By coming to learn about an SEO niche subject, I’m sure you are aware of what SEO is. In case you don’t, here’s a quick recap:
SEO Definition: The practice of optimising your website through tactics and strategies in order to rank higher on the Google search engine results page.
There are numerous methods to improve your Google ranking. In fact, the list of SEO tactics and strategies goes on and on. To list all of them would require, well, one extremely long blog post. One very effective strategy of SEO is the art of Local SEO.
In other words, through local SEO tactics and strategies businesses can improve organic traffic from searches by users in nearby areas. If you have a business with a physical store or one that relies on the custom of a geographical area, then Local SEO is for you.
Google’s search algorithm has evolved substantially since its humble beginnings. Evolving in a way that benefits local businesses. Google takes into account your geographic location when searching for local keywords. This is known as the ‘Proximity Factor’.
Local keywords are any search with local intent e.g. ‘convenience store near me’ or ‘convenience store in Shrewsbury’. Regardless of such examples, Google is intelligent enough to perform the proximity factor even when location/place names or ‘near me’ are not included. As a result, the results you get will be determined by your location. If you search for ‘cinemas’ in one place, you’ll receive different results if you search for the same thing in a different location.
Google shows you a map with icons highlighting the businesses relevant to location-based searches. This is known as the ‘Google Map Pack,’ which is the term used to describe the location-based results you see on Google’s SERP. It’s all done for a better, easier user experience. Guiding google’s users to the answers they need as quickly as possible. For example, if I’m in North Wales, I don’t want to know about cinemas in London.
Before we go into the in’s and out’s of Local SEO, it’s critical you understand what Google My Business is:
GMB Definition: A Google tool that allows businesses to list their location on Google maps and search results. As well as displaying important information valuable to searchers.
In terms of Local SEO, having a Google My Business account is an absolute must. How to get the most out of your Google My Business account will be revealed below. Now that you understand what Local SEO is, it’s time to learn how to implement it.
As mentioned earlier, having a Google My Business account is an absolute must for Local SEO. By optimising your account, you increase your chances of ranking higher on Google. Follow our step-by-step guide to optimise your Google My Business.
Firstly, input the essential details such as your business name, category, contact details, physical address, website URL, opening/ closing times and a business description. On top of this include additional information, such as attributes, photos and any updates/ promotions. If you’re a service, it’s important you include what area you serve, not just your business location.
Top Tip: Write an engaging, customer-focused description with the use of keywords (don’t keyword stuff!). You should assume searchers are weighing up their options. Tell customers exactly what makes your business better than the rest? What gives your product the wow factor? Why is it unique? What purpose does it serve?
Google My Business has a section for attributes. Whereby you can select certain variables, such as Wifi, Outdoor Seating, Dog-Friendly and Cash-Only. Depending on your service, take advantage of your qualities and express them through attributes. They make your business more specific, improve UX, and boost your local searchability.
Google Analytics has become an influential tool in the digital marketing industry. Correspondingly, Google My Business’ ‘Insights’ tool is equally as effective. Allowing businesses to derive key data based on how customers find your listing on search and maps, as well as what they do after they find it.
Use the photo section to promote your brand logo, storefront, inside images (e.g. If you’re a restaurant, show the eating areas), and products (e.g. again if you are a restaurant, show pictures of a range of meals and menus).
Ensure the photos you use are ‘relevant’ and actually applicable to your business. Moreover, high-quality pictures make a real difference in how people perceive your company.
Being current reflects your business, if you have outdated information people may even assume you’re not running anymore. If anything changes within the business such as hours or an address, update it instantly. Additionally, you can create posts on Google My Business to promote up-and-coming events/promotions. Imagine a parent is considering where to take their children for a day out. They stumble into your Google My Business account and notice a promotion for ‘Kids Go Free on Weekdays!’ – They’ll be more inclined to choose your business over another.
