If you’re a small business owner, then you know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make your business successful. And if you’re looking for ways to help your business grow, then local SEO is a strategy worth considering.
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes. By optimizing your website and content for local search, you can improve your visibility and reach more potential customers.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for improving your local SEO ranking and attracting more potential customers. Keep reading to learn more!
What is local SEO and how does it work?
Local SEO is a branch of SEO (search engine optimisation) that focuses on optimizing your online presence to attract more customers from local search results.
If you own a business, chances are you want to be visible to people in your local area. That’s where local SEO comes in.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online presence to attract more customers from your specific geographic location. This can be done by claiming and optimising your business listings on directories like Google My Business, adding location-specific keywords to your website, and creating local landing pages, to make it easier for potential customers to find you online.
And best of all, local SEO is usually far less competitive than trying to rank for national keywords, so it’s a great way to get an edge on your local competition.
So, what can you do to improve your Local SEO? Here are a few tips:
1. Make sure your business is listed on Google Business Profile
When consumers seek local services or products, their first instinct is often to turn to Google. Recognising this behaviour, Google introduced the Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) to bridge the gap between businesses and their potential clients.
What is Google Business Profile?
The Google Business Profile is a free, easy-to-use tool tailored for business owners and organisations. This platform allows you to list your business on Google Maps and local search, offering a window into your company directly from the search page.
When optimised correctly, it can act as a mini-website for your brand, displaying essential details like your business hours, services, reviews, images, and even posts about updates or offers.
Key Benefits of Google Business Profile:
- Enhanced Visibility: Your business is highlighted on Google Maps and local searches, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Direct Engagement: Customers can connect directly, be it through a phone call, messaging, or visiting your website—all from the listing.
- Trust Building: Displaying reviews and ratings enhances credibility. New customers often rely on these reviews to make decisions.
- Insights: Understand how customers interact with your listing through the insights feature, which offers data on how many people viewed, clicked, or called from your listing.
- Real-Time Updates: Promote offers, share news, or update adjusted opening hours instantly.
How to List Your Business on Google Business Profile:
- Sign In: Go to the Google Business Profile page and sign in using your Google account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create it.
- Enter Your Business Name: If your business doesn’t appear in the dropdown, you can create a new listing.
- Choose a Category: This helps Google decide which searches your local listing belongs in.
- Add a Location: Input your business address and decide if you want to display it. This is crucial for businesses like cafes or retail stores. For services that operate remotely, you can opt-out of displaying the address.
- Add Contact Details: Input your contact number and website URL. If you don’t have a website, Google offers a tool to create a basic one based on your listing.
- Verification: Google will need to verify your business—typically through a postcard sent to your business address with a unique code.
- Optimise Your Profile: Once verified, you can add more details like business photos, services offered, and frequently asked questions.
Let’s say you are a local builder, you can take advantage of GMB and the local SEO for builders to get more clients.
Remember, simply listing your business isn’t enough. To harness the full potential of Google Business Profile, keep the information updated, encourage customers to leave reviews, and engage with them by responding promptly.
2. Create social media profiles for your business
If you own a business, one of the first things you should do is claim your social media profiles. This will help ensure that potential customers can find accurate information about your business when they search for it online. It will also help you take control of your business conversation rates on social media.
Once you have claimed your profiles, take some time to fill out all of the information and make sure it is accurate. Include your business hours, address, contact information, and anything else that would be useful for potential customers to know.
Claiming your business social media profile is a simple and effective way to improve your local SEO and make sure your customers can find the information they need about your business.
3. Build Citations/Online Directories
Citations, commonly known as online directories, refer to mentions of your business on other websites, even if there is no direct link to your site. Each citation provides search engines with legitimate confirmation of your business’s existence and details.
Essentially, they are like the digital equivalent of a local business phone directory. Registering your business on platforms like Yelp, Yell, Foursquare, and Bing Place increases its online visibility and credibility.
The more quality citations your business has, the more reputable it appears to search engines, and this can positively influence your local search rankings. Not only do they help in SEO, but many of these directories also offer local consumers a platform to discover and review businesses, making them a valuable avenue for brand exposure and customer engagement.
If you’re not sure where to start, here is a list of 100 UK Directories.
4. Keep NAP Consistent
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, representing the primary details of your business. It’s imperative to ensure that your NAP is consistent across all online platforms, from citations to social media profiles and your own website.
