If you run a small business, why risk losing out on potential business by ignoring the importance of your local SEO strategy?
Every business, whether large or small, should have a local SEO strategy; it's especially important if you need to target people in your region or city. While your priority is most likely to secure high ranking positions on Google and the other search engines for particular locations, given that the nature of SEO isn't exactly stable, it's a good idea to think of effective and easy to action ways of strengthening your local SEO where possible.
If done correctly, local SEO can not only generate you more high-quality traffic and conversions but also help you compete with big names and stay relevant amongst the competition.
But how do you go about doing that? Well, we have six helpful tips and tricks to help you strengthen your business' local SEO;
1. Make sure your 'Google My Business' page is correctly optimised
One of the most important, but often ignored, tactics to help strengthen any local SEO strategy is to optimise the business' Google My Business page.
Put simply, listing your business with Google My Business will make it far easier for people to discover your business. Once you've listed it, your business will show up on Google Maps when internet users search for a product related to your business or industry; for example, 'carpet fitter Kent'.
In turn, it can also help your business to rank better in search engine results and can even appear on the sidebar of Google search results pages when your business has been verified by Google as legitimate.
To correctly optimise your Google My Business page, you will need to;
- Make sure that you provide accurate, detailed and up-to-date information about your business and the services you provide
- Perform a 'hygiene check' to your Google My Business listing
- Encourage your customers to add their ratings and feedback
- Always be quick to respond to any customer reviews, whether positive or negative
- Add your business' logo, exact location, payment methods, hours of operation, the services or products you offer and relevant images
2. Optimise your local business listings
One of the most common places, aside from Google, for users to search for local businesses is local online directories. So, it stands to reason that it's important for you to add your business listings to all popular directories in your field.
The majority of the time, these directories can rank high on Google search results for local search queries. Anyone who checks these such directories can then be redirected to your business or website if you correctly optimise your listings. Doing so will not only help you increase your potential organic search traffic but also help you get more qualified leads and business as a result.
Update the name, address and phone section
Providing your contact details to potential customers, these are the most important elements of your Google My Business listings. It is therefore crucial that your details are updated and totally accurate; otherwise you could lose potential and high-intent customers.
It sounds simple, but it's imperative that there are no misspellings and that no abbreviations or anything confusing have been included. If, indeed there are any changes to your contact details, make sure all your listings are updated accordingly.
3. Create a mobile responsive website
With the use of mobile phones and tablets being increasingly prominent, the number of mobile searches is increasing year on year too. This is thanks, in no small part, to the increasing availability and accessibility of high speed internet.
That's why it's so important to develop and design a responsive website that improves the user experience on mobile phones and tablets. In fact, utilising a responsive website design can help gain you an advantage over some of your competitors and improve your local SEO in the process. Here's how you can create a mobile-responsive website;
- Plan your website layout and navigation menus to make sure that it's easier for visitors to find what they are looking for
- Improve page load speed - if your site takes longer to load, it will be unable to effectively hold a user's attention
- Optimise your videos and images to reduce page load time
- Add social media sharing buttons on your blog posts and product pages to ensure that it's easy for visitors to share your content in their circles
If you're not sure whether your site is currently mobile friendly, you can visit Google's Mobile Friendly Test site; here you'll be provided with helpful suggestions on how to improve.
4. Ask satisfied customers to give reviews
It's widely acknowledged that positive reviews influence customers to use a local business. In fact, studies have shown that such reviews can influence up to 68% of consumers to buy from a particular local business.
With this knowledge in mind, it would be well worth you asking your current and old happy customers to share positive feedback about your company or your products. In these competitive times, online reviews are often as trusted as personal recommendations, so gaining positive reviews can really help your business appear as more trustworthy than some of your competitors.
As well as obviously providing quality services to your customers, there are a number of other things you can do to help encourage online reviews from your customers, including;
- Make sure to ask your customer for a review in person once the product has been received or the service been concluded
- Send them a text message or email after the purchase, asking them if they would kindly leave a review online
- Always reply to customer reviews as soon as you receive them. It's a good idea to thank your customers for their positive reviews and encourage them to visit you again
Should you receive a negative review online, whatever you do, don't leave it unattended to. Apologise for the disruption or displeasure and try to solve their problem professionally and politely.
5. Optimise your website content for local keywords
It's important to optimise your website content with keywords that are relevant to your local customers too. If you're not sure what keywords it would be best to use and target, you can use Google's Keyword Planner to find the most relevant yet local keywords.
Once you've found or come up with a list of local keywords, you should make sure that they are included in your meta descriptions, titles, URLs and website content where possible.
It's also well worth examining the competitiveness of your chosen list of keywords before you use them. For instance, if the same keywords are strengthening your competitors' local SEO, they could well work for you too.
While it's important to optimise your website content for local keywords, you must bear in mind that you should never over-use keywords; otherwise Google and the other search engines may consider your website content spammy. Therefore you should make sure that you evenly distribute your keywords throughout the content and add them in a way that they appear naturally.
6. Maintain and strengthen your social media presence
In this modern society, it's becoming increasingly important for local businesses to have not only an online presence but a social media one too. In fact, social media can actually have an impact on your search engine performance too.
Quite simply, establishing and strengthening an exceptional social media presence can help your brand to appear as more trustworthy and credible and serve as a decent source of high quality traffic and backlinks.
Once you've set up your social media profile, be it on Twitter or Facebook (or both), you need to be as active on them as possible. It's important to proactively promote your business on social media and post content that is both useful and relevant to your audience. For example, if your followers find your content valuable and interesting, they're more likely to visit your website and share your content with their social media networks.
Similarly, if your followers are sending you messages and posting on your profiles, it's incredibly important to reply to each and every one and engage with them where possible. This shows that you not only care about your business, and your online profile, but also your customers and clients too.
We hope this guide has shed some light on why it's important to strengthen your local SEO strategy and helped you focus your efforts in the most constructive ways possible. Of course, if you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to contact the experts here at Smart Domain Group. Working across Kent and the rest of the UK, we specialise in comprehensive marketing packages for small and medium sized businesses and thrive on providing first class search engine optimisation, web design and social media solutions.
- Small Business Marketing,