Are you looking to get more customers to your store or your website? In the modern world, the answer to that question is always going to be yes.
The fact of the matter is that you will need to ensure your web presence is growing continuously, which starts with local and can grow.
Eventually, you may even be competing on an international level, but that can be a long-time in the making.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the key ways that you can successfully boost your local SEO reach:
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the method of optimisation which helps a site to rank better for a local audience. A website is something which can be accessed from the whole world, but someone hundreds of miles from you isn’t always the best audience for you.
Most of the time you may only want to target people in your direct area. This is where local SEO plays an integral role.
The better your site and business are optimised locally, the more targeted your audience becomes as a result. There are several key ways that you can achieve this.
Google My Business
Do you have a Google My Business account set up? If not, then this should be your first step to getting more local traffic. It’s fairly simple, signing up on the official Google My Business page, wait for your postcard and then verify the account.
Once the account is set up, you can then move to optimise it for the best local results. Optimisation of your profile should include some of the following checkpoints:
- Fill out all details as fully as possible.
- Ensure your address, phone and other key details are accurate.
- Have up-to-date opening times.
- List your services so people know what you do.
- Add photos to the page, with regular updates to keep it fresh.
- Encourage reviews, but don’t forget to respond (especially to the negative ones)!
- Include your core keywords where applicable, in your description for example, so people are finding you organically for the right reasons. For example, if people search “SEO Agency” they will find you in the top results thanks to good keyword optimisation.
There are lots of customisation and optimisation choices for your Google My Business page. But, essentially you need to make sure the profile is fully filled out and has the relevant information for your potential customers.
The more information you can provide, the better the page should do.
Optimise Your Site
When it comes to your website, SEO optimisation should be one of the key steps that you complete no matter what. But it can also be important when it comes to your local SEO effort.
The way to ensure this is locally focussed is to ensure your keywords include location-keywords, i.e. your base city or town. So, this would be something along the lines of “keyword choice London” for example.
Try not to optimise for a location that you are not based in. As traffic from a different location may be okay, but it isn’t key to gaining the localised traffic that you require/want in this instance.
If you have many locations that are relevant to your business, then one option could be to add individual location pages to your website. An individual landing page can highlight the different NAP information for locations, which can then be used to help rank in those areas.
As having different location keywords on one page could be relevant for users, but makes it harder for your page to rank for any of those location pages.
For single locations, this can also be achieved with a very detailed About Us page. Having an actual Google Maps on the page can also be useful, as it can help people find your location and can be a good way to make the page fully functional as a landing page.
Note: if you do have multiple location pages, then these must not duplicate content across the pages. All content should be unique as far as possible, particularly when it comes to describing the business (opening hours, etc., have a little more leeway as these are likely to be similar if not the same).
One of the key areas that you want to aim for when it comes to local SEO is the 3-pack. This is the area of Google results where three businesses appear that are most relevant, locally, to the user’s search.
So, for example, if you enter “book shop near me” into Google a number of relevant searches will appear on a map listing for you. With the three most relevant forming the so-called 3-pack. For example:
Getting a coveted spot in this listing isn’t always straightforward, however. This is because there is no exact science to a 3-pack listing, no magical formula to automatically get your business in there.
Ideally, you could be listed based on a few quality factors. The extent to which you have filled out your profile (the more information, the better), have your location listed correctly and have a number of good reviews.
That last part is an important point, the more high-quality reviews you have, the easier you may find placement in the 3 pack to be.
The local 3-pack ranking is quite a tumultuous and often highly fought over position, it must be said. So, don’t expect to win this coveted spot overnight or even potentially in the long-term.
Ensure all of your other optimisation and quality signals are strong, as this will then work in your favour when it comes to snagging this listing.
NAP or Name, Address and Phone Number. It’s how people get in touch with you or know how to find you, so inevitably it is incredibly important when it comes to local SEO success.
Consistent NAP listings across things like directories and citations are important, as it confirms to Google the location/legitimacy of your business.
This data is used by Google as a signal to show your business for geo-specific searches. With these in place and consistent, you should have more valuable local visibility.
The biggest issue that you have to remember when it comes to NAP and Google is the fact that less is better. If you over-complicate your listings, have too many with different information or mistakes, then you will find yourself with poor results. Consistency and a clean NAP are the keys to good local SEO reach.
If you want to ensure good rankings for your website on both a local and a national level, then it is important to optimise your site for optimal performance.
This means ensuring that it works at the best level for devices that users frequent the site with the most, which is typically mobile devices in the modern web landscape.
Responsive design is also important from a user experience perspective. Responsive design is fairly simple in terms of what it does, it changes the size of your site from desktop to mobile.
Shrinking it based on user device size. Meaning that each individual user should have the perfect experience for them when accessing the site.
Mobile-friendly websites perform faster, serve user content in a more attractive way and it’s important to note that Google prioritises crawling mobile sites for ranking purposes!
Though potentially not a full-blown strategy in itself, it is possible to gain better local rankings on Google if you maintain a local presence. So this means ensuring that your site content, blogs, articles, etc, is relevant to and potentially based in the local area. Interest pieces, location keyword use and localised stories can all be a good way to try and ensure this happens.
The fact of the matter is that a search engine wants to pull up results that are most useful to the user. So, if they are looking for something local to them, the more localised your site is in general, the more relevant your site will seem to the crawlers.
Of course, you could try and achieve this by including lots of your local keywords across pages. But it works best if the information you are providing is actually useful/relevant for your potential visitors.
Content that goes beyond your business isn’t always relevant, so it could have an adverse effect. But, if you ensure both the topics are relevant to your business and the local area, it should give you a boost for your local-based keywords.
Overall, local SEO is important if your business is looking to gain business in the direct market. Therefore optimising the various levels and working out how to actively ensure your local appearance is as vast as possible.
Local SEO is the first step to larger search exposure, but it can be incredibly advantageous in of itself. If you are a smaller or localised business, then this can be the best step for you to make.
Eventually, your SEO will grow but these are the first steps needed to grow your SEO from small local reach and then you will eventually attain a larger audience.