When it comes to local SEO, you need to stay one (or two) steps ahead of your competitors if you want a slice of the cake. Find out how to start and what direction it should take.
Get The Basics Of Local SEO Right
Before you start with more advanced local SEO strategies, you need to have the basics in place. Add your business to local directories such Yell, Thompson Local, 118.com, Scoot, Free Index, Yelp and similar sites. Google displays these for your business and sometimes can even appear above individual businesses in search results. Don’t be tempted to pay for the privilege, the free business listings available are very adequate.
If you have already listed your business with local directories – when was the last time you updated your details? Check on a regular basis that everything is still correct and add any new services or opening hours for example.
Title and meta tags shouldn’t be ignored either, whilst they don’t have the importance they use to, they can still help with click-through rates, especially with local searches.
Google My Business
The benefits of claiming and optimising Google My Business for local SEO is that firstly it’s a great way to get noticed in Google’s local search results and secondly to appear on Google Maps. Like local directories, its free and lets you display important information about your business, such as the opening/closing times, contact phone number or a link to your website. Google has recently improved the service further with a new feature where you can add posts to articles or promote events too.
Google My Business is straightforward and easy to use, so if you want to increase the ranking of your local business in 2018, claim your business now and start using the new posts feature. You could see the benefits instantly. If you have multiple locations, you should have a unique location landing page for each with a Google My Business Local listing.
Get Mobile & Go Local
We’re not talking about making deliveries! Mobile friendly websites are a must and if your site isn’t designed to account for different screen sizes and load times then you are already falling behind your competitors. Once mobile friendly, then optimise your mobile content for local search purposes.
First impressions really do count and when users use their mobile device to find a local business they are usually ready to buy. 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine but 33% go directly to the site they want (Smart Insights). So if your site isn’t mobile friendly and not optimised for local search potential customers are not going to stay on your site, if they find you in the first place, especially with Google’s mobile-first index now being rolled out.
Customer Reviews & Ratings
Nothing says ‘trust me’ like customer reviews and ratings. If your website doesn’t have a review facility, then for local SEO purposes you can utilise Facebook or Google My Business reviews. Creating a page on your website and directing customers (with instructions) to either or both to complete a review is a great way to build positive reviews for your business and enhance local SEO.
If you want to raise your local SEO game in 2018, start with the basic foundations, review your tactics and, as an online local business, you could see a steady, growing stream of targeted traffic through your doors and website.