These days, virtually everyone uses the internet – to find quick answers, to connect with people on social media – and to find products and services. Research shows that the majority of consumers rarely venture past the first page of results, so your company’s ranking is obviously important. People want answers quickly and they are inclined to think that the answers that show on the first page of listings are to be trusted. By optimizing for the location of your business, you can enable people to find your company online and travel to it offline in person. Local SEO is a brilliant way to promote your business when you are looking to attract more people from your area.
Competition to be one of the businesses that have a good SEO position has, therefore, never been more intense. But for many companies, search engine optimisation or SEO remains a bit of a mystery. How exactly is it possible to ensure your company always appears at the top of the first page when consumers in your locality search for your product or service? How can you ensure that it remains so, day after day? This article will go through the different steps necessary to succeed at Local SEO.
What Is Local SEO About?
The premise of local SEO is actually pretty simple; conventional businesses with physical buildings need to deploy a targeted and strategic approach to local SEO – which differs from the standard advice for improving SEO rankings. Local firms who are keen to gain an advantage over competitors should take steps to ensure that their localised signals across Google are consistent, accurate and up to date. We decided to write this guide to help you increase your knowledge of the landscape of local SEO.
How can my business benefit from local SEO?
There are many ways your business can benefit from local SEO, even if it doesn’t have a website! It basically aims to provide local consumers with the information they need when they want it. Increased traffic to your business information leads to increased real-life traffic, whether it’s to your company website or your brick-and-mortar business. This is vitally important, especially if your business is in a competitive industry.
A recent study carried out by Forbes revealed that 95% of smartphone users have used their smartphone to search for local businesses, and of the results, 61 percent proceeded to contact the business, and 59% followed up with a physical visit. By not optimising your website for local SEO, you risk missing out on an enormous amount of business. These results were generated from location-based searches and are figures that are set to increase even more in the future.
What are the key components of local SEO?
The key components of local SEO are:
- Proximity – the nearness of your company to the person carrying out the search
- Relevance – do your products and services relate to the search?
- Prominence – what sort of web presence does your company have? Does it have several years’ worth of reviews or ‘likes’ on social media? Do many people follow your company on Instagram?
We recommend making yourself familiar with these three aspects of local SEO before going into more depth.
Your Google My Business Profile
Photo by Elle Cartier via Unsplash
Once known as Google Local and then Google+ Local, Google My Business is simply the profile of your company on Google. Your full business address and contact details of your company must be on there. You may notice when using Google Maps that the details of local businesses appear when you browse the satellite maps. These are businesses that have a strong Google My Business Profiles.
Citations can either be structured or unstructured. Structured citations commonly appear in business listings, such as Yelp and are an example of how local SEO can help your business even if it does not have a website. Unstructured citations can be found in social media, such as Facebook community groups or Twitter, perhaps referring to your business in a local news article. Building citations is a vital component of local SEO optimisation. We will discuss in more detail how you can do this later in the article.
Local Link Building
Local links (links to websites in your area) are of huge importance to Local SEO. As previously mentioned, local citations are an essential part of a local SEO strategy but, unfortunately, a lot of them contain no-follow links. Therefore, you need to build upon these citations with relevant links to local websites. Search engines like Google view websites with relevant local links as trustworthy and will place them at the top of local search results.
This is an area that is constantly evolving which is why it is important to keep up to date with emerging trends. Different types of local SEO services include website localisation, which refers to naturally mentioning the county, location or region of your website recurs throughout the site.
Photo by Jonas Leupe via Unsplash
Managing reviews and ratings is another effective way of sending signals to search engines for your services or website. It doesn’t even matter if you have the occasional negative review, as long as you respond to the feedback in a timely and professional manner, as this reinforces the perception that your website is trustworthy and reliable.
Can large businesses benefit from local SEO?
Although local SEO is marketed as something that benefits small businesses, such as pizza restaurants and plumbers, it can also bring rich rewards to larger companies. Every business needs to learn how to manage their reputation, build accurate citations quickly and easily, and really understand their rankings.
Local SEO- Final Thoughts
Optimising your business for Local Search offers major benefits to businesses of all sizes. Local SEO is essential for any business looking to promote their products or services to a local audience. There are various different aspects needed for a comprehensive Local SEO strategy with search engines relying on signals like local citations, local links and reviews when ranking sites.
This article was written by Patrick Hanley of APC Physio and Sports Clinic. Patrick has an extensive knowledge of Local SEO and has built his business by focusing on building a local clientele.