As you can probably tell from the number of local SEO blogs that I have published, it is one of my favourite areas in Search Engine Optimisation. We always hear so much about general SEO and the different improvements that can be made, but it is SO important to remember that local SEO needs to be an essential element in your digital marketing strategy.
Local SEO is important for all businesses, especially the ones which are smaller and operate on a regional level. National SEO focuses more on rankings in searches across the country, whereas local prioritises appearing on SERPs in a specific location, marketing your products and services to local leads and customers.
If your business strategy is to target a local audience then you definitely need to continue reading this blog. I am going to go into more detail on five ways you can improve your local SEO which means more website traffic, leads, awareness and conversions.
Google My Business Listing
Yes, I am talking about Google My Business in another blog. I really can’t stress enough how important it is that you have one. Optimising your Google listing can be one of the most effective ways to rank higher on Google maps, as well as gaining visibility. Your Google My Business listing will either appear in the knowledge panel box (the right-hand side) or the local pack.
Knowledge panel box:
A good way to look at it is, your Google My Business listing is your homepage. Your customers and visitors are going to see that before they have even made it to the website. You might now be thinking “how can I optimise my Google My Business listing?” Well, of course, you need to make sure your name, address and phone number are correct, matching exactly what is on your website.
If you sell products, then you can take advantage of the product section, where you can list some of your top-selling products with images and prices. The same goes for services, you can list your services on your listing too. Both of these are great ways to show your customers how you can help them before they’ve even reached the website.
Using the post option is also very beneficial, especially at the moment when you might have a lot of announcements for your customers. Your posts need to be promotional and make you stand out from your competitors. Here are some things you need to know about Google posts:
- They stay live for 7 days
- You can post videos
- You need to always use the CTA button (call to action)
With the question and answers section, it is a perfect way to get your frequently asked questions on there. The public are able to ask questions so make sure you keep an eye on them in case you get any through that need replying too. But as well as answering questions from the public, you can also ask and answer your own questions.
A lot of people stop after their Google My Business listing, but the local SEO doesn’t stop there. Another really important way that you can improve your SEO, is through local citations, this is where you have mentions of your NAP information on other websites.
It is important to know the difference between a structured citation and an unstructured citation.
A structured citation is a directory listing. Whereas an unstructured citation is where the NAP is on in a strict line-by-line format.
A lot of people think with SEO as a whole that your links need to be follow-links, however with local SEO this is not the case, it doesn’t matter if you have follow or no-follow links. As long as it is a quality site and isn’t classed as spammy then you can use it.
As well as citation focused sites, you can also have a look at the following that will work really well for local:
- Local meetups
- Event sponsorships
- Local bloggers
A good technique for finding the above is searching: “keyword” inurl: sponsorships. This will then show you websites in your area that are looking for sponsorships and then you can contact them to see about potentially working with them.
Optimise For Voice Search
I don’t need to go over how important voice search is, we all know it is taking over and is going to become the future. So for that exact reason, it is vital to optimise your content for how people are going to ask questions when they speak into their devices, as opposed to how they would type out the search.
It is also important to think about the user intent, as more than likely the voice searches are going to be performed when a user needs a specific piece of information. For example, if someone is baking a cake and they ask Alexa how many grams are in one cup, they are going to be expecting a quick and useful answer. This is the exact same for when someone asks a question about your business.
Reviews are important for both local and national SEO, but as you are trying to target a specific audience with local, they can be very handy. We highly recommend that you encourage customers to leave you a review on your Google My Business listing, Facebook and review sites that feed Apple Maps. To find out what review sites are feeding Apple maps, simply search your business on maps and then it will say where it is “powered” from, this is the listing you should be trying to get reviews on, as they will then appear on Apple maps too.
It is so important to make sure you are not put off by bad reviews. Of course, no one wants them but at the end of the day, one or two bad reviews makes you look real.
We recommend spending a couple of hours each week to check your reviews and reply to them all. However, with negative reviews, we do recommend that you reply to them straight away.
Use Localised Keywords… Of Course!
Last but not certainly least, you need to make sure you are using localised keywords. After all, it doesn’t make sense to do all of this work but not be using localised relevant keywords.
Here at SEO Traffic Lab, we use SEM Rush for our keyword research, but there are many tools out there that you can use. The easiest way, especially with SEM Rush is to search for a relevant keyword to your business, including your location and then browse through the suggestions to see which ones suit your business best.
Once you have chosen your keywords you need to make sure they are optimised within your meta titles, H1’s, URLs and your on-page content. We also recommend mentioning local landmarks and events in your content, as this can also help engage customers.
For example, if you are a restaurant in the city of Lincoln, then you could add “popular restaurant located right next to the Lincoln Cathedral.”
As well as knowing what your localised keywords are going to be, you also need to make sure you are tracking them so you can see any improvements in rankings.
That brings me to the end of my blog. I hope you have found the five ways above useful and can optimise them within your business. Here at SEO Traffic Lab, amongst the different services we offer, we do also have a Local SEO service so if you would like to find out more on how we can help you, then please drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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