3 Min Read
Local SEO is becoming an increasingly competitive environment, if you want to stand out online in your local area it is important to understand how to grab attention and rank well on Google. If I was on the lookout for a Thai Restaurant in Manchester, my results my look something like the below image. Three restaurants clearly take precedence and will consequently drive more custom to their doors.
Launched in the UK at the beginning of 2015, the Pigeon update to the Google algorithm had drastically increased local SEOs ability in terms of both specificity and accuracy. As such, the algorithm now connects map search and web search in a cohesive manner to offer the user useful information based upon geographical area.
Google has changed in the sense that both localisation and personalisation lead to different results in the search engine. These new complexities provide fresh opportunities and problems for SEO experts to tackle. However, just as with traditional SEO it is essential to target signals both on and off site in order to result in geographic visibility.
So how do you ensure your website stands above the rest when it comes to local SEO? Well, here are 6 tips to ensure your local SEO campaign is on track to achieving success.
Think of your website’s blog as a local destination providing community information; make it relevant to the local offer area and provide real insights into community news and events. You could share information about a local charity you are supporting or a particular event you are sponsoring. By ensuring your content is local to the audience you want to reach, you can offer useful information targeted to the immediate community so make your content interesting and representative of your brand and locality.
Ask yourself some questions, has your business moved address or changed phone numbers in recent years? If so, any reference to these must be entirely consistent across the internet, as this is a very important factor which must be considered immediately. Furthermore, improving your consistency across the internet will directly impact your local search rankings.
Moz offer a tool to help you check your listings across the web.
Google Local Ranking Factors. Source: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors
There are many handy tips which will immediately impact the visibility of your website. For example, placing the city or area you want to rank in within your meta descriptions helps Google crawl effectively. Embedding a map within your contact page will further illustrate where your business is located.
Another is making sure you use a local phone number throughout your website as a point of contact, this gives Google plenty of clues to understanding what area you want to rank in.
However, be wary not to keyword stuff your city or area, it immediately looks unnatural and if we know one thing for sure Google does not like spam.
Local links are usually easier to get and carry more weight in local SEO. If you are targeting your local area to generate business, then you need to ensure your backlink profile reflects this. Low authority local links are often more valuable than high authority sites which lack local relevance.
As Gregg Gifford argues even a nofollow, low authority link from a local site carries plenty of local relevancy, so generating and driving local traffic should be a primary concern when it comes to local SEO.
It is essential to claim your Google My Business page, this links you directly with customers with all necessary details and information. It also helps provide a signal to Google that you are related to localised search, which will be the easiest way for your business to show up in search and maps. Google My Business offers a place for customers to leave reviews, and for business owners or managers to respond.
Review quantity and quality all add value to your overall visibility and rankings. If you have customers who appreciate your work, encourage them to write a Google review and respond to any reviews genuinely – never try to fake them.
Don’t forget to utilise Yelp reviews either. Yelp is integrated with Apple Maps and this will instantly make your business more visible through Apple services. Be aware that reviews and ratings will instantly influence customer’s decision making in their search for a trusted local business.