When you’re looking for a product or service online, most of the time you’ll be considering convenience. Customers are more likely to visit a store or purchase from a store that is close by rather than having to travel across town.
So what is local SEO, and how can you make sure your business is correctly optimised?
What is local SEO?
Local SEO focuses on the optimisation of websites which are found in local search results. This includes businesses which have a physical store or services which operate in certain areas, such as cleaners, plumbers, or electricians. Businesses who are purely online, such as e-commerce stores, will find little benefit from local SEO.
Properly optimising your local SEO can help to promote your products and services to more prospective local customers.
What do you need to do to improve your local SEO?
Your aim with local SEO is to appear at the top of the local search engine results pages (SERPs). For example, when searching ‘coffee Kangaroo Point’ you can instantly see the top three results:
Appearing in these results, known as the local pack or three-pack, instantly displays images and reviews associated with the business.
To give your business the best chance of appearing within the local pack, your business needs to ensure your Google My Business page is up to date.
Google My Business
Google My Business is one of the most important aspects of local SEO.
Having an active Google My Business page will mean your business will show in the Knowledge Panel, which appears on the right of the search results on desktop, or on the top of the results when viewed on mobile.
Customers will quickly be able to see all of your business’ relevant information, including reviews, opening hours, address, phone number, and website address.
To have a Google My Business page, you’ll need to get verified by Google. This means Google will have verified that your business is authentic and is physically located at the address you are claiming. If you are yet to open your store at that physical location, you will not be able to activate your Google My Business page.
Once you have activated your account, you will need to ensure your details such as opening hours, website link and phone number are correct. This means your customers will easily be able to contact you and visit your store during the right hours.
You can add photographs, products, and posts to your Google My Business page to ensure it gains more attention and more traffic is driven to your website. You can also work on gaining more reviews of the business – just make sure these are honest and genuine.
Now that you’ve opened your Google My Business account and it has the correct information, you will need to focus on optimising the content on your website.
If you have a blog section on your website, this is a great opportunity for local SEO. You can optimise various parts of blog posts, including the URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and the blog content itself to help you rank better locally.
Make sure your About Us or Contact Us pages are up to date and, if relevant, include the correct opening hours, email address, and phone number. You may also wish to consider including Google Maps onto your website.
How to rank well for local SEO
Once you’re familiar with the basics of local SEO, you can focus on improving your website’s rankings.
For local SEO, the main factors which will determine how well your website ranks include:
- Proximity: how close is your physical business to the person that is searching? This is why it is important to ensure you have a listing on Google Maps and Google My Business.
- Relevance: make sure you are targeting the right keywords for your products or services.
- Prominence: how well does your company stand out from the competition? If your company has more authority and has a stronger online presence, you’re going to be more prominent.
Once you undertake local SEO activities, in combination with traditional SEO activities, your website will be able to climb the search engine rankings and stand out from the competition.