Consistency in presenting these details is a crucial factor for search engines to determine the legitimacy and credibility of a business. Inconsistent details can confuse search engines and potential customers. For example, if Google finds different phone numbers for your business, it may question the accuracy of the information and could rank another, more consistent business higher.
Beyond SEO, consistent NAP details also enhance the user experience. When customers find the same information across different platforms, they are more likely to trust and engage with your business.
In a nutshell, consistent NAP not only supports your SEO efforts but also fosters trust among potential customers.
5. Have a mobile responsive website
As anyone who has ever tried to use a website on their mobile phone can attest, it is incredibly frustrating when a site is not optimised for mobile. Not only is it difficult to navigate, but it can also be slow and challenging to read.
For businesses, having a mobile responsive website is essential, especially if they want website pages to rank well in local SEO searches.
Mobile users are more likely to be searching for local businesses, so it is important that those businesses have a site that is easy to use on a small screen.
In addition, Google has stated that they favour mobile responsive websites in their search results. For local businesses, then, having a mobile responsive website is not just a good idea – it is essential.
If you’re not sure if your website is mobile-responsive, you can test it here.
6. Create Location Pages / Service Pages for Local SEO
Location and service pages are specific web pages dedicated to highlighting the services you offer in distinct locations. For example, if you run a plumbing business that operates in multiple cities, you’d ideally have separate pages for “Plumbing Services in Birmingham” and “Plumbing Services in Manchester”. These pages are crafted with content relevant to the particular service and the specific location, ensuring a targeted approach.
Having location or service pages significantly benefits local SEO for several reasons:
- Relevance to Local Searches: When someone in Manchester searches for a plumber, search engines want to show results most pertinent to Manchester. A dedicated “Plumbing Services in Manchester” page is more likely to match this query than a generic plumbing services page.
- Detailed and Specific Content: Location and service pages allow you to tailor content to a specific audience. You can mention local landmarks, address common issues in that locality, or even provide local testimonials. Such content increases relevance and user engagement.
- Enhanced User Experience: Potential customers find it easier to navigate and understand offerings when presented with a page directly addressing their locality and need. It assures them that the service is available in their area and reduces confusion.
- Increased Chances of Ranking: Given the specificity of these pages, they often face less competition than broader pages. This, combined with the relevance they offer to local queries, means they frequently rank higher and faster in local search results.
In essence, creating location or service pages is akin to opening digital storefronts in each area you serve. They offer a more direct, relevant, and efficient way for local customers to find and engage with your business.
7. Crafting Blog Posts for Local Search:
In the expansive digital landscape, specificity can often be the key to standing out. While traditional blogging aims to address a wide global audience, there’s a more refined, targeted approach that can significantly benefit local businesses: writing blog posts tailored for local search.
Adopting this method not only sharpens the focus of content but also maximises its impact, ensuring that the right audience – those in your immediate vicinity or targeted locality – are reached more effectively.
As we dive deeper, we’ll unravel the distinction between general blogging and its local counterpart, highlighting the nuances that make the latter so crucial for businesses aiming to make their mark in a specific geographical arena.
Through understanding and leveraging these differences, businesses can position themselves as prominent local voices, solidifying their influence and relevance within their community.
Check out our article on the benefits of blogging for business to learn more
The Difference Between General and Local Search Blog Posts:
- Target Audience: A general blog post might discuss a topic in broad strokes, catering to readers anywhere in the world. In contrast, a local search blog targets readers in a specific locality. For instance, a general post might discuss the benefits of organic food, while a localised post could delve into the best organic farms in Bristol or highlight local organic food festivals.
- Keywords and Phrases: For local search blogs, incorporating geo-specific keywords is crucial. Using phrases like “best Italian restaurant in Leeds” or “top dentists in Shoreditch” can significantly improve local SEO.
- Relevance and Timeliness: Local blogs can tap into events, issues, or trends happening in the community. Writing about a local festival, commenting on a recent development in the town, or even addressing a widely-felt community concern can make your content highly relevant to local readers.
Tips for Writing for Local Search:
- Use Localised Keywords Judiciously: It’s vital to naturally weave in local keywords without overstuffing your content. Mentioning the locality, landmarks, or local events where they fit contextually will resonate with the local audience and appeal to search engines.
