Graphic designers can work globally, but there are also many that work locally. And as such, they need to be able to be recognized locally, which means taking the time to create and execute an effective local SEO strategy. Local optimization has several components, but when you take the time to learn the best practices, you’ll be able to get your own efforts executed flawlessly in no time at all.
Local graphic designers stand to gain a lot of business if they build a solid online reputation. Of course, there’s no single way to go about doing that. Having a solid search engine optimization strategy that includes local efforts, however, goes a long way in helping you get there. In this guide, we’ll talk about all the best practices for local SEO and what you can do to ensure that you’re on track.
This part is important—it’s not about the focus on keywords, there is a lot more local SEO than that. However, what is important is that you take the time to research keywords. Some people want to tack a city or state onto their existing keywords and be done with it, but it’s not that simple. Yes, those might make up some of your keywords, but as with your entire SEO strategy, you have to do the right research to find out which keywords will get you noticed and help you optimize your content effectively.
Use keyword research tools like those offered by Moz and Ahrefs, or use the research tools that come with your other software platforms and marketing tools. Of course, you may even want to outsource the task entirely and let someone else analyze the keywords and do the research, delivering you a winning list of keywords that will help your local SEO to succeed.
As mentioned, your reputation is more valuable than anything when it comes to your online presence (and your local optimization). Google is not going to recommend or refer people to companies that aren’t reputable and easily visible online. In the past, keyword stuffing got great rankings. Today, however, Google wants substance— get and verify your online listings, improve your keyword research, and make sure that you check out reviews, too.
Speaking of reviews, good ones are great but negative reviews could be the end of your reputation, and thereby your optimization efforts. Never leave a single negative review unresolved. You might not be able to prevent them entirely but addressing them shows that you’re prepared to be the “bigger person” and address the needs and complaints people have head-on. That builds reputation points in spades.
Part of optimizing your reputation is getting your business listed online in as many reputable places as possible. Graphic design forums, local business directories, and your Google Business Profile are critical parts of this process. And, when you’re listing your business, make sure that you stick to a single NAP (name, address, phone number) protocol that is consistent across the Internet.
Google should be your first stop in the local directory process. Your Business Profile plays a large part in your local SEO rankings and how reputable Google thinks your business actually is. Companies that don’t take the time to fill out and maximize this profile will not get the improved rankings that will be seen by those who do. Take advantage of this and make sure that you optimize your Google listing in every way possible.
The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch when you are implementing local SEO. The first part of your strategy should be to do an audit (or have an audit done) of your existing content. This should include both on-page (website) and off-page (not your website) content, such as social media profiles, online directory listings, forums, etc.
You probably already have a lot of great content out there. You don’t have to redo all of it. Just take the time to go over it all, make SEO improvements, including keyword additions and improving quality, and you’ll be able to get back to adding new content to your online presence to increase your local rankings even further. Plus, if you do have content that isn’t measuring up, or that just doesn’t seem to fit anymore, it’ll give you a chance to review it and replace it.
Everyone talks about the importance of local SEO, but many companies don’t even understand all the value that it has:
As you can see, the numbers (and the customers) are making the case for local SEO quite clear. What’s not clear is why you’re not already getting started!
Your design firm will have a lot to handle with local SEO, but one of the biggest parts of your strategy should be to implement a 24/7 answering service so that you never miss a beat. When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you get that and so much more. We can also assist with lead intake, appointment scheduling, and any of the rest of your needs.