Local SEO – Beginners Guide

If your business is location-based and you want to drive local search traffic to your website, in addition to your regular SEO activity, you should also consider optimising your website for local SEO too.

46% of all Google searches are local. So, if your website is not optimised for local search, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to target local customers. By letting Google know where your business is based and what you have to offer in order to appear in the search engine results more often in front of a local and relevant audience.

What is Local SEO?

If you have a regular SEO strategy in place, you’ll know that it involves improving both on and off-page elements so that your website appears when users search for certain keywords and phrases. Local SEO is very similar. However, it is targeted at searchers within a specific geographical area or keywords and phrases referencing that location. With local SEO, your aim is to rank highly in the search engine results for local searches. This helps you to make sure that your local customers can find you when they’re searching for your products and services.

Why is local SEO important?

Did you know that over half of search engines activity is performed on mobile? (Smart Insights) This means that people are searching whilst on the go and Google looks to be a step ahead of search intent by using location to show the most relevant results, at that specific moment. With almost every device we used being location enabled, optimising your website for location is becoming more important if you want to appear in local searches.

How do I optimise my website for local SEO?

1. Google My Business and Bing Places for Business

Google My Business (GMB) – the free tool from Google, helps business owner’s manager their online presence across the search engine. GMB complements your existing website by giving your business a digital presence and public identity with a listing on Google.

Before setting up a GBM listing it’s a good idea to conduct a Google search to ensure your business doesn’t already have one.  If your business has been around for a while it’s possible it already has a GMB listing, you’ll just need to claim it.

Local search results favour the most relevant result so it’s important to ensure all your details are accurate and up to date, providing as much information as possible will make it easier to serve in search results. It may sound obvious but it’s important that you include your businesses location and locations you operate in.

Like Google, Bing also comes with its very own business listing tool. Bing Places for Business. The set up for which is very similar to GMB. Since it’s another free tool that can help drive your business we recommend setting up and managing your listing in a similar way to GMB.

2. Name, Address and Phone number (NAP)

It might seem obvious but many companies forget to include contact information on their website. Ensure that your name, address and phone number is included on your website somewhere. The footer is usually the best place because it appears on every page and this is where web visitors expect to find them. Your local search rankings are influenced by the search engine’s ability to find your business information online and whether that information is consistent and matches that which is provided on your site.

3. Citations

Check for consistency, check all available networks

4. Reviews

Reviews are good for your overall marketing strategy because they help you to build trust with prospective customers. Focus on getting local reviews on Google My Business but also Yelp and other local directories to build credibility and direct even more people to your website.

Ask your customers if they would be happy to leave a review for your product or service, you could even offer them an incentive such as a discount on their next purchase for leaving a positive review.

5. Optimise page content for local keywords

If you own a local business such as a restaurant and you rely on local business, make sure you optimise your website content for local keywords. Include your brand name and the area in which you operate in the meta titles of your page.

80% of the top pages in the search engine results pages have their location in the title tag and 65% have their business name in the title. Include relevant keywords too.

Build location relevant landing pages

6. Link Building

Links from high authority sites are important in SEO as acknowledgements that your content is considered useful and relevant to your target audience. However, in local SEO, rather than links from high authority sites, it’s better to gain links from other local websites that are related to your own business.

7. Schema Markup

Schema markup is a great tool designed to help search engines return more informative results for users. By applying the schema markup code to your site, you can tell search engines what your content means and produce the correct SERP for users.

By implementing local business schema markup to your site, you can improve the chances of users find specific products and services.

Read our handy guide on implementing Local Schema Markup using Google Tag Manager.

8.Embed a Map

Embedding a map into one of the pages of your website makes finding your business location much easier for your website visitors and helps them to get an idea of where your business is located in relation to where they are at that specific moment.

For more information on local SEO, please contact our team of experts.

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