- Collaborate with Local Influencers or Businesses: Featuring interviews with local personalities, collaborating on local community projects, or even guest posting on local websites can boost your local credibility and amplify the reach of your content.
In essence, local search blogging isn’t just about mentioning a place name in your content. It’s about crafting content that resonates with the unique experiences, interests, and issues of a local audience.
This tailored approach inbound marketing not only enhances visibility in local search results but also establishes a strong connection with the community, fostering trust and loyalty among local customers.
8. Post regularly on all your business profiles
Local SEO, in fact, SEO in general, its all about sending the right signals to the Google search back, that your business is active, and its relevant to the keywords people might be searching for.
One way of doing that is by posting regularly on your Google Business Profile & your other business social media profiles, e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc..
Not only that this will help with the overall SEO, however, it might also help you attract some potential clients from social media.
This works great hand in hand with creating quality content on a regular basis, because once you’ve created a blog or an article, it’s time to promote it.
9. Get more reviews on Google & other platforms
Another ranking factor, that will help your ranking on Google, and again, SEO in general, is by getting more reviews from your past clients.
The good news is that this will also help you attract new business, as potential customers will see that you have a track record of satisfied clients.
The best way to get more reviews is to simply ask your past clients to leave a review for you on Google. You can also ask them to leave reviews on other platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, Trustpilot, etc..
Making it easy for them to leave a review will increase the chances of them actually taking the time to do it.
Once you have created your Google Business Profile, you should be able to find inside your dashboard, a link that you can just copy & paste and give to the clients.
Alternatively, you can find your business on Google Maps, and from there, you can click on Share, and copy the link that takes people directly to your business profile on Google. For example, here’s ours.
By getting more reviews, you can improve your local SEO and attract more potential customers to your business.
Another quick tip here, you can actually embed on your website a map of your Google Business Profile listing which will show your location together with some business details & reviews.
10. Voice Search for Local SEO
The digital realm is ever-evolving, and one of its most transformative shifts in recent years has been the rise of voice search. With the proliferation of voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri, more users are now bypassing traditional typing and opting for voice commands to search online. This changing landscape presents unique challenges but also golden opportunities for local businesses.
Voice search is inherently conversational, meaning users tend to phrase their queries more naturally. For instance, instead of typing “best café near me”, they might ask, “Where’s the best café in Manchester?” This distinction in keyword research is pivotal for local SEO strategies.
To optimise for voice search, local businesses must anticipate these conversational queries. Crafting content that answers such questions can significantly boost local visibility. Think about commonly asked questions relevant to your business and locale, and weave these into your online content. For example, a local bakery might produce content around, “What time does the bakery open in Bristol?”
Moreover, voice searches often seek immediate answers. This immediacy means that if your local business can provide quick, relevant answers, you’ll be more likely to be picked up in voice search results.
Lastly, ensure your business details are voice-search friendly. This involves having a mobile-responsive website, fast-loading pages, and, crucially, ensuring all your business information (like opening hours, address, and contact details) is accurate and easily accessible.
By adapting to the nuances of voice search, local businesses can position themselves at the forefront of this digital wave, effectively catering to an audience that prefers speaking over typing.
11. Improving Interlinking for Enhanced User Experience and SEO
Interlinking, in the realm of website management and SEO, refers to the practice of linking one page of your website to another page within the same website. This interconnected web of internal links often creates a pathway for users, guiding them through your entire site’s content, and can have a profound impact on how search engines perceive and rank your site.
Why Interlinking Matters
Effective interlinking facilitates smoother user navigation. It allows users to delve deeper into related topics or pages without the friction of searching or reverting to the main menu. Additionally, not all pages on your website will have the same level of authority.
Interlinking from pages with higher authority to those with lesser prominence can distribute this ‘link juice’ more evenly, giving an uplift to the SEO ranking of the lesser-known pages.
This approach can also play a significant role in reducing bounce rates. By offering readers relevant content links on the page they land on, you provide compelling reasons for them to explore further and remain engaged. Another noteworthy benefit of astute interlinking is its capacity to reinforce your keyword strategy.
Using pertinent anchor text for interlinks solidifies keyword relevancy for search engines, refining target keyword, and reinforcing your overarching SEO game plan.
