In this post, we will introduce you to local search engine optimisation (SEO). What is local SEO? Why is local SEO important and what can it do for your business?
Local SEO is optimising your online assets to help your website rank well in search results pages (SERPs).
If your business has a physical and online storefront then it is important that you make sure you include local SEO as part of your marketing strategy. How are customers going to find your business locally if you haven’t optimised for it?
Discover how we at Kanuka Digital can assist with creating a robust SEO strategy.
What is the difference between l
ocal SEO and SEO?
Local SEO contains a range of activities that can be carried out to improve your websites presence in search engines specifically for local search terms. Standard SEO focuses more on broader search activities. Some of these activities are discussed later in the on-page and off-page SEO sections of this post.
What is the local pack?
When you perform a search in Google using a local search term such as ‘digital marketing Stafford’ you will be presented with a list of local businesses in what is called the ‘local pack’. This usually consists of three results which Google deems best to match your query.
As you can see in the example above the results are also accompanied by a Google Map and a ‘More Places’ link at the bottom of the pack.
Each local result can be clicked on and the user will be shown more details about that local business including:
- Open Times
- Phone Number
- Questions and Answers
- Popular Times
- Plan Your Visit
- Get Directions
- Visit Website
In the left panel, the user is presented with more local businesses relevant to the user’s search term. By optimising for local search you can improve your search rankings in these results.
Local SEO isn’t just about the local pack, it’s also about improving the presence of your website for local search terms too in the standard search engine results pages (SERPs).
The results below appear after the local pack in SERPs. They are dominated by directory listings and social media profiles such as Facebook.
However, by carrying out local SEO activities on your site it’s possible to rank highly for local terms e.g Kanuka Digital at position 1 and other similar services in lower positions.
How can you optimise for local search and increase your local r
ankings on Google?
There are a number of optimisations that you need to be carried out to help increase rankings for a local search. Some of these are on-page, on your website, while others are off-page, on other web assets not on your website.
First of all, make sure that you have claimed and verified your business. To do this head on over to Google My Business and follow the simple steps. Without this, you may not even be visible on Google Maps.
For an in-depth look into the functionality and features of Google My Busy head on over to this article.
On-page local SEO indicators
The main focus for on-page local SEO is shown in the list below:
- Keyword Research
- Website Copy
- Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)
- Google Map
Spend quality time carrying out keyword research around local search terms. Make sure they are relevant to your business and location. Think about not only the fat-head keywords but also the long-tail keywords.
Fat-head keywords tend to provide larger search volumes but are more highly competitive. Long-tail keywords usually have lower search volumes but tend to convert into sales/leads as they are more specific to the user’s search intent.
Fat-head keyword – digital marketing agency
Long-tail keyword – digital marketing agency in Stafford area
There’s a huge array of keyword research tools out there. We recommend using a keyword tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Google Chrome Extension, Keywords Everywhere. Both of these are free to use and very useful in the day to day digital marketing activities.
When performing local keyword research think about the user intent. What kind of things would a potential customer or client search for and why?
Once you’ve nailed your keyword research you then need to write your engaging copy including your new found search terms. Your content should include your keywords naturally and not forced. Remember to write for the user, not the search engines.
Types of intent
Transactional – Are they looking to make a purchase?
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Informational – Are they looking to find out information about local services?
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Navigational – Are they trying to find directions to a local business?
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Be sure to include relevant local terms in your meta titles and meta descriptions.
The meta title helps search engines understand what your page is about and the meta description, although not a ranking factor will help with the clickthrough rate from SERPs.
Not sure how to write metadata? Discover our beginners guide to writing metadata.
Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)
Make sure your business name, address and phone number are clear on your website. We recommend including it in the footer and on your Contact page.
Make sure this information matches exactly how it is on your Google My Business Profile. Keeping this information consistent will indicate to Google the correct address.
Map of business location
Including a Google Map of the location of your business on your site will also send a strong indication to Google that your website and business are connected. A good place to include the map is on your Contact page and possibly further down your home page depending on the design of your site.
Off-page local SEO indicators
By making sure the following activities are carried out you will help solidify your business for local search terms:
- Directory listings – local and niche
- Mentions on other websites
- Social channels
NAP and the wider web
As with the on-page NAPs, this activity should carry on across the wider internet. Make sure your information matches the details on your Google My Business account.
If your business information is included in a blog post on another site then make sure they are accurate and matching your expectations. If they aren’t, then contact the offending website and ask them politely to update the information for you.
Local and niche directory listings
Work to include your business details on web directories. Make sure they are of high quality such as yell.com and Thomson Local.
You should also look to list your details on local directories and niche directories that are also relevant to your business.
You can research these types of directories by entering the following examples into the search engine:
- “gardeners” directory
- “birmingham gardeners” directory
If your business is active on social channels, such as Facebook or Twitter then make sure that your profiles are up-to-date accurate. Including a couple of your local keywords and making sure that your contact information is correct will help with your local SEO activities.
Hopefully, the information provided in this introduction to local SEO will help direct your business in the right direction with its own SEO strategy.
Remember, make sure your content and details are up-to-date and accurate and make sure you grab your Google My Business account if you haven’t already done so.
For help with your local search engine optimisation strategy contact Kanuka Digital to discover how we can work together and improve your search visibility.