We’ve often talked here about how having a resilient SEO strategy is by far the best way to appear at the top of the search engine results page – the more search visibility you have, the more qualified traffic you can direct to your website.
However, in the past, we’ve tended to look at SEO and the tools that are available more for international markets, but today we’re going to look at the value of what we call Local SEO.
Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to potential local prospects and customers. To assemble information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and references to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
Local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay connected, current research suggests that four out of every five consumers use search to find local information, which means if your business or service isn’t locally optimised you could well be losing out on around 80% of your potential customers. So to help you maximise your opportunities we have created this Local SEO checklist.
Google My Business has become the standard for local search, as understandably Google feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. To learn more about Google My Business and how it can help you maximise your Local SEO opportunities, visit https://www.google.com/business/.
Although external links pointing to your site are ideal, adjusting your internal linking structure will also help boost your SEO rankings. But, why does internal linking matter, you ask? Because it does the following:
If you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.
Every time you add a piece of content to your website, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with specific content, consider highlighting any customer success stories and/or case studies.
If you’re a single location business, then create a locally-focused About Us Page. However, if you have more than one location, make sure you create location pages for each location. Each page should include your business name, address, phone number, opening hours, unique store descriptions, parking information, promotions, and any testimonials from happy customers. But, remember not to duplicate content across multiple location pages. Also, it helps if you add a Google Map to your website on the respective location page(s).
Because Google continues to get smarter, it means content creators are now able to write for users, not search engines. But while writing about general topics might attract a larger crowd, in this instance it’s about focusing on what will attract your local audience. Each piece of content is a great opportunity to connect your business or service by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog, think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.
Make it easy for your customers by making your site mobile-friendly, local search and mobile search go hand in hand (nine out of ten mobile phone users conduct local searches on their devices). So make sure they can find reviews, find directions to your location, and search for your contact information all on their mobile device.
You need to make it easy for people and search engines to find you, do this by setting up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site. Avoid the mistake of only including the NAP within an image, as images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text.
When it comes to your local business or service consistency is key, discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of room number or wrong phone number in any online directory or third party mention can be problematic. Remember if Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results. Additionally, make sure you remove any duplicate listings you might find.
Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO, every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, plus inbound links can also help to raise your domain authority. These are just a few of the ways to get inbound links:
Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before, so make sure you maximise every opportunity to put your business or service in front of the local community on all relevant social media platforms, and of course, don’t forget to add posts to your Google My Business page.
Hopefully, our Local SEO checklist will give you a firm understanding on how to optimise your business and how to reach those potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services they’re going to buy.