Many businesses have closed due to the pandemic during an unprecedented year and time. This has pushed an initiative to get shoppers to shop small and local in 2021. The effects of 2020 have seen many large businesses like John Lewis close some of their stores, and other companies have had to let go of staff.
From the graph below, it’s evident many non-essential businesses suffered at the hands of the pandemic as consumers are spending less money on non-essential items compared to the projected expectation of the year, indicated by the white dots.
Research has suggested that 70% of small businesses simply miss out on local SEO opportunities because they have no SEO strategy. It’s vital to be able to use SEO and its power as leverage, giving your business the competitive edge when it comes to winning over customers and clients. Most local searches are done via smart devices which turn into paying customers.
As consumers move their attention to shopping small, local businesses will slowly begin to flourish. For this particular reason, local businesses need to make the most out of marketing, including local SEO.
Local SEO is a must-have for all businesses serving a community. Unfortunately, as local SEO opportunities continue to grow, competition for local search traffic becomes fierce. For that specific reason, this guide will help you position your business better by identifying local ranking factors and place your business in all locations it operates.
What is Local SEO, and how does it work?
Local SEO is the action of optimizing a website to increase leads, traffic and overall brand awareness that it would gain from a local search. For local SEO to be successful, a business would need to find the keywords associated with it.
Keywords are words and phrases placed in your web content, making it possible for customers to find your site via a search engine. Here’s an example of keywords to help you best determine the keywords for your business.
(Source: Web Lyzard Technology)
When considering SEO, it’s essential to understand that it goes far beyond Google as consumers use various engines and platforms to find businesses. However, Google does dominate the search engine market, and there are many different elements to a Google search, including localized search results (near me), Maps, and Local Pack.
Google uses a range of different ranking tools and factors to rank local searches which include:-
- The location the search is coming from
- Keywords used in the search
- Google Map star ratings
- Identifying the presence of Google Map listing
- Amount of check-ins at the business location
- Shares on social media
- Name, Address & Phone (NAP) information
When someone runs a query, Google scans through its vast index of data to give the best possible outcome using the above-ranking factors. Local SEO will help businesses land higher on the results page.
Significance of Local SEO
Local SEO aims to help consumers find your business locally on search engines. The significance of this is that it helps create positive noise around a company, prompting customers to leave comments and ratings, which will increase your ranking on search engines.
Although it may seem, as a society, we are constantly attached and looking at our phones, the nature of next day and same-day delivery and information at our fingertip means we have become impatient. Some metrics available to website owners, such as audience analytics, have shown that many users do not even bother to check the second page of their search, which is why local SEO is so important.
Local SEO Tips to propel your business
As you may already know, many different factors affect how your business ranks in search engines. However, the power of local SEO will help you rank higher and bring greater credibility to your website with these tips.
1. Create a Google My Business Account
The most effective way to rank higher on Google Maps and local search results are by optimizing your google listing and business profile to gain visibility. Creating a Google My Business Account is considered more important than email marketing and marketing on social media.
To get the benefits of users accessing your Business Profile, you will need to associate a Google My Business account with the profile. Upon request, fill in the required credentials in your Google My Business dashboard in the account, which will be automatically added to your Google business profile.
To improve your Google My Business page and its performance, use local keywords as discussed above in content with strong backlinks to your site. Also, be sure to list your business on other directory listings and local listings. Adding vital information such as phone number, address, working information, and a link to the site in your business profile will really help elevate your local business.
2. Optimise voice search
As home assistants and speakers become more and more popular and essential smart home devices increase, it will be good practice to optimize your local SEO to handle how people may ask questions. For this reason, you will have to adjust your keywords that are placed in your content to fit a conversational tone of speaking so that it can be picked up.
Voice searches are mostly done when consumers are looking for specific items and places, so they need quick and useful answers.
3. Regular reviews from clients and customers
Having customers write positive reviews about your business is one of the best ways to optimize your Google My Business processes and build a level of trust that helps to draw in local customers. Reviews play a physiological game on the mind of customers. 91% of people trust online customer reviews which helps to turn a passive shopper into a lifelong buyer.
Some of the best ways to get your customers to leave reviews is by asking them either face to face or via email to leave a review after having closed a sale. If customers see that your business is responding to comments and reviews, the good and the bad, this will also prompt more people to make comments.
4. Improve Social Media Presence
Social media plays an essential role in SEO which is often overlooked. Almost everyone with a smart device has at least one social media platform that they are a part of, making it some of the easiest platforms to help boost local SEO.
In most cases, when a customer searches for a local service, the social media of this brand or service also lands on the results page. Your social media will give your costumes a quicker insight into your brand and its services which can help in the decision-making process.
5. Website Optimization For Mobile-Friendliness
Trends have shown, as smartphones and devices have become increasingly popular, most searches are conducted via mobile devices.
The table below shows the percentage of mobile device traffic from 2015-2020. Making your site mobile-friendly will not only increase mobile traffic, but it will also help to improve local search engine rankings. Google’s ranking features include favouring mobile-friendly websites, as it offers an enriched user experience.
Website performance plays an essential role in how well your website performs in organic search. A slow website is also detrimental to user experience.
With analytics tools like Finteza, you can analyse your website’s speed and performance across different countries.
The feature gives you a waterfall breakdown of loading assets.
For this reason, to be a real contender in local SEO, mobile optimization is an important function which will also improve general SEO. To make your website mobile-friendly be sure to take caution and pay attention to the loading time of your site. Using fewer images and keeping it simple will not only make it look good, but it will be easy for your customer to use.
6. Local SEO Audit
As a best practice, it’s good to regularly do a Local SEO audit. Doing so will help you identify what is wrong with your website and its pages. The audit will also give you greater insight into your competitors, how your backlinks are performing and your on-page SEO performance.
Once your audit is complete, it will allow you to determine a search engine strategy for your local SEO to begin a campaign to help boost it.
7. High-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks or also known as link signals are links to your website that are placed on other websites and social media platforms that mention your brand or service. They are essential for local pack results and localized organic results, which help boost Locals SEO. Backlinks can take some time to see results which is evident from the graph below.
The quality of backlinks to your sites is so important. To gain high-quality backlinks, be sure to generate high-quality content and place it on your site. This will make others want to link back to your site. Guest blogging on reputable sites with high domain authorities will also help locals SEO as these sites usually have a high reader return and search rate.
8. Dedicated Web Page for Products
Making sure your site is user friendly is one of the eBay ways to get more people to interact with it. As a business, you may have an array of products and services which you offer. To streamline your website’s navigation for your customers, it’s best to separate your products and services into easy to understand categories, giving them independent pages and sections on your site. This will help your local SEO as it will identify your business authority concerning your particular services or products.
9. Power of Local Directories
Submitting your website to local directories may not seem so important. However, it is practically essential at improving local SEO. There is a range of different types and categories that your business can sit under in these local online directions, so be sure to find the best for your business and create an account. For the local directories with high domain authority, be sure to make sure the business is listed.
10. Feature Content-Based Around Locals News and Events
Most local areas consist of tight communities. Creating content featured on your site that includes news and events of the local area will help you site pop up on the result page when locals customers are searching for information around their area, getting their attention.
Content can be in the form of blog posts, videos or location-specific web pages which will help serve your community. Talk about events you may be part of charities you are supporting and different regions you may be circulating your services in, all of which will impact your local SEO.