Local SEO is a simple way to put your bricks-and-mortar business in the front of millions of customers searching to find the best local businesses in their area. Google suggests that 80% of users conduct online searches for local businesses, with 50% of users who are searching for local businesses mobile visiting the store within a day, so it’s clear that if you’re not there, you’re missing a trick.
So let’s assume you are a small, local business that doesn’t have the budget to hire a big agency or the time to wait for standard on and off-page SEO efforts to bear fruits. Is there anything else you could try that would bring almost instant results?
Luckily you’ve stumbled upon the right article as I’m here to talk you through my top five tips to help you conquer local search and get your business ranking locally like a boss.
1. Set up a Google Business Listing
If you’re looking for a quick win that’s easy to implement, Google’s Local Listings (part of their Local SEO pack) may be just the thing to boost your presence.
Start by registering your business with Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. Any business with a physical location is eligible for a Google My Business listing and in some cases you can even register your My Business page without an address. Google calls it “Service Area Business” and this could apply to plumbers, carpet cleaners or courier services – basically any ‘on the road’ or ‘man in van’ business. In this case you will want to choose “Yes” when Google asks if you deliver goods and services to customers at their location. Full Google guidelines about My Business listings can be found here.
Registering your business is just the first step, but you must remember to keep your listing up to date and use some advanced features to increase your chances to be listed at the top of the local results page.
Share regular content in the “Posts” section. Once a week is a great starting point, but you may want to increase it if you offer additional discounts, incentives or special offers.
Update your photos. Google My Business allows you to add images to different sections of your listing – interior, exterior, products, team, brand identity, etc. Use as many groups as you can and update product images regularly.
Ask for reviews. Google My Business allows your customers to leave a review of your business. Genuine, honest reviews are critical both for showcasing the quality of your service and for sending signals to search engines. The amount of reviews you receive, and the overall quality of the reviews are all important factors for local search rankings.
Top tip: You may find it useful to generate a direct link for your customers to leave a review. You can use this in your email campaigns, newsletters or on your social channels. For more information on generating a direct link, click here.
2. Manage Your Citations
Every mention of your business online that includes your business name, address and phone number is known as a citation to Google. They can be found on local business directories, websites, apps and social platforms, all to help searchers discover local businesses.
It’s best to actively manage these mentions of your business to ensure the accuracy of information (as they can either positively or negatively influence your search engine rankings) by looking at:
The number of citations your business has
The accuracy of the information that’s featured (such as your phone number)
The quality of the platform they’re featured on
The more accurate your citations are, the better you may rank in the Google search results.
3. Add Local Rich Schema
Schema mark-up is a snippet of code that you can add to your website which gives search engines a more detailed view of what your business has to offer, such as products, events or people in your business.
Using a schema mark-up can help a local business to stand out in the search results by including elements such as star ratings and number of reviews, or for ecommerce businesses price and product information, and can often result in 30% higher click through rates, higher organic traffic levels to the website and more conversions.
Google has specific requirements and recommendations for local business schema mark-ups, but to make life easier, they provide an easy to use generator to help you the results you want.
4. Optimising your URL, Title tags, Header tags and Meta Description
Every time you add a piece of content to your website, a good practice is to optimise it for your target keywords – and for local businesses this also means adding in your location.
Ensure that all your titles and subheadings hold the correct tags, and that your URL, Title Tag and Meta Descriptions contain important keywords that you want to be ranked for. You can also add your location to your Meta Descriptions, for example: Ecrubox Digital | An award-winning agency with a difference | Pershore
5. Gain Local Inbound Links
Gaining inbound links is a great way to increase your domain authority, and prove to Google that you’re a legitimate business, as well as potentially putting you in front of an audience that you don’t currently target. Inbound links can be gained by:
Guest Blogging – When a guest blogger mentions you, 9 times out of 10 they will refer readers to your website to learn more about you. If not – don’t hesitate in dropping them an email and asking them to link to your site. You could in turn feature this coverage on your site, linking back to the blogger.
Sponsorships or Partnerships – If you sponsor an event or partner with a local business, more often than not, your logo and a link back to your website, will be featured somewhere. Make sure you negotiate this (in writing!) when you form the agreement.