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While many companies believe ‘SEO is dead’, the reality is that it is still very much alive. Each and every day, millions of customers use local searches to help them find the best businesses in their area. In order to find them, businesses should be optimising Local SEO tactics to help them promote their services and products effectively online.
In short, Local SEO allows businesses or companies to position their website on search engines so that they can be seen easily by potential customers when searching for a specific phrase, term, keyword or location. Keeping in mind, there are certain things that need to happen beforehand to make sure they succeed in ranking highly.
First, what actually is SEO?
Since 75% of searchers never actually scroll past the first page of a web browser, it’s important to get your site to the top of any search engine as quickly as possible. Failing to do so means your business may potentially be losing sales and any sort of lead generation every day without even realising it.
Search Engine Optimisation means as a business, company or marketer, you need to let online search engines know about your website, what you have to offer (content and keywords) and where you are located. In doing so, you’re not only showing up on Google’s SERPs more frequently, but additionally, you’re showing up in front of the eyes of a relevant, local audience. We equate to more than six billion online searches every single day worldwide and data from Net Market Share (from August 2017) shows search engines heavily favour Google as a browser, with more than 81% of all traffic coming from the site. As years go by, it’s important to remember that although Google’s large market share is still on the increase – we mustn’t forget other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and Baidu that still hold a large audience and shouldn’t be ignored.
So how does Local SEO work?
Did you know that organic search is the #1 driver to your site, beating social media by more than 300%? Local SEO is the most effective way to market your business online and helps promote products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for a local business. To gain a better understanding, here are some techniques that you can implement to get results from your local SEO campaigns.
1. Local landing pages
As a business, it’s imperative to generate those all important leads, so the aim of a local landing page is to be highly functional and allow the customer to get in touch with your business as easily as possible. Estate agents for example and companies that have multiple locations will have separate landing pages for their website – all of which should adhere to relevant page headlines, listing specifics of products (if necessary), a location map and perfect ad copy and context. The pages must achieve what your customer is looking for in the first 15 seconds of opening the page, otherwise what is the point?
Page loading time and product/service keyword in landing page title are also one of the biggest factors of success. This is an absolute no-brainer and the page should be titled for the big terms you want to rank for. More so, the page should load within 5 seconds, otherwise, you may face an increase in bounce rate. The screen grab below shows what the structure and optimisation of your Landing Pages should look like.
2. Get your Google My Business Sorted
Did you know that just 44% of businesses have claimed their ‘Google My Business’ page? This is pretty staggering as it’s a free listing that Google makes available for almost any business. Many are missing a trick as those that have verified their page are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. In allowing you to manage your information, read and respond to reviews from your customers, and understand your online presence a bit more, it is available for download as a mobile app which means people can update their business information at the click of a button.
When searching for ‘Birmingham restaurants’ for example – the top three restaurants appear at the top alongside their ratings, location, photographs and opening times. Those with a ‘Google my business’ profile are also 35% more likely to receive clicks (localmarketinginstitute.com) through to their websites than businesses that don’t have one. So what are you waiting for?
3. Local Reviews
Local reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so it’s incredibly beneficial to spend time asking customers for feedback. Places like hotels and B&B’s are very good at doing this as they’ll usually ask you at check out how your stay was and to rate them online. In doing so, this not only means acquiring Google reviews but additionally through Tripadvisor and Yelp alongside many other local directories in the area. The easiest way to ask for feedback is to get in touch with your existing customer base (people who have recently bought or visited you) and see how they rated their service. Alternatively, you can ask for direct feedback via your website or by email. It’s as easy as that!
4. Schema markup
As mentioned in a previous Rice media blog post on ‘How to Improve your SEO by using Schema Markup’ – it’s important to mention the schema markup (also referred to as structured data) that is a code that you should add to your business website to help search engines create more informative results for searchers. The code is not visible to people visiting your website, but is successfully read by Google. In adding a Schema markup, this creates rich cards, rich snippets and populates the Knowledge panel. If you are an ecommerce website, one of the most important things to add is the ‘product schema’. In being able to have stock status, customer reviews and prices mentioned on the website listings is hugely beneficial and ultimately encourages customers to visit your website. Be sure to check out our blog post above for more information!
Local link building
Let’s face it, link building isn’t the easiest of tasks, especially when your company or business is niche. But having a strong link and backlink profile can work wonders in your search engine success. The key points to link building is to find links that will drive direct referral traffic to your site, as well as those links that build visibility with your target audience. The most important aspect overall is to find those that help to build your online reputation.
Here are just a few ways to achieve successful links:
- Run your own local event and acquire links from the local event pages.
- Take some time to do some digital PR and get quoted in local publications. This a huge potential for high authority links.
- Line up interviews and columns within relevant publications and ask for a link within the piece.
- Give a discount to local organisations for your products or services in exchange for a mention or link on their website.
- Run regular competitive link research and note down any new opportunities that your competitors may have gained. Can you find ways to do the same?
These days, we truly depend on the internet to find information about all types of services, businesses, companies and products that are local to us – and what they can offer to potential customers. But just remember, if your business isn’t or can’t be found on local search results, you are potentially missing out on hundreds, if not thousands of new customers. Implementing a variety of these basic Local SEO strategies for your business can help you show up on the internet map for future customers to see.
If you require some help with your business SEO Strategy, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today!