The Consequences of Doing it Wrong
Done incorrectly, interlinking can be a pitfall. It weakens the internal linking structure of your site, deteriorates user experience, and can potentially harm your search engine rankings.
- Over-optimisation: If every interlink uses the same anchor text, it can come across as spammy to search engines. This over-optimisation can potentially lead to penalties, adversely affecting your site’s ranking.
- Irrelevant Linking: Linking to pages that aren’t contextually relevant can confuse users and disrupt their experience. If a reader is going through a blog post about ‘winter skincare tips’ and gets a link to ‘summer footwear,’ the link feels out of place and unhelpful.
- Broken Links: As your website grows, some pages may be removed or URLs might change. If interlinks aren’t updated accordingly, it can lead to broken links, resulting in 404 errors that deteriorate user experience and harm SEO.
How to Interlink the Right Way
When done right, a link-building strategy can substantially improve user experience and the SEO profile of your website. Here are some guidelines accompanied by examples to showcase effective interlinking:
- Contextual Relevance: Ensure the content you’re linking to is directly related to the subject matter of your primary content.
- Example: If you have a blog post about the benefits of organic gardening, you could interlink to another post discussing the best organic fertilisers or composting methods. The reader interested in organic gardening would likely be keen to know about organic fertilisers as well.
- Varied Anchor Text: Use different, yet relevant, anchor texts for links to the same content to avoid appearing spammy to search engines.
- Example: For a page on your site about “winter car maintenance tips”, you could have one link with the anchor text “tips for maintaining your car during winter” in one blog post and another link with “how to look after your vehicle in colder months” in a different post.
- Regular Audits: Utilise tools like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to frequently check for and rectify broken links.
- Example: If you’ve recently updated a page about “summer recipes” to “seasonal recipes”, an audit can help identify any old links that need to be updated to ensure users don’t encounter a ‘Page Not Found’ error.
- Balance and Natural Flow: Ensure that the content doesn’t become a maze of links, making it unreadable or difficult to follow. Aim for a fluid, intuitive user experience.
- Example: In a detailed post about “The History of Paris”, instead of cluttering the introduction with numerous links to various related topics, you could weave in interlinks naturally as you delve into specific time periods or events. This ensures the reader isn’t overwhelmed early on and can navigate to deeper dives when they’re most engaged.
Remember, the primary aim of interlinking is to enhance user experience, guiding your audience seamlessly through related content. With a blend of strategic thinking and regular maintenance, your interlinking can significantly boost both user engagement and your website’s SEO prowess.
12. Mastering the Trio: URL, Meta Description, and Title tags
In the vast expanse of the digital world, standing out becomes a pivotal concern for any website or online business. Every page on your website communicates with search engines, and it’s crucial that this communication is crystal clear. Three essential elements play a vital role in this conversation: the URL, the meta description, and the page title. Ensuring these are optimised not only enhances your search engine ranking but also improves user experience. Let’s delve deeper into their importance.
URLs – The Address of Your Content
Every URL is like a unique address pointing to a specific location (web page) on the internet. A well-structured URL does more than just lead visitors to your page. It also offers insight into the page’s content. URLs that are clear, concise, and descriptive improve user experience and are more easily indexed by search engines.
For instance, consider the two:
The second URL immediately informs users and search engines about the page’s content, making it more preferable screen readers.
Title Tags – The First Impression
Title tags define the title of a specific webpage, visible on search engine results pages (SERPs) and at the top of your browser. An optimised title tag draws users in, directly impacting click-through rates. It should be an accurate, concise summary of the page’s content.
A well-crafted title can be the difference between a user choosing to visit your site over countless others.
Meta Descriptions – The Elevator Pitch
Meta descriptions are the brief summaries appearing under the title in SERPs. Though they don’t directly influence search rankings, they’re instrumental in driving click-throughs. Think of meta descriptions as your website’s elevator pitch: in a few short sentences, you need to captivate your audience and make them want to know more.
Why It’s Crucial to Get Them Right
By ensuring your URL, title, and meta description are optimised, you’re presenting a clear, cohesive image of your content both to search engines and potential visitors. These elements act as your first point of contact in SERPs.
A disjointed or unclear message can deter users, impacting traffic and conversions. Conversely, coherent and descriptive titles and meta descriptions can significantly boost your site’s credibility and click-through rate.
