What is local SEO? A beginner's guide

How to dominate local search in 2019

What is local SEO? A beginner's guide

Local SEO is the practice of improving your business’s search visibility for local customers and prospects.

It relies on a number of local engagement tactics such as social profiles, reviews, citations and geo-specific content. All these factors will help search engines determine how relevant your service is to the search query at the exact time users are looking for your product or service.

Best practice local SEO tactics

Claim and optimise your Knowledge Panel

The Knowledge Panel is the box of information that appears to the right of certain Google searches and can help customers discover and contact your business.

A variety of factors will determine whether a business’s information will appear in the Knowledge Panel. These include distance, relevance and prominence of the business. If Google’s algorithm decides that the information about your business will enhance the user’s experience and satisfy the search query, your business is more likely to appear in the Knowledge Panel.

It’s important that details in the Knowledge Panel such as opening hours and contact details are correct so that you provide a good user experience for potential customers.

You can control what information appears by claiming and verifying your Google My Business profile. This will then enable you to specify your opening times and contact details or provide images for Google to display.

Read more about how to set up and optimise a Google My Business Page.

Social signals

Are you active on social media and engaging with your audiences? Aim to grow your Facebook and Twitter followers and encourage users to share and like your posts. Content shares on social media will get you more website traffic, boost your brand recognition and improve your overall visibility in local search.  

Online reviews

A colossal 92% of consumers say online reviews have an impact on their purchase decision. The potential worth of decent reviews has never been greater and it is vital that companies harness user feedback to boost their business growth.

Encourage customers to leave feedback on Yelp, Facebook and Google and industry specific platforms such as TripAdvisor. You can then integrate the reviews onto your website to showcase the quality of your service and send signals to search engines that your site and service and trusted and useful.

The number and quality of reviews you receive as well as the authority of the review platforms can all contribute to the success of local search rankings.

 

Local directories

Ensure you claim all your local business listings to make it easier for people to find you online. This useful list of online local business directories from Hubspot will help you get started. You can also check out this list of free business directories from Flycast Media. 

Your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) must be consistent across all platforms and citations (including your own website). Double check how this information is presented and correct any inaccuracies to avoid confusing Google which will struggle to determine which is the correct version.

You can further optimise your listings with a video or photos of your office, product or employees as well as a company description that reflects your brand personality. A fully optimised profile will engender trust, stimulate interest in your company and encourage more visits to your website.

Quality backlinks

Backlinks are a powerful opportunity to improve your local SEO. Links from local newspapers, community portals and business associations can all improve your local search presence.

Become an active participant in community conversations by sponsoring local events or becoming a guest blogger. The media coverage, inbound links and social media engagement generated by your activity will do wonders for your local SEO.

Optimise your website

Create localised content on your website with case studies or blog posts that target a geographic search phrase. Optimise the content by including your geo keywords within the URL, title, meta description, header and body.

Another option is to add pages for brick and mortar locations of your business. So if you have offices in various locations, create separate pages for each location. Avoid duplicating content across the various location pages by providing information specific to that office, such as opening hours, reviews, your NAP and a Google Map of your respective locations.


Use these tactics to improve your chances of appearing on page one of organic listings and to increase exposure of your business to local customers and prospects.

More than half of Google searches are made with local intent so it’s essential you implement a local search strategy. Web Foundry can help - talk to one of our experts today about targeting your local audience to build business.

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Author

Joan Lavery on Thursday, 23 August 2018

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