Sales & Marketing
Local business? Here are five tricks to get your local SEO right
5 min read
12 October 2015
If you offer a service locally, it's crucial that your customers can find you online. Here are five tips to get your local SEO right.
With Google’s emphasis on personalised search results, and the growth in smartphone use meaning that ‘on the go’ searches are being performed more and more for businesses and services nearby, local SEO can only grow in importance.
Here are our top five tips to help you improve your chances of being found – and stand out against your competition:
1. NAP Citations
Top of the list is “Name Address Phone number” citations. These are instances in which the location and contact details of your company are mentioned on the web. They’re important as they help increase search engines certainty that your business is legitimate.
Luckily, they’re easy to set up. Unless your site is brand new, it’s a good idea to start with a citation audit – and there are some good free tools for assessing your citations:
Correct any incorrect NAP listings and remove duplicates. Search engines like consistent citations so stick to same format throughout e.g. using the word S-t-r-e-e-t (and not St.) across each citation.
Make sure you have all the most important local listings set up:
- Google My Business (this will allow you to set up a Google+ page and list your business on Google Maps)
- Better Business Bureau
- Bing Places
- Yahoo! Local
- Apple Maps
- Amazon Local
- Tellows.com (an international phone directory that allows users to register the level of trust/authority in phone numbers (or lack thereof), together with a comment)
Handy hint: If information is incorrect in Google’s index, request a call back via the top right hand button on this page.
Make sure you look at the categories your competitors are listed for and add those to your listings. Do this by searching for “GCID” in the page source of your competitors’ site.
Gradually build more citations over time. Use Brightlocal to compare and steal citations from your competitors and find your own citation sources.
Reviews are a key factor in local SEO. Google research shows that having reviews on your Google listing will lead to a 140 per cent bump in requests for driving directions and a 360 per cent increase in visits to your website from Google.
Don’t be daunted. Customers often welcome the chance to give a review, sometimes they just need a bit of nudging. Contact them via email, social media or hand them written instructions when they leave your premises.
Continue reading more local SEO tips on page two…
3. On page and technical
It might seem obvious, but it’s crucial to make sure your site is optimised for local terms. This includes using your town/city or region in the content wherever you can, not just on the contact page.
It also includes using it in your title tags, your H1, your Alt text and your URL.
Having links on other local sites helps spread credibility and they act as a strong indicator for the business’s relevance to the area.
Take care when building local links though – do it gradually and choose brand terms as anchor text to avoid it seeming spammy. Ideally local link building should be about mutually beneficial relationships.
Geo-targeted pay-per-click (PPC) and social media advertising can be very effective in driving large amounts of local traffic. This is especially useful when you are still growing your local profile through SEO, as it is much faster to turn on – and off – and it is easy to control budgets by setting monthly or daily limits.
Remember to conduct keyword research to find out which local terms people use when searching; is it a postcode, a town/city name or a region? Refining this will help you get the best results.
With local SEO growing in importance, it’s important not to let it fall by the wayside. It is a vital part of the marketing tool kit for any local business, helping to drive traffic and leads to your site.
Make sure you have the basics covered with your citations and website content, then invest in some link building and collecting reviews. Local SEO is an ongoing project, but investing the time will see your business reaping the rewards.
Alex Roberts-Harbour is an account manager at Browser Media.