Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is already an important way of attracting potential customers onto your website, but how does Local SEO differ, and how can it benefit UK businesses within their local vicinity?
Local SEO can help get more customers through your door. Local SEO is becoming an increasingly essential part of optimising your website for Search Engines and/or Google, as Google has been increasing the importance of local in it’s results. Local UK businesses need to start paying attention, as you could be missing out on sales, leads, and website traffic.
So what exactly is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a specialised form of online marketing (and SEO in general) which optimises a website for search engines based upon geographical keywords and local algorithms. This includes ranking for local keywords, geographical keywords, place names, specific location-based search algorithms, and more.
Whilst SEO in general still impacts your local SEO efforts, local SEO differs from national SEO because there are a number of factors which specifically impact local searches. Getting these unique local SEO elements right could see many more customers visit your business due to their searching habits.
Does my business need Local SEO?
Businesses which source their customers or clients locally should definitely be considering local SEO. Businesses such as restaurants, cafés, retail stores, lawyers, and even businesses like dentist practices. Basically any business which has a physical address and expect customers to visit the local facilities can reap the benefits of local SEO.
What do I need to do to boost my Local SEO?
SEO is an ongoing process, and takes effort to do everything right. However, there are a number of things you can do to get started, and with local SEO, there are specific things you should be doing in order to rank for geographical searches.
Your business will need:
A Google Places for Business page
- This will help your customers find you in Google Search Results, and on Google Maps.
- Do this here: google.com/business
- Submit your website, verify your business, fill out all the details, and you’re ready to go.
Google+ Local Page
- This ties in with the Google Business page, but has more of a “social” aspect, as people can find and review your business through Google+ itself.
- Basically, it’s similar to the way Facebook allows businesses to have their own “page”.
- You can also engage with communities which may be based around local regions.
Link Building and Citations
Gaining links from websites dedicated to local businesses is a great way to boost your local SEO. Some of the best places to build links and gain traffic from local sources are:
- Chambers of Commerce
- Business Groups or Networks
- Local Directories
- Local Newspaper websites
Listings on Local Directories
Local Directories can impact your local SEO quite significantly, so it’s important to consider. Of course, directories are not necessary for all businesses, but these are some good examples for UK businesse:
On-Site Local SEO
SEO in general will still help. However, on-site local SEO is incredibly important for local businesses.
- Doing keyword research is an important part of any SEO.
- What do your potential customers search for? How can you tailor your website content in order to boost your organic traffic?
- Each page should have a unique title tag, using one keyword and the location it is targeting.
- Your keywords and local terms (whether city, town, or county) should also be found in the URL and H1 heading tags for each page.
- Each page should have unique content which explains what you are offering, alongside mentioning the location at least a couple of times.
Pages for locations to target
- Each page should be dedicated to target a single key phrase, whether based upon a product or service, in order to rank in search results.
- When you upload images onto your website, ensure any keywords or locations are found within the file and ALT name.
Address and phone number
- Both should appear on all your web pages
- You should use Schema.org Markups for both your Local and Postal addresses
- If you have testimonials or examples of your previous work, include the locations of your former customers or clients.
- Your Meta Descriptions show in the search results, so be sure to include keywords alongside your location, and a call to action which will make people click through.
As mentioned previously, your business needs a Google+ Local Business page. This will make your brand more noticable on Google.
Aside from this, Facebook is a great way to connect with customers, who may choose to check-in to your business, or perhaps leave a review.
Twitter is also a good choice for local businesses, as it allows people to stay up to date with your business. Also, if you include your location in your hashtags (or even your Twitter username itself), it can lead to more people discovering and engaging with your brand.
For any social media account you have, ensure all the fields regarding your location or address are filled out, and link to your website.
Post updates on a regular basis, as social signals are important for ranking on Google. Basically, if Google can see your content getting shares and likes across the social spheres, they know it’s good; and so will put you further up the rankings.
Foursquare can work very well if your business is relevant, such as a restaurant or cinema. Although Foursquare isn’t one of the biggest social networks around, it’s still fairly popular, and could be a worthwhile venture.
Reviews are a great way of getting noticed online. If your business is a restaurant, having multiple positive reviews could be the difference between being ignored, and having a customer visit after their curiosity is piqued online.
Getting positive reviews on your Google+ Local listing can prove invaluable in attracting customers. However, these reviews need to be genuine. Google will be able to tell otherwise, and customers aren’t stupid either; and nothing would look worse as a first impression.
Increasingly, Facebook is used for people to leave reviews, as well as more specific platforms such as Foursquare. All of these will help build your brand around local people. Gaining reviews from websites such as Trip Advisor or other directories are also important. Anywhere your business can be discovered, and reviewed whether by stars or descriptions, can bring in more business.
If you can successfully implement all these elements into your local SEO strategy, then you will be well on your way to increasing the visibility of your business to local customers. If you have any further questions, or are looking for a more in depth SEO strategy for your business, get in touch with the team here at Xanthos.