It doesn’t matter if you a have a local business or a big international brand name under your belt, a local SEO strategy is one marketing aspect you should never underestimate. Having an effective local SEO campaign is essential in driving and engaging more customers and possible prospects with your brand or your business. By optimising specific parts of your blog or your website, you will be able to increase your chances of being found via local search engine results. It also has been proven that local SEO is an essential component for every business – big or small – that wants to enjoy long term success across all platforms and multiple search engines.
What is Local SEO and Why is it Important
With the rise of smart wireless devices and improvements in Internet connectivity, use of local SEO continues to rise. Local SEO and regular SEO are very similar and use the same rules; be relevant, produce good content and quality links. However, they have subtle differences like the tactics used in specific areas. Local SEO is more focused on providing relevant results to a user or searcher based on their current location. For example, if you’re trying to search for “best Japanese restaurant” or “best Italian restaurant” on your mobile or desktop, Google will be able to provide to you with results nearest to you.
59% of consumers search for local businesses and 54% of searchers use town names, zip codes, suburbs or city names in local searches. 71% of searchers value the information contained in local search results.
In today’s competitive marketplace it’s no longer a question of whether or not you should optimise your brand or business website but rather how soon can you do it. You may have created your website and uploaded relevant content but if no one can find it, your efforts will just be in vain.
Ways To Score With Local Optimisation
As a direct result of Google updates, there have been many changes to how local SEO works. Some of the practices that may have been effective 2 or 3 years ago may no longer apply to your business strategy. Local SEO takes time to implement and you have to know how to do it. Below are some tips and suggestion as to how you can optimise your site for local search.
1. Local Directories Or Local Citations
Citations or directories allow your business to be listed on some of the top websites around the world. This will give you an authoritative presence online. If you’re consistent with your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP), you’re telling everybody you exist and you need to rank. Maximise the links you get when you complete your business profile. If you’re hiring a third party SEO company, ask them to do a local citation audit before they start your local SEO campaign.
2. Set Up Your NAP
Make your website is easy to find by setting up your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number). The most common place for the NAP is in the header or the footer of the site. You also need to include crawable HTML text on your site to make sure it works.
3. Establish Mobile Presence
People are always connected on their smart mobile devices. People rely on them for almost everything now. One way to establishing your mobile presence is to make sure your website or blog site is mobile friendly. It should also feature responsive design which will make browsing, ordering and purchasing easy on any smart mobile device. Check out how we made our sites mobile friendly here.
4. Local Reviews
Reviews are very important because this will prove your business is real and authentic. The immediate conversation and feedback from customers will make you aware of what you need to improve upon or if you’re delivering your intended service without any hassles. To get more out of your local reviews, employ an aggregate service to make your reviews spread over all review sites.
5. Enhance Site Content
At present, relevant and useful content is what makes a successful site. It makes sense because people will visit your site for useful and updated information relevant to their search. Content can make or break a website, so make sure all of your content is easily accessible and can be appreciated by your target audience. Content can include articles, videos, infographics, tutorials, how-tos, etc. If your customers find your content useful and informative, you’ll experience more traffic, increasing your chances of ranking. If you can make content locally relevant it’s even better.
6. Maximise Local Search Update
“Pigeon” is the latest Google search algorithm update, as coined by Search Engine Land. Businesses who want to be found locally should maximise their sites for local results. You can do this by:
- Being listed in Google My Business or creating a Google+ account.
- Being engaged in social media.
- Creating content with a local focus.
- Keeping your listings updated. All information should be accurate, including your NAP.
- Including product descriptions, operating hours, photos, coupons, types of payments accepted and services provided.
7. Optimise Local Keywords
The time of keyword spamming is over, but many websites don’t take keywords seriously and have forgotten the true value of optimisation. Well-placed keywords are one of the main factors that impact organic traffic and engage users and visitors. It will work if you mention your location within your content as well as in your:
- H1 Headings
- Title tags
- Images ALT tags
8. Rich Media Sharing
Rich media includes videos, audio and animation. Setting up your brand or company YouTube channel is just as important as having relevant traditional web content. Rich media citations will also boost your listings, searchability and ranking.
9. HTTPS Over HTTP
At present, Google is pushing for enhanced security on the Internet. Using HTTPS instead of HTTP means your website will be more secure, encrypted and less vulnerable to hacking. Google is also using HTTPS as one of their ranking signals in less than 1% of global queries. It’s possible that in the coming years, Google may decide to strengthen this policy so website owners have more security.
You should regularly monitor your business analytics. It will let you understand what strategy works best for your target audience and for your blog or website. Analytics will also allow you to try different strategies (A/B testing) and determine what works for you. You will be able to monitor your competition, their strategies, the keywords they’re using and their best practices.
The tips mentioned in this article are just some of the ways to jumpstart optimisation of your local SEO. You want your website to be visible, relevant and to rank so that you can attract, engage and convert searchers.