Local SEO (search engine optimisation) helps increase your visibility in local search results by targeting relevant users nearby. This is ideal for companies who operate from a physical location, or base their services in a specific area. Local SEO improves your customer reach within a local area, meaning that with a quick Google search, they can drop you a visit whilst they’re out and about. This guide to local SEO details why local SEO is important, how to do local SEO, and direct advice from our SEO director, Nick Boyle.
Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO is important because it ensures people nearby can conveniently access your services. Whatever your business, local SEO will help you reach people located near you, rather than on the other side of the world. Although international SEO and a global audience can be very beneficial for your business, it’s crucial that you also market your products and services to locals. Customers who are nearby will notice your business, which can help you build a loyal customer base in your local area.
Optimise for Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile (GBP) is the first step to making full use of local SEO in your marketing strategy. Whether you’re a new or established business, it’s essential to utilise GBP to create the most impactful results for your local online reach. A Google Business Profile is free to make, and will work alongside your existing website in order to make your business seen. If you are an existing business, you may already have a GBP, so you will need to claim this rather than create a new one. To find out if a GBP exists for your business, simply search your business name on Google.
Creating and managing a Google Business Profile couldn’t be easier – everything is handled from their website. From there, you will have the opportunity to input essential information about your business, such as your business name, category, location, and contact details. When setting up your GBP, make sure that it leaves no questions unanswered, including all the necessary information customers may be looking for. This information should be updated regularly and kept accurate, as customers will be frustrated if they can’t reach you. You should also include all the relevant keywords in your profile to make sure it is completely optimised for your customers’ search intent.
Encourage customers to leave positive reviews as much as possible – without being too pushy, of course. Not only do lots of positive reviews let customers know they can trust you, but it’s also a great tactic to improve your local SEO strategy. The number of positive reviews on your Google Business Profile is a significant ranking factor, so you should do all you can to gain these.
A couple of ways to get more positive reviews are to send follow-up emails to customers, or conduct client exit interviews to ask for reviews online. It also helps to reply to reviews – whether positive or negative. Positive reviewers will feel appreciated for their time, whilst a reply to a negative review can minimise its damage. When replying to negative reviews, remain kind and professional – acknowledge their experience and offer apologies and explanations where necessary.
Optimise content for local SEO
Unique content is important for SEO of all kinds, but you may need to tweak some content in order to meet your local SEO goals. For example, creating local content that is likely to be shared around the community will strengthen your brand visibility as well as get more backlinks from local online publications. This could be anything from local content relevant to your niche, to updates about your involvement in the local community. Be sure to include area-focused keywords as possible, as this will strengthen your local SEO.
Additionally, it’s important that you optimise your URLs, title tags, headers, and meta descriptions for searchers in your local area. For example, if you are a business based in Bolton, like us, then this should be highlighted as much as possible in your on-page SEO. Doing this is especially important for product and service pages – make sure that you mention where your services are based. This helps you to appear higher for “near me” and other location-based searches.
Mobile searches are becoming more and more important in SEO, and are especially relevant to local SEO. Due to more dynamic location services, mobile searchers are able to utilise “near me” searches wherever they are. According to research from BusinessDIT, 88% of mobile searches result in a conversion within a week. Whether this is a phone call, store visit or purchase, these stats are reason enough to ensure your website is mobile friendly. If you struggle with the more technical aspects of managing a business website, a great option is to hire a website development agency to get your mobile-friendly site up and running.
Perform an audit
You can’t improve your local SEO without auditing your existing website to see what’s doing well and what needs to be changed. An SEO agency can do this for you, or you can take on this task yourself. It will take some time and effort though – so don’t say we didn’t warn you. Some things to look out for in a local SEO audit are:
- Check that your Google Business Profile is up to date and accurate, as well as viewing how it performs on the SERPs
- Use Google Search Console to check the indexing and crawlability of your website and pages
- Undertake competitor analysis to see how your local SEO can match or outperform other local companies. You may need to undertake more keyword research, or rethink your web design, content marketing strategy, etc
- Perform a citation audit to see local mentions of your business, and identify opportunities for more links.
Local SEO tips:
Looking for even more juicy information about how to do local SEO for your business? SEO Director Nick Boyle shares detailed insights about using local SEO in your marketing strategy.
How to do local SEO for small businesses?
“For small businesses, local SEO can skyrocket your visibility, sales and customer base. The basics of local SEO don’t particularly change, with all the essentials remaining in place. A Google Business Profile will be your best friend as a small business owner, because when done right, it can make you the first point of contact for customers looking for services in your area. Ensure that you list out all of your core services, and keep your contact details up to date and easily accessible. It helps to have multiple forms of contact – some people prefer phone calls to email, and vice versa. However, the main piece of advice is simply to ensure all the basic information is current and correct. Ask yourself what would make you interact with a business, and then implement this in your own local SEO strategy.”
What is the most important aspect of local SEO?
“The most important aspect of local SEO can be stripped back to the ‘old basics’ – name, address and phone number. This gives customers and search engines all of the very basic information they need in order to locate and contact your business. As long as you have those three things in place, and they’re consistent across the web, it won’t be long before you start seeing a positive impact on your business. As simple as it sounds, keeping your Google Business Profile updated and well-structured will see increases in visibility and in time, sales.
If you want to keep pushing local SEO for your small business, I would emphasise the importance of reviews. A few positive reviews can be what sets you aside from a competitor, so encouraging these as much as possible is essential. You should also include photos and videos on your GBP, as combined with reviews, these make your business look much more credible to those who may not have heard of you before.
One mistake that small businesses can make with local SEO is being too broad with the areas they’re targeting. Focus on building up your brand image and reputation within your area for the most effective use of local SEO. When you overreach, that is when time and money can be wasted trying to attract customers who are too far away to visit your store. For a small business, being the go-to service in your niche can gain you lots of new clients and customers.”
Are you ready to reach local audiences through implementing local SEO in your marketing strategy? If so, contact TAL Agency today. Our team of SEO experts are here to help with developing and executing a top-notch local SEO strategy.
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