What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is becoming one of the essential components of every business and brand that wants long-term success across search engines.
Local SEO has grown significantly over the last few years, particularly given the rise of smartphone usage and better connectivity while out and about. Although it has a lot of similarities with organic SEO, it's ultimately very different.
Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. If I search for "Italian restaurant" Google would provide me with results that are nearest to me.
Local SEO is about getting your business to the top of this list.
8 Essential Local SEO Tips
Here are a few tips to help improve your Local SEO and make your website more local friendly.
Local SEO Tip 1 - Google My Business
When people search for a business online they are primarily after one of three things - directions, telephone number and address. Google My Business is a free tool which enables you to put these details and other business information (such as hours and directions) on Google Search and Maps.
When setting up your account, make sure that you associate your listing with the right category. "Italian restaurant" is a better category than just "restaurant" as it is more specific to what you offer and will match exactly with people looking for Italian restaurants.
Local SEO Tip 2 - Get on Relevant Review Sites
Online reviews are a huge influence in peoples decision-making process. This makes your presence on the major review sites critical. Encourage customers to leave reviews, good or bad, as this is seen as being honest and open, building trust.
Review sites you should consider being on include:
- Yellow Pages
- Google+ Local
- Yahoo Local
Local SEO Tip 3 - Use Schema Markup
Schema markup is a specific code you add to your HTML to improve the way your page is represented in search results. The code helps Google recognise certain elements of your page and tells them what the content on your page means. Using the data provided in the schema markup Google can potentially list key information in the search results without users having to click through to your website.
Local SEO Tip 4 - Local Link Building
Having a strong link profile is vital to performing well in search, and entire businesses (some with good link-building practices and some bad) have been built on securing such links.
Local links get people talking about your brand and help raise awareness. There are different ways to get local links. Most towns and cities have local business awards, so have a look around and get involved. Put your name forward for an award, even if you don't win it, you can still get some good publicity. Try sponsoring a local event, again, you can get some good publicity for a little outlay. Better yet, try hosting an event of some kind.
Local SEO Tip 5- Bing Places for Business
Don't forget about the other search engine. Bing has its own version of GMB, called Bing Places for Business. Make sure that your business is listed there as well as Bing is the second most popular search engine after Google.
Local SEO Tip 6 - Use Rich Media
These days people want to see what you are about, photos of your products, 360° photos, virtual tours and so on. Let people know a little more about your business by including lots of pictures on your GMB page. If you really want to stand out and let people take a peek inside your business, you can also add a virtual tour to GMB as well.
Local SEO Tip 7- Optimise your URL, Tags & Content
Your URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions and content should include your city or region and the target keyword of the page they describe. This tells Google what geographical location the page is relevant to and what content is on the page - and it helps them index your page accordingly. Don't try and stuff keywords into the pages, however, Google are wise to this and you will be penalised or even delisted for keyword stuffing.
Local SEO Tip 8 - Keep your details consistent
It should go without saying, however, some companies fail to do this. It is important to have your details correct, up to date and consistent across all your channels. If you have a different number on your website than you do on your GMB page then this will be confusing to your customers.Were these Local SEO tips useful for you? Have you any more Local SEO tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!