Local search is one of the biggest drivers of traffic with 80% of consumers using local searches to find relevant information. Whether you have one store or hundreds of stores, appearing for local search can help to drive both footfall and revenue. With such potential, you should always look to optimise for Local SEO terms to stay current with your potential customers.
When you’re trying to optimise your website for national search you may forget that the majority of searches, especially on smartphones, will come with increasingly more local results. Targeting local areas means you’re only competing against other local businesses rather than bigger brands nationwide. This provides a much more streamlined strategy towards your campaigns as well as an opportunity to target a relevant audience.
Optimising for Local Search can be simple keyword changes, information updates or more in-depth changes to your online presence. We’ve put together our top 5 quick tips to improve your local SEO strategy:
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is arguably the most important tool you will use for local search. The free device provided by Google allows businesses and organisations to manage their online presence including Google Search and Google Maps. Simply claim your business listing (or create one for new businesses) then you will be prompted to complete all areas of your listening including opening times, service areas, adding high-quality images and a description.
Bing Places is a similar tool that works for users of Bing and can be similarly updated.
2. Make sure your local listings are all correct
One of the most important ranking signals that Google tracks is the consistency of your W-NAP (Website – Name, Address, Phone number.) across the web. To have a positive local ranking you need to ensure that your site URL, Business name and details are found in directories, local listings and other websites exactly how they are found on your contact details. If you change your address or find that a site is listing your URL with HTTP rather than HTTPS you’ll want to update that.
Your first port of call will be to check the current largest directories such as Yell, Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare and any others you can easily find. While you can reasonably leave some of the smaller directories and sites with incorrect information without too much worry that it’ll negatively affect your visibility, a wrong phone number or contact URL may see you lose out on those important sales.
An easy way to find incorrect information is to search for old contact details and investigate the results.
3. On-page local SEO
When you’re optimising for content on other parts on the web, it’s important to ensure your own site is tailored for local search. To improve your chances of appearing in local searches we recommend two on-page optimisation tips.
Add individual location pages
If your business has numerous locations (or even just two) it’s important to have a unique location landing page for each, which displays the name, address, postcode and any additional information about the local area.
Add local keywords to your metadata
Good meta titles should include your brand name and location and a good description should include your brand name, location, relevant keywords and a summary of page content. Also, incorporate local search phrases into Alt tags and page titles.
Keep in mind that the location you are based in might not be the ideal term to rank for. Choosing the right keyword is vital, if you live between areas, you might be wrong to use a little searched for town or highly competitive city location that is too far. Search for similar local businesses to see whether you should optimise for a local town, city, or even county for the best results.
4. Get reviews from customers
Online reviews are a powerful tool for increasing trust from both Google and consumers. Getting positive reviews tells another user that your business is worth using and in turn, Google will turn that signal into positive visibility above those with negative reviews. The simplest way (and often the best way) to get a review is to politely ask your customers to fill one out after they have used the service or received a product. A follow-up email is a useful tool and works more times than you might think!
When you get a review, positive or negative, always follow it up with a response! A bad experience may be due to a misunderstanding or an event that can be easily fixed with a comment or two and might lead to an updated review. Responding to your reviews show that you care about their thoughts and you’re willing to improve.
5. Optimise your social profiles
Social media is a massive part of local search and taking just a few minutes to optimise your profiles will mean great results. Facebook arguably has the largest presence and impact on local search so it is vital to optimise your business for the platform.
Ensure that your Facebook Page is listed as a local business and that way, people can check into your location. This will create a buzz and popularity around your business by promoting it to the user’s friends. It is also key to verify your profile which will connect the website to the page. An official social profile encourages customers to visit the page. From here you can implement social shares (such as comments, posts, and discussions) across your platforms which will signal to Google that people are interested in your business.
As with all other local search tools, make sure that every social profile you have includes your physical location along with your business name and website URL where possible.
Dominating the local search rankings can really help your business grow, resulting in a strong ROI and customer base. Following these five steps is just the start of your local SEO strategy, if you want to go further or you’re unsure about the best SEO practices, get in touch with a member of our expert team and we can help steer you and your site in the right direction.