Improve Local SEO

9 top tips for a killer local SEO strategy

Over the past 2 years alone ‘near me’ and ‘close by’ searches have grown by more than 900%

46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. What’s more, a huge 72% of consumers will visit of store within 5 miles after carrying out a local search.

If your business has a local element, optimising for local search is crucial. Not only does it drive awareness of and traffic to your physical store, it results in sales. In fact, local searches result in purchases 28% of the time.

Want to get feet through the door? Your local SEO strategy has got to be pulling its weight.

Get it right and you’ll reap the rewards – after all, local search result information will send 70% of consumers to a physical store.

In this handy guide, we’ll share our top tips on how local businesses can utilise the power of local SEO to drive traffic, awareness and those all-important sales this holiday season.

Ready to ace your local SEO strategy?

1: Set up and optimise your Google My Business account

 

The first step to creating an awesome local SEO strategy is to set up your free Google My Business Account.

The biggest mistake businesses can make when it comes to local SEO is skipping this vital step.

A Google My Business account allows your business to be visible on Google Maps. Not only that, it means your business will appear in relevant search results on any device.

Without a Google My Business account you can wave goodbye to the chance of a number 1 ranking on Google. Considering that 92% of searchers will click on and choose businesses on the first page of local search results, that’s a lot of wasted potential.

When you register your account, you will be asked to enter important details about your business which make it that whole lot easier for Google to recognise and rank your business for local searches.

To optimise your account you will need to:

  • Verify your listing
  • Provide up-to-date, accurate information about your business as required by Google
  • Add your business logo
  • Enter accurate operating hours, which payment methods you accept and what products or services you sell
  • Use lots of images
  • Ask and encourage customers to write online reviews about your business
  • Respond to reviews when you receive them
  • Post content using Google posts

This is a vital step that will massively increase your visibility, helping give Google that all important context about your business meaning it can rank you for relevant, local searches.

2: Focus on local keywords

 

Want to reach local customers? Use local keywords – simple.

After all, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. If you don’t use the right keywords to connect with these people you’re missing out on a ton of business.

To research local keywords head over to the Google Keyword Planner. Here, you can filter keyword searches based on location. This gives you an amazing insight into popular search terms for your region.

When it comes to local keywords it’s also a great idea to use keyword modifiers to reflect how people search for local businesses.

This might include the likes of:

  • Best
  • Where
  • Cheap
  • Top
  • Buy

And don’t forget location-based keywords:

  • Your main product/service + location
  • Keyword + location
  • Keyword + near-me/close-by

For a full, comprehensive guide to carrying out keyword research for local search make sure to check out this handy article.

3: Create killer local content

 

Crafting kickass local content is a great way of boosting your online visibility in your specific geographic area – grabbing your local customers’ attention as well as offering context to Google about your location and business.

 

You can create a wide range of local content depending on your industry, business and location. The aim here is to be a local authority for your industry by creating killer content on local news, events and activities on your blog.

This type of local content is not only super useful to your audience, it helps you use your all-important keywords and gives Google vital context on your business helping to improve your ranking.

4: Receive glowing reviews

 

Encouraging happy customers to leave glowing online reviews not only optimises your Google My Business account, they’re also social proof of just how good you are.  

When a customer leaves a Google review this acts as an important signal for Google, letting it know whether to rank you for certain searches.

That’s why it’s so important to encourage your customers to review, review, review.

Although Google reviews are arguably the most important, other types of reviews matter too. Together, they tell Google whether your business is relevant to the search and also work to increase your search visibility.

But how can you get these all-important reviews?

  • Ask: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. This sounds obvious, but merely asking your customers when they come in to your store to leave a review will put the idea at the forefront of their minds and encourage them to do so.
  • Email: if you have access to your customer’s email addresses it’s a great idea to send them a follow up email asking them to review their product and experience. You may even wish to incentivise them with a discount code or special offer.
  • Get social: putting out a notice on your social channels from time to time can be a great reminder and prompt people to leave those all-important reviews.

When it comes to receiving reviews it’s important to remember that tons won’t come flooding in overnight. Great reviews take time to build up, but every review counts.

5: Optimise for mobile

 

By 2021 mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. 18% of local mobile searches lead to a purchase within a day, compared to just 7% of non-local searches leading to sales.

Yep, mobile matters. And if you want to optimise for local search your site has got to be mobile friendly. That’s because so many local searches are carried out on mobile. It goes to show, a whopping 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile friendly site.

