Have you recently set up new website? Perhaps you have an existing website but you’re struggling to drive any organic traffic of value? Either way, it can be a long slog and difficult to prioritise your next steps on the road to SEO success. A good place to start is with your local SEO strategy as this will give you something to focus on and when done correctly, can yield significant results relatively quickly. With that in mind, here are seven actionable local SEO tips that you can implement immediately to give you the kick-start you’re looking for.
Why Local SEO is important?
As search engines evolve, they are becoming increasingly aware of a user’s location. In their quest to provide the most relevant results to users, search engines are tailoring results based not only on particular search terms, but also on location data (see Google’s Pigeon Update). When you also consider the shift in user behaviour and the increase in searches on mobile devices, it’s becoming more important for search engines to show results ‘on-the-go’.
It is also largely considered that people searching for local businesses on search engines are showing huge intent to find information or to make a purchase.
Here are our seven actionable local SEO tips:
1). Submit your website to Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, & Yahoo!Local
Creating/claiming a listing for your business on Google My Business is the best first step you can make for local SEO success. When you do this, you encourage Google to place you in the local search cards that appears above the organic listing and also Google Maps listings. To submit your business to Google My Business, follow this extremely handy step-by-step guide from Google and then verify your listing.
Smart Insights have recently reported that Bing and Yahoo control 7.31% and 5.6% of the search engine market share in 2017. Although Google controls the majority, it’d be silly to ignore the competitors. To submit your business to Bing Places, follow these simple steps before verifying your listing and then head over to Yahoo!Local and submit your details to become listed there.
Quick, go now, it’ll will take less than minutes to do all three (although you may need to wait a few days to verify on Google/Bing!).
2). Keep your NAP consistent across your website and the Internet
The second of our local SEO tips is to add a consistent NAP across your website. What does NAP stand for? It is an acronym for name, address, and phone number. In order to accurately place your business in the local listings of search engines, it helps to guide them by placing and maintaining a consistent name, address, and phone number across your website. A good way to ensure you’re doing this is to list the information in the footer of your website and also on a contact page.
The second part of this tip is to ensure that any listing on external websites also contains the correct information regarding your business name, address, and phone number. Keep this in mind when setting up social media profiles and also submitting your website to directories (more on that later).
3). Add location specific content
For new and small businesses, it can be difficult to build an organic search profile particularly if you’re going after more generic/competitive keywords. A way to combat this, is to localise your website content and blog posts by adding location specific keywords to titles, headings, and on-page copy. This is another way to gently guide search engines into placing your business in the right location. In terms of revenue, although you may not drive as much traffic, any traffic that you do drive is likely to have a better conversion rate on a local level.
4). Submit your website to directories & increase local citations
Directories have been given a bit of a bad rap of late, but there are still plenty that offer good value and can drive quality traffic and ultimately revenue. In terms of local SEO, it has been argued that even directories that don’t link to your website still help your local search rankings due to other signals. Consider directories such as Yell.com and Yelp as starters.
It has also been argued that mentions, or citations, on other local websites within your immediate vicinity can also help with your own local search positions. A good place to start is with your local Chamber of Commerce and town/county council websites.
As mentioned in point three, it’s important to ensure that any listing on an external website contains the correct information and stays updated should you update any business information.
As with any link building/outreach technique, stick to best practice and don’t go overboard on low quality irrelevant listings.
5). Encourage more online reviews
It has long been argued that reviews are a fairly significant ranking factor generally, but they are considered imperative for local SEO success. With that in mind, it is important to encourage your customers to leave reviews as often as possible whether on Google, Facebook, or Trip Advisor for example. Consider sending follow up emails and also encourage previous customers to leave a review via social media. Besides, there are few more effective marketing tools than word of mouth.
6). Increase high authority local links
This point is a no-brainer, but coupled with the aforementioned points an increase in high authority links to your website will help to increase your listings in the SERPs generally and on a local basis. High authority links from local sources is also a win/win!
7). Include local structured data mark-up on your website
Adding a structured data mark-up helps search engines decipher some of the more important information on your website concerning your business. By implementing this technique, it helps search engines to organise the data on the SERPs using rich snippets. The way that search engines then communicate this information, largely using rich snippets, is also convenient for users looking for specific information such as opening times. Not only will this help to push your website high up the local search listings, it is also likely to encourage more click-throughs due to the value that you are providing your potential customers.
This article from Moz is a great place to start getting to grips with structured data mark-up.
Hopefully our seven local SEO tips help you to set your SEO journey on the right track. For more advice, if you have any questions, or for any information about how we can help your SEO efforts, please get in touch with us.