Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Local SEO
In the past the best way to advertise and promote your local business was through word of mouth and local ads. However, in today’s digital fuelled world local ads in newspapers and radio can only offer so much, and are comparatively more expensive than the new techniques many businesses use today.
You may have already taken the plunge online and have a website and social media channels to promote your brand online. That’s great. Many people turn to their smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops over paper or radio ads to find a reputable business to satisfy their wants and needs. Because of this, online visibility is key to making a name for your business.
You may have even heard or attempted to optimise your site for search engines (search engine optimisation) to help your business show up for common search terms, e.g. a dental practice optimizing Title Tags, content and Meta descriptions to show for “professional teeth whitening” queries. Also great, but if you have a local business, one that targets people in a specific location, then you are going to benefit far more from understanding Local SEO techniques.
Local SEO is search engine optimisation focused on results that are relevant to a searcher based on their location. Optimising for Local SEO results requires different techniques than those needed for general SEO. It is an interesting area of search, as the user is directly looking for a business that is near them and often is the case that they are likely to visit the store in person or conduct another form of conversion relatively soon after their search, e.g. making a booking at a restaurant or an appointment for a dentist.
Find out how you can help improve your website’s optimisation for Local SEO in the tips below.
Ensure NAP Prevalence and Consistency
NAP stands for ‘Name, Address and Phone Number’. In order to become recognised locally, you need to make sure that your business’ name and details are easy to find. Be certain that they are constantly visible to those who are browsing your website, and consider adding these details to external online business directories, too. Along with this, it is absolutely essential that you keep the details consistent. Check them thoroughly before posting or you could end up losing a number of valuable leads as a result. Where possible you should include your NAP on all pages, usually in a footer and don’t make the mistake of putting this information in an image or it will not be crawled properly by search engine bots.
When undertaking this step it is a good idea to check directory listings and comparison websites relevant to your business. For example, if you run a dental practice you may want to check the information on your NHS Choices listing, Yelp and What Clinic? is correct. For some of these websites you can claim your business listing yourself and edit information, for others you need to put a request in. Remember that it will not always be the case that a potential customer will visit your website directly for your phone number and contact information so getting these up to date is a necessary step.
Embrace Google +
‘Google My Business’ profiles are great tools for those business owners who are looking to reach a wider audience. For SEO purposes, when filling in your profile be sure to provide relevant, accurate information about your establishment – and don’t forget to register your business on Google Maps. When people conduct a local search, for example ‘dentists in London’ Google Maps often commands a large section of result pages with relevant listings show on the map – wouldn’t it be great to find your business showing as the first result?
The Importance of Online Reviews
One of the major problems that small businesses face online is that they do not have the trust that larger competitors, or better known brands command. Establishing this trust can be difficult and take time however there are some ways to speed up the process including increasing the number of positive online reviews your business has.
An online review is the digital version of good old fashioned word-of-mouth. If a potential customer reads a positive review regarding your products or service offerings, he or she is much more likely to choose to do business with you. In fact it was found that 72% of consumers citing positive reviews helped them trust a local business more. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to encourage your customers to post reviews on social media, particularly on Google. Gold stars have proven to be a key influencer in CTRs and you need a minimum of five reviews to have them show on your search engine result listing.
When users make a local search query they are more likely to select the business with the largest number of 4 or 5 star reviews. It is also important that you keep on top of reviews and respond to them (especially if they are negative!) to show your business is current and able to provide good customer care.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
People are visual creatures, so in order to improve your SEO, and pretty much guarantee that potential customers will click on your website before that of your competitors’ after conducting a search on one of the search engines, be sure to use images that are certain to illicit a positive response. For some search results linked to Google profiles images will show for your business, so it is important that you do not overlook this.
Understand the Basics
If you are unaware of SEO best practices, it is important that you brush up on your skills. Pay special attention to title tags, alt tags, URLs and meta data. In doing so, you can improve your website’s overall quality and credibility which will in turn improve your local SEO efforts. You can use this SEO checklist to audit your website.
Link-building and Content Marketing
The more ‘quality’ external links that you have to your website, the higher your local SEO ranking will be. How do you obtain these links? By embracing the power of content marketing. If you produce exciting, relevant and informative content, people are more likely to share it. If they do this, not only will Google take notice, but you are guaranteed a massive spike in new leads too. One easy way to add new content to your website is through a blog, although there are numerous ways to produce content to improve your website. If your business offers a service, such as dental services you can even create a whole section of your website with tips, care and advice from experts.
Responsive Website Design
Seeing as though a large number of people search whilst on the go or do research on products and services using their mobile phones, having a responsive website (i.e. one that can adapt itself to ensure optimal viewing regardless of the device being used to browse the website) is no longer an option – it’s a necessity.
Google Analytics makes it possible for you to view and understand the way in which visitors have utilised and responded to your website. It gives you insight into their behaviour and thus makes it easier for you to make strategic changes to its design and content whenever and wherever appropriate.
It is evident that succeeding in terms of local SEO is all about your ability to remain active online, to carefully plan the layout and design of your website, and to make use of the external SEO tools available to you. If you would like more information about Local SEO for your website, contact Adeo Group, web designers in Glasgow today. Or find us on Twitter @adeogroup