We’ve all been there – a new city, a new town, looking for somewhere good to eat, activities to do or places to shop. The power of adding ‘near me’ to your Google Search may have become a regular part of daily life that you’ve never questioned. But, the useful results you get that help guide you around your surrounding area are no accident.
Somewhere some clever SEO-er (yes, we’re biased) has put in targeted work to ensure you get the right, relevant results local to you. A great SEO service for smaller businesses with smaller marketing budgets, local search optimises websites for users directly in the area to connect local businesses with users that require their products or services or who have a relevant search query.
Local SEO is the means of making a local site more visible on Google – especially those who have physical shops that can be visited. It is the means of improving organic traffic to include more relevant users that are actually nearby and in need of the product or service the business offers.
The main elements of local SEO are proximity, how close a brand is to searchers, relevancy, does your site match the local search intent and, finally, prominence, how well is the business known and what the reviews say.
The main benefits of implementing local SEO tactics on your site include:
People nearby can find your business easily
Improves business visibility and local search visibility
It can attract new customers who rely on search engines to navigate their way around a new location
It allows you to be ahead of local competitors and be compared to
Localised SEO Strategy: A Checklist
Local SEO, like all SEO, requires a strategic approach for brands to maximise organic reach in the most effective way. Relevancy sits at the heart of any SEO strategy and local SEO is no different. By implementing the following steps, you should be able to make the most of the relevant footfall traffic and organic searchers near you.
Undertake A Local SEO Audit
The first step to implementing effective local SEO is to understand the current situation. In your overview, you need to consider:
How your business appears in the SERPs
On-Page SEO – has local keyword research been implemented into content?
Are all business citations i.e. directory listings up to date and relevant?
What are the competitors doing?
Is your website optimised for all devices?
Set Up Google My Business (GMB) Properly
Making full use of GMB and optimising it is a key, foundational step in local SEO strategy. GMB ensures your business can be shown on Google Maps and provides an online shop window for users to discover.
Keep your business name, contact information and website up to date and match the information found on your contact page
Ensure your site is categorised as the most relevant option
List services and products where possible
Are all areas the business serves listed?
Stay engaged ensuring there are regular social posts and media that will keep the listing active
Keep opening hours updated
Are reviews substantial and responded to?
Keep Contact Details Up To Date Onsite
NAP, meaning name, address and phone number, is crucial for local SEO as it ensures Google can provide accurate information to the users whose query your business matches. Keeping these consistent across the internet enforces trust and improves ranking chances for local SEO.
Local SEO Keyword Research
Similarly to undergoing regular keyword research, local SEO keyword research is the means of finding what people are searching for when trying to find products, services or other things within the area. Optimising for these keywords can help increase organic visibility for the right search queries that will improve organic traffic both onsite and offsite.
These can be explicitly localised such as “SEO services near me” or “SEO services Newcastle” or they can be more implicit such as “SEO services” by using the user’s location and Google’s ability to know its user, they can match it with local SERPs.
Create Localised Content
Creating content with local search users in mind is when your local SEO strategy becomes tangible. One way you can do this easily is by creating location pages. If your business covers several towns or cities, create pages that target these spots specifically.
You could even create local SEO blog content perhaps announcing local news relevant to your business, local round-up guides or regional landing pages.
Some top tips on creating effective localised content include:
Using schema markup – this will highlight your site’s authority in its sector
Implement your local keyword research in an organic, natural way
Examine the Local Competition
When it comes to local SEO, your competitors are no longer a domain in the virtual world but instead, they’re more likely a similar business around the corner – quite possibly run by someone you know. However, getting to know them is still vital – and, no, we don’t mean nipping around for a cuppa.
To do local SEO competitor research, pick who are your main competitors and compare SEO performance, overall. Take a look at which brand is ranking top of the SERPs for target keywords, examine the steps they’ve taken to help get them there and analyse the gaps in their strategy that you may be able to take advantage of.
Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
The smartphone is local SEO’s best friend. Putting the whole internet at your fingertips wherever you are, the smartphone is where many of the local searchers find themselves when requiring answers from their nearby surroundings. By ensuring your site is well-optimised for mobile, you will be eliminating any obstacles that come between you and your local organic traffic.
Reporting on Local SEO
Once you’ve implemented your local SEO strategy, you need to be able to report on its effectiveness, whether that’s to colleagues, CEOs or to investors. The main ways you can zoom in on local SEO success in your reports is by categorising keywords by location and summarising changes, categorising organic traffic by a device (i.e. amount coming from mobile), and continuing to monitor local SERP results.
Local SEO Tools
Like all SEO, there are some key tools that can help make your local SEO strategy a little bit easier. Here are some useful tools from familiar SEO favourites that can help with your strategy: