There are no two ways about it – Local SEO is Important. In fact, 46% of all searches on Google are local. It is the process of optimising your website and online properties so you can be found in localised searches. Whether you’re a local service-based business, you have a brick and mortar store, or are a tech or e-commerce business, at Monumental we know the ins and outs of all sectors (just check out our client list *wink wink*) As a local business, if you don’t have your local SEO in order, you’re going to be missing out on an opportunity every time someone searches for your products or services online.
In this blog we will give you a step by step guide to local SEO, from local ranking factors, how to optimise your website to rank highly, how to show up in the map and ultimately how to get more business through search engines! But, make sure you’re up to scratch with your SEO basics before you take a deep dive on the ins and outs of local SEO.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is much the same as organic SEO, but with an added geographical component! It’s as simple as that! The aim of SEO is to rank high in the “Search Engine Results Page” or “SERP” as us Marketeers like to call it. You want people in your area to see you first and come to your business. So it is imperative to improve your local SEO if you want to increase your organic local traffic. According to a study by Moz on local search ranking factors proximity to searcher ranked number 1.
When we say “Rank” this means where are you ranking on the google search page and more importantly, are you in the holy grail of local SEO? The “Three Pack”.
What is the Google 3 Pack?
The Google “3 Pack” is the collection of the top-three results for your local search. In the times before smartphones, it actually used to be a 7 pack, but it was truncated to be a better fit for mobile searches. This is where you want your business to sit. If you want to know how… read on!
Should we add a screenshot of a 3 pack for context?
- Optimise your Website
This is not only important for Local SEO but your SEO in general. If your website sucks, then its end game for your business, not only is it clunky and hard to use but it’s your virtual storefront and gives you potential clients. It is their first insight into your business, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
Create a dedicated contact page
These days, people want more detailed information about your business. On your contact page make sure you clearly show you “NAPE”
Include all of your business addresses
Make sure you have the complete name, address and phone number of all your stores in a sitewide footer element on your website.
Make your Website Mobile Friendly
Okay – this might seem like a give in but we CAN’T STRESS IT ENOUGH! About 89% of people search for a local business on their smartphone at least once a week, with 58% searching daily. Simple elements like making your phone number clickable is what could differentiate your future customer to money in your pocket! If they have to manually type in the number it might annoy them. It’s all about making the customer’s journey as smooth as possible. About 76% of local searches result in a phone call. That’s why having an address and phone number are both so important. Because after making a local business search on a mobile device, 88% of consumers will either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
Google even has a post on how to make your phone number clickable and thus, improving your local SEO.
Add a map or your locations
The whole point of local SEO is to make it easier for people to find you – so, with that logic it would be silly not to add a map! Especially when stats show that 86% of people look up the location of businesses on google maps.
Local SEO Guide says “Google considers testimonials a “trust signal”. When you collect and display testimonials from your customers on your website, it not only gives you a local SEO boost, but signals to the potential customer – hey, someone else in my neighborhood really liked this cafe – that must mean i’ll like it to! Marketing Psychology 101!
- Claim your online profiles
In this day and age everyone’s a critic, that’s why making sure your business is properly listed on main review platforms like Google My Business, Trip Advisor, Yelp and Facebook is a fabulous way to boost your local SEO. Why? Because when it comes to local searches, Google’s 3-Pack is often followed by these review sites! For example, Trip Advisors usually have “Top 10 Cafes in Bristol” that are dictated by reviews, get yourself on those lists and it’s a 1 way ticket to 3-Pack territory!
Optimise for Google My Business
The “Creme de la creme” of local search, Google my business is the tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. If Google can verify your business as authentic, the search engine could potentially reward your business with a coved space in Google local search.
To ensure you’re optimised for Google My Business, you’ll want to create and verify a Google My Business page, use Google Posts within your account, encourage your customers to share reviews online, and respond authentically to reviews, specifying location.
