26/04/2017 by Tom Hodson
Local SEO and you
How to benefit from incredible local search engine optimisation
Everyone knows that being successful online can massively boost the number of customers coming through the door, particularly if you're a smaller business.
The best way to do that is by practising good SEO, which for many, can be super confusing. What many small business don't know is how easy it can be to achieve good local SEO and get the response you want.
Get your business on local directories and optimise listings
One of the best ways to boost your local SEO (and certainly an avenue that Google seems to be going down) is to ensure that all of your business listing information is correct and consistent.
Whether you're on Yell, Facebook, TripAdvisor or even just have a Google My Business listing (which is almost vital at this point), it's important to have consistent and accurate information across all of these platforms, particularly with the weight they have in search results.
Build out your listings with photos, videos, correct web URL's and other key information or unique selling points that make you attractive to customers.
Always make sure that if your business needs to be in a category, it's showing in the right one. If you're a window fitter, you want to be in the home improvement or window installation category.
If you have several locations, make sure each branch has its own listing. This helps with brand awareness and offers significantly better local search engine optimisation value.
Get reviews and answer customers
User Reviews can make or break a small business. People are always talking about their experiences and with so many possible places to post an opinion, it's important you keep on top of what they're saying. Reviews also give you a great platform with which to engage with your customers.
Encourage people to leave reviews wherever possible. Push for people to leave you ratings on social media or Google My Business where visibility is high. If you can build a portfolio of authentic and (hopefully!) positive reviews, the better you'll appear in search. Obviously, avoid using fake reviews. These are easily found and will actively hinder your search rankings.
Always look to respond to customer reviews, both positive and negative. Engaging with positive reviews increases the chance that the customer will use your services again. By answering negative reviews, you ensure that you can address concerns and potentially solve problems, both now and in the future.
At the same time, social media is a great way of engaging with your following. Be proactive with your posting and you'll soon find many new followers. Always think about what you would want to read if the roles were reversed.
If people speak to you on social media, don't be afraid to respond. An efficient and personable approach only strengthens your brand and potential for growth.
Stay active on platforms that work for you. It might seem great to have your brand on every single platform but if one of your timelines is much quieter and you're not posting to it, you might as well deactivate. It's better to have no account than one that is dead.
Build connections and get local backlinks
When it comes to backlinks, good SEO techniques are very similar wherever you're trying to target. Domain authority, commonly known as 'how well does your site perform on search engines', can be vastly increased by having other websites linking back to yours.
If you're a local business, think about any of your partners or sponsors and see if they will link back to your site. If you're a sponsor yourself, get them to show you off on their site and watch your local SEO improve.
It can be difficult to figure out where to start when it comes to backlinks but the best thing you can do is network. Figure out local connections and build a relationship with them.
Keep your site up to date
When you've sorted out all of your external presence, it's time to look inward. Your website is just as likely to be your first contact with a customer as your Facebook account so it needs to be in top shape.
Create a domain name that reflects you business type. Having keywords relevant to your business in the domain can also massively affect local SEO for the better.
Make sure your contact info on the site is up to date and consistent with the listings you amended earlier.
Look at your website copy and make sure it includes as much about your local area and the services you offer as possible. If you can tie in local influences, all the better. Remember, Google isn't going to know that you're a window fitter in the West Midlands until you tell them. If you also offer conservatory installation, make sure it's included somewhere.
Finally, "near me" searches have always been popular but with the steps that Google has taken to utilising location in searches and results, it's more relevant than ever.
Think about keywords that relate to your business and add "near me" to the 'behind-the-scenes' info on the site. Adding to the actual copy may appear clunky and ruin the overall experience but as always, your mileage may vary.
For example: Do you have several locations? Why not add "near me" to the store locator internal links on these pages, including the anchor text.
Improving your local SEO is a task that needs to be optimised over time but with the above tips, you can achieve a number of quick victories that still hold a lot of weight.