An old school Local SEO tactic that still holds its value. If you have more than one brick-and-mortar location create a useful and informative page for it. This also applies to services, create location pages for the areas you serve. For example, at gloversure, we have location pages for our surrounding areas e.g. Web Design North Wales, Web Design Welshpool and Web Design Oswestry. This increases our chances of being found when people search for location-based terms.
Here are some tips on how to create an effective location page…
Do not copy your exact business description from your home page onto your Google My Business Account. This is bad for SEO as it’s duplicate content and not helpful for visitors. Instead, try to alter descriptions and make them more specific to that area. If it’s a physical store, what makes that one unique?
Link any information you think visitors might find useful. Focus on internal linking, such as linking your social media accounts, menu’s/catalogues, and links to your service pages. Make sure the information you link is relevant. This enhances SEO as you increase the number of backlinks.
Similarly, embed useful maps that locate your business for visitors. Support this with descriptive text that explains exactly how to find your business.
Writing engaging local content is a powerful Local SEO strategy. You could write local-specific blogs on upcoming events, news, local employees, and educational material. If you’ve done something good for your community, let everyone know!
Visitors will see that you have a genuine interest/care for the local area and will help build a positive perception of your business. Moreover, be sure to include your local keywords.
Just like general SEO, which is an ongoing process that takes time to build and requires adjustments along the way. Local SEO is just the same, so you should complete a Local SEO audit. But, what exactly is a Local SEO audit?
A local SEO audit evaluates the condition of your page in search engine rankings and current performance, revealing ways you can make improvements. To complete, we recommend evaluating the following:
Firstly, take a look at your Google My Business account in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). How does it display? Is the correct information uploaded? What photos are coming up first? Where does it rank?
Are you implementing the on-page/off-page SEO fundamentals successfully?
Google Search Console is a free effective tool that allows you to monitor how Google views your site and optimises its organic presence. This includes aspects such as responsive design analysis e.g. how does your site perform on mobile?
A citation in Local SEO is any reference of your company’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) on another website. Inspect the top directories to check that all of the information is consistent.
How do you compete in terms of design, brand messaging, functionality, site speed, backlinks and content? What Local content are they promoting?
Check the web for any online citations outside of Google My Business. It’s important here to value quality over quantity. You want your website to appear on trusted directories such as Yelp, Bing Places, Yell, Apple and Trip Advisor.
Enhance business authority by ensuring consistency, making sure the same information is on each directory. This will reduce the chance of any misunderstanding and frustration for customers. Being consistent with your information will enhance your local search ranking.
All of the above can be completely pointless if you fail to manage, encourage and respond to reviews. Imagine you have a stunning SEO-optimised website and Google My Business account. A customer comes across your page and the first thing they notice is a 2-star review written in a negative tone of voice. This alone could be enough to influence them elsewhere despite all your efforts. According to research, a single negative review can turn away 22% of customers. Additionally, three negative reviews can drive away a staggering 59% of customers.
It is critical to manage your reviews in order to develop a positive online reputation. Do this by responding to every review. If it’s a positive one simply thanking the customer with a happy, genuine tone shows you are active online and appreciate their custom. Negative reviews, on the other hand, should be approached with caution.
Similarly, respond with a genuine sincere tone that reflects your apology. Acknowledge their issue and apologise. Secondly, tell the consumer how you intend to resolve their problem. Consequently, this could be a change to your business operations or a personal business offering.
Furthermore, encourage online reviews. This can be done in a variety of ways. You can create a dedicated review page on your website or a feedback landing page. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, you could have a feedback box or card that lets customers handwrite a review. You may then publish them online or even include an in-store QR code that directs them to a review page on your website.
Follow this complete guide for a successful implementation of Local SEO practice in 2022. If you require help with SEO on your website, drop us an email or call for a chat. Our team of SEO specialists are experienced in helping local businesses boost their ranking and drive more traffic to their website. Get in touch today.
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