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If you’re a business owner who’s not familiar with local SEO, then you should be. In today’s digital age, your visibility online is more important than ever before, and in 2023, your local search presence will have a huge impact on your business.
Local search is the process of searching for businesses within a specific target area – Bromsgrove, for example – while local SEO refers to enhancing a website and its content to rank higher in those searches.
This type of SEO is vital for businesses that rely on local traffic for their success, as it helps them to connect with potential customers nearby, increases visibility, and builds trust with the local community. It’s a way to attract new customers, establish a presence in the area, and most importantly, give businesses a competitive advantage.
So, what actions can you take to improve your website’s local search rankings? Let’s dive in!
Do you know who your local competitors are? Do you know which local business is ranking the highest in your industry? Do you know how they have achieved this? These questions are important – after all, you can’t expect to outrank your competitors if you don’t know who they are or what they’re doing well.
The process of researching your competitors’ local search rankings is easier than it sounds:
1. Identify top competitors2. Use keyword research tool (e.g. Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and Ahrefs)3. Analyse their website and online presence4. Use local search tools5. Monitor rankings
This can provide invaluable insights into the strategies your competitors are using, which can help you to improve your own local search presence. Once you have conducted the necessary research, you’ll be able to see where you can make improvements and where you’re excelling. Consider factors such as “domain authority” and “organic search traffic”, along with what people in your target area are searching for.
Google My Business is a free platform that essentially acts as a virtual business card, helping companies promote their services locally, including Google Maps and local pack listings. A strong Google My Business profile should include key details about your business that would be useful or of interest to customers, such as your business name, address, service area, products, phone number, opening hours, sectors that your business covers, and more.
In order to optimise your Google Business profile, you’ll need to claim and verify your listing, complete all the relevant fields, add photos and videos, encourage customer reviews, and post regular updates. This can go a long way in improving your online visibility, attracting more customers, and increasing sales.
Businesses should also post regular business updates, much like any other social platform. Google will recognise that you are being proactive and reward you as such. You can also use Q&A posts for commonly asked questions.
To improve local search rankings, businesses can build local citations and backlinks. Local citations are online mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number, while backlinks are links from one website to another.
Local citations and backlinks are important because they signal to search engines that a business is reputable and relevant to a particular location. This can help improve a business’s visibility in local search results and attract more local customers.
To identify and obtain local citations, the best place to start is with online business directories that are most relevant to your industry. But remember, while quantity is important, so is quality. Make a list of potential citations that your customers are actually using, any costs involved, and the content you’ll need to provide (this should be consistent across all listings).
Acquiring backlinks is a slightly different process. You can reach out to other local businesses for backlink opportunities, offer to write guest posts for relevant industry websites, attend or speak to industry events, publish insightful guides, offer free tools or resources, and engage with relevant journalists via digital PR outreach.
Localised content is specifically created for a particular region or local audience, considering their language, cultural nuances, and interests. Search engines like Google will prioritise content that’s relevant to a user’s location, so, by creating localised content, businesses can improve their chances of appearing in local search results, while also building credibility with their local audience.
Think about it this way: Google aims to provide its users with the very best content available, so, they’re only going to push pages that offer the most value to search queries. Staying ahead of the competition means ensuring that your content is accurate, engaging, and informative.
To effectively create content tailored to your local audience, it’s important research your local audience, use local keywords, create location-specific landing pages, incorporate local references, and leverage social media to engage with your audience.
Online reviews can have a significant impact on local search rankings by affecting a business’s reputation and credibility. In addition to localised content, search engines also consider the quantity, quality, and frequency of online reviews when ranking businesses.
Google wants to recommend the best sites to its users, and user testimonials have a big part to play in those recommendations. So, put simply, positive reviews can improve rankings and attract new customers, while negative reviews can have the opposite effect.
You should be encouraging customers to leave reviews on Google and other platforms – don’t be afraid to ask the question. Businesses should also make it easy for customers to leave a review, and those reviews should be monitored regularly. It’s important to responded to customers both promptly and professionally, address any concerns raised in negative reviews, thank customers for positive feedback, and maintain a consistent tone across all platforms.
There are a number of different ways to measure the success of local search optimisation, for example, tracking local search rankings, analysing website traffic, monitoring engagement on local listings, measuring conversions, and collecting customer feedback.
Local search ranking measures where your business appears in search engine results pages, website traffic measures the number of visitors to your site, and conversion rates measure the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. These metrics help businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their local search optimisation efforts and make informed decisions about improvements.
To track local search optimisation progress, businesses can use Google Analytics to monitor local search traffic and Google Search Console to track local search rankings. You can also monitor engagement on Google My Business to identify areas for improvement.
This information can help businesses identify any areas for improvement, make informed decisions about their local search optimisation efforts, and adjust their strategies to drive more local leads and sales.
Local search optimisation is crucial for businesses looking to attract local customers and increase their visibility online. With more and more consumers turning to online search to find local businesses, it’s essential that businesses prioritise local search optimisation as a key component of their overall digital marketing strategy.
To outrank your competitors in local search results, it’s essential to optimise your Google My Business profile, create locally focused content, build high-quality local backlinks, ensure your website is mobile-friendly, utilise social media, and monitor your online reputation.
By implementing the strategies mentioned in this blog, businesses can improve their local search ranking, drive more traffic to their website, and ultimately increase conversions and revenue.
We’ve given you the knowledge and tools to succeed, but we understand that the road to SEO success can be tough without the proper insight and guidance. At Sherbet Donkey, our team of SEO specialists have worked with companies of all sizes in a wide range of industries, helping businesses to grow in their local area. Our experts can guide you through the entire SEO process and implement a variety of SEO best practices to help you dominate local search results.
Get in touch to find out more.
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