If your business operates out of multiple locations, it’s essential to understand and include Local SEO in your marketing strategy. In this post, we’ll break down what Local SEO is, why it’s important and how you can get started today.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO or Local Search Engine Optimisation is the process of enhancing your website and digital profiles to help your business stand out in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Why is Local SEO important in 2018?
The beautiful thing about Local SEO is that it enables you to promote your product or service to your audience at their exact point of need. A whopping 46% of all Google searches are local, so there’s plenty of opportunities to get ahead of your competition. Especially given that 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing, and 82% of business haven’t claimed a business listing on Bing.
How to get started with Local SEO
Google My Business (GMB)
Every local qualifying business can claim a free listing on Google. By claiming and optimising your Google My Business listing, you increase the likelihood of your company appearing in Google Maps, Google’s Local 3 Pack and higher on the SERPs.
If you haven’t claimed your listing then head over to https://www.google.com/business to get started.
We’ll be sharing a separate post to go through the key ways you can optimise your profile including posts, reviews, photos/videos and the booking and messaging features so watch this space.
If you haven’t claimed your listing, you need to head over to https://www.bingplaces.com/ and click ‘Get Started’.
To create a new listing, you will need a Microsoft account, to do this just click on ‘Get A New Account’ to be guided through set up.
As soon as you have logged in you will be able to start adding all of your business details including address, phone number and location (in the same format as your GMB listing).
It’s crucial that you check in on your business listings regularly to check on any suggested edits and reviews from the public.
Keyword Research for Local SEO
This step is vital to make sure your business appears at the top of the SERP. Here are a few tips to get you started:
A great place to start is by searching for your key products or services. Make a list of your best performing competitors and the website URLs. Then put those URLs into a tool like Moz Keyword Explorer or Google’s Keyword Planner to see a list of your competitors top ranking keywords and, crucially, a link to the pages that rank highest for that keyword – this will give you an idea of the kind of content you need to create in order to rank highly.
This research should form the foundation of a Keyword Map which will help prioritise and schedule content creation and optimisation.
On-Page Content Optimisation
Here’s our advice on best practice to follow when it comes to the on-page optimisation of content on your website.
Local and Mobile search are almost synonymous. Mobile is the dominant platform for search with more than 48% of buyers using their smartphones to start their search. So it’s super important to optimise your website for mobile. Start by heading over to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly to find out how mobile friendly your site is and get tips on how to improve it.
• Optimise URL, Title Tags, Headers and Meta Description
These key on-page elements help search engines to know what a website and therefore what your business is all about. Search engines place a lot of importance on these, so it’s important to optimise these to appear higher on the SERP. Here’s a few pieces of advice:
- Keep title tags under 55 characters.
- Make sure your focus keyword for the page appears in the title tag and meta description (the closer to the front the better).
- You can use up to 320 characters in your meta description, but our advice is to keep all the vital info in the first 130 characters to optimise for mobile (Google will automatically cut this to fit the space available).
• Add Location Pages
If your business operates out of more than one location, then you should consider creating location specific pages with unique descriptions. If you only have one location, then make sure your website’s ‘About’ page has plenty of local info on it including your address, phone number and a Google Map.
• Local Content
This step requires a little more time and effort than those before it but can really help set you apart from the competition. Locally relevant content can help assert your relevance to Google and build loyalty with local residents.
Local SEO tools to help you
Make sure your business listing is verified and complete then automatically update business data across the internet.
This tool crawls your site to identify flaws that could hurt performance in search results.
Answer the public
You can search for a keyword to find similar words and phrases. I find this tool helpful when starting to build up a new keyword map.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test
Test how easily a visitor can interact with your website on a mobile device.
Use this tool to generate new keyword ideas and build up your rankings.
Local SEO is a vast topic so we’ll cover it in more detail over the coming months. Happy SEOing 🙂