If your business serves a particular geography or specific ‘near me’ service and you’re not optimised for local SEO, you’re going to be missing out on both organic and targeted traffic.
Word of mouth and local adverts can do great things, but ensuring that your business has a watertight local SEO strategy is one of the best ways to see real time conversions.
Read on for six ways to improve your local SEO…
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is a strategy that ensures you’re optimising your business in Google’s search results.
When an individual searches for local services, products or businesses – for example, ‘plumbers near me’ – then they’re performing a local search. By improving your local SEO, you’re making your business more visible and therefore more likely to show up in these searches.
Why is local SEO important?
If your business has a physical (brick-and-mortar) location and serves a particular geographic area, or provides service people nearby, such as plumbers or dentists, then local SEO is vital. Not least because 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
Local SEO can help your business convert online searches by responding to targeted searches, as well as boosting overall organic traffic. It will make you more visible on Google or other search engines, boosting your credibility and reputation, which will result in greater conversions over time.
How to improve your local SEO – 6 steps
1. Optimise your Google My Business listing
This is arguably the most important step to take when improving your local SEO. With Google My Business (GMB), you can make free business listings.
Go to the GMB site to claim and create your listing, inputting details like your business name, address, map location, phone number and website. GMB will then verify your profile, after which your business is more likely to appear in Google Search local results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel, and Google Maps.
You can also keep on top of your GMB by sharing regular business updates with customers via the GMB dashboard, as well as encouraging authentic online reviews. This improves your credibility, as remaining on top of details like changes to opening hours will demonstrate your reliability as a business, and is more likely to drive potential customers to your site.
2. Optimise for mobile
Did you know that 88% of searches for local businesses from a mobile device contact or visit the business within 24 hours? But if your business website isn’t optimised for mobile, you’ll very likely experience customers bouncing away – particularly if they’re performing emergency ‘near me’ searches.
Optimising your site for mobile devices means guaranteeing that it loads quickly and is easy to navigate with an intuitive UI (user interface) for a great user experience. Adding features like click-to-call buttons are a great step in converting searches (just don’t forget to add this to your GMB listing, either).
In fact, if you can optimise for voice search, this will also stand you in good stead for your local SEO. Optimising for voice searches involves more long-tail keywords, as individuals are more conversational in their enquiry, and will tend to ask questions, so you may have to adjust your content accordingly.
3. Improve local link building
Regular SEO requires link building, and so does local SEO. Both internal and external link building matters. Internal link building improves website navigation and will help Google better rank your website. External links are arguably more important for local SEO, but only if these links are to high quality, reputable pages.
By having excellent external linking, search engines will rank your content as more valuable, meaning that you’ll list higher than competitors. Link to websites in your target region (if you have a brick-and-mortar location). You could also guest blog on reputable sites with a high domain authority, participate in local sponsorships or partnerships, and ask local influencers to link back to you.
If you create high quality content, businesses are more likely to link to your website. It’s something of a synergistic relationship.
4. Target local keywords
If you’re looking to improve local SEO, you need to consider your geo-targeting of local keywords. Google has a Keyword Planner which allows you to filter keyword searches according to location. From there, you’ll be able to establish any particularly relevant local keywords, which you can then integrate into the copy on your website, as well as URLs, title tags, headers, and meta descriptions.
5. Add location pages
If your business has more than one physical location, create unique location pages for each individual site. These can include details like your address, opening hours, and contact details, as well as customer reviews. Attach Google Maps to each unique page for maximum visibility.
Just be sure that you aren’t duplicating content across multiple location pages, and that there is consistency across any listings you may have in online directories. Errors will negatively impact your local SEO.
6. Write local content
4 in 5 consumers head to a search engine when they need local information. If you’re a local business looking to attract local audiences, you need to communicate with that local community. By writing content that appeals to this targeted audience segment, you’re going to be making yourself more visible and cementing your position as a local authority.
Write about local news stories or events, engage with local charities or causes, and ensure that any of your unique location pages (see above) specifically cater to the geography that business serves. You can go above and beyond the standard parameters of your company in order to stand out as a participant in the local community.
Alexander Campbell | Rapport Digital
Alex is the Managing Director of Rapport Digital, a full-service marketing agency working with dynamic brands in Somerset and Bristol. Rapport Digital offers a full suite of results-driven marketing tools and tactics such as search engine optimisation to help businesses of any size get the results they need.