Have you wondered how you get your website seen locally in search engine listings? If you have a business that serves a local area, and you want internet searchers to find you (which you do, of course) then here are 6 tips to help you out.
Search results are now more tailored to specific localities, particularly with more searches being made on mobile devices and with desktop computers tied in to geographical locations too. With search engines being the first port of call for most potential customers in a local area ‘Local SEO’ is a really important aspect of marketing to understand.
1. Set up & optimise your local profile.
As of writing this post, the key most important profiles to set up for your business are Google My Business, Bing Local & Yahoo Local. For each of these you are given the option to add the critical information about your business – name, address and phone (or ‘NAP’) as well as your website address, email, description, opening times, photos etc. The more you fill out the better, and of critical importance is consistency, particularly of your ‘NAP’ (see the next tip re this).
2. Ask (and get) reviews for your business.
The more reviews you are getting the better for your business and the more chance you will get your website seen locally. With reviews come stars, and in particular if you are getting stars show up on your local search listings (particularly if there are 5 of them!) then your business will be more visible and potential clients will immediately start to trust you. Ideally you should use the same review services as the local profiles you have set up – so if you have set up Google My Business, then ask your clients to review your services on your Google My Business page.
3. Add regular ‘NAP’ citations.
As mentioned above your ‘NAP’ (name, address and phone) is a key aspect that the search engines look for to verify that your business is in and serves a particular locality. It is for this reason that ensuring your NAP is exactly the same wherever it is added so that the search engines are clear it is your business, at your address, using your phone number. In the UK some of the more important business listing websites are 118 Information, the Local Data Company, Thomson Local, Yelp and Infoserve. It is also useful to find directory listings that are in your geographical location, and even better if there are local listing directories related to your industry sector.
4. Optimise each page of your website for search engines.
Search engine optimisation of all your website content needs to be carried out to allow the search engines to easily identify what your business offers. Identify a primary and secondary keyword for each page, create unique titles and descriptions, and ensure each page uses a keyword rich URL. Also make sure your page contains a semantic content structure, that your key phrases are used in your headings, copy and image alt tags, and make links between pages of your website using the key phrases you have identified.
5. Make sure your website has content that is easy for search engines to index.
You need to make sure that your website has content to be searched – it’s no good having all your local profiles, reviews and citations set up if your website is devoid of content. Having pages of content that include more then 500 words and that are relevant to your business and services is critical, and ensure these pages are set up with search keyword / keyphrases that are relevant.
6. Check and build relevant links back to your website.
For a long time having links from other relevant websites back to yours is an important weight that search engines consider when ranking your website in its index. Quick ways to go about building links include linking back from any social media profiles you have set up, giving testimonials to any suppliers or service providers you use (that include links back to your website), and using free or paid authority directories.
N.B. DO NOT use any service that says they will add you to hundreds or thousands of directories – this tactic will almost certainly get your website flagged up and demoted in the search engines.
This is not (at all) an exhaustive list as there are many other things that you can do to raise your profile and get your website seen locally. These 6 tips are important starting points for you to consider however and following these diligently and regularly will definitely improve your local visibility.
If you need help with any of these then of course do get in touch as they are services I can provide for you.