Local SEO Marketing
Local SEO Marketing
If you want to consistently attract new local customers to your business, using local SEO marketing is essential. It is a branch of search engine optimisation designed to help businesses and organisations appear more prominently in local web search results.
Let’s say you have a Chinese restaurant in London. Local SEO marketing will help you appear in a prominent position when users perform searches like Chinese restaurants in London. It also helps your business rank well when people located in London perform searches on their mobile device for terms likeChinese restaurants near meor Best Chinese food nearby.
In this guide, I’ll explain exactly this is is so important. I’ll also share some simple changes you can make to boost your local SEO.
Why does local search engine optimisation matter?
There are several reasons why local search engine optimisation matters:
It helps consumers find your business
The way that consumers find businesses has changed dramatically thanks to the advent of the Internet. Instead of flicking through the Yellow Pages, most consumers will perform a Google Search, use Google Maps, or perform a Voice Search on their mobile device.
According to Google, 46% of all searches performed are local searches and 86% of the people who use Google Maps do so to find the location of businesses. About 76% of all local searches end in a phone call to a business and 50% of people who conducted a search on their smart phone visited the store within a day.
In addition to looking up the address of your business or organisation, consumers often use the Internet to check trading hours, prices and the availability of products or services. If your web properties are not optimised for local search, your enterprise could be missing out on thousands of customers.
Lower competition in local areas
Targeting your SEO efforts on a specific region means you will be facing much less competition. When you target local searches, you won’t be taking on Chinese restaurants from around the world by trying to rank for “Chinese restaurant”. Instead, you will only be trying to beat businesses in the local area. It is much easier to achieve high rankings for valuable local keywords and attract more customers.
Can outrank national brands
It’s common for national brands to spend millions of pounds on their website, SEO, and marketing campaigns. It is extremely difficult for your business to outrank national for broad search terms. By focussing your efforts on local search, you can ignore the big brands and dominate the results for the local searches that deliver great results.
Having a strong online presence boosts your local reputation. More consumers will be aware of the name of your enterprise, what it does, and where it is located. This can have a snowball effect, helping you become well-known in the local area.
First steps for improving local SEO
Before we jump into the more technical aspects of this type of marketing, here are a few simple techniques you can implement which can have a significant impact on your local SEO.
Set up a Google My Business page
Google My Business gives businesses the opportunity to create an online business profile with all of the details of their enterprise. This profile is then used by Google in Google search engine results and Google maps.
Setting up a business profile only takes a few minutes and provides a significant local SEO boost. Google My Business profiles let you add all kinds of information about your business including its address, phone number, and operating hours. Images and reviews can be added to your profile by Google users, which is an easy way to create some social proof.
Get some local citations
A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business. They are useful for informing consumers about your business and also have an impact on search engine rankings. You can place local citations on the following locations:
- Major business data platforms
Create your own citations on business data platforms like like Google My Business, Bing Places, Yell, thomsonlocal, Scoot, FreeIndex, BT Tradespace, Hotfrog. Placing citations on your Facebook and Yelp profiles can also be useful.
- Local platforms
Try to get citations placed on local platforms like chamber of commerce websites, local business groups, social clubs, newspapers, and local charity websites.
- Other websites
Look for opportunities to place your local citation on other local blogs and websites, government sites, apps, news sites, and maps.
In addition to using your business’ NAP, feel free to add other other information to your citations including:
- Driving directions
- Business description
- Business category
- Business tagline
- Email addresses
- Types of payment that are accepted etc.
Local reviews are a powerful ranking signal used by search engines to determine where to position your business in local searches. If your Chinese restaurant has dozens of five star reviews, Google is much more likely to place it in a prominent position when someone searches for “Best Chinese food in London”. There are many opportunities for obtaining reviews including Google My Business, Yelp, Trust Pilot and TripAdvisor.
Locally trusted links
Obtaining incoming links from other local businesses with high authority can really supercharge your local SEO efforts. Attempt to get links to your website from local business owners, charity organisations, social media groups, and local media organisations (more on this below).
Building local links will improve your domain authority and relevance. This can eventually help your website appear in the first three local map listings on Google results pages, which is a significant competitive advantage.
Have a location page on your website
Add a page to your website that has your business’ NAP details along with a Google Map that displays the locations of your stores. This will help users locate your business and this information will make it easier for search engines understand where your locations are.
On Page factors
The are many optimisations you can perform to your web properties to ensure that search engines can easily find, process, and categorise your website. These optimisations ensures that search engine realises your web properties relate to a product or service provided to people in a specific location.
General Keyword Research
Keyword research tools likeUbersuggest, Moz, and SEM Rushcan be extremely useful for on-page search engine optimisation. They are a great way to find additional keywords, assess keyword ranking difficulty, monitor competitors, and see how well your website is currently ranking.