In this day and age it really is a crime to not have a social media account for your business, 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily and in a study conducted by Instagram they found that 62% of people are more likely to be interested in a brand after seeing it in stories! Creating a trusted and stable social media presence is essential for customer acquisition and loyalty. What’s more is that if you establish relationships with other brands through reposting their stories, interaction in the comments etc, You get more eyes on your page through association! Instagram is an amazing tool in SEO, like Aladin’s cave that is the gift that keeps on giving when it is managed right. Overall, it’s important to note that social media doesn’t directly affect your SEO. But, it does have an impact on the factors that do affect rankings such as traffic, meaning it indirectly affects your rankings at the end of the day. Luckily, we’re experts in this field, so if you feel overwhelmed – give us a shout and we can help you out with your local seo!
- Create Local Content
Whilst blogging is a great way to get your companies creative juices flowing, and a medium to show your Company core values *plug* it is also essential to SEO! When writing your blog include local cities and neighbourhoods as much as you can and write about local happenings. This will not only boost your local SEO but inform your audience. Capitalise on the popularity of upcoming community events; music festivals, charity events, wine festivals, marathons. Maybe they start coming to your site to get their news? Pipedream…but it can happen!
But don’t write about your business. David Meerman Scott, an online marketing strategist, says it perfectly: “stop talking about your products and services. People don’t care about products and services; they care about themselves.” Write posts that help and benefit your reader in some way. Aim to become a trusted source in your industry.
4 SEO EXTRA TIPS
1. Local SEO Content Marketing
What better way to strengthen your local SEO strategy than to create local content. It seems obvious but you would be surprised at how many businesses overlook this. Creating local content that optimises local keywords that are highly relevant to your local customers is really important. A way to do this is by using Google Keyword Planner to find the most relevant, local keywords using a feature that enables you to filter by location. Google makes it too easy… so why not try it out? Target these local keywords and implement them in your meta titles, descriptions and URLs. A little warning: Please don’t over-use keywords…. you’ll sound needy and spammy. Just ensure the keywords are distributed well throughout your website’s content.
2. Google Local SEO – Optimising Google My Business
Next, you should certainly optimise your Google My Business page to up your local SEO strategy game. Once your business is listed, it will show up on Google Maps. Now, Google Maps is the most popular navigation app with 67% of smartphone users using this app to find and get to local places. Listing your business, no matter how big or small, on Google means that more people are likely to discover your business.
After listing the business, first and foremost, ensure that the information you provide about your business is detailed and accurate. You’re going to get a lot of angry customers writing negative reviews if you’ve misinformed them about your opening times or exact location. Nobody likes to wait outside of a restaurant, hungry and cold, due to wrong timings put on Google or the website.
3. Capitalising on Social Media
Thirdly on our local SEO strategy guide, is social media. If your business has social media (and it really, really should), use this to your advantage. Social media has a direct impact on the presence of your business in search engines. Let us explain. Anyone who shares, likes or follows you on social media platforms helps you gain credibility which ultimately signals search engines that your business is legitimate and reliable. Establish an amazing social media presence so that you can aid your business in appearing more trustworthy to potential customers. Not to mention that using your social media platforms create amazing sources of backlinks.
So, take it from us, being active on social media is a very effective way to improve your brand’s visibility and positively impacts your local SEO strategy.
4. Get Positive Online Reviews
We cannot stress enough how important positive online reviews are. No matter if they are on TripAdvisor, Google or Yelp, online reviews matter significantly in deciding your search engine rankings. 86% of people read online reviews for local businesses before checking them out. This only suggests that positive reviews can help you attract new customers. When potential customers read positive online reviews, they tend to trust the business even more. So, go ahead and ask your happy customers to leave your business a little review and get them to rate it while you’re at it. (Tip: you can motivate customers to write a review by incentivising the action by giving them a discount.)
Positive online reviews can help you earn the trust of your target audience whilst amping up your local SEO strategy. It is even better if you reply to the reviews, thanking them for using your service or buying your product. Even if you do get negative reviews, always acknowledge them and apologise. After all, the customer is always right, right? But always respond professionally and politely because how you handle the negative review just goes to show how professional your business is.
So there you have it, 3 foolproof elements to Local SEO. If we can leave you with one piece of advice – it’s all about online presence. Establish yourself in your online community, optimise your sites and there you go, you’ll have customers lining up around the corner! If you want to know about all things SEO, be sure to sign up to Monumental’s SEO Course for a Masterclass Search Engine Optimisation.