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What Startups Should Do to Benefit from Local SEO

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 1/03/2016 AJ Agrawal
SEO © muharrem öner via Getty Images SEO

Google has researched local behavior and have discovered that 50% of users who make local searches actually visit the store in question within a day. This is a massive conversion rate previously unheard of. For startups, this represents a golden opportunity to bring in your first customers.
While you may operate exclusively online, with searches becoming more personalized and more likely to be based on locality, you still have to take it into account.
This article is going to show you how with the following marketing strategies.
Make Your Business Local
What can you do to make your business local? It has to go further than serving customers from the area.
You need a physical presence in order to do this. That's why you must provide some sort of address and phone number. It doesn't matter if you don't serve customers in-person. This is the minimum required to appear on Google's radar.
Without your name, address, and phone number Google won't take you into account within the local listings.
Spread Yourself Around
Directories were previously thought of as a relic of old SEO. But they're making a comeback in local form. Make sure that your business is in as many local online directories as possible. Unlike how they used to work, you can't pay a guy to upload your website to 50 of them.
You must keep them under your control as any time you make changes you'll be expected to update each and every directory. This can be an annoying and time-consuming process, but relevancy is incredibly important for ranking high.
Be Local with Your Keywords
Many of the old SEO tactics have fallen by the wayside. One of these is not keywords. Keywords have changed over the years, but what they haven't done is disappear. They simply became longer and less spammy. Startups have to use them in a different way.
For a start, you should concentrate on one or two keywords. With these keywords, you should go out of your way to use them only once or twice per listing or piece of content.
Your keywords should have a local flavor to it. For local keywords, you should concentrate on placing both your niche and your locality into the same string. If you are targeting, hyperlocal SEO, you may even include the neighborhood or the street.
Try to make them fit in as naturally as possible.
Why Local SEO is More Important for Startups
Make no mistake, local SEO is important for absolutely everyone. But it's even more important for startups because they are starting from nothing. You have no presence online and you can't leverage previous reputation.
Typically, startups have little money to begin an SEO campaign. Optimizing for local SEO is annoyingly time-consuming and tedious, but it's free. As a startup, you have lots of time and not a lot of money. Use the resource you have a ton of to your advantage.
This will give you a huge boost in competing with other startups, as well. So many companies don't think about SEO until later on when they can hire an expert. Get a jump on them by taking it into account straightaway.
Should You Think About Other Search Engines and Websites?
From a keyword point of view, you can use content websites like LinkedIn and other search engines like Bing. You would be a fool not to take them into account because they still represent thousands of users.
The reality is, however, that Google is still the number one player. They account for over 90% of the market, and this is only going to grow as the years go on. The vast majority of your efforts should be spent on appealing to Google. You would not be at fault if you focused on them exclusively, at least during the early stages of your business.
Last Word
Local SEO should be a process that you embark on immediately. Make sure that you go out of your way to begin optimizing as soon as your business opens its doors. It may feel fruitless in the beginning, when you could be spending your time on more important things, but in the long-term you'll be glad that you set aside the time to do it.
With local SEO expected to gain in importance as time goes on, startups that begin right now are putting themselves in an extremely strong position. Fail to do so and you are guaranteed to fall by the wayside.
How will you take action on SEO today?

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