Want to dip a toe in the water of local search engine optimisation? Then here are 8 easy steps to get you started:
- Consistent details
Wherever your business is mentioned, ensure you keep your business name, address and phone number consistent. Inconsistent details could cause confusion amongst your customers and weaken your ranking in search results.
- Google My Business
First step, fill in your ‘Google My Business’ page if you haven’t already. It’s the first port of call for lots of us when searching for a business, so take your time and get it right. There’s plenty of advice online to help you. Fill in your ‘Yelp’ entry too, as it’s used by Apple Maps.
- Local directories
Build up your presence in local and trade directories. Often you’ll have the chance to edit these yourself – so write unique, specific and good quality content on each one – just keep your contact details consistent and wherever you can link these back to your website.
- Local link building
On the matter of links, build up as many links as you can from other websites back to your own. Build up back links through your industry partners, chambers of commerce, the local media and local sponsorship opportunities. Again and again, it’s link building that’s been shown to be a significant factor in ranking well in local search results. So for instance, if you sent a news story to your local paper such as “Family firm celebrates 50 years in the business” or “local business expands to create new job opportunities,” then include a link to your website in the story. Stories with a local reference or a human interest element work well for local newspapers, so pop your thinking cap on and get writing, send a photo too if you can.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews, whether it’s on Google, the local directories, trade websites or elsewhere, ask your happy customers to speak out. Local reviews can be especially helpful. Also, if you haven’t already, add any external accreditations, industry standards or awards you have to your website, as third-party endorsements are helpful in persuading new customers to choose you.
- On-page SEO
Which areas do you serve? Mention the key geographic areas (towns, county) your business serves and organise your content keeping one key area to each page of your website. Mention these places in a couple of the following: a page title, a header, the page copy, the meta data and image tags. Don’t forget the latter, as they provide a huge opportunity for your website to be found and so many people leave them empty. The jury’s still out on whether geographic references help strengthen your local search results, but you’re still going to want to let your customers know where you serve – so do include them.
- Customer questions
Do your customers ask you the same questions over and over again? Then incorporate these questions into your web copy. They just might be the same questions they’re asking online too. A good rule of thumb is to remember that online searches tend to embrace more colloquial chatty language over more formal terms. So if someone’s locked out, they’ll search by ‘locked out!’ rather than ‘professional locksmithing services.’ Writing web copy is just like sitting in a room having a chat with someone – it’s just that you’re having a chat with your computer instead. It’s a bit like having a chat with the plants in your greenhouse or ahem, that sad looking basil plant on your kitchen windowsill (theoretically speaking of course).
- Website content
Update your website regularly with good quality content. Whether you write a blog entry, include a social media feed or add case studies of projects you’ve worked on recently – keep your website shipshape and up-to-date. As you’re working on your website content, pop in internal links between the pages making it easy for people to move around your website and include external links to your excellent customer reviews and the trade associations you belong to.
There you have it, a few tips to get you started on your local SEO journey. Need help with your SEO and marketing? Then get in touch with Webahead Internet today for a free quote.