Local SEO is essential for your neighbourhood businesses such as coffee shops, hairdressers, plumbers and electricians.
Whenever a business relies on local customers to provide their income we really need to be optimising for local SEO.
This way if a local customer does a search for ‘plumber’ or ‘emergency plumber’ for example, a plumbing business that is located nearby actually shows up in the search.
So how do we get our business to show up in local searches?
Here are a few tips to help you appear in local search:
1. Create a Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business)
Set up your profile by going to: https://www.google.com/intl/en_au/business/ and add as much information to your profile as you can.
Display your address in your profile (rather than hiding it) for better visibility in the map pack. This is important as 40% of all clicks are those through the map pack, as opposed to 30% in the organic results and 10% going to ads.
The information you provide in your Google Profile should be consistent with other information about your business online. So if you provide opening hours, then make sure you have the same opening hours on your yelp profile, or facebook page.
Keep your profile up to date as your business grows and changes, ensuring all your latest service and product categories are listed.
2. Embrace Local Business Directories
Consider listing your business details in some local directories, popular directories include Yelp, Yellow pages and HotFrog. However you may be able to find some more localised listings that you may benefit from.
To reiterate, make sure the information you provide matches your Google Business Profile. The exception is you can have a different description for each listing so that each listing has unique content.
3. Get Positive Reviews from Your Customers
Demonstrating that you have happy customers is a positive signal when it comes to local SEO, so ask your customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile.
Consider building this into your processes so that after you have completed a job for a customer, for example, they get an email asking them to leave a review. Send your customers the direct link to your Google Business Profile reviews link. You can do this by searching for your business in google, click on the reviews link in your profile and copy the URL.
You can also ask for reviews for Facebook and any other review sites that are important for your industry. For example hipages is a popular review site for trades businesses, yelp is more often used by food and catering businesses.
4. Add Your Business Address to Your Website
Displaying your address on your website is another indicator that you run a local business and so Google is more likely to display your website in relevant local searches.
Your address can be added to your Contact page and in the footer on each page of your website.
In addition you can use the local business structured data to tell Google specific attributes about your business including your address and phone number.
5. Find Out What Location Searches Are Popular In Your Area
Use a keyword tool to get estimates on the search volume for local keywords that are relevant to your business.
For example Cafe Sutherland may get more traffic than Coffee Shop Sutherland, so plan this out before you optimise for local keyword(s).
Free tools include Google Keyword Planner (If you have Google ads) and Ubersuggest.
6. Optimise A Page For Your Location
If you only serve one location, your homepage might be optimised for that location, or perhaps your about page. If you serve many cities, then you would have a landing page for each city.
This means including the location in your Title Tag, headings and other elements on the page to let search engines know your website is relevant for that location.
The image below is an example of a local landing page on this website, the SEO Sutherland page. As you can see it is optimised for the service keyword + location keyword.
7. Create a Page for Each Key Offering
Add detailed content to pages that are specific to each of your services, or product categories, this way you will appear more authoritative on that subject. It may also be more reassuring to local customers when they land on your website seeing detailed information on your products or service. It’s a chance to answer common customer questions and guide them on the process of doing business with you.
Here’s an example, as per this local website Cheapa Waste Skips for example they have a separate landing page for Skip Bin hire which is quite comprehensive and provides a lot of information for prospective customers.
8. Local Links
Local backlinks are very influential on local search rankings, here are some ideas on obtaining local backlinks:
- Sponsor a local sports team, not only will your brand get more visibility but you could also get a link to your website
- Sponsor local events or take part in local business awards
- Have something newsworthy to talk about? Get a mention in your local paper
- Networking – join a networking group and get listed in their directory or mentioned in an article on their website
When it comes to SEO for local businesses there are many elements that can impact rankings, setting up a Google Business Profile is the essential first step, but remember to keep it up to date!