23 May

Posted by Emma Stewart

Local SEO helps businesses to rank highly in the SERPs for relevant searches around a specific location. So, whether you’re looking for somewhere to eat, a local dog walker or an affordable hotel in London, Google will return a list of relevant local places. But how do you optimise your business for local searches and have your business featured?

A successful local SEO strategy is not like your standard SEO campaign and therefore should be treated differently. That’s because Google places more emphasis on several different factors in local SEO, such as Google My Business and local reviews.

Google My Business, links, on-page optimisation, citations and reviews play a vital role in laying a strong foundation for local SEO success. With behavioural and personalisation factors continuing to increase in importance.

Local SEO

This guide will take you through some of the key elements for local SEO success. 

Name-Address-Phone Number (NAPs)

NAPs, short for name-address-phone number, is critical for businesses wanting to rank high within a certain geolocation. Search engines, such as Google, take NAPs data into consideration when determining what websites to list within the search results for a given search term.

Firstly, make sure you NAP is present and correct on every page of your website. This could be put into your website footer, using the Schema.org format.

Next step, update your business listings across several key directories, including Google My Business, Yelp and more. It’s super important that your NAP listing consistent uses the same details and format across your website and all listings. You can use Moz Local to find all missing, inconsistent and duplicate listings.

Claim your Google My Business

Google My Business remains the largest influencing factor for local SEO, so make sure you claim and verify your listing.

You can set up your listing in 8 simple steps:

  1. Add a long and unique description of your business. Make sure you include a link to your website.
  2. Select the right category for your business.
  3. Upload photos that best represent your business to your profile – the more photos the better.
  4. Add a local phone number, so your customers can easily get in touch.
  5. Add a business address that’s consistent with the one on your website and directories.
  6. Upload a high-resolution profile image and cover photo to your profile.
  7. Include correct opening times and days.
  8. Don’t forget to encourage reviews from your customers – more about that next!

Encourage Real Customer Reviews

It’s not rocket-science. Google is looking to return the best results for its users, not how well a business can crack its algorithm (although this helps too). So, what’s a better indication of quality and customer satisfaction than a real-life customer review?

Customer reviews is one of the many factors that has a direct impact on local search rankings. Start by asking your existing customers to give you a review on Google as a priority. You could do this either in person or send out an email with details of how to review your business. You’ll be surprised by how many are happy to give you a review just because you asked.

You could also offer an incentive – for example, if you’re a small boutique owner, why not put every reviewer into a draw to win a personal shopping experience. Make it easy for them by putting together a simple webpage that shows them how to review you.

This will not only help you rank higher in relevant local searches, but may help you convert more customers – nothing is more influential than a personal recommendation by a real person. Moz demonstrates how reviews help to get your business chosen by consumers.

Earn Local Links

Gaining links from other local websites, that are relevant to your business, is considered more important than authority for local SEO.

Local directories are a great resource for building a strong portfolio of local links, especially for citation listings. Use tools such as Moz Local to check your listings and add any that are missing. Open Site Explorer helps you to spy on your competitor’s inbound links, so you’re able to see where they’re listed and make sure you set up your profile for any directories where you’re not listed.

Other great ways of earning local links is through hosting or sponsoring local events, enter local awards or even line up interviews with local press and relevant publications.

 Put the People First 

User experience is here to stay, even for local search.

Focus on increasing your click through rate to boost your quality score. Have a clear and readable title tag with a detailed meta description that encourages people to click.

Once you’ve got them to click through, make sure you keep them engaged. Focus on providing your visitors with quality content and a consistent and relevant search and landing page experience.

So, there you have it. Our guide to winning the local search war!

If you’d like help in optimising your website for local SEO or would like to know more about our SEO services, call our friendly team on 01604 696385 or email info@star-digital.co.uk

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