If you want your business to be seen by your customers online you need to optimise your website for search engines. But how do you make sure your website attracts
local and general searchers, as well as on-foot traffic?
The importance of local seo
It’s no secret that consumers’ first port of call when looking for a product or service is a search engine like Google or Bing. In fact, 97 per cent of users headed online to find a local business and a whopping 46 per cent of all searches on Google include local intent.
If you’re not sure where to start with local search, don’t worry. Whether you want to go it alone or work with an agency that offers a reputable local SEO service, it’s important to ensure you’ve got the basics of strategy down first.
What are local SEO services?
Local SEO (search engine optimisation) refers to the process of enhancing search engine visibility for local businesses. This is achieved by following SEO best practices to reach a higher number of customers in your local area.
Many digital marketing agencies offer local SEO packages to help businesses boost their website and foot traffic. Local SEO services mean that a team of dedicated specialists manage or advise you on how to improve your visibility and attract customers in your area.
Working with an agency to manage your local marketing strategy involves everything from setting up your Google My Business account to creating localised content and measuring campaign performance.
Traditional SEO is about increasing organic website traffic and improving your website’s visibility and exposure on a national or global scale.
Local SEO is a subsection of this that focuses on getting your business seen by searchers in your area. Although they use similar strategies, local SEO is geared towards potential customers in a specific geographic location with the goal of increasing visibility and traffic to your website and to your brick-and-mortar business.
Users performing local search queries are typically seeking a product or service that they can visit in person or which deliver to their home. Some examples of common businesses might include restaurants, doctors, cleaning services, plumbers, lawyers and so on. Generally, search queries with local intent will use modifiers such as [term] + city or [term] + near me.
There are various factors that can contribute to how well your business ranks locally. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that a search engine’s algorithm shifts regularly, which can affect the type of content and information they prioritise.
Marketing agencies that offer the best local SEO services will always be on top of the latest changes to algorithms and know how to optimise for various ranking factors, including:
- Google Business Profile
- Website SEO
- User behaviour
Another area to aim for is to get into Google Map Pack, which refers to the most prominent positions in Google’s local map search results.
This is where searchers can see where your business is located in the local area with place marker icons. Google Maps SEO plays a critical role in how consumers decide which businesses to interact with online and offline.
Any business that serves a specific geographic location or has a brick-and-mortar store that customers can visit will benefit from implementing a local marketing strategy. Organic search engine results are often dominated by big-name brands, which means local businesses can often get lost.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store that caters to a bustling local community and customer base, you can benefit from putting effort and resources into a local SEO strategy. Particularly if you operate a business with multiple locations, you’ll see increased growth and success by showing up in local search results and Google’s local pack.
Imagine you run a sportswear shop in Bristol. Your ideal customers are those in the area actively looking for your products or services by entering terms like “sportswear shop Bristol” or “sportswear shop near me” into Google or Bing. For that reason, local SEO narrows down the results and ensures your business is found by those seeking services in a specified area.
SEO is generally used in the context of a website. But you don’t actually need to have a website if you want to harness the benefits of SEO for your business. Simply setting up a Google My Business account (more on that later) will ensure you rank locally.
Benefits of local SEO services
Not only do local SEO services increase foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store, but they also offer a host of other benefits too. These include:
- Better online visibility and more targeted traffic
- Localised content can bolster your credibility
- Increase trust among customers
- Improved conversion rates
- Enhanced competitiveness
How to implement an effective local SEO strategy?
Every SEO strategy requires you to use on-page, off-page and technical SEO techniques for the best results, regardless of whether you operate a small business or a large enterprise. The same is true when it comes to implementing your local SEO strategy, however there are a few additional factors you’ll need to consider.
When it comes to ensuring your SEO strategy attracts local traffic, it’s important to take extra steps such as weaving location-specific keywords into your web and social media copy and including local customer reviews on your website.
With that in mind, here’s how to set up and execute a successful local SEO strategy.
1. Google My Business set up and optimisation
Google My Business is the most critical part of your local SEO strategy. The tool allows you to create a business listing for your company and is an essential ranking factor for Google search.
