If you run a small business, and aren’t making the most of local SEO, there’s a good chance you are restricting your business’ potential to reach a larger number of customers. Why? According to recent statistics, four out of five consumers make use of the internet to find local businesses where they can find what they need. This means if your business isn’t optimised for local search, four out of five of your potential customers will likely be unable to find your business or even know about it. That amounts to not being seen by about 80% of your potential customers.
If you want your local business to stay competitive and prosper, you have to start taking local SEO more seriously. And the first step towards accomplishing that is to have a better understanding of what local SEO is, and how you can implement it for your business. The comprehensive local SEO guide we’ve put together below will enlighten you concerning local SEO tools, how to optimise for Google My Business, local search best practices, and other relevant detail.
But first, let’s start with the definition of local SEO and how it helps you reach potential consumers who utilise local search when looking for products or services.
What is Local SEO?
For search engines such as Google to gather pertinent information in response to local searches, they rely on signals contained in local content, citations, links, and social profile pages. These signals enable the search engine to filter out the most relevant local results for the searcher/user. For a business that utilises local SEO, it will help the business promote its brand, products and services to prospective customers that are in need of a business’ services within the locality.
How to effectively optimise Local SEO
In order to have your business shine in a local search, it is essential that you optimise your Google My Business account and improve your on-page SEO. But that’s not all there is to it. Below is an in-depth look at the best practices to optimise your business’ visibility in local searches.
Optimise for Google My Business
Google My Business is essential to optimising your local SEO. With Google My Business, Google will have an easier time verifying that your business is authentic and this can result in your business popping up in the sidebar space after a user runs a Google local search relating to your business or services.
To make sure you are boosted for Google My Business, create a quality Google My Business page. Then utilise Google Posts in your account and have your clients share reviews concerning your business online. Giving authentic responses to reviews and specifying location is also beneficial. For instance, in response to a review, you could post “Your patronage and feedback is appreciated after using our XXX services in XXX city/state. We look forward to keeping you happy.”
Create Unique Location Hub Landing Pages
If your business has multiple physical locations (like an office, shop, warehouse or yard), it’s advisable that you have unique location pages tailored to each. Location pages provide readers with your accurate name, address, and phone number (NAP), unique store descriptions, store hours, testimonials from satisfied customers, promotions, and more. But it is crucial that you do not simply duplicate the same content for different location pages. Each location page’s content should be distinct.
Also, having a descriptive About Us page that is localised can be beneficial. Same goes for adding a Google Map to your website on each respective location page.
Produce Hyper-Local Content
The Google search engine algorithm isn’t what it was five years ago or even a year ago. It’s growing smarter and smarter and uses new cues to provide its users with the most accurate answers to their searches. To get Google to rank your website content highly in local searches, it is important that your content is focused on and revolves around local or industry news that’s targeted at audiences in your local target market. The more localised content you have, the higher your chances of being considered a local authority for your industry by Google.
For instance, if you’re a local online retail store or bakery trying to get more attention from those in your locality, you can provide a local resource on your website that your target will find helpful. An example to get these businesses well-acquainted with your city. The online retail store could create a resource concerning big promo or discount dates, while the bakery can provide a resource concerning local food festivals or competitions, or even local food recipes.
Name, Address, Phone Consistency
In order to make it easy for those within your target market to conveniently find you with a local search, set up your NAP – Name, Address (with area code), and Phone number in a consistent manner. Also, make sure that this information is contained as crawlable HTML text on your site. That is, don’t insert this information as an image, as search engine bots will have a hard time crawling over and identifying the pertinent information in an image. Instead, use HTML text at the footer or header of your website.
Building Consistent Citations
Ensure your business is listed on Yelp, Bing, Google+ local, Trip Advisor, My Business Listing Manager, Factual, and other similar online directories. But make sure the business data provided on various directories are consistent with one another. Inconsistencies like misspellings or a wrong phone number can make it difficult for Google to associate an instance of a directory listing with your business location entity. Also, be sure to remove duplicate listings where you are listed in the same directory more than once. You
Improve Internal Linking Structure
Linking to other websites and having other websites link to yours is beneficial. But internal linking is just as important. That is, linking to other pages on your website. Internal linking will boost your SEO rankings by improving website navigation for both your visitors and search engine bots alike. It also effectively distributes page authority and ranking power among pages, and assists with website hierarchy and information architecture.
Optimise URL, Content Headers, Title Tags, and Meta-Description
Every new blog post’s content is a new indexed page for your site and an opportunity for you to boost local SEO and be found in SERPs (search engine results pages). But, for this to occur, your content must be optimised for search engines by inserting keywords in the URL, body, meta description, title, and header of your content. The keywords can be localised by attaching location to the keyword. For instance, if the keyword is mechanic, London mechanic is localised.
Make your website mobile-friendly
Mobile search and local search pretty much work in tandem these days. This is because a majority of smartphone users perform local searches using their phone or other mobile devices. Make it easy for these people to find and access your website via their mobile device by making your website more mobile-friendly.
Get Location Relevant and Authority Inbound Links
Inbound links from authority websites are great for local SEO as it indicates to Google that your business is a legitimate one. Inbound links also raise your domain authority.
You can inbound links by building a personal network and getting link-ins from your local Chamber of Commerce, or licensing bureaus, or vendors, trade associations, and similar affiliates. You can also reach out to partners or other businesses in the area to propose being featured in their directory.
Another effective way to get inbound links is by guest blogging. By blogging on other websites, you can slide in links to your own website.
Take advantage of Social Media and Add Posts to Google My Business
Social media plays a big part in what Google considers when deciding to rank a business. Since you already have a Google My Business Page, why not share it on social media? You can also advertise local promotions and more on your social media pages.
Local SEO Tools
After looking at the best ways to optimise your local SEO, let’s now look at the tools that you can use to your advantage to boost your ranking in the ways that most matter.
- Screaming Frog: This is a desktop program that can crawl website images, links, CSS, and more for you from an SEO standpoint. Using this app will let you know if your website has missing H1s or meta-descriptions, or any 404 pages. The free version can scan up to 500 URLs while the paid version does unlimited scans.
- Moz Local: This tool can be used to ensure your business listing is verified on Facebook and Google. You can also use it to collaborate with data aggregators and push your listings to where they will be the most visible.
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder: Citations are important because they can bring your business to the forefront when an online local search is conducted. Whitespark can help with this by offering local listing management, building and monitoring your citation growth for better local search rankings, and recommending where is best to list your business.
- Ahrefs: This tool helps check the health of your backlinks. This is important because these links can boost your website authority if they are healthy or be detrimental to your website if they are not. You can also use Ahrefs to check on competing businesses, keyword research, and much more.
- Buzzstream: This tool can help you earn local backlinks from local influencers. This will be done by researching influencers, and providing insights concerning your outreach campaigns, and link placements.
By taking advantage of the information provided above, you stand a better chance of driving the local success of your business. The important thing is that you be consistent with the executing of the aforementioned tips, to achieve long-term local SEO success.