What is Local SEO and Why Your Business Needs It
Have you ever been in a new place and wanted to know where your nearest coffee shops were? All it takes to find out is the simple search of "coffee" to bring up all the nearby espresso hot spots - and you didn't even have to type in "near me" or your location for this to happen. This type of SEO optimisation is known as local SEO and the good news is that it doesn't just work for coffee businesses. Whether you're a local printer, building supplier or plumber, local SEO is important to you and your business. Here's why.
Presenting ample opportunity to increase visibility, boost growth/engagement levels and drive sales, local SEO refines the search of the local consumer by prioritising where your business is. Utilising geolocation targeting, it's essentially all "near you"/"near me" searches for your product or service wrapped into one. It's harder than ever for a business to attract attention and if you've got potential, digitally connected customers nearby, you want to ensure they're finding you with a simple search.
Tips to Maximise Your Local Search Optimisation
1. Claim your Google My Business listing (if you haven't done so already)
While Google is clever enough to read information from your website to produce organic search results, your chances of reaching the top or appearing in the Knowledge Pack increases drastically when Google can display opening times, reviews and photos; all elements from your GMB profile that can be used to satisfy local search queries.
One key aspect of your GMB profile is to ensure your business's listing data (including name, address and phone number) is up-to-date and ensure this information is identical across all platforms, including your social channels. Why is this so important? Well, proximity of location to the searcher is a driving force in Google's local rankings, increasing your opportunity to be seen higher up in the search, so it's integral this information is correct. This will also allow for Google Maps to be bought up alongside your listing, making it even easier for your business to be found at the click of a button.
In addition, accurate contact information is vital in creating trustworthiness with potential customers. Research has found consumers are more inclined to lose trust in a business's credibility if their contact information is inaccurate, further emphasising the importance of keeping this up-to-date.
This is one way you can take advantage of the opportunity to appear at the top, but the good news is there's MORE things you can do after validating your GMB status. Read on.
2. Manage your reviews on Google My Business
Reviews tend to have a nerve-wracking connotation to them. However, reviews create trustworthiness and legitimacy, not just for customers but for search engines, too. This is another component determining how well you'll rank on the local SEO ranking, so it's important (and easy) to engage with this tool. As for your customers, 91% of consumers are more likely to use a business when there's positive reviews present - between search rankings and customer preferences, these are two very strong reasons to make sure you're utilising reviews.
It's also beneficial to respond to your reviews, regardless of whether they're positive or negative. The data doesn't lie in this instance, with a study by Cornell University finding that responses to reviews relates positively to how a consumer views the business - particularly when the business is responding to negative reviews - as this shows that as a business, you care about your customer and their needs.
While it's not okay to post fake reviews or give incentives for positive reviews, it's completely fine to ask your customers if they'd mind leaving you a review.
3. Upload clear and relevant photos
Using the GMB platform, you have the option to upload images that will appear alongside your business profile when searched. Not only will this improve your online appearance, but this helps build credibility and can show what services or products you offer with ease. You can add your logo, a cover photo, general pictures (eg. interior/exteriors, service/product photos) and videos. All of this is yet another component taken into consideration by Google's local search ranking.
4. Optimise location targeting with Google Adwords
Have you thought about creating ads to target digitally connected consumers in your direct area? With Google Adwords, you can increase your local SEO optimisation through multiple location targeting options. Ad extensions in particular are a fantastic Adwords tool which provide increased click through rates and make it easy for customers to learn more about your business with a simple, singular click. Warning: some ad extensions you'll have to set up yourself or you can find help here.
- The location ad extension allows you to directly target your ad to people nearby. Clicking on your location in an ad takes the customer straight to you on Google Maps. It's as easy as driving the customer to your business yourself!
- The call extension is a super basic, super important feature. It's also underused, which means opportunity for your business to fill the market space. Want more local customers calling to enquire about your business? Easy - add a phone extension on your ads. Just click which campaign -> ad extensions tab -> click dropdown menu -> select call extension -> click extension button and click new phone number. Now you're just a click away from a call.
- The sitelink extension which directs customers straight to specific pages on your website - the data from this extension also provides insight to what your customers want from your website.
- Outside of ad extensions, you can optimise location targeting by selecting the "people in or regularly in your targeted locations" option under Setting -> Locations -> Target. This will give you the best chance at targeting those who are physically local with intent to purchase into your business.
5. Content, content, content
Keep your website content up-to-date and fresh. Seems like an easy step to overlook, but creating new, relevant content that revolves around your location and services keeps Google's ranking interested in your website - it tells the search engine your site is active and of value to consumers who are searching. All of this leads us into our next tip...
6. Optimise on-page SEO
There's only a small window of opportunity to get on the first page of Google for short-tail searches. Alternatively, optimising your on-page SEO around location can help grab as many local based searches as possible. 46% of searches are looking for local content which proves the depth of opportunity to grow your business within your local community is worth taking advantage of. Creating the aforementioned content to center around your location, whether that be local activities relevant to your business or even a blog about a local sports team or school event your business sponsors, all contributes positively to how your page will rank with local searchers.
Additionally, if your business has presence in more than one location, you should create unique content or pages for each location. Particularly, the pages should provide the following information: stores hours, descriptions of services/products at this location, reviews and Google Maps with each individual location attached to it's relevant page on your site.
7. Create solid backlinks and citations within your site
A backlink is created when a link from one website links to another website. Simple! To do this, try finding backlinks from established, well-regarded websites that the search engine will already recognise as trustworthy. Some good examples include links from local newspapers, local figures, pre-existing review sites that your business might appear on such as Yelp or Tripadvisor (depending on whether these are business appropriate for you, of course).
After reading these tips, you'll see the importance of local SEO is undoubtable. With this knowledge under your belt, you're on the right path to optimize local SEO for your business. If you're looking for some help with any of the above techniques, feel free to reach out to your local search specialists here for more information.
|Tags: Internet Marketing Search Engine Optimisation|