Within this local SEO guide, we are going to cover off some
top tips on how to improve local search results for
your business. Local search engine optimisation has and will continue to change
and is important for large businesses but vital for smaller businesses that are
looking to capture traffic in their local area.
1. Create a Google My Business page
The first tip on how to improve local SEO rankings is the simplest tip. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up your Google My Business (GMB) page account, the instructions for which can be found here. A Google My Business account lets you local businesses show up in search results when users are searching for you online. What’s best is that a GMB account is currently free, which makes it an affordable marketing tool for small and big businesses alike.
2. Optimise your Google My Business account
Once you’ve created you GMB account for your local listing
then it’s time to start optimising it. To really help the account perform in
your local area make sure to include the following:
A long, unique description that’s formatted
correctly and includes links.
Correct categories for your business.
Upload as many photos as possible, including a
high-resolution profile image and cover photo.
A local phone number to your listing.
Your business address that’s consistent with
that on your website and local directories (see point 2).
Add your opening times/days (if relevant).
Get real reviews from customers (we’ll get to
this a bit later).
3. Consistency is key: NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
The third tip on our local SEO checklist is to ensure that your business
has full NAP one every page of your site. Google is cracking down on local
businesses whose information is inconsistent or difficult to verify, and
rewarding local businesses with clear, concise, and easily-accessible
information. Review your site’s pages and ensure that all your business
information is consistent throughout the site.
It’s a good
idea to use Schema.org markup on your NAP to
give the search engines all they need to display your company information
code that you can adapt to your own website.
ADDRESS LINE 1
It’s more simple than it looks – all you need to do is change the text in capitals to your own details.
4. Boost customer confidence with customer reviews
According to a recent survey, 84 percent of people trust
online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and local reviews have a
direct correlation to local search rankings. So it’s absolutely essential to
invest your time and effort to rake in the positive reviews. But the single most important variable
determining inclusion and ranking are Google reviews specifically, according to
Digital Marketing Works (DMW). Here are some ways of boosting your review
Encourage reviews: create a page on your website that gives instructions to your customers on exactly how they can review your business (i.e. yourwebsite.com/review-us/). You won’t believe how effective this is when it comes to getting in touch with customers, especially the non-technical ones. Visit this site for more information.
Social media: make sure your business has a Facebook page – this is one of your most important resources – partly because of how often people use social media, but also because the reviews will show up on Google, so there’s no hiding. There are loads of other social media platforms, like Hootsuite and Tiny Torch that allow you to monitor and get alerts any time your brand is mentioned. It’s a good idea to respond to your reviews, especially the bad ones, to show that your customer service is in tip-top shape.
Don’t tunnel in on Google: while Google reviews is your priority, you’ll also want to focus on getting reviews on your Yelp page (they’re used by Apple maps), along with other local directories like LinkedIn and Yellow Pages.
Structured data markup (SDM) — also known as “schema
markup”— can be added to your website’s code to give search engines with more
information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve
collected, services you offer etc. If you use SDM appropriately, it can
be an excellent way of elevating your ranking above your competitors.
Google’s Structured Data
Testing Tool which can you use to check whether your markup is properly
implemented. Or if coding makes you recoil in horror, you could also try
Google’s Data Highlighter to mark up
content with your mouse (ALERT: your website will need to be set up with Google
Search Console for this to work).