Results

Implementing a Local SEO Strategy for Your Business

1 February 2021
/ /
Implementing a Local SEO Strategy for Your Business

Local SEO refers to the process of optimising your content and web pages to target relevant local searches and drive lead generation, traffic and sales.

With traditional search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics, you are implementing a broad strategy that can increase your visibility in organic search engine results on Google and Bing at a national or global level.

In contrast, local SEO is targeted at a local, regional-based audience. Why is this important? Because people are regularly using search engines to find information about nearby businesses, products and services.

Data from Think with Google shows that around a third of all searches made on smartphones and tablets are location-based and 76% of people who look up something locally actually then go on to visit a business within 24 hours.

Local SEO will help you to rank closer to the top of the local searches so you can capture the interest of nearby audiences. Failure to do this could lead to you missing out on scores of potential customers. Even if you don’t have a physical store, courting regional business is still important.

What are the major benefits?

Greater visibility is what local SEO is all about but there are other benefits. These include:

  • Driving targeted traffic to your site for specific keywords and search terms
  • Attracting more customers cost-effectively
  • Reaching people on other local platforms and apps
  • Increasing your authority and trustworthiness
  • Improving customer retention for repeat business
  • Using content to nurture a loyal and engaged audience
  • Laying the groundwork for more clicks, conversions and sales

How can I get started with local SEO?

Google uses a different set of ranking signals to surface the most relevant content for local search queries. Central to Google’s algorithm and arguably the most effective “shortcut” to higher rankings is Google My Business, a tool that businesses can use to manage their online presence.

“By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers to find you and tell them the story of your business,” says Google.

Claiming a Google My Business (GMB) listing and optimising your account should be the first part of your strategy. That’s because Google uses GMB and the keywords used in the profile as signals. A verified and updated GMB profile will also show Google that you are an authentic business. You can start the registration process by navigating to google.com/business. If you are in contact with an agency or company that takes care of your local SEO services, you will need to provide them with your login details at this stage.

Once your account has been approved, you should complete your profile by adding your business name, address, phone number, business hours and payment types. This vital information will be used when your business appears in local search results on Google.

The signals from Google My Business are also tied to the “local pack”, a feature in search results that shows the details of three local businesses below a Google Map, with their locations marked. A complete GMB profile is the only way you can feature in the local pack.

Is high quality content still important?

One factor is constant across general SEO and local SEO – high quality, relevant content will give you a better chance of ranking on the first page and engaging audiences when they click through from SERPs.

Content creation is a core area of investment for marketers in 2021 due to rising demand from consumers and you can align your efforts with local SEO by crafting news, articles, blogs and videos for local people.

Top-of-the-funnel content – anything that generates interest and awareness – is good, as you want to go beyond hard sales and provide added value. You can also update the copy on your web pages to target different parts of a region so you can rank for keywords based around different locations.

Keyword planning is an extension of the creative process. You want to use terms and phrases in your blogs that will be relevant to local people so you can rank for them in search. Google’s Keyword Planner is a useful tool here, allowing you to filter keywords based on location. This can also be used as a source of inspiration for brainstorming topics you can explore.

Does anything else need optimising?

When you have crafted a compelling piece with the right mix of keywords, you can move on to optimising on-page elements for search engines. That means using a concise and targeted meta description that summarises the content and provides context for Google when it indexes your pages.

You should pay close attention to your title tags and headers too, using high-volume keywords within these where possible, and create an effective internal linking structure to distribute page authority and support better website navigation.

Local searches are also predominantly made on mobile so you need to optimise your content and pages for smartphones to capture local interest effectively. Google is switching to a mobile-first index in 2021, so to prepare, you should implement a responsive web design that loads quickly and is easy to navigate.

What are the main challenges?

The majority of tactics noted here can be rolled out directly by you but one area that can be tricky is gaining positive online reviews. A study by BrightLocal found just one in 10 consumers buy from a brand when it has a one or two-star rating.

All of this ties back to your Google My Business profile, where you can encourage people to share reviews. Google uses the sentiment of these online reviews as a ranking signal, so you want positive word of mouth to improve your position in search. You will also need to react accordingly to negative reviews and deal with potentially fake or spam reviews. Other challenges include:

  • Maintaining and updating your Google Business profile
  • Publishing a regular stream of excellent content
  • Ensuring business info on all local sites is correct
  • Auditing and optimising your web pages for local SEO

As you can see, local SEO can be difficult but the benefits vastly outweigh some of the issues that can arise. With search volume shifting in ever greater numbers to mobile, and consumers looking to local businesses for solutions, there has never been a better time to implement a targeted strategy.

If you would like to speak with an experienced SEO agency about improving your local SEO, Atlas SEO can help. Contact us today and one of our consultants will be in touch to assist you.

SEO

Have a question?

Filter: