10 Savvy Local SEO Tips
Want to use the web to help your business become the talk of the town and the name on every lucrative regional customer’s lips?
This blog will talk you through 10 savvy local SEO tips that will launch you up search engine rankings like a squirrel on steroids and set you up as the go-to brand in your niche.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) increases your visibility in local search engine results so that your firm appears to customers when they need you most. Improving local SEO leads to increases in website traffic from high-intent customers primed for conversions.
It’s a technical field that can be quite hard to get your head around at first – but the good news is that there are several simple and accessible techniques you can use to build your strategy.
Since knowing where to start can be tricky, we’ve handpicked 10 local SEO tips to help kick-start your quest to conquer the search rankings.
Let’s get to it!
1. Claim your Google My Business listing
Google My Business is a free profile for your business that shows up in local searches for businesses like yours. It’s essentially an advert for your business that contains key information such as your business name, address, hours of operation and a link to your website, so it’s a highly effective promotional tool.
Google lets users filter local listings based on review rating and opening hours, so these are essential elements to include in your listing. However, for maximum impact, you should complete all the sections of your Google My Business profile, including uploading photos of your firm (inside and out) and its products, because the more detailed information you provide, the more likely web users are to click through to your website.
Just be aware that anyone can make suggestions to edit your Google My Business listing, including unscrupulous competitors, so it’s essential that you regularly monitor your listing and ensure that it’s accurate and up to date.
2. Create consistent NAP citations
If you want to rise to the top of the search engines, you need to stay on their radar – NAP citations are highly effective for making your presence felt across the web.
A NAP citation is any mention of your business name, address and phone number on the internet and they’re most commonly found on directory sites like Yellow Pages and Yelp. This data is used by search engines to determine which businesses to include in local searches, so you need to maximise your citations.
However, it’s not just a numbers game, because quality is as important too. You need to ensure that your NAP citations are consistent across the board when it comes to details such as capitalisation of words, abbreviations of street names (e.g. road or rd.) and suffixes like Co. or Inc.
You should also update older citations which contain outdated information – for example, if your business address is incorrect, you risk driving eager consumers into a dead end or the arms of a competitor.
3. Optimise for voice search
Voice searches are on the rise, with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana taking pride of place in consumers’ homes. In fact, research by Bright Local found that 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information.
Your local SEO strategy therefore needs to account for this change in user search behaviour and one way you can do this is by targeting long-tail keywords and question based search queries (the type a consumer would ask their voice search device) with your website content.
For example, a Leeds opticians might want to rank for the voice search query, ‘Where can I buy designer glasses in Leeds?’ and write a blog about its designer glasses range with that exact title, in hope of securing the target.
Online tools like Answer the Public can help you determine the best search queries to target – it generates popular question based search queries based on your target keyword (in the above example, that would be ‘designer glasses in Leeds’).
4. Ask for reviews
Entity authority is currently one of Google’s most important ranking factors. It’s basically a technical term for reputation, so by encouraging customers to leave reviews, you’ll be able to build up your entity authority.
Positive reviews keep your brand name in circulation and encourage consumers to visit your site and engage with you. They also demonstrate to the search engines that you’re capable of providing the high-quality service consumers are searching for and that you therefore deserve a high ranking.
You can actively encourage your customers to leave reviews by entering them into a prize draw when they write one, or simply ask if they would mind writing a few words of appreciation when they’ve already sung your praises over the phone or via email.
Furthermore, reviews make your local listings stand out in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and take up additional space, thus allowing you to dominate the page, especially on small mobile screens. All of this means customers are less likely to be distracted by search results for your competitors.
5. Conduct local link building
Local link building is the process of integrating links from other websites to your own. Links are essentially references for your brand that search engine spiders consider when determining your SERP position, which makes link building an essential local SEO component.
When it comes to getting links, you have to give to receive. So you should begin by placing outbound links in your website content to reputable local websites related to your sector. This is good for SEO because the search engines use links help them understand your business. So if you’re creating quality content containing outbound links to big names with solid credentials, it can work wonders for your reputation.
Working to establish formal link-for-link partnerships with other local websites is a good idea too, as this guarantees that you get a link back. Plus, if you can get links from popular websites, this can result in high levels of traffic to yours, or at the very least, significantly increased brand awareness.
6. Use social media platforms
The end goal of local SEO is to increase the level of quality traffic to your site and social media is one of the best vehicles for you achieving this.
You should choose the social media platforms that are most popular with your target audience. However, being active on a few different social media platforms is hugely worthwhile, because user habits can quickly change.
Plus, search engines crawl and pull results from your social media, so by having an active presence on multiple platforms, you’ll be able to maintain a wide online reach and constantly remain on their radars.
7. Add schema markup
Schema markup is code that you can add to your HTML to help the search engine spiders understand the location-based information (address, dates, phone numbers) on your web pages. Basically, it tells the search engines what your content means, not just what it says.
You can use schema to improve the quality of your web page display in the search results so that it’s more useful to consumers. For example, you can use schema to prompt search engines to include data such as your average star rating (from customer reviews) as part of your search result. This is valuable information that could be the difference between someone clicking on your site or scrolling past it.
8. Create local content
Creating content that ties in with local events ensures that you’re producing material that’s relevant to, and trending, amongst the people in your community – your target customers.
So if there’s a local festival happening, you should join in the celebrations by blogging about it or creating a video for your website and social media channels. Alternatively, you could partner with a local sports team or charity and run an event – it’s a great way to drum up some online publicity for the search engines to take note of and reward.
While it’s superb if the events you cover tie in with your business offering, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t, because creating local content proves that you’re a brand that cares about the community and not just the bottom line. If you can build this sort of perception, you’ll be able to create strong bonds of trust with your customers which inspire long-term loyalty.
9. Join your local Chamber of Commerce
The British Chambers of Commerce is a network of businesses committed to representing, supporting and connecting business and it’s made up of various local branches, which makes it a prime platform for local SEO.
When you join your local chamber, you’ll gain a backlink to your site which, as you know, is very important for SEO. As a member, you’ll also benefit from being part of a network of local enterprises from across a range of industries and if you can partner with just a few of these companies, you can seriously raise your business profile within your region and industry.
10. Optimise your website for mobile use
Research has found that 89% of people search for a local business using their phone at least once a week, so it’s essential that your website works well on mobile devices.
Mobile optimising your website ensures that it delivers a first-class UX (user experience) that search engines love and that the visitors you attract through local SEO stay on your site once they arrive – all of which will aid you in your efforts to climb the ranks.
Responsive web design is a popular method for creating mobile optimised sites, as it allows you to create websites where the display adapts to any screen size or device, enabling a smooth and seamless experience for the user.
If you’re unsure whether your site is already optimised, you can use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.
A local SEO strategy is a sure-fire way to consistently attract more customers and satisfy search engines like Google, so it’s something that no regional business can afford to be without.
These 10 savvy tips will serve as the perfect launchpad into the world of local SEO for your firm – start using them today.
Looking for legendary local SEO support? Call us on 01484 213 102