As if the organic search results aren’t already a tough place to rank in, there’s still local SEO to worry about. Sounds like a challenge?
The truth is, Google’s magical local pack shouldn’t really scare you. Even if you are a small business with limited resources, you can still make it to Google’s “3-pack”.
How important is local SEO?
Aside from traditional SEO, there are other ranking factors that small businesses and even big enterprises can take advantage of. One of them is local SEO.
Local SEO is optimising your website to rank better for a local audience. This will help you promote your products and services to customers who are searching using localised keywords. To gather information for local search, search engines use local content, local links, social profile pages and citations to provide the most relevant results to search users.
Local search is a powerful tool for small businesses. According to a recent study, four in five customers use search engines to find local information. This means that if your website isn’t optimised for local search, you are missing out on 80% of your potential customers.
Local SEO strategies
This guide will help you optimise your small business for local search.
Google My Business
Google My Business is the ground zero for all your local SEO efforts. It is essential in gaining local visibility. Think of it as a directory of sorts, displaying business information like addresses, phone numbers, operating hours and even photos relating to your business across multiple Google platforms. By sending all these information to Google, you are increasing your business’ chances of being mentioned in Google Maps’ local 3-pack, which is the top three local listings that appear at the top of mobile listings. When Google sees you have a strong local presence, it will rank you high when a customer searches for a specific product or service within your location.
In this blog, we will walk you through the simple process of creating a Google My Business profile for your business.
A well-optimised website page is one of the best ways to rank in the local pack. We recommend using localised keywords across your webpages to increase the breadth of their relevance to local search queries. Here’s a simple checklist you can follow to boost on-page SEO.
- Include your business name and city in your headers and title tags
- Weave local keywords easily in your content, meta description and URL
- Add location pages to your website, such as an About Us page that describes your location
- Write local content, such as local news, promotions, industry gatherings, etc.
Reviews will help increase your website’s prominence. Most customers rely heavily on online reviews in making purchase decisions and they are likely to recommend a service or product to their friends and family. Google considers a brand’s prominence in reviews a huge ranking factor. It scours through the web to see how people have rated your business and what customers think about it. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your ranking in SERPs will be.
Social Media Profiles
Social media channels also play a big role in your local rankings. Facebook Places includes a list of recommended businesses, which includes reviews, descriptions and locations. If you already have a Facebook Page for your business, make sure you fill out your page’s About section and provide business addresses, contact details and business hours. If you have multiple locations, it is best to create a page for each.
Remember to link to and from your website to encourage more reviews and engagement. While traffic usually comes from search, social media platforms help you increase engagement with customers. When search engines are becoming too competitive and overcrowded, social media channels are the best place to look for fresh traffic.
One way to boost local SEO rankings is through engaging with online directories. Here’s how you can optimise your website for directories:
- Set up your NAP (name, address, phone) in your website by having a separate contact page or including this information as a crawlable HTML text in your site. You can also include your NAP in your website footer or header
- Get relevant and high-authority inbound links through guest blogging, partnerships and sponsorships.
- Engage through social media
- Identify local listings relevant to your business. Don’t just target state, national or worldwide directories; you can also go for local, city/town-specific listings.
What local SEO strategies can you share? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!