One of the most effective ways your small business can compete against industry giants is using local Search Engine Optimization (local SEO).
A survey by ReviewTrackers reveals that 35% of all search traffic is local. And Local SEO levels the online playing field giving your experience business an opportunity to outrank the bigger brands.
So where and how do you optimize for local SEO? In this article, we’re going to address all aspects of local SEO. From the definition to the importance of this ranking tactic and finally some actionable tips to help you optimize your local SEO.
Let’s get right into it.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that enables your experience business (or any other business for that matter) to be found on search engine results pages (SERPs) when users conduct local searches for the product or services you provide.
Local searches are the search queries that people type into search engines like Google when looking for a service or product provided locally or in a specific location. Examples of local searches in the tourism industry may look like something like these:
- Sailboat rentals near me
- Escape rooms near me
- Sailboat rentals in [city name]
- Escape rooms in [city name]
Optimizing for local SEO is critical for brick-and-mortar businesses. However, businesses without a physical address that offer their product or service in a given region also benefit greatly from local SEO.
Why Is Local SEO Important for Experience Companies?
When someone performs a local search on Google, the results that appear on the SERP have all the necessary details on the businesses in that region. There’s no need to click through to the business website.
For this reason, local SEO helps potential customers find your business’s information easily and quickly, therefore propelling them closer to making a transaction.
Here are other reasons why local SEO is particularly important for experience companies:
People typically book experiences when already in the given location
Here’s an example: the search for mountain bike tours, local cuisine cooking classes, or kayaking experience will most likely be performed by a local or a traveler already present in the region.
So why is this important to know?
Well, if a potential customer simply types into Google the kind of experience they are looking for Google will automatically display local businesses offering those services. Therefore, if your experience business is optimized for local SEO, there’s a high chance your information will appear on the search results. This gives you an opportunity to get more bookings.
Local searchers take action
According to a study by Google, 76% of people who conducted a local search on a mobile phone ended up going to the physical store within one day.
Therefore, if the traffic you get from ranking for local searches using local SEO can act that fast, then that’s the kind of traffic you ought to be optimizing for.
One third of internet searches on a mobile phone occur just before a customer visits a physical store
More to that, most consumers conduct an online search for a business location to confirm its existence before they head there for the first time.
For experience businesses, this ability for a person to verify your business’s existence online would be even more beneficial especially if you do not have a physical office. It would give the potential customer more confidence about your legitimacy.
Local mobile searches lead to more sales than non-local ones
28 percent of local searches end up in a purchase within 24 hours.
More consumers are going online more frequently to search for local businesses
According to a Local consumer review survey, 93 percent of consumers searched the internet to find a local business in the last year. Out of these, 34% did the local searches daily compared to 27% three years before.
7 Local SEO Tips for Experience Companies
Local SEO is not very different from organic SEO. In fact, with local SEO, you’ll need to optimize on almost all the areas you do in regular SEO. The main difference is that all these parts will have a local focus.
Let’s get into the tactics you can implement for your local SEO efforts.
1. Check your SEO performance
To understand where your website stands in terms of SEO performance, use SEO grader, a free tool that lets you analyze all factors that affect your rankings. It also provides you with a range of measures to boost your rates and get more direct bookings.
2. Do keywords research
Keyword research is fundamental for any search engine optimization process, and that includes local SEO.
To optimize local SEO for your experience business, your keywords ought to be relevant to what people would search for when looking for the services you offer.
As we mentioned above, local search keywords are mostly a combination of “service/ product” + “location,” commonly known as geo-targeted keywords. For example:
- Food tour in Barcelona
- Sailboat tour in Lisbon
The second kind of keywords for local searches is the “near me” searches. For example:
- Food tour near me
- Sailboat tour near me
Lastly, another important type of keywords to target for local SEO is voice-activated local searches. Statistics show that more people are increasingly able to access voice-enabled devices such as smartphones, Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Amazon Alexa.
With these devices, voice search can potentially become one of the primary avenues of conducting local searches. In fact, according to Google’s report, 27 percent of the online population globally is using voice search on mobile.
