If you run a small business and need to attract more local customers or clients, digital marketing efforts such as local search engine optimisation (SEO) are crucial. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what local SEO is, how it works, and how you can best utilise local SEO and help you on your way to being a fierce competitor in your local area.
How does local SEO work?
To understand how local SEO works, we must first understand what local searches are. Put simply, local search is when someone searches for products, services, businesses or any additional information relevant to one specific location, usually their local area. They could be searching for “Italian restaurants near me” to find restaurants in their town or city that serve Italian food. Or they could search “best cleaning service in [location]” to find a cleaning service that’s local to that particular area.
With this information we can now begin to understand what local SEO is. Essentially, it’s the optimisation of your business’ webpage to appear on local searches. This will result in the improvement of your ranking and visibility on the search engine. If your business hasn’t gone through the steps to optimise for local search, you could potentially be missing out on customers actively looking for your business type in your area.
How do you determine if you need local SEO?
Are you looking to be a successful small business in your local area? Or looking to target people in your local area? Then local search optimisation is for you and you should be on the hunt for the best local SEO agency for your company. If you’re looking to attract a broader target audience that’s not specific to a particular area, then you may find local SEO isn’t as helpful to you as standard SEO practices.
How can local SEO benefit your business?
Local SEO has a multitude of benefits for your business. By far the most important is achieving a high CTR (Click Through Rate) and conversion rate. In simple terms, this just means that when you get more people to visit your website, the more people will convert from ‘just browsing’ to becoming a customer. That’s a pretty convincing reason all on its own to get you implementing your own local SEO strategies!
10 industries with the highest demand for local SEO services
SEO is important in any industry trying to succeed online however some may need more work than others. If your small business falls into any of these categories consider investing in a local SEO agency:
- Restaurant, bars and cafés
- Real estate
- Pet services
- Any business exclusively online or ecommerce business
- Home repairs and renovation
- Medical practitioners and services (including dental)
- Legal professionals and services
- Businesses with multiple locations
- Tourism and travel
If we’ve done enough to convince you that your business needs local SEO, here are the ways you can achieve great results.
11 key tips to improve local SEO for your company
- Create a Google My Business Account.
The great thing about Google My Business (GMB) is that it’s completely free, powered by Google, and has a lot of local SEO benefits. It allows your business to appear in ‘Google’s Local Pack’ which is that box that appears with maps, opening hours, contact information etc on the first page of Google. Appearing on the first page of Google is where all businesses, small or otherwise, want to end up, so GMB is incredibly beneficial.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a little day-time rest. NAP is an acronym that stands for name, address and phone number. This may sound obvious, but ensuring your contact details are correct and on multiple pages makes it easier not only for people to find you, but the search engines as well. It helps Google to display your information more accurately as a search result based on location, as NAP can be considered crawlable HTML text.
- Social media posts on GMB
With social media being such a huge part of our lives, Google’s algorithms now take social media posts into account. Write your social posts as you normally would on your desired platform but don’t forget to also share the post on to your Google My Business page as it will provide a link between the two platforms and better align your search and socials.
- Keyword research
Keywords are instrumental to SEO, local or otherwise. There are tools you can use to perform this research, such as Google Keyword Planner, Semrush and Ahrefs. You need keywords that are relevant to your business and content that will also perform well with Google. Make sure you check your local rankings when doing keyword research to ensure you’re choosing keywords that rank highly in your local area.
- Long tail keywords
These are keywords that can be a string of three minimum words that are relevant and specific to your page, content or whatever you’re selling. This will give you a better chance of ranking higher on Google’s organic search results due to the specified nature.
- Publishing relevant content
Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to ensure the keywords are used throughout your content and webpage. By producing keyword-rich content, you’re enhancing your chances of coming up on Google when someone searches for something that would be relevant to your business. For example, you run a local cleaning business: you post blogs on your website entitled ‘best cleaning tricks’ or ‘best cleaning products’. When the person searches for ‘cleaning company near me’ you’ll have a higher ranking on Google than a competitor who hasn’t used the word ‘cleaning’ enough times on their page. This is because you’ve directly used the specific word the individual is searching for several times.
- Mobile optimisation
People are busier and on the go more than ever before. And with smart phones often being the easiest way to do a quick Google search, it’s imperative that your website is optimised for mobile. Without this, you’ll quickly see – via Google Analytics (GA) – that your bounce rate will be much higher because people won’t want to waste time waiting for images to load or to struggle with poor formatting. They will just leave the site and most likely head to a competitor site that is responsive and fully optimised.
- Link building
This step is one of the most crucial local SEO tips. It’s when other websites link back to you or you link to them. You can also do internal links to reference pages on your own website. It builds for stronger domain authority and subsequently makes you rank higher on Google. Methods of effectively building links are by requesting customers to link to your website, participating in online forums, writing guest blogs for other sites, adding your website to directories/business listings, or writing blogs on your own website that include internal links.
- Participation in the local community
By showing willingness to join in on local events and participating in the local community, you’re not only spreading brand awareness and positivity, you’ll be creating those imperative linking opportunities we discussed earlier. This can be by sponsoring an event or local sports team, having volunteer days within the company that benefit your local community, or by partnering with a local non-profit organisation on a campaign. These types of things are excellent for social media posts where you will inevitably be mentioned and tagged. Appearing as a caring member of the community that’s present, respected and a local authority in your industry is a fantastic way to gain some good press, brand awareness and inbound links.
- Customer reviews
In any business, reviews can make or break you. Therefore it’s fair to say that Google takes them seriously as a ranking factor. A higher volume of positive reviews equals higher ranking. So, ask your loyal customers to leave a Google review, and respond to your reviews so your customers feel heard and are more likely to return to you.
- Perform local SEO audit
You’ve followed our local SEO Guide and applied all of our smart tips to boost SEO rankings and traffic to your small business, that should be enough to be successful in local search engine marketing, right? Well, there’s another factor to consider. Now that you’ve applied the foundations for your local SEO strategy, you must perform regular extensive checks or audits to understand what’s working, what’s not, and how you can better achieve your goals. This final step will help you to keep up the good work you’ve put in to get to this point in the first place.
By now, you should know the importance of local marketing and be confident in how to dominate local SEO. However, if you don’t want to do this necessary but extensive work yourself or, like most successful small businesses, simply don’t have the time, get in contact with Cariad Marketing today and we’ll do all the hard work for you!