If you are looking for local SEO tips to boost your rankings, then you’ve come to the right place. Local search is one of the most important marketing channels for local businesses. A staggering 46% of all Google searches looking for local information and 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles. Whether you’re an independent local business or a chain, appearing for local search is the best way to drive footfall. Done correctly, it will also help increase revenue to your business. Local SEO is key to maximising your business potential so it’s more important than ever to optimise for Local SEO terms. Afterall, you want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find you.
Why is local SEO important?
Often businesses are busy optimising their website for national search, However, in reality, most searches today – especially mobile searches – will return local results. By targeting local areas, you are minimising the competition and not going up against bigger, nationwide brands. This opens the door to a more streamlined marketing strategy and a more relevant audience. A more relevant audience means better conversion.
Improving your website for local SEO can be as easy as implementing relevant keywords, entering or updating information (and ensuring it’s accurate across all platforms), or you may need to invest some time in your overall online presence.
We’ve put together 5 quick and simple local SEO tips to improve your local strategy.
1. Google My Business
If you have a local business, Google My Business is by far the most important tool you will use for local search. Completely free, GMB allows businesses and organisations to manage their online presence in the SERPs, including Google Search and Google Maps. All you have to do is claim your business listing. If you’re a new business you will need to create one. Once you have claimed your business you simply need to populate it with all your business information. Everything from images, opening and closing times, services, reviews, and descriptions.
Bing also has a similar tool called, Places.
2. Make sure your local listings are accurate
One of the key ranking signals that Google tracks is the consistency and accuracy of your W-NAP (Website – Name, Address, Phone number.). Your site URL, business name and business details need to be accurate and consistent. This is required across directories, local listings and other websites in order to achieve a positive local ranking. They must appear as they appear in your contact details. This means you need to sharp-eyed. It may be as small as a site listing your URL with HTTP instead of HTTPS, but it could harm your local ranking. Make sure you check all of the obvious ones first like Yell, Yahoo and Yelp, then focus your attention on any smaller listings. Smaller listings aren’t necessarily as damaging, but from a customer experience perspective if you’re trying to contact a business and the information in incorrect, it’s frustrating. Not to mention the fact you could lose out on potential sales.
3. On-page local SEO
It’s important to optimise your on-page content when it comes to local SEO. You need to tailor your content for local search. This should include short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords to maximise your audience potential. Remember most local searches are done using mobile, which means a lot of users may use voice search.
Take a look at our two on-page optimisation tips:
- Add individual location pages – if you have more than one location, it’s beneficial to have a unique location landing page for each one. This should display the business name, address, postcode and any additional information you see relevant.
- Include local keywords in your metadata – Meta titles should include your business name and location. While Meta descriptions should include your business name, location, relevant keywords and a summary of page content. Including local search keywords and phrases in Alt tags and page titles will also help improve your local SEO.
4. Customer reviews
In this digital age it’s imperative to have positive online reviews from customers. Good reviews increase trust between your business, Google and the customer. Reviews are the modern day word-of-mouth. Positive reviews indicate to Google that your business is one that people will want to visit, in turn, it places your business higher in the search engine rankings than businesses with negative reviews. So, one negative review can be damaging to your brand. Most of the time people need a gentle nudge to leave a review (unless they’ve had a bad experience). You will probably need to ask customers nicely to review your business after they have used your service or product. A simple way to do that is with a follow-up email, just make sure it’s an easy process to complete the review.
The biggest thing to remember when you receive a review, is to always respond. Whether it’s positive or negative it reflects better on the brand to respond within a reasonable amount of time.
It’s amazing how often you can turn around a bad experience with great customer service and this might lead to an updated review. An action as simple as responding to reviews shows a more humanised side to a business and shows that you care about your customers experience.
5. Don’t forget to optimise social profiles
Social media plays a big part in local search, by taking just a few minutes to optimise your profiles it will improve your results. Facebook has the biggest presence and impact on local search so it is essential to optimise your business for the platform. If you want people to be able to check into your location you need to make sure your Facebook Page is listed as a local business. People ‘checking in’ is a great, free tool that helps create a buzz around your business. It also lets people share your business with friends easily.
Another important step is to verify your profile, this will connect your website to the page. Customers are more likely to visit a website if it’s an official social profile.
Another key indicator to Google that your business is popular are social shares such as, comments, posts, and discussions so try and encourage user engagement and interaction.
Each of your social profiles should include your business name, address and website URL. And just like other local search tools, every social profile should have the same, accurate information.
Local search is a powerful marketing strategy for local businesses. By improving your visibility in local search results you can have a big impact on the growth of your business. Improving ROI and your customer base.