Local SEO marketing is essential for small businesses to get their products and brand into the world and attract new customers. Search engines aim to provide a user with relevant and personalised results.

This makes appearing in local searches even more important than ever.

Here are 6 local SEO strategies you should try out in 2019 to outrank your competition, generate more leads and make more sales.

1. Tidy Up Your Title Tag And Meta Description

This is one of the most basic of local SEO techniques that your business can use to generate more leads. When your page appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs), a snippet of content information is shown to the searcher. Title tags also appear at the top of a web browser’s tab to act as a placeholder as well as on social networks.

According to Moz, the optimal length for a title tag should be between 50-60 characters, while the meta description should be at around 160 characters. If your titles or meta-descriptions are too long or too short, your SEO will be affected negatively.

Include your brand’s keywords at the beginning of the title and meta-description, which must be also unique to your brand. If it’s the same as your competition, there is no distinction, harming your click-through rates (CTR).

Technical point: avoid using ‘stop’ words in the title and meta-description ie words that link your keywords together so they make sense. For example, if you were a digital agency in Chicago, your title tag would be ‘Chicago digital agency’.

As you will be targeting local traffic, make sure you are including both the brand name and the city your business in it to increase the likelihood of your business appearing in local search results.

2. Get Listed In Local Directories

This strategy is simple and is great for people or businesses that are new to local SEO techniques.

80% of consumers use search engines to find local results.

Directories are one of the best places online to find information about your company. Most consumers look for contact information, so include your business’ name, address and phone number.

Pages like Google My Business and Yelp can vastly improve local visibility.

You must also ensure that there are no silly errors on these pages. If Google finds contradictory information, you run the risk of having the incorrect information displayed or even have the page suppressed in the SERPS.

3. Get More Reviews

According to Inc, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do their friends. This statistic shows how important it is to be seen as a trusted brand.

It’s also just common sense. If a 3-star hotel and a 5-star hotel had their respective standard rooms listed at the same price, most people would go for the 5-star option.

The best places to get a review are on social media, in particular on Facebook as it has the greatest reach with the most users of all social media platforms. Also consider optimizing your local Google My Business page as that’s where most organic traffic comes from.

When you get a review, make sure you are quick to respond to it, no matter if it’s positive or negative feedback. This will show to your consumer base that you care about their opinions, building more trust and credibility to your brand.

4. Optimize Your Website For Mobile Use

More and more people are doing business on the go. If your website has not been optimised for mobile use, your conversion rates will fall through the floor. In fact, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.

One of the most important local SEO factors you need to consider is your page’s load time. Things like large image files and slow hosting can severely reduce the time it takes for a web page to load, which will force your viewers to exit.

Ensure your image files are small and you are only using necessary plugins to keep your page running at optimum performance.

You can check your page’s speed using Google’s own PageSpeed Insights to see if you have any other problems and how to fix them.

5. Local SEO Content

Your website needs content to convince leads that your business can solve their problems. It should be unique and not be copied from other websites. Google punishes pages that contain duplicate content so avoid plagiarism at all costs.

Find out and curate content based on what people in your area are searching for, such as through local email outreach and face-to-face interviews. From here, use the Google Keyword Planner to measure the keywords’ search volume to help you target the right audience.

Each piece of content must contain at least 1,000 words. Longer-form content keeps readers on the page, reduces bounce rates and improves its ranking in the SERPs.

Local SEO content can also be used as part of an outbound marketing strategy by approaching potential prospects with something they would find valuable.

6. Acquire High-Quality Backlinks

This final SEO strategy is the most difficult on this list to get right but is one of the most effective. Backlinks are necessary for ranking in Google in 2019. They are a way to include your brand on someone else’s website without advertising.

The best way to acquire a backlink is to produce high-quality content for their site. The better the quality of the content, the more likely it is to be shared, meaning more page viewers and more clicks on your link. Local guest blogging is very effective for building links to your business.

Identify keywords that you want to rank for, include them in the content and hyperlink to your relevant service or content page.

However, most websites recognise why you want to post on their site and won’t let you get a link for nothing. You need to have a good outreach system to get accepted for a guest post so ensure your pitch is personalised before the email is sent.

This post comes from Kyros Insights, a loyalty program analytics agency.