It’s no secret that competing in the local market is quite difficult these days. You must stand out from other competitors and devise a strategy that will not only capture the attention of your local customers but also encourage them to buy from you.

Fortunately, local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help you do that and more. As you may already know, local SEO isn’t that much different from your standard SEO efforts. The only difference is that you’re focusing your attention, as well as your activities on the local market and the local audience. Nowadays, consumers search for local business online.

What’s more, consumers primarily use their smartphones to conduct research. With that in mind, research suggests that 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases, often in a few hours. That’s why it’s important to utilize local SEO and ensure good rankings for the local intent. That being said, here are a few local SEO strategies you should follow in 2019.

List with Google
Google is the most popular and the most commonly used search engine today. That’s why it’s important to ensure your local business is visible on this search engine. The best way you can achieve that is to list with Google My Business directory. For Google to display your business on search results properly, you’ll have to provide accurate business information, such as location, address, phone number, email, open hours and other relevant information. Moreover, you should add images of your business, products, services and anything else that’s of any importance.

However, Google My Business is more than a simple listings directory. In fact, this feature will help you improve your local SEO efforts and strategies, as well as allow you to interact with customers and collect positive reviews. In addition, you’ll be able to collect valuable information and insights, as well as leverage location-based ads with AdWords Express feature. That way you can constantly monitor your activities and make improvements when needed.

Consider other listings
Google is not the only available business listing today. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of other websites that provide business listing features. However, some are more relevant than others so make sure you research them well.

What’s more, Google will scan other business listings you’re on, in order to compare the information you’ve provided. That’s why you should make sure that the information you’ve provided on other listings is synchronized. Otherwise, you may get a ranking penalty. Here are some of the business listings you should consider:

Facebook listings
Apple Maps
Foursquare
Bing
Yahoo! Local
Yellow Pages
Based on your local area, you might consider specific listings and strategies that will get you the necessary visibility. As an example, if you operate in Melbourne, Australia you may want to opt for listing and strategies relevant to that area. This also means finding an SEO agency in Melbourne that will get you the necessary exposure required for your business to earn an advantage it needs.

Leverage positive reviews
Positive reviews are one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to local SEO. Nowadays, 91% of consumers read online reviews regularly. In addition, 84% of consumers will trust these reviews as much as they’d trust personal recommendations from their friends or family members.

You’re probably well aware by now that positive reviews can greatly benefit your local business as much as negative reviews can easily ruin your entire reputation. That’s why it’s important to ensure customer satisfaction so that you can benefit from referrals, word-of-mouth recommendations and of course, positive reviews.

Search engines, such as Google analyze these reviews thoroughly. They oftentimes check factors such as, review volume, ratings, velocity, diversity, review content an even who posted the reviews. The better the signals you have with your reviews, the better the ranking you’ll have. So much in fact, that Google may place you in the “Top 3” local pack on search results.

Publish relevant content
Content on its own is one of the most effective marketing strategies today. In addition, content is considered one of the most important ranking factors for search engines. The main reason is that content delivers value to consumers through education, information and entertainment. Furthermore, content is one of the most vital factors in your inbound marketing strategies.

Inbound means being where your customers are and encouraging them to check your business the natural and organic way, which is what local SEO is all about. That’s why you should strive toward developing content that will provide customers with relevant information, educate them on important matters and help them solve the most common pain points they may be experiencing. However, in order to determine which type of content will work best, you’ll have to research your audience and develop customer personas for your strategy.

Even though local SEO may not differ much from your standard SEO activities, you must still pay close attention to factors that distinguish local from the standard. Implementing the right local strategies will get you the visibility, credibility and exposure you need to gain a competitive advantage over your local competitors.