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How to dominate your local area using SEO

If you’ve already started rolling out your digital marketing strategy, you will undoubtedly have this thing called SEO high on your priority list. After all, if you are not on Google, you might as well not exist.

Even if you know how important SEO is in your digital marketing strategy, you may not know exactly how to use it to reach customers in your local area.

The fact is, get your SEO wrong and you might miss a trick. Yes, SEO can help you rank nationally, even globally but that’s often quite hard. Start to think a little bit more locally though and you just might increase your chances of appearing in the search results that you want.

Using local SEO can position your business on search engines and digital marketing platforms to make sure it’s seen by potential customers carrying out searches in your local area.

Think about it, millions of customers use local search every single day to find relevant local businesses – from restaurants to banks. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are local, and 50% of these are searching for business information such as address or customer review.

In this blogpost we share practical strategy insights on how you can dominate your local area using SEO. Google 3 pack, here you come!

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Tip No 1 – Set your business on Google My Business

First things first, set your business up on Google My Business, a free and easy to use tool that allows businesses to manage how they look and perform on Google. Signing up and gaining verification gives businesses an opportunity to tell potential customers important information including address, opening times, details, and, most importantly, customer reviews.

By creating an entry for your business, you increase your chances of ranking well in local searches and also provide your business with a well-needed online visibility.

The more you get seen by potential clients and the more they click on the entry, the more Google strengthen your position how relevant your business is to the search intent of the customer. So, the clearer your business description is, the better you’ll rank on Google.

The amount of activity around your listing can affect your ranking too. If you have lots of reviews, local content and quality links to your site it’s likely that you’ll rank highly, so as the next step you can link the entry to your social pages and approach existing customers to leave positive reviews.

So don’t wait around and register for Google My Business today – it will only take a few minutes to register and you can expect to see a difference in SEO searches in weeks.

Tip No 2 – Join other local listings and directories

You should also list your business on other directories and listing websites.

You’ll probably be familiar with directories such as Yelp, but might not know that there are hundreds of generic, industry-specific and local directories providing data points for search engines out there. Getting your business onto directories with accurate location information will help your website rank highly in local searches. Listing your business on directories is also an effective way of building backlinks to your website, which will help drive traffic towards your business and contribute towards the site’s growing authority.

The easiest way to decide on which local directories to get seen on is to do a simple keyword search for your industry – on Google, and then formulate a plan to email these directories for a link back.

It’s important to get featured on local directories – especially those that are already ranking well on Google and high authority sites locally.

Tip No 3 – Do Your Keyword Research

Internet traffic via search engines is driven by the specific keywords people search for, so if you’re missing out on traffic then you need to improve your keywords. Do your research and include keywords relevant to your geography and business niche to help you rank well in local searches.

If you have Google Analytics installed for the site, alongside a Search Console tool, you can review the keywords and phrases that regularly get you impressions and clicks to see which words you need to optimise the site for.

But what if you have no or little traffic to the site? You can still make sure you are using the right keywords, which you can check with Google Keyword Planner – a free tool from Google which allows you to see variations of the words and phrases searched for, how difficult it would be to rank for them and how popular they are.

If one of your competitors is ranking on page one of Google then why not see what keywords they’re using? Websites like SpyFu.com allow you to enter your competitor’s URL to reveal their top organic keywords and paid AdWords keywords their site ranks for – giving you lots of keyword inspiration! Or try out AdWord’s Keyword Planner Tool.

Tip No 4 – Update Your Meta and SEO tags with Geo Locations

Now that you have done your keyword research and got some links from local directories, it’s time to look at the meta tags on your site – those precious snippets of information that tell visitors and Google more about your content, products and services.

By simply updating your meta and SEO tags with geo locations, you are telling the search engines where your site is based. So, if your business has a physical location, say you own a restaurant or a shop, then updating your tags with a geo location will mean that your site will appear in local searches, helping you target the right customers.

Tip No 5 – Make Sure Your Site is Mobile

With mobile being a dominant platform for searches and Google driving over 96% of mobile traffic, you can see why Google considers how sites perform on mobile when deciding on the ranking. So if your site performs badly on mobile devices then you are less likely to rank for local searches.

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Plus, think about it, if your site isn’t mobile friendly then visitors to the site are likely to bounce. With over 3.8 million Google searches made daily, and thousands of marketing messages out there, customers aren’t going to hang around if they can’t access your website easily on their phone. So, making sure your site is mobile friendly is key – not least for your local SEO.

Tip No 6 – Keep Your Social Platforms Updated

 With local SEO, every step you take will be helping, so don’t miss this one.

Digital marketers and business owners will know that social media plays an increasingly important role in search engine rankings.

Updating your social platforms with your location and address is another key SEO tactic that will help your business dominate your local area. By simply including location information, you are telling Google and customers where your business is based. This means you’re more likely to rank highly when a local search is carried out for a business or service like yours.

Remember, this goes beyond updating your main page or intro with snippets of geo location, think also about creating content that uses the right keywords for the services, products and geo location – these can be articles on LinkedIn or infographics on Pinterest.

Tip No 7 – Contribute to other high-authority sites

Finally, after a few ‘’easy wins’’ steps above, you can branch more into content marketing and contribute to or collaborate with other high-value sites – the ones that rank well on your chosen keywords and for your geo-location and exist outside of the space of directories.

These could be news platforms, industry blogs, publishing sites of magazines etc that can help you promote content, have an existing audience and would be a good fit for your message. As much as this kind of content marketing is about creating exposure and healthy PR, it can also do wonders for your local SEO as you will be collaborating with platforms that already rank well locally.

To get some indication on which platforms you can be contributing, head the Amazon owned company Alexa to find out the scoring and see how sites compare locally.

Do you have more tips on dominating your local SEO?

Do you have any other tips on ranking well on local SEO – comment below to tell us what has worked for you in the past!

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