How To Improve Your Local SEO Rankings? - Our top 5 tips.
Friday, April 14, 2023
Local search should be an integral part of any SEO strategy. Understand how to optimise your website for local search results & generate more traffic and conversions to your business in this blog.
What is Local SEO?
Any business with a physical location or operating in a geographical area can benefit from Local SEO. Local Search is improving your online visibility to ensure that nearby customers can find your business in specific geographic regions, cities and neighbourhoods. By focussing on local SEO, you can reach users searching with the following query types:
your service/product + location for example ‘Boiler repair Cambridge’
your service/product in a location for example ‘Vets in Chester’
your service/product near me for example ‘Solicitors near me’
Location + your service/product for example ‘London restaurants’
Implementing a successful local strategy means that your business will show as a listing in ‘Google Local Pack’ (a prominent section in the Google local search results that showcases top-ranking local listings for a specific location) and rank highly in the SERPs (search engine results page).
Google delivers searchers the best answer to local intent search queries by providing an array of businesses and services available in the area. For each ranking business the following information is provided to the users:
Photos & videos
Customer reviews and star ratings
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO helps your business stand out from the competition, and drive more traffic to your website and/or brick-and-mortar store. Local searches are on the rise, with 46% of all searches on Google including local intent & 97% of users online searching for local businesses. It’s more important than ever to implement a local SEO strategy and reap the following benefits:
More online visibility - allowing you to get in front of more potential customers who are searching for your services/products.
Drive more traffic to your physical store - more visibility equates to more foot traffic to your business.
Generate more targeted organic traffic - by targeting more local people you will receive more local traffic to your website, which can lead to more sales, leads and sign-ups.
Achieve more conversions - establishing your business as an expert in the area, combined with positive online reviews, can move users down the customer buying journey.
Enhanced trust & credibility of your brand - a Google Business Profile allows users to provide honest reviews of your business and for you to respond to feedback, enhancing your trust and credibility and boosting organic rankings.
5 ways to improve your local SEO rankings
We’ve now explained local SEO and the importance of adding it to your organic search strategy. So what does a local SEO strategy look like, from creating and claiming a Google Business Profile, citation management, local on-page content and more. Below we outline 5 key tactics to improve your local search rankings.
Create and optimise a Google Business Profile
When most people think of local SEO, the first thing to come to mind is a Google Business Profile (formally known as Google My Business). This profile acts as a digital storefront for your business, where you can display essential basic information such as:
Contact details (telephone & email address)
Business Category & description
Businesses can also take their Google Business profile to the next level by making use of additional features and functionality such as:
Incorporating important keywords and search phrases in your business description
Add business photos, videos and your logo to showcase your business further.
Manage and respond to customer reviews, whether positive or negative. When responding to reviews try to include targeted keywords, for example:
We appreciate your feedback on (product/service) in (location). Thank you from (company name) team’.
Respond to any questions asked by users on the profile.
Enable customer messaging within the profile.
Regularly use local posts to share offers, events, products, services & blog content.
Add special attributes such as women-led and or black-owned businesses (if applicable). You can also highlight special features such as ‘wheelchair accessibility’, 'outdoor dining' and 'free car parking' to list a few.
Add featured products (pricing, details & photos) via the Google Business Profile product editor.
Not only is a well-established Google Business Profile beneficial for SEO, but it also provides a great user experience to your customers, allowing them to find the information they need.
Optimise online directories and citations
Citations are considered a ranking factor for local SEO, and when set up correctly, they can improve local rankings. What do we mean by citations? They are online references to a business that includes the business name, address and phone number (NAP, we’ll discuss the importance of this later on). Citations are also known as online business directories, there are lots that you can add your business to, some general ones such as Google Business Profile, Bing Places, Facebook, Yelp, Apple & many more, but there will also be industry-specific citations for your business that are worthwhile pursuing.
It’s great to add your business-relevant citations, however, you need to ensure NAP consistency and discrepancies like misspelt words, abbreviations and incorrect phone numbers are avoided, as they can be problematic. If Google is struggling to understand which business information is correct, it may not show your business in the SERPs. You should also delete any duplicate listings in citations where possible.
Citations can improve your local rankings by showing Google that your business exists, you can end up on page one of the search results with your directory listing page, and finally, you can earn referral traffic to your website.
Create and optimise on-page local content
Create targeted location pages on your website to boost your SEO and make it easy for customers to find you. Every successful location page should:
Provide users with contact information such as name, address, phone number (NAP), email address, opening hours, payment information, anything that can be of use to potential local customers.
Only target one single location at a time and ensure each location has its own page and URL (for example, your domain/location), which will help the page get indexed quicker and rank higher.
Include geo-targeted keywords in the content. When optimising for local SEO, the service/product-based keywords you target should always accompany the location. These defined location-based keywords should also be used in title tags, meta description headings, alt text and the page URL.
Implement an embedded map to make it easy for customers to see where your premises are located.
Implement specific location reviews and testimonials from previous customers.
Add Local Schema Markup (schema or structured data) to remain competitive in a local market. Adding local schema markup to your HTML can improve how your page is showcased in search results. This little bit of code will enhance rich snippets & present your business as a knowledge graph.
If you are a business with multiple locations, avoiding duplicate content across location pages is essential.
Google also favours sites producing localised blog content. It’s great to provide general upper-funnel educational content, however, businesses can really excel if they also provide local or industry news within the area to attract a new local audience.
Build local links
Link building for local SEO involves acquiring backlinks from relevant local businesses. Backlinks are important for SEO, as they signal to Google that another resource finds your content valuable and boosts organic rankings, driving more organic traffic and building your brand’s visibility.
The best ways to earn backlinks are:
Receive links from travel & local review websites
Be present in local directory listings
Achieve PR links by holding local events, contests, offers & promotions
Create localised blog content & outreach to local publications
Understand your competitors' local backlinks & find local link-building opportunities
Discover unlinked brand mentions and request links
Boosting your internal linking structure.
Ensure Your website is mobile-friendly.
Did you know “Near me” mobile searches grew 136% last year, with more users searching for local services and products whilst on the go via their mobile devices? Users are searching for directions to your location, seeking contact information or reviewing reviews, so make it easier for your customers by delivering a well-optimised mobile-friendly site. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, users could choose one of your competitors over you.
Mobile friendliness is not only beneficial for users but it also is considered a ranking signal to Google. Google favours websites delivering a good page experience where users can easily interact with content and navigate the site. Test how mobile-friendly your site is with Google’s mobile-friendly test.
You can improve your website's mobile-friendliness by:
Implementing a responsive website layout, meaning the website rescales depending on the viewing device.
Improve your website site speed, you can discover your score & actionable recommendations with PageSpeed Insights.
Avoid intrusive interstitials (pop-ups/ page elements that obstruct users’ view of the content)
Compressing images to support downloading speed.
Ensuring all button sizes and placements are correct to aid viewing and use on mobile devices.
Use a large and readable font.
Overall, improving your local search rankings requires ongoing effort and optimization. By implementing our top-tip strategies, you can improve your online visibility and attract more local customers. Do you need help improving your local search rankings in 2023?
Get in touch with us today to take your rankings to the next level!