Local SEO

If you are a small business which has a local presence, optimising your site for local SEO is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to increase traffic and sales.

With four in five consumers using Google to find local information, it is an easy way to generate local footfall. If anything is clear, it is that without local SEO, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. Given that it’s simple to do, there is no reason why you should be!

With four in five consumers using Google to find local information, it is an easy way to generate local footfall. If anything is clear, it is that without local SEO, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. Given that it’s simple to do, there is no reason why you should be!

If you want your business to remain relevant and competitive, local SEO is the way to go.

Local SEO helps you promote your business to people within your local area. For local search to work, however, you need to feed information such as local content, social pages and links to search engines like Google.

To really get ahead with local SEO, there are three main things you need to do:

  • Optimise your Google My Business details
  • Improve your on-page SEO
  • Ensure you are meeting local SEO ranking factors

In this guide, I am going to cover all this and more to help you improve your website’s local SEO. There is nothing here which you shouldn’t be able to do with relative ease; it’s a very simple way to grow your business and access heightened value.

Without local SEO, you cannot fully take advantage of the local demand which exists for your products or services.

How I Can Help

As a digital marketing consultant, I have over a decade’s worth of experience working with clients who range from individuals to large corporations and everything in between. I consistently enable all my clients to realise their potential and rank highly in search engines.

To remain competitive on the web today and ensure you are taking full advantage of local demand, you need to optimise your website for local SEO.

Thankfully, optimising for local SEO is very simple and there are a variety of tools available to help you achieve it if you are willing to put in the work.

On this page, I am going to thoroughly go over local SEO, show you how to do it for yourself and explain what to watch out for to track your local SEO and see it working. All the various aspects of SEO are about the same thing: increasing exposure for higher conversions.

Although you can do local SEO yourself, myself and my team are here to help you out if at any point you want some assistance. Whether you merely want a simple question asking or would like to outsource your entire SEO project to us, feel free to get in touch.

If you are interested in learning more about search engine optimisation in general, my other SEO pages are a good source, or you can visit my blog.

Getting to Grips with Local SEO

To get to grips and succeed with local SEO, there are three main things which you need to do: optimise Google My Business; improve on-page SEO; and ensure you are meeting local SEO ranking factors.

With more and more people looking for local businesses through their phones, these are all important steps to take. Doing these things properly will enable you to rank highly in search engine results pages and be found by the people who matter.

Once upon a time all the way back in the early 1990s, SEO and local SEO were virtually indistinguishable. With the growth in smartphones and other technological advances such as voice search, local SEO has become a core and lone-standing component.

In fact, today, there are many nuances which apply exclusively to local SEO and local SEO alone. To this extent, local SEO is often viewed as being entirely separate from regular SEO. This is not something to go into detail with here, however!

For one moment, imagine that you run a web design agency in Manchester. When you type this into Google, what do you see? A ton of web design agencies which operate out of Manchester with their websites, business information and locations all prominently displayed.

Do you see yours there? No, probably not! Imagine the amount of traffic which you therefore may be losing simply because your business is not listed on Google and your site isn’t optimised for the local market.

This is what makes local SEO so very critical to your overall success. It is something which is only going to grow in relevance as time goes by, and now is the best time for you to get your business ahead of the curve… don’t put it off for any longer!

Local SEO vs. Marketing

As a much more affordable alternative to traditional marketing, local SEO is a great way to establish your business. Although it can seem daunting at first, it is a very non-technical aspect of SEO which anybody can do.

With local SEO you have more control, too. Traditional marketing relies on the likes of advertising by distributing magazines or placing an ad in newspapers. Not only are these costly, you have little control over where they are distributed. Plus, performance cannot be measured.

On the other hand, local SEO can be tracked and optimised, and in many cases offers all the benefits of traditional local marketing without the heavy costs associated with it.

Optimising Google My Business

So far as local SEO and local search are concerned, Google My Business is the most important tool in your arsenal.

Google’s search engine algorithms are more likely to share content it trusts, and what better way to gain Google’s trust than by using Google My Business to tell it about you? Google My Business helps your business meet Google’s needs.

By being verifiable as a real, reputable and authentic business, Google will be more inclined to display you in local search results.

Optimising your Google My Business account is very simple and can be done by simply creating a verified page and filling out all the information you possibly can. Other ways of optimising Google My Business include:

  • Enabling Google reviews and encouraging customers to leave feedback.
  • Using Google Posts on your account.
  • Provide authentic responses to Google reviews.
  • Specify your location and provide your business address.

Using Google My Business is pretty simple once you get the hang of it, and it has the potential to deliver some great results… not bad for a free service!

You can create a Google My Business account in a matter of minutes and begin your journey to being better optimised for the local market. As with many Google services, everything is controlled from an intuitive user interface.

Improving On-Page SEO

Not only should you be working on your general on-page SEO, you should be creating location-specific pages, too. This is especially useful if you have multiple locations or multiple different units within one city.

There is nothing wrong with creating multiple different pages which include similar content, so long as the content on them relates to the location in question.

If you operate two clothing stores – one in Leeds and one in Bristol – then the content for each page should be somewhat related to the local area.

Don’t ignore general on-page SEO, though. This works alongside local SEO to ensure your pages are both powerful in substance and optimised for the local area. Some of the more important on-page SEO factors include:

  • Page loading speeds
  • Mobile optimisation
  • Page segmentation
  • Internal and external linking

You can learn about on-page SEO in greater depth by visiting my guide for it.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

This is where your efforts really matter. There are several local SEO ranking factors which are easy enough to satisfy and doing so can make the difference between ranking on page three and ranking at the top of page one.

Out of all the local SEO factors which exist, these are the most important ones which make the biggest difference and can catapult you to the top of Google’s search engine results pages.

