Understanding Local SEO
Local SEO is an amazing way to drive more traffic to your website for people who are looking for businesses in their local area. This is an especially important tool for small businesses as the majority of their custom comes from local residents. Around 46% of all Google searches are people looking for local information. Therefore if your business isn’t optimised for local searches then you could be missing out on a good percentage of potential customers.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising your website to improve your website’s organic position in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for a specific location.
1. Optimise for Google My Business
Google My Business is a tool created by Google to help businesses meet Google’s needs to support and verify a business. By having a Google My Business account you are able to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results, as well as other important information like opening/closing times, contact details or a link to your website.
To optimise your Google My Business, you should:
- Create and verify a Google My Business account
- Use Google Posts within your account
- Encourage your customers to share reviews online
- Respond authentically to reviews, specifying the location
2. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business
Once you have created your Google My Business account you will have a Google My Business page, with all the information you want to share about your business, you should share this page on your company’s social media. This helps Google as Google now considers content shared on social media more important than ever before.
3. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online
You have to make it easy for both people and search engines to find you. You need to make sure that your name, address, and phone number are consistent across all platforms. With your website you want to make sure that this information is on your website in HTML text so the search engine crawlers can read it. A common mistake is that this information is within an image, which can’t be crawled.
4. Optimize online directories and citations
Like I mentioned before, consistency is key. You should verify that your citations are consistent and complete across multiple data aggregators as things like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of address number or wrong phone number can be problematic for search engines. For example, if Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business in search results at all.
5. Perform a local SEO audit
Once you’ve done your local SEO you may think that everything, however SEO is constantly changing, so performing a website SEO audit can help your business to stay on top.
Different types of audits you can perform are:
- Google My Business Audit – How does your Google My Business appear in the SERPs? Is the information accurate?
- Google Search Console Audit – Is your site crawlable? Does it have any errors that would hinder indexing?
- On-Page SEO Audit – Does your site accommodate all the on-page SEO elements that help ranking?
- Citation Audit – Are all of your citations correct in the top business directories?
- Competitor Analysis – How does your site match up with your competitors? Are there any gaps that you need to close? How do you match up in terms of inbound links, content, design, and positioning?
- Website Audit – How well is your website performing?
6. Improve your internal linking structure
This point isn’t just for local SEO, this is for SEO in general. Having a strong internal linking structure will help to boost your SEO rankings as it helps website navigation, website hierarchy, and page authority.
7. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content
When you post new content on your website, that is a new page for crawlers to index. For this, you want to make sure that it is optimised for the search engines. To do this you want to use your keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body.
8. Add location pages to your website
If you have more than one location you can create location pages. This provides readers with information on your business at that specific location.
9. Create local content
With search engines getting smarter, content writers are now able to write content that is designed for users and not search engines. This is great news as general content is great for driving traffic from a wide crowd, however you can now create content that is aimed at attracting a specific local audience.
10. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
This is also another point that isn’t just for local SEO. Having a mobile-friendly website is a big thing nowadays, as over half of users use search engines to search for things on their phones. Because of this search engines now factor this into their rankings. Therefore if your website isn’t mobile-friendly then you are missing out on over half of your potential customers as well as being ranked lower in search results.
11. Get inbound links with relevance and authority
Inbound links are links from other websites to your website. This is a powerful feature as it boosts your SEO and the legitimacy of your company.
Ways to get inbound links are through:
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
- Guest Blog Posting
12. Participate in your local community
By participating in your local community you are going to receive more PR from your community, reaching more potential customers.
Participating in your local community can be through:
- partnering with a nonprofit organisation on a campaign
- having a volunteer day in your organisation
- sponsoring an event
Hopefully this has helped you understand more about local SEO. All these points are extremely powerful features that can help to boost your rankings in search engines, so why not try them and drive more traffic to your site.