Local SEO Guide for Beginners

Jun 14, 2019 | Blog, Web Design Blog

seo and online marketing

If you own a physical store, then listen up. Local SEO is a powerful tactic for users to find stores in and around their geographical area.  It’s vital that your business incorporates local SEO into its marketing efforts to stay relevant in an ever progressive world of search with more and more mobile users on the move using their voices to search.

We’ve created a handy guide for you to stay on top of things and get started on your journey to local SEO mastery.

What is Local SEO

Local SEO is the practice of optimising your visibility to users around your geographic location. It helps connect businesses with users searching for products and services within their geographic area and are reliant on a few variables to provide the most relevant results to the user, this stands true to most search engine’s user-centric model.

Local SEO Factors

What are these variables you may ask? Search engines take the following factors into account when generating localised search results

  • Local Content
  • Social Media Profiles
  • Links
  • Business Citations

Local SEO Tactics for quick wins

Getting Started with Google My Business

Google My Business should be the cornerstone to your Local SEO efforts. What is Google My Business? I’m sure as an individual with access to the internet on multiple devices you’ve come across a Google My business profile when looking for where to grab your next coffee, get your car serviced or the latest reviews on the restaurant you’re taking your date to. Google My Business is an engineered business tool that consolidates your business information into a digestible listing providing your Business name, location, business hours, customer reviews and photos.

If you haven’t claimed your business on Google My Business, go do it!

NAP Citations

Local online directories are great ways to connect businesses and individuals – listing your business across trusted local directories that are relevant to both your geographic area and your industry is a great marketing tactic to improve your local search relevancy.

Keep note that consistency is key across all directory listing, ensure that all names, numbers and locations are in agreement with one another across all platforms.

If time is not in your favour, this process can be easily simplified and made hassle-free by employing the use of a local SEO tool as mentioned below.

Local SEO Tools to automate Local NAP Citations

  • Moz Local
  • Bright Local
  • Whitespark

On-Page SEO for Local SEO Boost

It’s vital that your website communicates clearly what your business offers as well as in which region. That’s why it’s important to update your site titles, meta descriptions, headers and page content to clearly communicate this straight from the search engine results pages (SERP) and whilst the user navigates your content.

When writing content, be mindful of optimising your pages for your chosen region and to include topics associated with your business objectives. Highlighting previous case studies and client successes within your area is a sure way to create highly relevant and localised content.

Lastly, create a location page for your business if you operate within multiple locations. This provides a great anchor page to include all of the relevant geographic information associated with each of your physical store locations. If your business operates within a single location, optimise your contact or about us page to include locally descriptive terms – adding a Google Map on one of these pages would be highly advantageous as well.

Optimise for Mobile and voice search

According to Comscore, 50% of all web searches will be voice activated by 2020 and according to recent studies we are nearly there. Another interesting statistic provided by Google state that 18% of mobile searches lead to a sale within one day.

The reality is that in a mobile-first world where the number of mobile devices far outnumber users, marketing your business in a keyboard-less era needs to be considered and your content should be too.

What needs to be changed to cater to this change in user habit? Here’re a few tips to help you along the way

  • Ensure your website speed it blazing quick as voice-activated searches rely on quick results and users expect instant results from mobile search.
  • Make your written content legible, concise and structured to be read easily by your potential clients’  AI assistant of choice – Think structured data.
  • Aim for gaining featured snippet positions in the SERP.
  • Make sure the search engines trust your website by following the correct security standards and implement HTTPS across your domain.
  • Think less about exact keywords and more toward topic associations as there are millions of keyword variations created by voice search on a daily basis.
  • Test that your website is mobile-friendly.

Localised link building

Local inbound links are great assets to boost your local SEO – These links are indications to Google that you’re a legitimate business and help improve your domain authority. Go about generating local links by

  • Write guest posts on your favourite industry-relevant blogs.
  • Partner with other companies that operate within your industry to create content together and share the content across both your sites in exchange for links.

Generating Business Reviews

What others have to say about your business has a big impact on both community opinions and local SEO.

Every engagement you have with a client or potential client is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Encourage reviews by working it into your business service workflow or courtesy follow-up, provide an easy link that users can access to provide a Google review and respond to those that have. Keeping up-to-date with responses and engaging users that have left reviews indicates to other users as well as Google that you’re active within the community and are willing to provide positive customer service.

Round-Up: A local SEO Checklist

A little overwhelmed on where to start? Follow this trusty Local SEO checklist below for step-by-step instructions to step up your businesses Local SEO efforts.

  1. Claim your Google My Business Listing
  2. Optimise your Google My Business Account by uploading media to enhance your business presence, operating hours, locations and contact details.
  3. Optimise your website speed for faster loading times to cater for mobile users, ensure it is mobile friendly and is SSL certified.
  4. Update your business listing information across all NAP Citations
  5. Publish your business details such as locations and content details on your contact page.
  6. Audit your website content and ensure that the information is concise, structured and digestible. If you’ve just started creating content, aim to create this content in a localised format that appeals to users in your geographic location.
  7. Implement Schema markup to assist Google create featured snippets for your content
  8. Reach out to satisfied clients to provide reviews via Google My Business
  9. Build local links to your site to improve overall DA and local relevancy

Remember Local SEO isn’t an activity that should be done once and forgotten but an on-going effort to improve your local relevancy and how well you serve the community of individuals engaging with your products or services around you. We look forward to hearing about your local SEO victories.

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