Any location-based business owner, such as a restaurant, hair salon, or dry cleaner, knows that “local SEO” is critical to their business success.
However – there’s a bit of mystique in the marketing industry surrounding local search engine optimization (SEO) – such as how it works, how to implement it for your business, and what good results look like.
In this article, I’ll dig into some of these questions and talk about some basic local SEO best practices for dry cleaners (and other small laundry businesses too!). My hope is to help you get started on the optimization process for your business.
First off: what is local SEO?
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a strategy that helps businesses promote to customers in their area via a search engine. This has obvious benefits, especially when you consider that 46% of all Google searches are for looking for local information.
So when implementing a local SEO strategy, businesses need to consider the areas they should optimize — such as their website, content, and citations — so that search engines read those locations and place that business in the results for that community.
How Does Local SEO Work?
Local SEO is relatively straightforward, but the tools marketers use to help optimize local listings are also developing rapidly.
When implementing a local SEO strategy, a business creates several location indicators for the search engine to read.
Once a search engine has “read” a business and placed it at a particular location, it will begin to show that business in local searches.
And according to Hubspot, four out of five consumers use search to find local information about businesses — that means that by optimizing your business, you could attract significantly more customers with intent to buy from a business like yours – in this case, a dry cleaner.
Getting Started with Local SEO
One of the downsides of SEO in general is that it is all dependent upon Google’s algorithms. They’re not super forthcoming about what exactly goes on behind the scenes, and they update almost every day.
So while experts spend a whole lot of time hypothesizing what factors weigh in, and to what extent each of those things matter when it comes to search engine results, the truth is that these are educated guesses. Search engines make changes all the time, and the strategies that work today may not be as effective later on.
The good news is that the tips I’m sharing today for local SEO have positive benefits outside of search engine rank as well. Even if the way SEO is calculated changes dramatically tomorrow, the effort you will have put in today will still be valuable.
1. Start Internally
The first step for solid SEO – local or otherwise – is to make sure your web content is organized well and linked internally. Internal linking, or linking from one page of your own website to another page of your website, helps user experience. It also helps web navigation, helps web crawlers better “read” your website, and helps evenly distribute your page authority and ranking power across your entire site.
I’ve shared this image before, and I’ll share it again. Your links should have a logical structure that allows Google to understand where pieces live in your site’s structure:
This is a basic step that helps with SEO all around.
You’ll also want to make sure that all of your title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and content align very nicely to your business.
So on your website for your dry-cleaning business, you probably shouldn’t have an entire page dedicated to selling jewelry, for example. Google will look at it and wonder why it’s there, which doesn’t really help your case.
Many people forget to include things like meta descriptions or alt tags on photos. While forgetting one here or there may not hurt your business too badly, missing several can have a major impact.
If you’re not sure if your meta tags and descriptions are well written (or if they exist) there are plenty of free tools and websites that can crawl your website and help you optimize.
2. Embed Local Information On Your Website.
Once your overall website is up to par regarding SEO, you’ll want to make sure you add a location page to your website. If you have more than one location, you’ll want to include one page for each location.
The acronym to remember here is NAP — which stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. Your NAP info should be consistent everywhere on your website, so Google doesn’t get any strings crossed when evaluating you.
A big culprit here is location pages for multi-location businesses. Location pages should tell your potential customer anything they might need to know before visiting your business such as the address, the phone number, any hours and parking information. You might also include any promotions you have going on or testimonials from happy customers. Make sure these are consistent!
Avoid duplicating content across your location pages. Duplicate content is an SEO a big no-no, no matter what you’re trying to do.
3. Claim And Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google is the largest search engine in the world – so optimizing your listing on their platform is a no brainer. Google My Business is one of the most important pieces of local SEO.
If you don’t know what Google My Business is – search for a restaurant or another business in your community. That cool box that pops up to the right of all the links? That is controlled through Google My Business – and your business can have one, too (and it probably already has one).
For reference, here’s a peek of Spynr’s:
This listing helps you tell Google (and its users) a ton of info about your business. Claiming or creating your listing will allow you to put in your NAP info and offers a place for reviews, business photos, virtual tours, location-tagged posts, and much more.
You’ll also want to do the same for other local listings, like Yelp. We talk more about the differences and similarities between Yelp and GMB here, so check that out as well.
4. Mobile-Friendly Is A Must
Think back to the last time you were looking for a business in an area. You probably searched for it on your phone. The truth is, most of your customers will be searching for dry cleaners via mobile.
Mobile-friendly SEO has been around for a while, and if you’re not caught up you need to be. Google made a push as far back as 2015 for mobile-friendliness as a factor in SEO.
So when mobile users hit your website, it is critical that they can see all of the relevant information easily. If they can’t – they’ll leave your website. You might lose their business and your bounce rate will go up, which further hurts your local SEO (and overall SEO).
Long story short: Be mobile friendly already!
Once you have these key pieces in place, you’ll also want to make sure you set up social profiles that relate to your business location and work on getting inbound links that are credible and authoritative (the crux of SEO). That means working on your content, content outreach, and building relationships with other brands online.
If that sounds like it will take a lot of time and effort, it’s because it does. Not pulling any punches here, sorry.
But by implementing local SEO best practices, you should start to see an increase in web traffic (and hopefully business). After implementing these local SEO strategies, you can begin to implement more complex ones, like link-building.
While SEO takes time and effort, it is very important – especially for location-based businesses like dry cleaners.