88% of searches for local businesses on mobile will either call or visit the business within 24 hours. Being optimised for mobile is a powerful thing in the world of local SEO.

Some top tips for optimising for mobile include:

  • Quick load speed: slow and steady does not win the race. Research frequently suggests that slow page load time leads to high bounce rates. Head over to Google’s PaegSpeed Insights to find out how your speed fares and to gain tips on how to improve your speed.
  • Be tactful with text: difficult to read text will not fare well with Google’s search algorithm. In fact, legibility is one of five criteria in Google’s test for mobile friendliness. To ensure your text is always legible on mobile aim to use a minimum of 14-point font size, avoid fonts that are too stylised and don’t use too many different fonts.
  • Choose a mobile responsive design: this will mean that your site will conform to whatever screen size it’s viewed on – ensuring it looks and plays the part.

For more help, check out our top DIY tips on optimising your site for mobile.

6: …and don’t neglect voice search

Voice search is more popular than ever. In fact, by 2020 it is forecast that 50% of all searches will be carried out using voice search.

In terms of local SEO, this means it’s crucial to optimise for how people search when they speak. After all, mobile, voice related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text-related searches.

This will mean altering your keywords to reflect how people search when they speak. Think longer phrases in a more conversational tone with more questions:

Best cafe London

Vs

What is the best café in London/near me?

This will involve using these conversational filler words, location specific phrases and questions. After all, question keywords are up 61% year on year thanks to the likes of voice search.

For help finding out what questions your audience are asking about your products, services or businesses use the tool Answer the Public:

  • Enter your chosen keyword
  • The tool will generate a list of questions that your audience are asking in this area
  • The results will reflect natural language phrases – this gives you a real insight into what your audience are asking and how
  • Now you can incorporate these question keywords and phrases into your content in order to rank for them.

7: Update your meta description and title tags

When it comes to optimizing your site for local SEO, it’s important to update all your title tags and meta descriptions with your business name and location.

This will help you get found by people searching for businesses like yours in your specific geographic area.

Your title tag should:

  • Include your product/service, location and business name.
  • Be short and snappy – only 80 characters are shown in results, the rest of which is cut off.

Similarly, your meta description needs to be concise and grab the attention of your audience:

  • Include your keyword, location and business name in this space
  • Aim to keep it below 160 characters as Google will again cut off anything past this
  • Make it descriptive and enticing
  • Write unique meta descriptions for each page

The title tag and meta description are two key elements of your local SEO strategy, both offering context to search engines on what your page is about. That’s why it’s so important to get them right.

8: The importance of online business directories

 

Online business directories are sites such as Yelp, Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages just to name a few. They’re dedicated sites on which to list your business in order to be found by potential customers.

A little trick when it comes to local SEO is getting your business name, address and number onto these directories. This is not only great visibility for your business, it also works to boost your local SEO.

Make sure your company listing includes the following information:

  • Accurate, up-to-date business name, address and phone number
  • A link to your business website
  • An accurate, useful description of your business

According to research carried out by Moz, online business directories are an important ranking factor for local businesses, providing backlinks, traffic and context for your business page.

To find out 21 high value web directories for 2019, make sure to check out this list by Search Engine Journal.

9: Build those all-important links

Links are hugely important in the world of SEO, and it’s no different for local SEO.

Over 42% of Google’s search ranking algorithm is dependent on links. Google itself has stated that backlinks are one of their top 3 ranking signals.

Every link to your business page tells Google that you’re a legitimate company. That’s a big green tick when it comes to ranking factor.

There are several different ways you can build up links:

  • Guest blogging: guest blogging on other’s sites not only grows your credibility as an authority in your industry, it earns you that all-important backlink.
  • Work with bloggers and influencers: there are lots of different ways you can work with influencers and bloggers. One way could be to offer the influencer a gift or payment in return for review and link to your site from theirs.
  • Create awesome content: this is a sure-fire way of effortlessly gaining links to your page.

Next Steps – ready to create a bulletproof local SEO strategy?

 

Building up a killer local SEO strategy is essential for businesses with a physical presence. Considering that almost half of all internet searches are local, businesses that fail to optimize for local are missing out on huge amounts of visibility, traffic, sales and customers. That’s a big loss in the competitive world of business.

For help creating an epic local SEO strategy, Report Central have got your back. Anyone can have a website, but can they make it rank top in local search results? Simply put, we’ll help your ranking sky rocket.

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Request a free consultation with our team of experts.

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