Local SEO Tips for Success in 2019
Local SEO is a must-do marketing strategy these days. As mobile phones have become an integral part of everyday life, it is more important than ever to ensure that people can find you when they use location-aware search features. Users who are searching for “flowers near me” or “pizza near me” usually have clear purchase intent and you can take advantage of that to attract customers to your business.
The Basics of Local SEO
Local SEO is a form of Search Engine Optimization that deals with both on-site and off-site elements to demonstrate that your site relates to a specific geographic area. If you have a physical location as well as a website, then you can achieve a lot by using Google My Business and Bing Places to promote your company. These mapping tools will ensure that when people use Google Maps or Bing Maps to search for a type of company, your business will have its flag on the map.
If you don’t have a physical location (or at least one that doesn’t accept customers) it’s still possible to rank, but a little more challenging. You want to build up credibility for your website by encouraging people to review your services on sites such as Trustpilot (owners of hotels, restaurants, bars, etc should look at getting reviewed on Yelp and Tripadvisor). You also need to work hard on improving the main ranking factors.
Ranking Factors for Local SEO
There are numerous ranking factors for local SEO, and nobody really knows what all of them are, because search engine algorithms are rather complicated.
Some are more important than others, though:
- Getting your business categorized properly in Google My Business
- Consistent naming for citations: These are online mentions of your business’ name, address, and phone number. If your business name keeps changing slightly, e.g. “Bob Smith’s Electrician Service” and “Bob Smith’s Electric Repair”, then this will negate the benefit of any citations you have, because the search engines might think of them as separate brands.
- Links from quality websites: Having a huge number of links from low quality directories or sites won’t do you much good. Having links from quality sources is much more useful.
- Domain Authority: Having an old, longstanding domain with quality incoming links will boost your domain authority and improve your ranking in the search engines.
- Your address: If you actually have a physical location, then you can’t really lie about where that is, either your business is near the city center or it is not. If you don’t have a premises, consider renting a virtual office space in the city center so that you can rank better for that city. This gives the maps context of where you are, and how to present you in the maps.
- Website content: Putting the name of the town you are targeting in the title of your website, and in any other URLs, headings, and title tags (the thing that pops up when you over a tab in your browser), will help you to rank better for searches relating to that city because when the search engines crawl your site, they are indicators of what your site and pages are about.
- Mobile friendliness: Google is taking a mobile-first approach to SEO these days, and that means you are going to need to have a mobile friendly website if you want to rank well. If your site is based on a content management system such as WordPress, Magento or Joomla then look for a Mobile Friendly/Responsive or Reactive theme. If you have a custom website then discuss it with your web designer.
Does this speak to you? Is it Greek to you? Either way, if you want to know more because you’re interested or you want to know more because you think you’re interested but need more explanation, we’re happy to sit on a quick call or video chat with you. Just apply for a strategy session, and we’ll get back to you in 24-48 business hours, if not sooner.
The Crossover Between SEO and Local SEO
There is a lot of crossover between SEO and Local SEO. In some respects, local SEO is easier because all you have to worry about is promoting your site in the local area. There should be less competition for “electrician in Birmingham” than there is for “electrician” as a word by itself.
With that said, it is still important to ensure that you follow SEO best practices. If your site ends up getting an algorithmic penalty from Google then it will not rank well for general searches or for local searches.
To avoid being regarded as a spammy or low quality site, focus on posting good content regularly. Aim to update your site on a regular basis (perhaps run a blog and post to it once every two weeks, and make sure that the content you post is factually accurate, keyword rich (but not spammy and dropping keywords every other sentence), well written, and of value to your readers. Aim to get links from local bloggers, and build a good social media profile. Post links to your website on your social media profiles regularly and ask people to engage with and share your content.
If you are known and respected as a local business owner then you should find that your customers will talk about you, provide reviews, and link to you regularly. Consider offering “check in bonuses” for people who check in to your business on Foursquare, Google or Facebook.
Want to learn more or see how we can help your business implement these local SEO tactics for you? Apply for a strategy session to see if we can help you, and if so, we will create a rockin marketing plan and get you ranking.
Want more? Check out our post on Local SEO tips that you can do right now.