functionality has existed for years but is now exists on part of Google My Business, Google Maps, and desktop.

The owner of the GMB should have the account linked to their phone. Google recommends you reply to all messages within 24 hours, but less than 1 hour is ideal. If you don’t reply Google may deactivate the messaging service on your account.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

Not every user will call or email. Many will prefer to send a direct message which is exactly what Google’s Business Messages allows.

If you respond quickly and professionally there is a great chance of converting the customer from a lead to a sale.

It is perfect for one-person businesses, talking directly with an owner, larger companies, or freelancers.

4. Update Your GMB with All Relevant Newly Available Attributes

Google keeps updating the features available through its Google My Business property. Make sure you keep your listing fully populated with the relevant attributes as they become available. What attributes you have is dependent on what category your business has as its primary type of business in GMB.

Here is an example are of a restaurant’s attributes. If they are open late, “Late-night food” would be a great choice.

If they serve beer, wine, and liquor and have happy hour every day from 4-6 PM “Happy hour, Happy Hour drinks, craft beer, cocktails, hard liquor, wine” all apply.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

Staying updated with the most relevant information is always a plus with Google My Business. These attributes will not necessarily help you rank higher but certain attributes like the restaurant example can make your business more attractive to certain customers.

In September of 2020, Google added COVID-19 safety during their visit to premises, these attributes will go a long way in reassuring them. If your business displays these attributes but a competitor does not, it could be what results in you winning the customer.

5. Participate in your local community (with links)

The more you participate in the local community, the more local recognition and backlinks you’ll receive.

Local Community Event

Get Backlinks and Do Good

Partnering with a nonprofit on a campaign like a benefit dinner, coat drive for kids, sponsoring an event, or giving a scholarship are all ways to earn press, online presence, brand awareness, and inbound links.

How Does This Help Build New Business?

Getting known in the community, building an online presence, getting positive local attention, and getting backlinks are all benefits to this strategy. The backlinks specifically help as they are a type of link-building strategy that can boost your ranking in local searches.

About the author

Eric Harrison is a freelance SEO at Albany Viking.