If you run or have worked for a company that provides services or products within a local area you’ve hopefully spent some time considering how customers might find you.
When people are looking to make a local purchase, it’s highly likely they will search online. If you want these people to find your business then you need to be thinking about local SEO.
What we’re talking about is making sure that when potential customers look for you, they quickly find the information they’re looking for, that the information is accurate and that Google displays your listing loud and proud near the top of the first page. You can have a meaningful impact here and the sum of several small actions can result in many more people seeing and visiting your business.
Broadly, when we talk about these sorts of practices we call them local Search Engine Optimisation, or local SEO. Local SEO is vital for almost any business looking for the best visibility amongst local customers as it is now standard practice for someone to search on Google when they want to buy local services or products. When was the last time you looked something up on your phone or computer? More importantly, when was the last time you scrolled through pages and pages of results to make a decision? People want results fast, so if you aren’t towards the top of the list, very few people will find your website through search engines.
How local SEO works and the mechanics of how you actually improve your visibility online, can get a little in-depth and technical, so it can sometimes be easier to get the help of a professional. Google looks at over 200 factors of your website, from load time to age of your website, and issues in any one of these areas can hold the whole site back. Nevertheless, there are a few things that most people can do themselves to help with their local SEO.
We’ve been providing local SEO services for nearly 10 years. In that time the landscape has seen some major changes, but the following tips are pretty much evergreen. Here are our top tips for local SEO, we hope you find them helpful. Remember, these are the tip of the iceberg, for professional help don’t panic, just give us a call.
Keep a flawless link profile
When we talk about a ‘link profile’ we’re referring to websites which link to your own site. These may be directory websites, sites such as Scoot, Yell, Yelp, TouchLocal and others. Maybe you have listings with them already, or maybe not, they’re quite simple to set up. The best thing you can do here for your local SEO is make sure your information is accurate and up to date. These sites hold information about your business and Google references the information they keep against it’s own database.
When Google finds a perfect match – bingo! – it’s a signal that this is the same legitimate business. If the information doesn’t match, Google can’t be sure which information is correct and their algorithms (computer code) will reduce the visibility of that business in their results. Why? Well if Google can’t be sure the information they provide to local searchers is accurate they will instead prioritise a business whose information is. Simply, they want people to get the most useful results from their search.
This follows on from the link profile. Going beyond business focussed directories and thinking about local newspapers, council business registries and the like. Is your business listed in those? Is the information correct there too? Double check the phone numbers and postcodes that are listed, since it’s easy to miss typos there.
Also make sure you’re in niche industry specific directories too; if you’re officially selling a specific brand of products why not check to see if the manufacturer will list you as an official retailer on their website? The more references to, or citations for, your business across sites like these the more Google can be sure that you’re the reliable and established business that potential customers will love.
Google maps listing
This is one of the most important citations, even if you do nothing else it is essential your Google maps listing is correct. Check your full address and business contact details are on there with 100% accuracy. Get some pictures up there too whilst you’re at it, either your logo, pictures of your previous work, products, or ideally everything! It’s even better for your SEO if you can get 5-10 positive reviews on there too.
They’re really easy for customers to add, they can do it from their mobile phones in seconds so why not politely ask happy customers to add their comments to Google? Google currently displays a choice ‘3-pack’ of map results as part of its local search results, being seen here can do wonders for your business but it will only happen if your profile is perfect.
The website content
Another great tool to enhance your local SEO is the information on your website. Make sure your site is packed full of information about the products or services you offer. A couple of paragraphs is not enough to signal to Google that you are an expert in your field.
Give people as much information as possible and use plenty of keywords relevant to your products. If you provide a counselling service, for example, you might want to mention CBT, mindfulness, PTSD and other terms used in that world, these are the kind of words and phrases people will use to find you. Just remember to use them in a natural way, since Google is no fool and won’t be taken in by meaningless lists of words intended to game their system.
Get experienced backup
As with anything, it’s one thing to do local SEO, it’s another thing to do local SEO well. As Small businesses have become increasingly aware of the necessity of this type of marketing, it has become increasingly competitive. You need to do so much more than just having a website to appear in Google’s results, contact us today for more information about our local SEO services.