First up, what exactly is Local SEO?
In a nutshell, Local SEO is the art of optimising your online presence to increase visibility with local customers and users. Local SEO has become an important part of any successful SEO campaign for brands and businesses. Local SEO optimisation increases organic traffic and drives more sales.
But do I actually need Local SEO?
Did you know that 45% of all Google’s online searches are for local businesses?
Almost half online users are searching for local business and brands, the question is, why wouldn’t you optimise for local customers?
Each business is different, some businesses will really benefit from a local SEO campaign as it will attract people from outside their local area. For example, If we take a business or service in the hospitality industry, non-local customers will most likely search from elsewhere before coming to your business area. Optimising for local people will generally bring in more organic search traffic to your website or business.
There are a few occasions where you might not need to optimise for local customers. For example, If you run an online shop (eCommerce) or supply online services only, then local SEO is not something that is essential for your business.
Here are some businesses that could benefit from a Local SEO campaign:
- Hospitality – bars, clubs, pubs, hotels, restaurants, cafés
- Financial – wealth management, mortgage advisors, pension advisors, accountants
- Retail – Boutiques, cloth shops
- Medical – doctors, dentists, health clinics, spas
- Legal – solicitors, specialist law firms
- Local Services – electricians, builders, hairdressers, gyms, butchers, driving instructors
Do I need a website to optimise for Local SEO?
Local SEO helps businesses get noticed in Google’s local searches, but you don’t need to have a business website to benefit. You can drive more customers to visit your actual business premises or contact you via phone or email etc. However, having a well designed website will give a good first impression for any potential new customers, which may lead to more trust and customer conversions.
Local customers searching online are specifically searching for a service or product, which means they have a very high conversion rate. In other words, local search leads are excellent leads for any business.
Where are the Local search results shown?
Google’s local search results show at the top of the search page just underneath the Google ads. The local results are in a boxed section which includes a map with location drop pins. If you perform a search online you’ll notice this area straight away. As you can see, these results are very prominent and get a high amount of search traffic compared to results lower down the page.
How do I get my business to show on Local searches?
To have any chance of having your business show in the local boxes you need to have a Google My Business profile. It’s a free Google business listing and very important for Local SEO. If you don’t have one set up you are missing out on some excellent leads for your business.
You can add essential information about your business including location, business address, website address, product & service descriptions, contact information, opening times and customer reviews (good reviews are very important for local SEO).
Having a complete business profile on Google My Business is one vital step for any local SEO campaign, however, more can be done to give you a better chance of hitting the top of local search results.
A good place to start is by listing your business online at other local directory websites or business listing websites. These are called local citations which help Google better understand your business and its locality. The more quality local citations you have online, the more chance you have of ranking higher up the page in search results for local searches.
Bing and Yahoo also have local search results, but they use Yelp to discover local businesses. It’s important to have a listing on Yelp so you can benefit from other local search engine traffic.
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What are Google’s Local SEO Ranking Factors?
The three most important key local ranking factors for Google are as follows:
- Distance: How far away each service or business is from the user’s search location. For example, if a customer searches Google online with the term “Hairdressers in London”, Google will calculate your distance from London. If a user doesn’t give a location in their search query, Google calculates the distance based on what data it already has on their location. Usually, on a mobile phone location tracking is on for most apps unless it’s been turned off by the user.
- Prominence: How known or trusted is a business based on data Google has collected about the business from across the internet. This includes things like business listings, reviews, articles, mentions etc. It’s fair to say that Google reviews are a very important ranking signal for Google local searches. The more good reviews you have, the higher you will rank in local searches.
- Relevance: Is your business or service a good match for the user’s search terms. Adding as much detail and information about your business as you can in business listings and profiles will give you more chance of being relevant to local customer searches..
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How to improve Local SEO
SEO services include a Local SEO audit and SEO strategy for all businesses and brands. Here’s a list of what we do to help boost your local search rankings and increase your local visibility.
Google My Business (GMB)
As mentioned earlier, having a complete GMB profile is vital. We make sure that your profile is complete and that your business information is consistent across all the online directories etc where you are listed.
On-page Local SEO
Making sure your business information such as location, address and products are clearly visible on your website (if applicable) and matches up with your Google My Business profile.
Adding blogs posts or articles to your website that include localised information can help boost your local SEO rankings. If you are a hairdresser in London, writing an article with a title like “What it’s like to be a hairdresser in London” will send the right signals to Google. This can also include guest blogging on other relevant websites that are a good match for your business or services.
TEWC can help to build a local backlink profile from local websites such as directories, newspapers and suppliers.
Gaining good reviews and especially Google reviews is very important for ranking higher with Google. It’s important for trust also, no one feels comfortable using a service that has nothing but negative reviews right?