Benefit from the power of local SEO

Understand what’s required to increase your localised search engine real estate, and push the competition down

If you are a local business that wants to get noticed in search, you have to understand what local SEO is and why it’s so beneficial. Without an understanding of localised SEO, your business will not be able to take advantage of the local online demand for your products or services.

As mobile usage increases so does the importance of local SEO – mobile users tend to search for nearby business on the go and require an instant solution. We can benefit from all that local buying intent, by understanding where the ideal customers are looking and how we can get in front of them.

During this tutorial I will help you to have a better understanding of how you can ultimately improve your local rankings, boost your visibility and how to capitalise on audiences locally.

Google My Business will be a key step in achieving your localised monopoly, as well as high-quality backlinks, citations, optimising your website and creating incentives to get more positive reviews.

It’s worth remembering good marketing does not attempt to reach all people. It’s targeted to connect with a few specific and defined audiences – in our case, local people with immediate needs and a stronger intent.

Be mobile friendly

If your page isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it’s likely to be penalised or discarded from mobile results altogether. As the majority of local customers will use a mobile device to search for nearby businesses, it’s crucial to ensure your website is mobile friendly. Take the test at:

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

Rank for the right keywords

Ranking for the right local keywords can make or break a website. By researching your market’s keyword demand you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target, but also learn more about your audience as a whole. It’s not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind that converts. Head over to the Google Keyword planner to get started:

https://adwords.google.com/intl/da_dk/home/tools/keyword-planner/

On-Page SEO is an absolute must

This includes a healthy solid foundation, content on the website, metas such as title tags, headers, meta descriptions, image alts and a good URL structure. It’s also the perfect opportunity to include location, product and service terms within these metas and a reason to choose you.

Target authoritative websites

A localised SEO strategy will always target high quality backlinks and citations from authoritative websites. The more backlinks and citations a local business website has across the web, the better positioned that website is to gain higher search engine rankings and expand its overall reach. Let’s break this down further.

Gain citations

Are mentions of your business name, address and phone number on other webpages? The di erence with a citation and a backlink is the citation may not link back, but it will mention your NAP. Being consistent is therefore imperative. Opportunities include localised and industry directories, blogs, exhibitions, shows and awards.

Good-quality backlinks

The number of backlinks and linking domains is still a major ranking signal and has a massive impact on your local ranking potential. Claim your local business listings, and add yourself to local directories. Tip – look at your competitors’ profiles, using sites such www.semrush.com/features/backlinks and win some of theirs for your own site.

Consistency is key

Be consistent with your localised information as Google doesn’t like contradictions and you want to avoid customer confusion. Ensure your website, backlinks and citations show the same information as you entered into your Google My Business page.

Make the most of anchors

Anchor text can make a real di erence, in particular in competitive local niches. Make the most of these by adding your product or service and its location. Give the search engines a steer to understand what keywords describe your webpage. A ‘co ee shop in Westbourne’, would be getting backlinks with anchor text: ‘Co ee shop in Westbourne’.

Perform competitor analysis

A competitive analysis is a critical part of any localised marketing plan. Having an insight into what your local competitors are doing can detail what is working well for them and how you can capitalise on it. Add yourself to their email newsletters, social platforms and setup Google Alerts from here: www.google.co.uk/alerts.

Google My Business

One out of every three searches on mobile is related to a location. Google My Business (previously known as Google Places) focuses on delivering localised results to these users. People want to get in touch with you easily, and those who aren’t already customers want information about your product or service. Google My Business is therefore an absolute must to boost your visibility.

The Local Map Pack

Part of setting up Google My Business is the Local Map Pack. These results (now limited to three) appear above all organic results, giving local businesses an edge over natural results. You just have to claim and optimise your free business listing – without it you won’t appear on the local map listings in the SERPs.

GMB setup

Start by going to www.google.com/business, and add all the necessary business information, such as name, address, business category and phone number. Optimise it further with compelling images, business hours, a description and reviews. Authorise the setup and wait for your Google postcard to arrive. This verification process enables Google to confirm that your business is legitimate. You then simply login and enter your PIN to verify your business listing.

Online reviews matter

Focus on actively gaining, monitoring and responding to your reviews in all social platforms, in particular Google My Business as these show up in Google when searching for your business. Consumers are actively using these scores more than ever in their decision-making process. Encourage users by giving them a link to leave a review. Go to

https://developers.google.com/places/place-id

Bully the page with AdWords

Take advantage of paid placements, to increase your overall Click Through Rate. You have the ability to advertise locally by targeting user location and localised terminology, attracting local customers with the products and services they are searching for. Bully the page and push the competition down.

Earn social signals

Your Google+ posts can make it into Google organic search results, which is a great opportunity to drive extra tra ic and add more real-estate. Attract social links and shares with viral content that is easy to share. Create incentives to get more positive reviews and citations across the web.

Voice search is too good to miss

An exciting opportunity for local businesses and marketers to increase conversion is through voice search. It’s actively shaping the future of local SEO, as it’s rapidly becoming the way customers will find you. Creating pages that are FAQ based or consist of long tail keyword content, will help you take advantage

Voice search tips

ComScore estimates that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be by voice. If you want your website to be found by voice search, it should be mobile friendly. Creating mobile- friendly pages and content that loads quickly is imperative. Test yours at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. People talk di erently than they type, so inevitably tail keyword phrases will be longer. Ask yourself the questions your audience may have, in particular their immediate needs and address them. Voice search also recognises ‘Near Me’ searches and turns to Google My Business listings to populate the results. Take advantage of users looking for physical businesses, by ensuring your account is up to date.

Make the most of Bing

The savvy marketer will capitalise on all tra ic sources, in particular if your audience is of an older demographic. If so Bing Places for business and Bing Ads are an absolute must, as those not familiar with the web will keep Bing as the primary search engine and not install Chrome. Capitalize on where your demographic is!

Add Schema real estate

Schema markup is used to tag entities in your pages and content; this includes products you sell and services you o er, making it easier for search engines to understand who you are and what you do. Add this to your HTML, via the Data Highlighter in Search Console and improve the way your pages are represented in SERPs.

Leverage rich answers

A rich answer is a snippet that contains a brief answer to a search query. It appears above other organic search results and thus enjoys more exposure. Simply identify simple questions you might answer on your website (such as FAQs) to increase your chances.

Keyword rich domains

Strike a balance between a brand-friendly and localised, keyword-rich domain. Localised keywords shouldn’t be the primary factor you consider when choosing a domain. Be memorable and sound authoritative.