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A Guide to Local SEO

Search Engine Optimisation should always begin at the local level. It is much easier to rank for long tail (4 words or more) keyword phrases with less competition than short phrases with more competition. Additionally, including the name of your city or town increases the probability of showing up in search engine results pages.

Small companies that develop a winning local SEO strategy appear at or near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for particular keywords that their customers frequently search for. Also, often these are the results when people use voice search. In a competitive landscape, a prominent SERP placing provides an extremely effective method for promoting products or services to local customers and attracting new business.

The following guide to SEO localisation offers 9 simple ways to improve your local SEO visibility.

Sign Up for Google My Business

Create an account to manage your address, phone number, and business hours with Google My Business. Your business is probably already listed in Google’s local results, but you’ll need to claim your business to add additional information. Your Google My Business listing will appear after the paid listings, but above the organic listings along with a map on both desktop and mobile; a highly desirable placement on Google’s results page. Google My Business also provides insights showing you impressions and clicks which can be valuable when deciding what else to add to your profile.

Use Location Pages

If you have multiple locations, then consider creating multiple pages for each location rather than a single page of location listings. Individual location pages can provide unique location descriptions and information as well as valuable SEO content. Each page is an opportunity to include relevant keywords in the page’s metadata and headers. For businesses with a single location, focus on improving the About Us section with similar keywords.

Get really specific with locations. For example, you might want a high SERP ranking in Glasgow, Scotland. If you are vague about the location of your business, you won’t rank well.

Common errors with defining business locations include just writing the name of the country or the name of the town on your website’s pages. Trying to rank country-wide is too broad for most local SEO purposes. Only naming the town your business operates in is not specific enough because there could be several towns with a similar name in your country and around the world. Get specific so that both search engines and customers know exactly where your business operates.

Have Website Pages for Specific Store Locations

When small, local businesses gain traction and make a profit, they often look to reinvest this profit by expanding their stores to other towns or cities. If you are planning to expand in the future or you have already expanded, make sure you have website pages for each specific store location.

Having a page dedicated to each of your specific store locations ensures that not only can your website rank in multiple locations, but your customers don’t end up confused about contact details, addresses, or business opening times.

Add Local Content

Whether you have one or many locations, adding local content to your website through blogging is the most effective way to improve your local SEO. Write about topics unique to your city or state that align with your business. Aspire to be the local subject matter expert for your industry. For the best results, check your site’s analytics to see which keywords are driving the most visits and expand on them. If there’s a product or service you offer that is not getting enough traffic, create content specifically for them. Every new page could improve your local rankings.

Add Structured Data

Structured data, which is also known as schema markup, is a type of shared semantic vocabulary that is used primarily to help search engines better understand website content. By adding schema markup to web pages, the search engine results for your company’s products or services are enriched with added information.

For example, if you sell women’s clothes, you can add structured data to each piece of clothing individual product page. In this hypothetical example, a user searching for a particular women’s dress might see reviews, prices, and current stock for that product. Adding schema markup to web pages can be complex, however, many free and paid plugins that are compatible with popular content management systems can simplify the process.

Encourage people to leave reviews

Online reviews play a pivotal role in enticing customers to purchase products or services from local businesses. Assuming that your business already excels at providing high-quality products or services, it is wise to encourage people to leave online reviews on search engines like Google so that you get more visibility.

While positive reviews aren’t the only factor in making purchasing decisions, they can definitely help a lot. It’s also a good idea to respond to any online reviews your business receives in a professional manner regardless of whether they are positive or negative.

Leverage the Power of Sponsorship for Backlinks

Sponsoring local events and fundraisers provides some excellent opportunities to spread the word about your business, participate in the local community, and gain valuable backlinks to your website.

Charities and other nonprofit organizations often link back to their sponsors’ websites via newsletters, website posts, or even on social media. All of these backlinks from local organisations can give your business a competitive edge when trying to rank in SERPs for a specific region or town.

Leverage Online Directories

Leveraging online directories is a great way to improve your visibility. Claim your business on Yelp or Trip Advisor to get started. Make sure to complete your profiles for every directory to ensure visitors are getting the correct information. However, you will need to monitor these sites to provide feedback to customer reviews. Responding to these comments is a great way to add keywords and links back to your website as well as foster relationships with existing or potential customers.

Follow SEO Best Practices

Finally, ensure you are using SEO best practices for your entire website. Properly formatted URLs and descriptive title tags are essential for communicating the content of each page to Google’s algorithm as well as users viewing the results on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Make sure every page has informative headers and copy as well as descriptive metadata. For local, be sure to link both your address and phone numbers for mobile users so that they can open their maps and phone apps with a simple click. Also, add your business’s address to the footer of every page of your website.

These are just some of the many things you can do to improve your local visibility in Google’s results pages.

If you need help or want to explore ongoing optimisation, download our guide to creating a buyer persona. This will help you research local keyword terms understand what your buyer searches.