Fortunately, setting up a Google My Business account is simple. You’ll need to have a few details to hand when creating your profile, including:
- Business name
- Physical store/office address
- Business category
- Phone number and website details
Once you’ve completed the initial setup and verified your account, you’ll need to optimise your profile by:
- Uploading photos of your business
- Listing your business hours
- Providing additional relevant categories
- Including further contact details and links to social media profiles
- Sharing regular business updates and content
Can you do local SEO for multiple locations?
Yes, you can leverage local SEO to boost web and foot traffic for multiple locations. Make sure you have a unique web page and Google My Business profile for each separate location, and ensure you carry out location-specific keyword research and manage reviews.
2. Keep mobile in mind
Today, approximately 90 per cent of adults own a smartphone and most of us have them in our hands or pockets throughout the day. So it’s no surprise that one study found 82 per cent of respondents had used their mobile device to conduct a “near me” search.
Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses to optimise their website for mobile screens to ensure visitors can quickly and easily find the information they require. It’s also a good idea to add a click-to-call button on both your website and Google My Business listing that can be accessed directly through search results.
3. Collect plenty of customer reviews
A whopping 88 per cent of potential customers look for online reviews before choosing local services. For this reason, collecting customer reviews is a vital part of your local SEO strategy and Google Map Pack ranking.
Authentic (and preferably positive) feedback is an effective way to boost your visibility in local search and enhance your reputation among the community. In addition to your Google My Business listing, focus on collecting reviews for other go-to websites like Facebook and Yelp.
4. Make local link building a priority
Link building plays a key role in any SEO strategy and it’s one of the main factors that can influence your search ranking. However, when it comes to local SEO, it’s important that the domains you link to are relevant to your target location.
Develop a strategy that prioritises high authority websites in your region to build your credibility. Ways to do this include forming partnerships with local businesses, guest posting, holding events to get PR links and so on.
5. Leverage social listening
Social listening is a valuable marketing technique that can provide valuable insights and feedback from your customers. It’s also a great way to fuel your local SEO strategy.
Use social listening to gauge what people in your target location are saying about your business and what they’re talking about at a more general level. By learning what your audience has to say, you can collect information about their interests, priorities, pain points and so on. Armed with these insights, you can make improvements to your local marketing strategy and optimise your Google My Business listing.
Furthermore, you can leverage social listening to understand better the kinds of content your audience might be looking for and the long-tail keywords they’re entering into search engines, which can shape your overall content strategy.
6. Publish and optimise website content for a local audience
Local content can live anywhere on your website or Google My Business profile. When creating content for local SEO you focus on the audience you’re targeting in a specific location.
Therefore, you must understand their search intent and the terms they’re entering into Google. This goes beyond sprinkling local-related keywords into your blog posts and local landing pages, you’ll need to develop content ideas that are relevant to what they’re interested in.
7. Measure results
No digital marketing strategy is ever complete. You need to continuously track performance to ensure your efforts are delivering the desired results. Leverage Google Analytics to measure the results of your local SEO strategy by setting up an advanced segment. This will provide the insight you need to answer important questions such as:
- What opportunities can I take advantage of to improve local SEO?
- Am I receiving traffic from local search?
- What local search websites are delivering the most traffic? Which aren’t?
- Which local sites are sending quality traffic?
Put your business on the map with our local SEO services
Now that you’ve familiarised yourself with how to develop and implement a strategy following our local SEO tips, you may have realised that getting it right requires a lot of time, effort and expertise.
The first step is understanding what impacts local search result rankings and how SEO works overall. Then, you’ll need to ensure you have a strong team of marketers behind you who know how to optimise content, measure results and get the most out of local SEO.
If you’re not sure where to start or don’t have the internal resources available to invest in creating and executing a local SEO strategy, consider working with a local SEO company or a digital marketing service that offers a local SEO package.
It’s also important to remember that local search is constantly evolving, so you (or the SEO agency you work with) must keep up with shifting algorithms and trends to stay relevant and on top of your competitors.