If you run a business that is location-dependent, local SEO is a strategy that is crucial to your business’s success.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process of improving your website’s ability to rank for services or product-related terms to attract potential customers to your website.
So if a user is close to your business location, you want your website to appear in the local search results. This is crucial to the success of any business that has a physical location or that serves a specific geographic area, like a bakery, a mechanic, a plumber or hairdresser.
Every business has one common wish – to eliminate the competition! When you own a local business, it’s crucial that you put in a lot of effort towards your local SEO strategy to compete.
Google regularly updates their algorithms and ranking requirements. The best you can do to stay ahead of the game digitally is to make sure that your website always meets the SEO guidelines laid out by Google.
46% of all Google searches are related to local information. If you’re a local business owner, you want to make sure that your business is available to these searchers.
Take a look at some basic and often overlooked Local SEO tips to start your strategy of eliminating the competition (digitally, of course!).
1.Make Use of Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool designed to assist businesses in managing their online presence.
As this is a Google-owned platform, you should use it to your advantage. Google places a lot of value on Google My Business listings because they’re able to verify the information and reviews on a listing.
To be sure that your listing is optimised, do the following.
Claim your Google My Business Page
Optimise the listing by entering the correct information
Add your business logo and photos of your establishment and staff
Use the “Google Posts” feature to advertise any new products or offers that your business might want to bring visibility to
Encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business. It is also important for you to respond to the reviews, whether they are positive or negative to show engagement with your business.
When Google is able to see that your business is authentic and you’re making the effort to optimise your Google My Business Profile, you might be rewarded by getting the sidebar space when people do a local search.
Optimising your Google My Business listing is not only important for SEO, but it is also important for current and potential customers. When someone lands on your listing, you want to make sure that they have all the essential information they might need about your business like the opening hours, location, phone number etc.
2.NAPs are important
No, not those kind of naps, even though they’re our favourite too. NAP refers to the name, address and phone number of an establishment. It is important that this information is consistent and accurate sitewide, as well as everywhere on the internet.
Make sure that your NAP details are crawlable as HTML text on your website and that it is not added as an image on your website, as search engines will not be able to read this.
3. Claim Your Business Listings
Over the years, your business might have acquired a lot of auto-generated business listings. This might have resulted in a lot of duplicate listings as well. It is important to claim all of your business listings under your name as well as remove any duplicates that might have been created.
This can become a very tedious process, but there are a lot of SEO tools that will help you detect these duplicates and if you don’t have the capacity to do it yourself, there are many agencies that offer this as a service too.
4.Add Location Pages
If your business has more than one physical store location, adding location pages will help with search relevance for your SEO.
Each location page should have the business location and contain any unique information about the store or location.
Add a Google Map to each location page for search relevance and location ranking. Where possible add customer reviews and unique information about the store.
5.Create local content
Creating the right type of content for your website and your brand is important. What is becoming more crucial to remember is that Google is continuously evolving and becoming smarter. When creating content, your audience needs to be top of mind and not search engines.
When creating content for your website, write for your user and not only for search engines. Google’s algorithms have become smart enough to understand a page’s intent and be able to match it to a user’s query.
To become an authority for your industry, you should promote local industry related news, employees of your business, important news and events taking place in the community. Create helpful resources that provide value to people and in turn position your brand as a local authority.
6.Improve internal linking structure
As much as building external links to your website is important, do not underestimate the value of your internal link structure. Your internal link structure helps boost your SEO by distributing page authority and ranking power among your websites internal pages.
Internal linking also helps guide your users through your website with strategically placed links using optimised internal linking to compel users to click through.
7.Participate in your local community
As a local business, it is important for you to participate in your local community. There are many ways you can do this to improve your brand’s visibility, like sponsoring a local event, appearing in the local media or perhaps volunteering at a non-profit cause that you would like to support. This strategy will improve the digital PR that your business receives, which is great for naturally building backlinks to your website and establishing yourself as a local authority.
8.Perform a website audit
Your local SEO strategy doesn’t stop with checking Google My Business and NAP consistency. To make sure that your business is accessible online, you need to perform regular website audits to make sure that there are no errors preventing your site from appearing in the SERPs.
Even when your website starts ranking well, SEO isn’t a stop and go strategy. Your SEO efforts should be continuous.
Compare your organic presence to that of your biggest competitors. What are they doing that is working for them? What can you learn from their strategies to improve your organic presence and website performance?
On-page SEO Audit
Has your content been optimised? Does each page target a keyword and does each page meet the SEO requirements?
- Google Search Console Audit
- Are all of your pages indexable on your website? This is important for understanding which pages are accessible via the Search engine results page. Does your website appear for relevant queries related to your products and services?
Google My Business Audit
Is all the information on your Google My Business profile accurate? Have the business hours been updated? Review how your listing appears and make sure that all the important information is displayed.
Local SEO is an important strategy for any business and it is never ending. If you’re not doing local SEO, you’re losing out on many potential clients that aren’t able to find your business online.