Local SEO helps your business become more visible in local search results on Google. If your business has a physical address it could benefit from local SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO – or search engine optimisation – is a way to optimise your website content so that your site ranks higher in the search engine results page (SERPs). By enhancing your SEO, your rankings improve and users are able to find you that much easier.
How Does Local SEO Work?
A sub-set of SEO is local SEO which is optimising your local search rankings according to location-based searches. This will include location-specific elements like geo-qualifiers that indicate exactly where your local business is based.
What is the Difference Between SEO and Local SEO?
Where SEO optimises your website ranking on a global level, local SEO narrows this down to a more localised search. This means that potential customers searching for your particular service or product in their area will happen upon your website. If you work from a brick-and-mortar building and are area-bound in terms of your business operations, then local SEO is a really impactful way to gain new customers.
What Are Some Local Search Strategies?
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your local Google rankings as a way to break ground with new customers. Here are some useful strategies to adopt:
- Local Keyword Research
An interesting innovation in local keyword research is the use of voice searches. The reason for this is that so many people are conducting searches on their smartphones, often on the move, so it’s important that your website incorporates keyword variations related to conversational voice searches.
Another great way to optimise your local SEO is through link building, which is where you link your website content to other web pages. This comes in two forms:
- Internal link building – Linking content within your own website.
- External link building – Linking your website content to that of outside websites.
While both forms of link building are valuable, in the case of local SEO you’re going to want to enhance your external link building as this attracts new audiences to your content.
- Meta description and title tags
Before understanding how to optimise these, you need to understand exactly what they are.
- A meta description – This is a short piece of information that describes your website content, giving search engines (and users) a clue as to what your content is about.
- A title tag – This is your web page title and is important to your local SEO.
Both your title tag and your meta description should include the previously researched keywords. These are then picked by search engines crawlers on your site.
- Web design
There’s very little you can do to improve your local SEO if your website is badly designed. A well-designed website requires well-designed landing pages. This means structuring the site with accurate information so that it’s easier for users to navigate.
- Page SEO
This also comes in two forms, which we’ll walk through quickly:
- On-page SEO – This is the on-site ranking factor location optimisation.
- Off-page SEO – This is the external SEO actions such as the aforementioned link building.
By enhancing both on-page and off-page SEO, you are able to amplify your local search rankings as well.
Another really simple way to optimise for local search is by embedding a map somewhere like your contact page or website footer. This is then picked up for relevant business searches in your area.
By constantly creating and sharing content that is relevant to your website, you’re able to boost your visibility for local SEO. By creating original, industry-specific content that is easy to consume, you can keep top-of-page while positioning yourself as an industry leader. Regular blog posting will also make your business appear much more credible, building trust with users ahead of the first meeting.
You can also elevate your local SEO by organically building your profile through integrated social media posts. Although the more platforms you use, the better your chance of audience engagement, you need to ensure you’re providing quality online content so that you build your online presence.
If you are confident that you’re providing a quality product and service, then implementing Google reviews is an effective way to boost your local business. The risk is obviously the generation of negative Google reviews, but this is a really valuable way to identify challenges in your operations, and outline ways to rectify them. You can also win over disgruntled customers by engaging in a meaningful way and addressing the issue timeously. In terms of local SEO, Google incorporates the number of reviews when ranking local businesses, whether they’re positive or negative. You can, however, encourage positive reviews by offering special discounts, but be sure to thank everyone for their positive reviews.
Google My Business (GMB)
You can easily set up a Google My Business account as a way for Google to recognise your company. This can include photos, posts, maps, business hours and reviews, verifying the authenticity of your business listing and upping your local business profile.
Outside of Google My Business, there are a number of online business directories you can really leverage to get your business listing noticed. Not only do these boost your local linking, but there are a number of people that actually use platforms, such as these, as a way to find local business profiles.
What is Google’s Local 3-Pack?
This is the holy grail of online business ranking – the coveted local pack or otherwise known as the “Map Pack”. Once a 7-pack, this is now a selection of the top 3 most popular search results in any industry. Getting your website into this local ranking is a great way to drive online traffic to your site.
What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
You’ve now got sufficient insight into how you can enhance your local rankings, so we’re going to dive into why it’s really such a worthwhile undertaking.
1. Break into the local market
For businesses that operate from a physical structure and are limited by area reach, then it’s truly valuable gaining local SEO so that you’re reaching your targetted audience. For those in the service, health, beauty, education, construction, repairs – and many other – industries, a local audience is vital to sustained business practice.
2. Edge out the competition
Trying to break into a market in a new area can be quite a difficult undertaking. People are loyal to certain providers, but that’s not to say they can’t be swayed by a better service or product. With a well-designed website that is rich in local SEO, you’ll be their first port of call when they’re checking out businesses online.
3. A cost-effective platform
Marketing and advertising can be expensive undertakings, especially when you’re just starting out. However, by implementing the aforementioned local SEO techniques, you’re able to gain an incredible amount of exposure for almost no cost.
4. Build your credibility
Brand trust is immeasurable, and no matter how reliable and honest your services are, if your website doesn’t feature prominently in an online search, it’s assumed you’re not an A-team player. Through local SEO, your ranking is elevated, your website improved, and your credibility established within your area.
5. Mobile searches
The majority of searches being conducted these days are performed on smartphones, and these tend to be location-based services for people on the move. By ignoring this reality, you’re missing out on a massive number of potential customers that could quite easily be yours!
6. Expand your platform reach
It’s not just the Google searches that will reveal you to local users, by enhancing your local SEO, you’re making yourself more visible across a number of business-related platforms such as Waze, TripAdvisor and Apple Maps. While Google certainly remains the dominant search engine, there are still a number of other users searching on different platforms.
7. Grow your local following
In addition to attracting new audiences, using local SEO techniques will give you more opportunity to engage with your customers and grow this local following. Building customer relations is key to business growth, and the aforementioned techniques such as blog posting, user reviews and social media encourage more direct engagement.
8. Make more sales
For any business, this is ultimately what it’s all about, and because the user experience is enhanced by companies that leverage local SEO, you’re going to benefit from increased sales at the end of the day. As you work your way up the rankings, you can forecast ways to improve your rankings and convert those clicks into actual profits.
If you’re looking to make the most out of local SEO, it’s certainly worth partnering with SEO experts who will continue to ensure you rank at the top of the page. Working with SEO professionals not only frees you up for better customer service but gives you the peace of mind knowing that, month after month, behind-the-scenes work is being done to drive your brand.