If you are local business, you will naturally want to appear in search results that are relevant to local customers. It’s no good appearing for somebody in a different country if you can’t offer your goods or services to them. Local SEO isn’t as hard as it sounds and there are a few best practices when it comes to optimising your online presence so that your small business will appear for local users.
Make sure your name, address and phone number are identical.
This is one of the most commonly forgotten tips that local businesses fail to follow through with, yet it is so important.
When you exist online, it’s likely that you will create dozens of profiles for your business - whether this be on social media, on review sites or on your own website. You need to make sure that the name of your business, the address and the phone number is formatted in exactly the same way.
‘Street’ should not be substituted for ‘St.’ for example.
It’s that simple.
Google looks for credibility, especially for local queries, and having this formatted consistently lets them know that you are a credible business. This is incredibly important for small businesses as you need to build your trust up as much as you can.
Have local keywords in your title tags
Whilst the importance of keywords has declined in previous years, they are still relatively useful signals for search engines. Having local keywords in your title tags, even if it's just your city, is a great way of appearing in local queries which include that keyword.
As with any keyword usage, you need to make sure that it is natural and that you don’t stuff them in. Otherwise Google will penalise your website and the result will be the exact opposite of what you set out to achieve.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Many people searching for local queries are on the go - as if they are looking for a shop whilst out in the city centre. So they will use their mobile to search and if your website is not mobile-friendly and responsive, Google is not likely to show your website to these users because it won't be useful for them. So protect yourself and make sure your website is mobile-friendly!
Insert schema markup
If you’re not familiar with schema markup, it’s basically a snippet of code that tells Google what the information means as opposed to what it should look like on your website.
This can be useful for local search as if you just type in your address normally, Google won’t necessarily know that it is your address. But if you type it inside of schema markup, it will know that this is your address and will actually show this in search results alongside your website.
There are dozens of different types of schema markup you can use but for local search, definitely optimise your name, address and phone number with it.
Create blog posts with a local twist
If you are implementing content marketing (and if you are a small business, you should be) then you can give your blog posts a local twist for added local SEO.
Talk about a local event or attraction, or use vocabulary that reflects the local culture. Then when users search for similar queries, your company’s website may be brought up.
This tip takes a bit more time but it is definitely worth it because it does a lot more than improve your SEO. It helps with brand loyalty and can cement you as a local business leader. We have previously written a blog post which should hopefully inspire you with some content marketing ideas for local businesses.
Many people give up on Google+ very fast and they really shouldn’t. Google+ is more than a social media site as it helps a lot with SEO - especially local SEO.
Make sure that your Google+ profile page is thoroughly filled out with relevant local keywords and, of course, with your consistent name, address and phone number. You should use it consistently too with images and other content. If you want Google to notice you, use their tools!
Reviews are another great way to improve local SEO. They add an extra level of credibility not only for prospective customers but for Google as well.
Encourage them on Google+ but also in other parts of the online world - Facebook reviews, Yelp etc.
You could include them in part of a competition - if a user gives a review, then they are entered in a weekly draw. Do everything you can to try to get reviews because they can prove to be very valuable in the digital marketing landscape.