Keyword research can guide your efforts in terms of choosing which local keywords to target. The only downside of using these tools is that they often don’t have much data available for “hyperlocal” keywords, which are low-volume geographical searches. In many cases, you simply need to target hyperlocal keywords then assess how well they are performing via website analytics.
It’s important to note that traditional keyword research can only do so much when it comes to local search. You will need to think about what kinds of searches a real person might use on their computer or mobile device. For example, a person looking for information about a Chinese restaurant nearby might use:
- “Chinese near me”
- “Manchester Chinese food”
- “Good Chinese food in town”
- “Chinese food nearby”
- “Chinese Manchester phone number”
- “Chinese buffet local”
- “Chinese restaurant walking distance”
A tool like Page Optimiser Pro by Kyle Roof can be useful for finding good local keywords as it can detect the local signals that Google is seeing in competitor’s websites.
Latent Semantic Index Keywords
Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords are the keywords that are used by search engines to determine how relevant a website is to a specific query. They are a range of keywords that related to your main keyword and in some cases may be synonyms of your main keyword.
Let’s say you have a business that sells cars. You decide optimise your social media profiles, business profiles, website and blog for the word “Cars”. Makes sense right?
The problem is – Google doesn’t know if you mean “Cars” the band, “Cars” the movieor the kind of “Cars” that you drive. It also doesn’t know if your website is about renting cars, buying cars, or a social club for car owners.
The search engine needs LSI keywords to help it understand the context of “Cars”. In this example, words like “Buy”, “Sell”, “Dealer”, “Repair”, and “Vehicle” will tell the search engine that your website is about buying and selling actual cars (automobiles). If you used words like “Movie”, “Animation”, and “Cartoon” it would rank your website for search queries relating to Cars the movie.
To optimise for local search, you will need to incorporate LSI keywords for the locations where your business or organisation operates. Keyword phrases like “Car Sales London” would provide Google with the information is needs to understand what your web properties should be ranking for.
Setting up local location pages
Creating unique location pages which focus on the the specific areas you service can provide a significant local SEO boost. However, it’s important that any local location pages you create are unique and contain high quality content. It is a good idea to install the Yoast and Yoast Local plugins, as they have lots of features to help you.
Avoiding keyword cannibalisation
Before you rush out to create dozens of pages for the geographical locations that you service, be wary of keyword cannibalisation. Keyword cannibalisation occurs when you have more than one page on your website competing for the same keywords.
Let’s say your business services the North West of England. You would need to target the towns and cities in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. If you write 10 pages of content that mentions all of those locations on every page, you are at risk of those pages competing to rank for the same keywords. A better approach would be having dedicated pages for each location.
Internal linking is crucial for local SEO. It connects your content and gives search engines an idea of how the site is structured. Linking will also spread the authority of one page (obtained from incoming external links) to other internal pages. To learn more about internal linking, read Yoast’s fantastic internal linking guide.
Working with local organisations can provide a huge boost to your local SEO. Look for local websites with good domain authority and busy social media groups which discuss events in your local area. Start by targeting the following:
Charities and sporting clubs
Search for local charities and sporting clubs that feature links to the websites of sponsors. A small donation might provide you with a highly valuable link that boosts your local SEO efforts.
Has your business done anything newsworthy lately? Perhaps your donation to a local charity is worth reporting about? If you can get a local newspaper to report on your business and include a link to your website or social media profiles, it can provide another SEO boost.
Good quality local directories
Add your business’ NAP and website address to any local business directories and community websites.
Relevant local sites
Look for opportunities to place links to your website on relevant local sites. Ideally all sites should have topical trust flow, which is “a measure of the topical relevancy of the inbound links that are pointing to the site where your link is coming from”.
In simpler terms, this means the sites that link to your website should have incoming links that are also relevant. Search engines will see those sites as being more trustworthy and relevant if they have appropriate incoming links — which increases the benefit of their links to your website.
Social media can be very useful for improving your local brand, increasing traffic, and building a great online reputation. It may not directly boost your local SEO, but the it can lead to actions which benefit local SEO.
Monitoring your progress
It’s important to track the success of your local SEO efforts so you can tell which methods are working and where improvements need to be made. Here are a few ways to do so:
Using SEO tools to track ranks
There are several SEO tracking tools ideal for monitoring local SEO performance. The best options include SEM Rush, WebCEO, SEO Smart Suite, Internet Business Promoter and Advanced Web Ranking.
Both Google and Bing have useful webmaster tools which can help you improve your local SEO optimisation efforts. Use these tools to identify popular keyword combinations and to test new keyword combinations.
Google analytics is a brilliant tool for tracking the progress of your campaigns. It can help you track incoming traffic levels, incoming keywords, popular pages, and demographic data. Google analytics is also handy for identifying areas that could be developed.
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