First of all before reading this blog you need to determine if you need local SEO. The simple way of knowing if you do or do not need local SEO is if you own a physical shop that relies on local customers to survive then you need local SEO. Most customers today search online to find local products/services/businesses. If you are not ranking well you are missing out on potential customers.
Local SEO is basically optimising your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. There are so many benefits of doing local SEO. It helps generate traffic for both your website and your physical location, it increases brand recognition and it helps build authority and credibility for your business.
Before you start you need to make sure your website works on a mobile as the majority of local searches are done on a mobile. Use this tool to check it does Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check this.
Use Google My Business
If you haven’t done so already you need to make sure you claim and optimise your Google My Business listing and keep your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) consistent. Be sure to review your name, address and phone number. The format you use needs to be the same on your website as well as Google My Business and any citations you have on the internet. Even minor differences “Street” instead of “St” can impact your rankings. If you find inconsistencies in citations correct these. The goal is to have all of your NAP listings looking exactly the same because Google’s algorithms will not be able to aggregate them. The goal of local SEO is to give the location of your business credibility and authenticity. You cannot do that if there are lots of different versions of your address. As you work through your existing citations make sure you keep a list of every place you are listed. Then in the future if you change location you will easily be able to change your address when needed.
Upload High Quality Photos To Google My Business
Photos of your shop inside and out will help you stand out to potential customers. It helps with trust and credibility. Share photos of products you sell and new products. Do not be afraid to showcase your shop.
Collect Google Reviews From Your Customers
These reviews are an essential ranking factor for local search. Ask your happy customers to take a few minutes to say thank you with a Google review. If asking customers for reviews do not ask them all on the same day as it is better to have a steady stream of reviews than a huge flood of them all written on same day. Your reviews need to be monitored regularly. You should consistently respond to reviews whether they are negative or positive.
Monitor Google My Business Regularly
Check for inaccurate edits to listing as anyone can suggest edits and you only want accurate information to be on your listing.
Use Google Posts
A Google My Business post is a social post that will appear in local searches and on Google Maps. It should contain an eye catching photo, a few sentences explaining a service/new product you provide and end with a strong call to action. These posts stay visible for 7 days after posting. Another great benefit of optimising your Google My Business profile is that you can appear in Google’s Local 3-Pack.
Maintain Active Presence On Social Media
As well as optimising Google My Business you should also maintain an active presence on social media. Make sure you fill out your profile and bio completely and make sure to link back to your website. Use geo-specific keywords in your social media content. This will help optimise your social media content and that will play a role in improving your ranking in local search.
Optimise Your Website
- Make sure you have a Google map on your website so people know exactly where you are.
- On every page of your website add to the footer your name, address and phone number. Make sure this is the same format as on your Google My Business listing.
- Add schema markup to website. You can use this tool and select local businesses, then mark up the areas then add this to the code on your website. You may need a developer to help you implement this.
- Create local content for your blog on your website and also guest blog on other local websites.
- Optimise logos and images on website with localised file names and alt tags.
- Have an about page on your website and include information about your company’s history and local roots.
Optimising for local SEO is not a one time piece of work. It requires ongoing work so make sure you have a plan in place to continually optimise for local SEO and monitor what you currently have done. The important thing to remember is that not optimising your business for local search means you are potentially losing out on getting new customers.