  1. Google My Business category association

It is unsurprising that something related to Google My Business tops this list, and it is the most important local SEO ranking factor.

On Google My Business, you need to ensure that you are using the right categories for your local business. If you don’t select the right business category, you’re going to rank for the wrong business type!

To put it simply, if you run a beauty salon then don’t pick the “legal services” category. It sounds obvious enough, but you will be surprised how many people pick the wrong category either out of negligence or laziness.

  1. Consistent citations across the internet

Local business citations form a core part of local SEO and you need to be consistent with them in order to maximise their SEO value.

Citations are basically any mention of a company’s name, address or telephone number anywhere on the internet including social media, apps and websites. Citations are what help the end-user find out information about you.

Before you start optimising for local SEO, come up with one business name, one business address and one phone number and use it consistently everywhere without deviation.

If for example your business is called “Mark’s Flower Shop” don’t start referring to yourself as “Flowers By Mark” – this is inconsistent and destroys your SEO value.

  1. Having a central physical location

Every town, city and region has its own central point in Google called the “centroid” and the closer you are to the centroid, the better you will perform in local SEO rankings.

Although this is not a factor over which you have the highest degree of control, it is something to keep in mind if a) you do not yet have a physical location or b) you are considering moving in the future.

Even if you don’t have a physical location or there is no way you can centralise yourself, you can rent “virtual office space” or business mailboxes and use these as your company’s address. This is one way to skirt around the physical location problem.

  1. Using your location’s name

After all, it is local SEO… you want to be using your town or city’s name everywhere you can. Use it in title tags, headings, image file names, meta descriptions, URLs and in your content.

If you aren’t using your town or city’s name then people who are specifically searching for something in location X are not going to find you as easily, even if your Google My Business information is fully up-to-date.

One way to do this is by utilising keywords and including your town or city’s name in them in a way which makes sense and isn’t spammy.

  1. Having authoritative backlinks

Building a strong backlink portfolio is not just a great way to improve your general SEO, it works wonders for local SEO too. You can read more about this in my off-page optimisation guide.

With inbound links, quality is the most important consideration. When building a backlink portfolio, it can be tempting to associate yourself with lower quality (spammy) websites just to get something out there. Don’t do this.

In the long-term, backlinks coming from untrustworthy sources will do more harm than good. You should always prioritise getting links from authoritative websites which are related to your business. Yes, it takes more time but it’s well worth it.

Optimise Your Website for Mobile

It’s not just ranking factors you need to be concentrating on with local SEO, you also need to make sure that your website is 100% optimised for mobile use.

Most local searches are immediate and come from mobile devices when consumers are looking for a specific product or service. It therefore makes sense that your website needs to be fully mobile optimised in-order to not only deliver a good user experience, but to rank.

Mobile optimisation isn’t new, either. It has been around for a while and pretty much all major sites have already done it. If you haven’t, don’t worry – it’s very simple to do and there are plenty of mobile optimisation guides available.

If you haven’t yet done it, then I would you suggest that you prioritise it above all else. Google will soon be introducing their Mobile First Index which prioritises sites optimised for mobile above those which aren’t in search engine results pages.

To put it simply, if you do not have a website which is optimised for mobile then you will fail to rank highly, if at all.

You can easily check whether your site is optimised for mobile by visiting it from a mobile device. Is it simple to use and navigate? Does the page properly fit your screen? Are all the menus visible, and when you tap on them do they open seamlessly and display properly?

If a site is hard to navigate, slow on your mobile device and you have to zoom in and out to use it, it is likely that you haven’t optimised it for mobile.

If you use a content management system such as WordPress then it is likely you are using an optimised theme, but it is worth checking just to be sure.

When to Use a Digital Marketing Consultant

Carrying out local SEO is a relatively simple process, however, it can be time-consuming depending on exactly how much work needs doing.

Even though you are more than capable of performing your own local SEO – it doesn’t require any specialist or technical knowledge – your time is probably going to be more efficiently used running your business instead of performing site optimisation,

This is where your situation can become difficult; you need to ensure your site is properly optimised for the local area, however, it takes time to do and your schedule may already be full to bursting.

This is where myself and my team come in.

Many start-ups and small-to-medium sized businesses outsource their entire search engine optimisation project – not just local SEO – to digital marketing professionals such as me who have years’ worth of professional industry experience.

When it comes to SEO, I know exactly what I am doing. I am constantly keeping in touch with the latest SEO developments and can use my knowledge to deliver the very best SEO strategy and results for your business.

I have worked with thousands of clients across various industries and delivered competitive results which exceed expectations. When you work with me, you get a website which is fully optimised for the local market and helps you tap into the local demand.

If this sounds like something you may be interested in, feel free to get in touch for a quick chat. Alternatively, you can view the rest of my SEO services or check out my blog to learn more about SEO.

Got a few questions? Unsure about whether you need the full extent of my services? Feel free to email me anyway, I am always happy to provide obligation-free assistance.

Local SEO Makes a Huge Difference

In this guide, we have covered local SEO and why it is so important.

The best thing about local SEO is that it is very simple to do – nothing which I have covered here cannot be carried out right now by you. It’s one of the simpler yet most powerful aspects of SEO which puts you in front of an audience many small businesses forget exists.

By optimising your website for mobile devices, sharing your information with Google through Google My Business and ensuring your website meets some very basic local SEO ranking factors, you can be well on your way to ranking highly in local search engine results pages.

Local SEO is something which is only going to grow in relevance as more consumers use their mobile devices more often to perform local searches.

Whether a consumer is searching for restaurant reservations, information about a store’s business hours or have a problem which they want to find a solution to, many are turning to their local areas first.

By optimising your site for local SEO, you can take advantage of this and benefit from local demand for your product or services.