Local SEO is a powerful way to grow your small business and attract new customers from your surrounding area. Your digital presence is something that you have a significant degree of control over. From your website to where your business name is mentioned, there are many different ways to improve local online visibility. In this blog, we will discuss exactly what Local SEO is and how you can boost your chances of getting in front of your target audience.

What is Local SEO

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a marketing process which allows you to rank better and promote your products and/or services to local customers. If your business has a brick-and-mortar store or location, this form of online optimisation can increase the chances of people finding you. Therefore, it is an important consideration for your marketing strategy and can have a significant impact on your corporate success. Local SEO can also be used by businesses that offer their services to a specific location (for example – plumbers, carpenters or courier services).

How does Local SEO work?

If we simplify the Google search engine process, it is easy to see how local SEO can benefit your business. Every time a user performs a search, Google uses different algorithms to determine the most appropriate results. These are listed closer to the top of the first page, ranking down in relevance. For any business operating online, getting to #1 on Google is the ultimate goal. But the ways in which to do this are extensive and many contributing factors are known only to the programmers at Google.

There are two types of search – webpage-related search and place-related searches.

Webpage-Related Search

Searches such as ‘Instagram followers’ or ‘historical leaders’ are categorised as webpage-related searches. No matter where you are in the world when performing these searchers, you are likely to receive the same amount of information. You are seeking the information from web pages with content such as case studies, articles and reviews.

Place-Related Search

These are the search requests that Local SEO benefits from. Searches such as ‘coffee shop’, ‘supermarket’ or ‘eyelash technician’ are all types of place-related search. You are likely to want the results returned to be relevant to your local area – for example, you may be looking for a local coffee shop to catch up with friends or a makeup artist close to home for a special event. It is useful for the searcher if Google returns a list of places locally that fit your request. And, this is where you want your business to rank in order to attract local customers.

An important thing to note is that competition will be rife for all webpage-related searches. Your business will be pitted up against others from across the UK and, indeed, from anywhere in the world. In comparison, you are likely to have less competition when ranked in local place-related searches. And, therefore, you have a greater chance of being noticed by potential customers.

How do I make Local SEO work for my business?

There is no single way to rank #1 on search engines. Google uses a range of factors to determine which websites content is most relevant to the user along with specialist algorithms that scan all the information available on the web. However, there are a number of things you can actively do to improve your chances of ranking on your local customers searches. These include:

  • Website optimisation
  • Google My Business
  • Local keywords and key phrases
  • Link building
  • Citations/Business listings
  • Reviews and Social Media

Website Optimisation

Your website is an area of your online presence that you have complete and utter control over. By optimising both the content and location of said content, you can tell Google that your business is more relevant to local businesses. And, therefore, boost your chances of being relevant to local searches related to your industry. This can be done by ensuring all Contact Us information is updated and that it is positioned in a prime location on main landing pages. Some experts claim that using a Google Maps plugin can increase your chances of activity (clicks) and therefore, allow Google to deem your page more relevant.

Some businesses may benefit from creating unique landing pages for each of their locations. This is particularly important for companies with many brick-and-mortar stores and those with a service-based offering.

Google My Business

Hosted by Google itself, these business listings offer a range of tools that allow business orders to manage their online presence through Search and Maps. The information found here needs to be relevant, up-to-date and the same as that on your website. Any business with a brick-and-mortar store can open a Google My Business listing. Those who don’t have an actual store but visit customers in a specific geographical area can open a Service Area Business listing, which offers the same benefits. The information presented here will help Google to pin your business to any Google Map and also helps populate your Google Knowledge Panel.

Local Keywords and Phrases

One of the main ways Google determines the success of your website is through the words you use. For example, if a customer Google’s ‘coffee shop in Somerset’, the search engine will scour websites across the Internet to determine which business is most relevant. The best way of ensuring your business comes up is to use terms such as ‘coffee shop in Somerset’ within your content.

This is a very simplified explanation of how beneficial local keywords and phrases can be. However, it does not diminish the importance of finding the keywords that are the highest ranking within your industry. Do your research. If you google a term similar to your business, Google will present you with ‘Searches related to’ at the bottom of each page. Use these to determine how your target audience are framing their searches. Alternatively, pay attention to how people talk about your business on reviews or during telephone enquiries. There are also plenty of websites that can help you to identify correct keywords including Moz, SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner. Make a list of all relevant keywords in an Excel document and regularly update them so you have a batch when needed in your next piece of content.

Link Building

Google uses outbound and inbound links on your website (links to other websites and other pages within your website) to determine how authoritative and valuable a business is. Therefore, it is important to add in as many relevant and genuine links to your online content. When focusing on Local SEO, focus on using local based companies and websites. Try to link back to local industry organisations, regional certification boards, key distributors in the local area, interviews with people who are significant in the local area, charities and local complementary businesses.

Citations & Business Listings

Business listings, also known as citations, are very beneficial to all search engines, including Bing and Yahoo. When multiple credible websites have the correct information about your business listed, it signals to the search engines that your company is legitimate. It is very important the the information held about your business is correct on all citations. Then, search engines are more likely to return your information when local customers perform a search.

Reviews

Again, reviews help signal to search engines that your business is legitimate and likely to offer what customers expect. Reviews are primarily vital when working with organic search engine listings. The highest ranking results are likely to have positive reviews, showing that the business is dealing with customer service successfully. It gives reassurance and confirmation to potential customers that the business they are reading about is likely to give them exactly what they’re looking for.

These are the key ways in which you can positively impact your chances of ranking highly with local SEO. Here at KAP SEO, we can help your business to optimise your online presence and therefore your chances of getting in front of potential clients. Contact us today for more information and to discuss this further.