With these developments in mind, you can as well try keywords based on conversational voice searches. Think of how someone would phrase their query if they are speaking out loud rather than typing it on the Google search bar. For example:
- Find a food tour near me
- What is the nearest cooking class near me?
After coming up with all these seed keywords, go ahead and compile a list of keyword variations you can derive from keyword research tools.
Use the best, most relevant keywords you come up with to carry out on-page SEO for your website (we’ll address this further below).
3. Create and optimize your GMB account
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool by Google that creates a business profile in Google Maps and Google search pages.
GMB is among the top factors that can help your tours or activities business rank for local searches both under the local 3-pack and/ or organic results.
To create a GMB listing that stands out, you’ll first need to create a Google account then claim your business profile. From there you can fill out your business information:
- Enter your business name
- Enter your business location
- Enter your business address
- Select a category
- Enter your website and phone number
Once all your business details are all set, you can verify your listing. The next thing will be to optimize your GMB profile further:
- Add more categories
- Include business logo, opening hours, and acceptable payment methods
- Upload some photos
- Publish posts
- Keep your information up-to-date
4. Publish quality content regularly
Content remains to be king. And when working on your business website’s local SEO, creating quality content that’s related to local issues will go a long way in boosting your experience business’s ranking for the particular location.
Firstly, by quality content, we mean relevant, well-researched, and engaging content.
Secondly, the content should relate to local happenings in order to grab your local client’s attention. For example, you can feature some local news or events, especially in the travel and tourism industry.
Additionally, inasmuch as your focus is on local SEO, remember that all the “traditional” on-page SEO practices for each of your web pages are still important and should be implemented as well. These include:
- Add the target keyword in your title tag
- Creating enticing meta descriptions
- Including the target keyword in the URL
- Incorporating keyword synonyms in H2, H3, or H4 tags
- Including keyword in image alt texts
- Sprinkling target keyword and its variation throughout the text content
- Having some outbound links
- Including internal links
If you master how to blog effectively in the tours & activities niche with a focus on local searches, you’re well on your way to having content that will drive traffic and boost sales for your experience business.
5. Focus on link building
As per Moz’s 2017 study on “Local Search Ranking Factors”, link signals are the most crucial ranking factor for local organic search results.
More to that, when it comes to ranking factors for the local 3-pack, link signals are the second most important.
You can generate high-quality backlinks to your tourism website by:
- Guest blogging on reputable sites
- Partnering with travel influencers
- Getting featured on travel publications
- Creating link-worthy statistic posts
- Getting backlinks from unlinked mentions
Another strategy that can be used for link building is getting local citations, which leads us to our next local SEO tip.
6. Leverage the power of online business directories for local citations
One benefit of getting listed on online business directories is that it can significantly boost your business’s visibility.
More to that, having a number of these consistent citations serves as a confirmation to Google that your experience business is legit and its information accurate hence ideal for ranking on the specific local search results.
Note that it’s not only about having numerous citations, but also ensuring your business’s details are consistent all through – what many refer to as NAP consistency (Name, address, and phone number).
So, which are these business directories? There are many options including Yelp, YellowPages, Facebook pages, just to mention a few.
Select one or two to begin with. From there you can build more citations on different directories majoring on those most relevant for the experience industry.
7. Get customer reviews
Generating positive customer reviews is one way of optimizing your GMB listing and therefore highly beneficial for your local SEO. Luckily, Google allows businesses to request customers for reviews.
What’s more, positive reviews can encourage more travelers to book with you because research has shown that 79% of consumers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations from family or friends.
Here’s a detailed guide to help you generate positive customer reviews for your experience business.
Optimizing for local SEO is essential for your experience business and especially so if your business is small and operates on a regional level. This will set you up to compete with bigger brands out there.
In summary, the tips you can implement to build your local SEO, rank on Google, and boost sales are:
- Proper keyword research
- Optimized GMB listing
- Quality content
- Link building
- Local citations
- Customer reviews
Just like with regular SEO efforts, optimizing for local SEO should be a continuous process.