Local SEO is hugely important, particularly for small businesses.
Customers search for the best services near them – and want fast results.
The goal is to ensure people pick you out of a potentially vast selection.
Here’s how that’s done.
What is Local SEO?
First things first – what actually is it?
In short: it’s a type of SEO that focuses on optimising a website for local search. It helps businesses generate leads, grow brand awareness and increase traffic from those near them.
Examples of search terms include:
- Restaurants near me.
- Lawyers near me.
- Builders near me.
- Plumbers near me.
- Salon near me.
The list goes on and on…
Why Should You Care?
If you’re unsure why it’s so important, here are just a few stats that may change your mind:
- 46% of all Google users are looking for local information.
- 28% of local searches turn into purchases.
- 72% of consumers that performed a local search visited a place within five miles.
- 29% of all Google SERPs contain a local pack in the results.
Tips for Local SEO
Here are some handy tips to help local customers find you and make sure you get those rankings.
Carry Out Keyword Research
As always, everything starts with keyword research. Local searches are often carried out through voice search, so try and include question variations. This way, you can give yourself the best chance of using keywords with local intent and catching your target audience.
Have a Google My Business Listing
It’s an absolute must to have a Google My Business listing and ensure it’s up to date. It’s free to set up and allows you to engage with customers.
This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate USPs and get potential customers to choose you.
Optimise Your Google My Business Listing
It’s not enough to simply have a listing, make sure it’s optimised:
- Choose a relevant category (this will decide what local searches your listing belongs to).
- Select high-quality images only.
- Ensure information is correct and matches that on your website.
- Pick keywords carefully and never keyword-stuff.
- Don’t have multiple listings for the same business location.
- Ensure the address used is the same as the place as you’d meet customers/clients.
- Use a URL for your website itself (not a redirect).
Reviews, testimonials and star ratings are important for any business – especially local. These have been shown to be a direct ranking factor.
Ensure these are genuine and reflect your service positively.
Engage on Social Media
Many local customers find businesses through social media. This can also help verify the validity of your site.
Ensure profiles are up to date, fresh and showcase your brand in the best possible way.
‘Check ins’ can also directly help rankings, so encourage these if you can.
Optimise Whole Website
Don’t make the mistake of assuming optimising for local SEO is enough. Ensure your whole site is well-optimised, with all best practices followed. If you fail to get the basics right, your website could be penalised by search engines.
Ensure Website is Mobile-Friendly
Most local searches are carried out on mobile. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s likely this will put potential customers off.
Keep Contact Information Consistent
Your address, name, phone number and other contact details all need to be the same everywhere they appear online. If there are discrepancies, this could lead to a lack of trust from customers and penalisation from search engines.
Create Location Pages
Have a page on your website dedicated to your location and specific contact details. Adding a Google Map to your site will also help significantly.
Distribute Local-Specific Content
Appeal to your target audience by creating content specific to a particular area. This will help you answer user questions, as well as significantly increase traffic.
Think beyond sales and pushing services alone, but try and connect with your audience by writing about things that will resonate with them. Blogs can be used to inform, educate and provide guidance – use this to your advantage.
As you’re probably aware, securing relevant, authoritative links is one of the best ways to boost SEO. They will help legitimise your site and raise your domain authority.
There are a number of ways to build links, including partnerships.