13. Implement Schema Markup
Schema Markup, commonly referred to as ‘Schema’, is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to the HTML of your website. These tags allow search engines to interpret your website content in a way they understand best, enabling them to display more informative results for users.
Imagine your website content as a book; Schema would be akin to the blurb on the back cover, giving a quick overview and the key details of the story. This makes it easier for readers (or in this case, search engines) to understand the content at a glance.
Why Do You Need Schema Markup?
- Enhanced SERP Display: By utilising Schema, search engines can create rich snippets, which are enhanced descriptions or previews of web pages in the search results. These might include reviews, product prices, or event dates, offering a snapshot of what users can expect when clicking through.
- Higher Click-Through Rates: Websites with rich snippets can often enjoy higher click-through rates. The more information you provide at a glance, the more likely users are to click on your website.
- Competitive Edge: While many websites still don’t utilise Schema, implementing it can give you an edge over competitors by making your website more appealing in search results.
Plugins to Help with Schema:
- SEO Press: A comprehensive SEO plugin, SEO Press comes with a built-in feature to add Schema Markup to your website, making it easier to achieve those coveted rich snippets.
- Rank Math: Not only does Rank Math assist with overall SEO strategies, but it also has a dedicated Schema module. Its user-friendly interface makes it straightforward to integrate Schema Markup into your site.
- Yoast SEO: Widely recognised in the SEO community, Yoast SEO offers robust support for Schema. It allows for easy integration and ensures your site’s content is interpreted correctly by search engines.
Schema Markup acts as a bridge between your website and search engines, enhancing the way your content is displayed and understood. As the digital landscape becomes ever more competitive, tools like Schema can prove instrumental in setting your site apart and driving organic traffic.
Bonus Tip: New Life into Old Content
Staying updated and relevant is the name of the game. Often, amidst the hustle to churn out new content, the goldmine that is your old content might be overlooked. However, reoptimising and updating these articles can yield significant benefits. Let’s delve into why and how this strategy can work wonders.
The Merits of Updating Old Content:
- Leveraging Existing Authority: Older articles, especially those that have been around for a while, may have garnered backlinks from various sources. These backlinks add authority to the article. Instead of starting from scratch, you can build upon this existing authority by updating the content.
- Staying Relevant: Industries, technologies, and trends change over time. An article written two years ago might contain outdated information today. By updating old content, you ensure that your readers always get the most current and relevant information.
- Boosting SEO: Google’s algorithms have a soft spot for fresh, updated content. When you reoptimise and update an old post, it signals to Google that your content is fresh, which can give it a boost in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
- Improved User Experience: Regularly updating content ensures that your readers get accurate information, leading to a better user experience. This can, in turn, lead to longer page stays, lower bounce rates, and more conversions.
Steps to Reoptimise Your Old Content:
- Identify High-Potential Articles: Start by identifying which old articles have the most potential for improvement. Look for articles that already have some organic traffic, backlinks, or have previously performed well.
- Research Updated Keywords: Keywords evolve over time. Make sure you’re targeting the latest and most relevant keywords for your topic.
- Add New Information: Whether it’s a new development in your industry, updated statistics, or a fresh perspective on the topic, make sure you enrich the content with new information.
- Improve Readability: Make sure the content is reader-friendly. Break up long paragraphs, add subheadings, and use bullet points where necessary.
- Promote the Updated Content: Once you’ve updated the article, give it a promotional push. Share it on social media, send it out in your newsletter, and encourage others to link to it.
While it’s essential to keep producing new content, don’t forget the treasures that lie in what you’ve already created. With a touch of reoptimisation and a sprinkle of updates, your old content can shine anew, driving traffic and boosting your website’s authority.
Staying updated, relevant, and proactive is the key. From enhancing your business’s presence on Google to re-energising dated content, each strategy we’ve discussed offers its own set of unique advantages. But the real magic happens when they’re employed in tandem. The world of digital marketing is ever-evolving, and while it might seem daunting, the rewards for those willing to engage and adapt are immense.
So, take a moment, reflect on what you’ve learned, and consider how these strategies can be integrated into your digital roadmap. The online sphere awaits, and with the right tactics, your business can truly shine.
If you need help with your local SEO, or if you have any questions about this article, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you boost your business’s visibility in the local search results.