There’s absolutely no doubt that SEO can be confusing; with Google’s ever-changing and evolving ranking factors, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. What we do know is that local SEO is a ranking factor, and will likely be bigger than ever, with more competition in 2021. If your business aims to target specific audiences, within a particular geographic area (or areas), local SEO is a ‘slow and steady’ wins the race strategy that is extremely effective.
Ok, so what exactly are local search results? Whether you’ve been out and about searching for a restaurant on your phone, or at home planning ahead, you would have encountered more local search results than you were probably aware of.
These results not only give us the information of local businesses nearby, in relation to the search performed, and the area, but also provide users with quick navigation to their website, or directions should we want to go straight there.
Why is local SEO important to your business?
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where patience is… not as prevalent as it used to be. Consumers want things here and now; they don’t want to go shopping then come home and cook food, they don’t want to order something and wait days for it to arrive, so, we have to make things as available as possible. In a survey, respondents showed that the type of information they are looking for when performing a local search is as follows:
- Address or location
- Searching for a specific business
- Obtaining a phone number
- Checking opening hours
- Getting driving directions
- Finding coupons/offers
- Reading reviews
What factors affect local SEO and how can you implement it?
Thankfully, there is a lot you can do in order to implement local SEO to improve your business. Firstly, and without any hesitation, register your business on Google My Business – this is the first step towards your business appearing on a Google search engine result.
Google My Business
If you provide accurate and useful information, that is consistent across all of your platforms (website, social media, Google+, etc.) then you are more likely to appear on a search result. After all, local SEO is a ranking factor, so doing it right is the best way to success. If you have multiple business telephone numbers, include them all so that your potential visitors, users, or consumers can get hold of you should they need to. If you’re going to display a photo of your business, make sure you do it properly; don’t take a shoddy photo with misplaced people and objects in the background – use or borrow a professional camera. This is your business we’re talking about!
Don’t’ forget to include contact pages on your website, blog, and social media platforms, and create a specific page for them with a unique and memorable URL. If a user can access your contact and location details at any given moment, they are more likely to actually visit or contact you, and become a returning and regular customer. Embedding a Google map on your website is very easy, but if you can’t quite figure it out, there are tonnes of tips online to help you get on your way.
Even better (and easier), many different hosts now offer 1-click installs to your favourite apps, like WordPress, or come with website builders included in their packages. The majority of which will offer a drag and drop design where you can integrate elements like Google maps, social media links, and more to improve your businesses local SEO.
Ratings and Reviews
Google has confirmed that online reviews have a large impact on local SEO, so you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to add them to your business. Depending on the type of business you have, there are plenty of review sites available. For example, if you’re a tradesman, you can register on Trust A Trader, a restaurant or hotel owner could register on Trip Advisor, and everyone can use Trust Pilot.
Whether they’re good reviews or bad reviews, they all help towards your local SEO. Often people ask how a negative review can be positive – if you respond appropriately and efficiently to a negative review, more often than not you’ll be able to turn the review around. You’re engaging with your users, sorting their problems, and showing the world that you’re not afraid to face the problems your users have found.
Meta Descriptions and Titles
Although this is a more generalised SEO concept, it can be applied to local SEO too. In fact, it should never be missed. Ensuring that your meta description and the title is concise, succinct, and relevant is your key to success. Your meta title is the first thing that a user will see when they perform a search; this needs to describe exactly who you are as a business, and what you can offer, in under 60 characters. Similarly, the meta description closely follows the title and should provide your users with a brief overview of your business, without too much keyword stuffing.
When used correctly, keywords are great, but if you go overboard, they will actually damage your SEO score and search engine ranking. Use keyword data to form your strategy.
Local SEO is all about making your business presence bigger and better – making yourself available to the world, whether it’s via telephone, Google Maps directions, or click-throughs to your website. Local SEO can improve your business tenfold, simply by letting people know you’re there. We know it can be exhausting, but a little bit of effort really does go a long way when it comes to your SEO strategy.