Did you know that 46 percent of all Google searches are local? What’s more, 89 percent of users search for local businesses on their smartphone once a week or more, and 58 percent search daily – at least!
It can be nigh on impossible to get onto page 1 of Google for the exact match competitive phrases without investing a huge amount of money towards it. However, you needn’t necessarily lose sleep over it. If you get your local SEO right, you immediately have a cost-effective way to target local users, make your marketing budget go further, and avoid competing unnecessarily with bigger brands. So what do you need to know?
These three steps will help you to get your local optimisation right and optimise your local organic marketing activity for targeted users.
Step 1: Claim your Google My Business Page
If your business has a physical location, you can get a pin marker onto Google Maps with attached contact information such as your website, directions, contact details and user ratings. Previously known as Google Places, Google Local and Google + Pages, you’ll need to use the My Business dashboard and add four pieces of information as follows:
- Your business or brand name – with the keyword you want to rank for.
- Contact information – add your local phone number for better local search rankings.
- Category optimisation – choose a broad category first and then specific subsequent categories.
- Brand optimisation – add your brand bio, logo, keyword-rich services descriptions and website links. Use your business’s name and city in the logo file name and the image alt tag for on-site optimisation benefits.
Step 2: Work through your on-site optimisation
This refers to website actions that will increase your local search visibility. The steps you need to take are:
- Choose a meta title and description that includes your city and region
- Use the right language and region tags, making sure you choose en-GB if you are based in the UK.
- Add a Google map to your website, with directions to your premises. This is useful to Google and clients alike.
- Consider using Schema markup – a code that helps search engines to rank local information more accurately. It lets Google and other search engines return key information for local searches such as opening hours, reviews, testimonials and even product information such as menus in local search results.
Step 3: Look at local SEO link building
As part of your online marketing, focus on linking with local websites that are relevant to your business – such as through local directories. Find them using a Google search and then get in touch.
a) Local directories
Google wants to see local and niche citations alike. Make sure when you add these, that you include exactly the same business name, address and phone number as shown on your Google+ information. This helps Google to associate your business and its services with a particular location.
b) Local awards and blogs
Look for local business awards and enter them – or find a way to be nominated. The results are invariably published online, which means links for you. Also network with local bloggers to build a relationship with them and then explore opportunities for reciprocal content and links.
c) Brand mentions
You can easily get links from news sites by searching for mentions of your brand name in an article and then asking them to link to your website. Simply contact the writer and ask that they can make this minor adjustment. A little politeness goes a long way!
d) Facebook Like Drive
Find a relevant local charity and offer to pledge funds for every like that your Facebook page gets within a period of time – up to a fixed sum. Run it for, say, 30 days and see what results you get from it.
e) Internships and events
If you want an intern, or would consider one, remember you have a great opportunity to gain high authority links from local colleges and universities. Equally, local events hosting is great for brand building – whether you host a speaking event or a workshop. These events raise your visibility in the community and create plenty of linking opportunities through news content.
So there you have it – 3 steps to build your online search visibility and local SEO for better incoming traffic, and – ultimately – better conversions.