What is Local Search Engine Optimisation?
When you are looking for a local business be it a restaurant or somewhere to fix your lawn mower chances are you will pick up your phone and type a related search phrase.
In fact it is said that 46% of all Google searches are those seeking local information. “Near me” or Close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over the last 2 years
Local SEO is without doubt the most important marketing strategy and a must for new and established businesses.
Local SEO is the process of maximizing your local presence to attract more visitors from local searches. If someone searches for something online, they will usually use phrases like “dentist near me’ or “Bedford website design company”. Google in return will display details of businesses matching the search query and rank based on the sites authority.
Google and its Snack Packs
Try typing in one of the search phrases I mentioned in the last section. You will be greeted with a map of the general area with a few markers on it. Directly beneath it will be three businesses, followed by a ‘more places’ button. After that, you’ll see the normal everyday search results.
This window is called the Snack Pack. This appears when a local online search is made using Google. Since it’s the very first thing you see, it’s amazingly helpful to your business for gaining attention.
Set Up Google My Business page
GMB listing is a way for you to make your business visible on the search results.
Basically, it’s a business profile. It was previously known as Google Local and Google+ Local. You’ve probably seen a number of these profiles already; they usually show up on Google maps, or in your search results. They’re the best way to inform people about your business.
So, what does a Google My Business profile have in it?
For starters, it has the basic information regarding a business – its name, the services it offers, contacts, opening hours, business description, etc. But it can also have Google reviews – submitted by customers through Google – and QandAs.
These are all very powerful tools if you want to attract customers. The funny thing is, lots of businesses don’t even have a Google My Business profile that is set up properly. This means you can get ahead of your competition by simply creating one for yourself.
Creating a Google My Business profile is simple. You can either create a new one from scratch, or if your business is already in the database you can claim.
You will be prompted to give information about your business like its name, address, category, and other important things. If an unclaimed profile already exists, make sure all the information is correct, and update if necessary.
After filling out everything, you will need to verify your listing. This can usually be done by phone. Once your listing has been verified, you can add even more information like opening hours, services, and additional phone numbers or other contacts. You should also try uploading a few photos as well.
Google My Business isn’t the only one of its kind, though. Bing has a similar feature called Bing Places. Apple has its own version of it as well, incorporated into Apple Maps.
How Do I rank well in local search
You need to take into consideration traditional practices used in SEO that tell the search engines how relevant your website is for a given search.
Keywords need to reflect your product or service, description needs to grab the reader’s attention.
Your Name Address and Phone Number (NAP) has to appear on the site. If you have several different locations, you should have a separate landing page for all of them. This way, your business will rank better for several location-based phrases and keywords. Just set up a new landing page for every city or area your business serves.
Optimise your homepage based around your primary location. Even if you serve several areas or cities, your homepage should focus on the primary one. Google will show localized search results most of the time. They do this based on your GPS or IP location. Since they will show a location anyway, you should just optimize the homepage for your primary location.
Embedding a Google map which has the location marked could help your customers but this can slow down the site so beware. If it does placing the map on your contact page will suffice.
Schema Markup – Will help the search engines to understand your site and business better, which in turn means more traffic. Implementing it can be done via Google’s Structured Markup Helper. You just need to add all the relevant information to the tool, and it will give you the code you need. You will have to do this for each of your local landing pages, though.
The distance between the searcher and what they are looking for is probably the #1 ranking factor. After all when you search for local bars near me, you don’t expect google to show results 10 miles away!
There are 3 ways a user can perform a local search; non-geo-modified, geo-modified, and “near me.”
Non-Geo Modified Searches – This search behaviour is typical of a user that is looking for something around them
Geo-Modified Searches – Searcher may not necessary be in the location my be planning a visit and wants to know “the best restaurant in Bedford”
“Near Me” Searches – used to be very popular but our expectations now are that Google will show us the closest pub, we don’t have to state near me.
How well does your business stand out online, what level of trust do the search engines have in your brand. Trust can come in several forms: reviews, articles, local mentions, directories and links. Brands with a stronger prominence can be perceived to have more trust so it is important to build your online visibility.
Online reviews for your business help increase your search engine signals but also can influence a buyer’s decision. You can never have enough good reviews so it is important to develop a strategy to capitalise on your great services.
Citations are mentions of your business online. They typically consist of the name, address and phone number – abbreviated as NAP. Two types of citations exist; structured and unstructured.
Structured citations are like Google My Business, Bing Places and YELL. They present your NAP information in a structured manner. These are usually business listings that appear online after being created or claimed by the owner.
Unstructured citations are a little bit different. These typically appear in articles, press releases, blog posts, etc. The main distinction is that they are in an unstructured format. For example, if a local newspaper talks about your business, it will provide your NAP information in several small chunks.
Citations are a major component of any Local SEO Strategy, when building your reach it is important to ensure that they match. If your citations all match up perfectly, Google will have an easier time showing the information on searches. If it doesn’t match, it will confuse Google, and it will potentially mislead customers.
Chances are, if your business is established, it will already have listing on popular directories. Make sure that these all have the correct information. After you’ve cleared up your existing citations, it’s time to build some more.
You should try to find the most relevant places, like the Local Chamber of Commerce or Community hubs. Look for any and all online publications that are – in some way – related to your industry and business.
Additional things to keep in mind
Once you have a Google My Business account set up, the worst thing you can do is abandon it.
Respond to reviews you get and keep your eyes open for the ‘suggest an edit feature’ People can use the suggest an edit’ button that appears on your profile freely. Google sometimes implements edits suggested this way without notifying the business owner. It’s best to keep an eye out for this and correct any misleading information.
You shouldn’t forget about Google Posts either. This is basically a miniature blog inside Google My Business. Blog posts are regularly shown when the panel appears in search results. This can be used to your advantage as well. You can use more keywords in these blog posts, and you can get more people’s attention with them. You can upload images and write texts up to 300 words. You can even include a call-to-action button in the post as well if you want to.
Needless to say, the more active you stay on Google Posts, the better. Both Google and people will see that your site is being maintained. This can attract more visitors and links. Post frequency depends on how big your business is. The bigger it is, the more posts you should make.
The power of the Internet
Nowadays pretty much everyone relies on the Internet to find what they need. Most of these people will only look at the first few results, as they are usually the best ones around. Because of this, it’s of key importance that your business shows up among the first few. No matter what device people use, your website has to support it.
Using these local SEO tactics doesn’t cost you anything. Or if it does, it’s certainly less than advertising in newspapers or the like. Local SEO is your best way of advertising to people near you. It’s both cost-effective and extremely efficient.
Our Local SEO Packages
Set UpIdeal for new Businesses
- Google My Business (GMBH)
- Google Analytics Integration
- Google Search Console Setup
- Bing Webmaster tools
- Citation Audit
GrowIdeal for new Businesses
- All SETup features
- GMB Optimisastion
- local schema implementation
- 2 x GMB Posts
- 25 x local citations
AccelerateIdeal for established Businesses
- All "grow'" features
- 4 x GMB posts
- 25 x local citations
- 2 x GMB Posts
- 2 x Blog Outreach Posts