If you run a business, which also operates from a business address, then local SEO is essential in optimising your brand to local users. Almost half of Google searches have local intent, meaning they are searching for a specific product whilst in the area they are searching from. With such a high number of online users looking for local solutions, paying attention to your local SEO is essential to capture new customers.
There are a few steps you need to take when looking at local SEO, which we are going to outline below so you can get started with optimising your local search results.
Much like “normal” SEO, you need to have some understanding on the types of keywords you should be targeting along with the city or area in which your business is situated. This can be as simple as typing what you believe customers search for into Google and using that as your benchmark on where you currently sit. Google Keyword Planner is also useful here as it will, along with the keywords you’ve already chosen, help you find new keywords to use and at this point can tell you the search volume data.
Google My Business (GMB)
If you don’t already have a GMB account set up, this is the next step you need to action. A GMB listing is visible on Google search and will tell potential new customers vital information about your business. It’s very important at this stage to make sure all the information is 100% accurate and consistent. Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) being the main details that need to match with your website information and any NAP citations you are to build later. Make sure you fill in all possible data points on your listing as best as you can: categories, services, opening times and an optimised description of your business.
Getting reviews for your Google listing is an important factor, every review should be replied to (even the bad ones). Clearly, in an ideal world, you would want all positive reviews. However, every now and again a negative review can appear and it’s important to address these as quickly as possible with a reply, this shows potential customers and Google that you care. If however you feel a negative review has false intent, then there are ways you can try and get these removed. It’s not a quick process though and Google may still decide it should stay, so replying to these reviews is always recommended even if you’re appealing the negative score. Finally, if you find that you aren’t getting many reviews, ask your customers! They may not even realise that they could do this for you. You can make it even easier for them by sending them a direct link to your GMB review page.
Citations are mentions of your business details on other sites, mainly directories on sites like Yelp and FourSquare. You may find you already have some citations set up, which is great, but you need to spend time finding these and reviewing the details to make sure all the information is accurate and consistent throughout. There are a few tools you can use to find where you may already have citations, one tool which we’d recommend is Whitespark. This tool will also help you find new places to build citations.
Amending or adding citations can vary from site to site, sometimes you can claim a listing and amend the details straight away. Other sites you may have to contact directly asking them to amend the details for you. Either way, these listings are predominantly free listings.
Local Link Building
Much the same as regular link building, links have a big impact on a local listing and, what’s more, you have the opportunity to build links with local businesses and networks. You could look for opportunities with businesses you already have relationships with, looking on their website and seeing if there is any way to add a mention to your business (i.e suppliers page).
Sponsoring local events is perhaps one of the nicest ways you can gain backlinks, most local events are asking for sponsors and in exchange for a fee you in return get a mention and link.
Contact local newspapers with any new stories or business updates and you’ll probably find they’ll be happy to interview you or discuss what you have to offer.
While some of the above steps listed can be achieved in-house, reviews for example can be done at point of contact between business and the customer. You may find that some of the steps are too much or require more time than you can spare, so enlisting the help of a digital marketing agency can be a saving grace, leaving you to concentrate on your business and leaving the rest to the agency. If you need support with your local SEO setup, get in touch.