Most of the local businesses are not sure where to begin when it comes to ranking on top of Google. They think this privilege is only allotted for highly recognised brands and some special businesses.
Every day, people search for restaurants, hotels, dentists, physicians or lawyers located ‘NEARBY’. Your potential customers are looking for the best products or services close by, with their smartphones, and of course, they want quick results.
For instance, if there is a leaky pipe or blocked sink, do people prefer directly going to the store? Never. They just search on Google for ‘plumbers near me’. The Google search results help to find the contact number and details of nearby plumbers along with reviews.
The question is, will your service/ products show up at the time when customers are searching? Will they choose you over competitors?
So, it’s obvious that local search optimisation is one of the key elements for your success.
What is local SEO exactly?
Local search engine optimisation is the practice of optimising your website to be found in search results for location-based keywords. Being an effective way to market your local business online, Local Search Engine Optimisation helps to reach out to your target audience faster.
For a local business, it’s absolutely vital that their website ranks up in local searches to a target audience.
Nearly half of the Google search queries have a ‘local intent’.
Now if anyone looks for your service or products online, say ‘best plumber in (location)’, ‘how to fix a blocked sink’ or ‘plumbers near me’, your contact information should appear at the top of the Google search.
Why local SEO is important?
Let’s see a few stats to understand how local SEO is important for your business:
- 46 % of Google search queries have local intent.
- 72% of people who did a local search went to a store on the same day.
- 88% of local smartphone searches make a call or visit the store or office within one day.
- 61% of mobile searchers contact a local business if their website is mobile-friendly
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to purchase within 24 hours
- “close by” or “Near me” keywords has increased over 3 years
- 70% of users visit a physical store after seeing search result information
- 1 out of 3 customers search on a smartphone before arriving at a store
Your business is getting more authenticity which further helps you to reach out to more customers.
How to optimise your website for local search?
Optimise your meta tags, headers and content locally
Your first step in enhancing your local SEO is to optimise the meta tags, headers and content locally.
It’s the title tag that showcases the context of your content. Hence your title tags should be descriptive, clear and usually do not exceed 55 characters. Be creative while you craft title tag and meta description by wisely using the dedicated space.
To reach local customers, try to add city name your city where your business is located (e.g., “plumbing works in old Trafford”). Use long-tail keywords in meta tags and headers to optimise your site geographically and topically.
Claim your Google My Business (GMB) listings
Google My Business is a free tool that enables business owners to list themselves in the Google platform. This free business profile lets you get in touch with your potential customers. Make sure to add information like business name, address, location, phone number, opening hours and mode of payment available. It’s generally recommended that you upload your company logo, products or services and photos of your business. There will be a Google verification process to confirm that you are an actual business owner and your business is legitimate. Responding to all reviews and uploading photos will help Google recognise that your business is authentic. Claim your GMB listing today if you haven’t already!
Never follow a “set it and forget it” mentality when optimising your business for local SEO. You should respond to customer/client reviews in a timely manner, no matter whether it is positive or negative. Showcase authentic and honest reviews to indicate the quality of your service. The number of reviews you receive, the authority of the review sites and overall quality of the reviews enables search engines to mark your service as trustful and useful. Tools like Radian6, Trackur, UberVU, Review trackers help you to get alerts whenever your business/brand is mentioned. Live chat, comment box, surveys, follow up calls are some of the effective ways to collect reviews.
Create local citations
Your local citation plays an important role in the local search engine optimisation.
A local citation is any online reference to your business’s name, address and phone number (collectively called NAP). It’s important to list your NAP correctly and consistently as Google uses them when assessing the online authority of your business.
Citations are of two types – structured and unstructured.
In a structured citation, your business information (NAP) appears on a business listing directory. Examples for this include Yelp, Facebook, Yellowpages and MapQuest. An unstructured citation is your business information published on any other sites – usually on magazine/newspaper sites, blogs, wikis and more.
Use Schema markup
With schema markup, search engines can better understand the details of your business like name, address, phone number, date of events and other information.
Business like lawyers, clinics, electronic repair shops, restaurants, small eateries uses schema markup to create rich snippets for their business. The rich results include product information, actions, local business information and more.
SEO industry will keep on evolving and building an SEO strategy now is a hectic challenge for any business. Google will continue to focus on delivering better local search experience. So, it’s important to develop an effective local SEO strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
Every local business has to leverage local SEO elements to reach their target audience. If you haven’t done anything to future proof your local search engine experience, there has never been a more perfect time to start focusing on local SEO.