Whether you’re promoting a corner shop or a high-end hotel and spa, digital marketing has never been more important.
As well as focusing on social media, developing a website and app for your business, and investing in paid ads on Google and Facebook, one of the best techniques for putting your firm in front of new customers is local search engine optimisation.
Almost half of all searches on Google are seeking local information, and 97% of consumers have searched online to find information about a local business.
86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps before visiting, and 50% of near me searches result in a store visit. In short, optimising your website for your area is essential if you want to compete.
Local SEO becomes even more important when you realise that 92% of searchers only pick businesses on the first page of local search results – if you’re not showing up ahead of the competition, you’re going to struggle to increase traffic to your website and to your location.
Below, we’ve put together four of the most important local SEO strategies to consider when promoting your business online.
These techniques may not be rocket science, but they’re often overlooked by businesses and can increase leads and sales in no time at all…
Google My Business
Every day, more than 5 billion searches are conducted on Google, and more than half of those come from a mobile device. Granted, not every one of those searches is going to relate to your business or local area, but the easier you can make your premises to find, the more likely you are to find customers.
Indeed, research shows that 28.88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile call or visit the business within 24 hours of making the search, so first impressions count. That’s where Google My Business can help.
Signing up for a Google My Business profile allows you to ‘claim’ your business on Google search engine results pages, and control the information that appears in the box related to your business.
You can add a description, a website link, opening hours, images, videos, products, and as of 2019, even update your status to alert people of special limited offers.
If your business already has a listing on Google, you can claim it and start to make edits so that it’s up to date with the necessary information – visit the Google My Business website.
Google may send you a postcard with a verification pin – this can take a couple of weeks.
Location-Based Landing Pages
Search engines like Google crawl websites and index content based on keywords featured on the pages – so if you can create several landing pages that relate to your business niche and the local area, you’re more likely to show up when people search for products/services.
At Zudu, for example, we offer app development services in Glasgow, so created the mobile app developer Glasgow landing page with lots of useful content for Glaswegian businesses considering investing in a smartphone app.
Whenever someone searches for mobile app development in Glasgow, they’ll find our result in the first page of Google, which drives more traffic to our website and allows our services to reach a larger audience across the region.
The key to creating local landing pages is to make sure your content stands out.
Don’t create landing pages for the sake of it or fill them with useless content – you need to create keyword specific landing pages that offer real value to your local readers.
A hair salon, for example, might create a London hair salon landing page that’s packed with useful tips on choosing the right hairdresser for your hair and needs and list some of the best salons in the local area.
Keyword stuffing and poorly written content won’t perform well on Google and won’t convert visitors into customers – take your time and roll out landing pages as and when they’re ready.
As always, conducting keyword research before getting started will maximise your returns.
Link building is one of the most important strategies when implementing an SEO campaign for your business, but when focusing on local SEO, the location of those links becomes all the more important.
A food blog based in California, for example, wouldn’t naturally link to a greengrocer in Liverpool with the anchor text ‘Liverpool greengrocer’, but a Liverpool-based blog might. Optimise your links by working with local websites, blogs, and news outlets that are related to your niche, and you’ll quickly climb search engine results pages in your area.
Websites with high domain authorities – like newspapers – should be a key target, but every local link (provided they’re natural and relevant) will help you to move the needle on Google.
We’ve previously put together some link building techniques that every business should try out. Create quality content, start guest blogging (or set up a local column in your local paper) and repurpose or syndicate your content to increase your reach and build more quality links.
Finally, don’t overlook the power of online reviews. In local SEO, they can help your business listing stand out from competitors and help you increase in-store visits and online clicks in no time.
If a shopper is looking for a florist in Dundee and searches on Google, they’re naturally going to call the florist with the best customer reviews – if your rating is anything less than 4.5 stars, alarm bells are going to ring and consumers may choose to start looking elsewhere.
According to the Spiegel Research Center, as few as five reviews for your business can increase the likelihood of a purchase by four times, whilst displaying reviews on your website can boost conversion rates by 270%.
G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing add that 92% of B2B companies are more likely to purchase products after reading reviews, and Brightlocal says that 73% of consumers trust a local business more after reading positive reviews online.
As well as accepting reviews through Google My Business and Facebook, add Schema.org markup to your website that enables user reviews.
These reviews are often indexed by Google and Bing and can give you more real estate on the search engine results page.
Of course, you cannot bribe customers into leaving positive reviews, so focus on delivering the very best service to your patrons, and incentivise reviews by emailing customers after their visit, and offering them a discount or entering them into a prize draw in exchange for their thoughts. The more reviews your business receives, the better your local SEO will be.
There are so many local SEO techniques to consider, but starting with the basics is the most important way to increase your local brand awareness. At Zudu, we offer a range of search engine optimisation packages designed to help you outrank the competition, gain more traffic and ultimately win more business. Get in touch with the team to discover how we can help…