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10 Local SEO must-haves for Websites in Johannesburg in 2024

1. Create Local Relevant Content for Johannesburg Users

Localising Your Content

One key area of SEO is content, optimising your content for your local area should involve an approach to localise content. This content is not limited to written words, however, as you can use local images to further localise your content for each specific area.

In this case, content for Johannesburg should focus on discussing matters that are relevant to the Johannesburg audience and ideally images in your article or blog should be original and localised to the Johannesburg area.

As an example, in 2024 Johannesburg is currently suffering from a water shortage, local issues like this should be discussed alongside images taken in Johannesburg.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to the question of how much content to post from an SEO perspective, we recommend one to two high-quality pieces of content a week. Google will not reward your site for pumping out large volumes of mediocre content, rather Google will reward content that answers user questions most conveniently for your users.

On the topic of content quality one area that’s often overlooked is adding new value to the conversation for example, if we take two nearly identical blog posts but the second post adds new information or makes content easier to navigate for users, Google will show its preference for the article that’s easier to navigate and adds more value to the topic than the other post.

Original local SA Images in Your Content Goes a Long Way

Just as adding new information to your content plays a role in Google promoting your content highly in the search results, relevant original imagery goes a long way in making your content more unique and seen as higher quality.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use stock photos however you should give some thought to adding original images to your content. For localising content to the Johannesburg area, you can apply this strategy to districts within Johannesburg.

One example of this would be creating an article that focuses on targeting users from Fourways your images should thus be localised to that specific area of Johannesburg to give it that extra boost in local search results.

2. Mobile Optimisation

As much as local optimisation can help you rank higher for search results from Johannesburg, if your website is not mobile-friendly you could be hurting your chances of ranking highly from the start regardless of how well your content is localised.

This is because Google ranks sites on a mobile-first indexing system, meaning that if your site works well on desktop but not so well on mobile devices such as smartphones, Google won’t rank your site as highly as a competitor site that works well on both platforms.

Why does Google Rank on a mobile-first index system?

To better understand why Google uses a mobile-first indexing system let’s use an example from South Africa. In 2024 it’s estimated that 13.4 million South Africans use mobile devices online, and this number is predicted to rise to 23.8 million by 2029. Similar patterns are seen around the world as the population moves from consuming online content via desktop devices to consuming online content through smartphones and other mobile devices.

As such Google will reward websites which function well on both platforms with higher rankings in the search results page. Thankfully we have guidelines from Google for best practices to follow for mobile-first indexing which details exactly which steps need to be taken to ensure your site is mobile-friendly from design to more technical elements such as schema markup on your website.

3. List Your Business Website Locally

Listing your Business and its website locally is important because it achieves two core objectives, firstly if you have a physical address linked to your website in a local business listing this shows search engines that your business is more than likely real and authentic.

Search engines like this information because it demonstrates that users can interact with the business on the ground and that your business is authentic.

Resources for Listing Your Website

1. Google My Business

You can easily list your business using Google My Business additionally, if a listing has been automatically created for your business by Google, you can claim that listing through Google My Business.

2. Local Business Listings

While your Google Business Profile is one of the more important listings for your website, local business listings should also be at the top of your mind if you plan to target users from Johannesburg. You can find a list of these in the resource above.

4. Gather Local Reviews

Tying directly into the conversation about creating a Google Business Profile for your website, reviews from real people in the Johannesburg area should be another area of focus.

One approach that can be helpful is asking customers to leave a review on your Google Business Profile. This shows search engines real people are interacting with your business and this demonstrates authenticity and authority towards your online presence to search engines.

Sending The Right Signals to Search Engines Via Reviews

If the majority of your reviews come from the Johannesburg area this sends a strong signal to search engines that your website and business is relevant helpful, and authentic to users within Johannesburg. This will promote your website and business higher on the local search results page compared to businesses which have fewer reviews or reviews from a different region to the business location.

Given that a link to your website is typically listed in your online listing, search engines will associate this positive user experience with your website, which just like your online business listing will push your website higher on the local search results page.

5. Create Location-Specific Landing Pages

If your business operates in multiple locations within Johannesburg, create dedicated landing pages for each area. Optimise these pages with location-specific keywords, business information, and testimonials. This not only improves your local SEO but also provides users with relevant, targeted content for each local region.

6. Utilise Structured Data Markup for Local SEO

Implementing structured data markup, such as schema markup, can help search engines better understand the context of your content, particularly for local relevance. By marking up your website with structured data related to your business address, operating hours, contact information, and other local details, you can enhance your visibility in local search results and increase the likelihood of appearing in rich snippets and knowledge panels on Google’s search results pages.

7. Optimise Google Maps Listings

Having a well-optimised presence on Google Maps is crucial for local businesses targeting Johannesburg users. Ensure that your business information on Google Maps is accurate and up to date, including your address, phone number, website URL, and business category. If your business moves locations, ensure both your website and your Google Maps locations are up to date and that both these locations match.

The reason your website’s contact information must match your Google Maps listing location is because Google will compare these two pieces of information to try and understand where your business operates, and how users can contact you.

8. Localise Your Social Media Strategy

In addition to optimising your website for local SEO, extend your efforts to your social media channels. Tailor your social media content to resonate with the Johannesburg audience, incorporating local events, news, and trends. Engage with local users and businesses on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to foster a sense of community and increase your visibility in local searches.

9. Monitor & Respond to Local Search Trends

Stay informed about local search trends and developments specific to the Johannesburg area. Monitor keywords related to your industry or niche and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. Keep an eye on changes in local search algorithms and adapt your tactics to maintain or improve your rankings in local search results.

10. Implement Geotargeted Advertising Campaigns

Supplement your organic SEO efforts with geotargeted advertising campaigns aimed at Johannesburg users. Platforms like Google Ads and social media advertising offer robust targeting options that allow you to reach users based on their location.

By running ads specifically tailored to the Johannesburg market, you can increase visibility for your business and attract more local customers. Regularly analyse the performance of your geotargeted campaigns and refine your targeting parameters for optimal results.