As a small business owner, you’re more than likely familiar with the importance of an online presence. However, given the number of businesses competing for attention online, it can be difficult to make your business stand out amongst the noise and drive real, tangible results.
That’s where local SEO comes in. Local SEO (search engine optimisation) is the practice of optimising your website to appear in local search results.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at everything local SEO, including some strategies and tips that you can use to start improving your local rankings today.
Table of Contents
Feel free to jump ahead to any of the below sections by clicking the appropriate quick link.
• What local search is.
• Why local search is important.
• The factors that impact local search rankings.
• Optimising your website for local search.
• Creating and optimising your Google Business Profile.
• Building citations and local backlinks.
Understanding local search
In this section, we’re going to dissect what local search is and its importance in the greater sphere of SEO.
What is local search?
Local search is a way of searching online that’s specifically geared towards finding businesses and services close to where you are. For instance, if you search for “coffee shop near me,” you’re essentially looking for coffee shops within your vicinity.
Why is local search important?
For small businesses, local search is vital since it can aid in drawing in customers who are on the lookout for the goods or services that they offer in their immediate area. As per Google, 46% of all searches have a local context, highlighting the significance of local search for businesses operating in specific regions.
What factors impact local search rankings?
There are several factors that impact local search rankings, including:
Proximity refers to how close the business is to the searcher’s location.
Relevance refers to how well the business’s website and online profiles match the searcher’s query.
Prominence refers to how well-known the business is online, based on factors such as reviews, citations, and backlinks.
It’s important to note that there are far more local ranking factors that are not made public knowledge.
Optimising your website for local search
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways of optimising your website for local search and reigning in those local rankings.
How can I optimise my website for local search?
There are several ways to optimise your website for local search. First and foremost, spend some time making sure that your website includes your NAP (name, address, phone number) on every page. This will help search engines to identify your business’s location.
Secondly, use local keywords on your website, such as your city or region.
Finally, create local content that is relevant to your target audience.
Why is having a mobile-friendly website important for local search?
Having a mobile-friendly website is important for local search because many local searches are conducted on mobile devices. In fact, according to Google, 88% of “near me” searches are conducted on mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s likely that it won’t appear in mobile search results.
How can I create local landing pages for my website?
To create local landing pages for your website, start by identifying the locations that you want to target. Then, create a separate landing page for each location that includes local keywords, information about the location, and testimonials from local customers. This will help search engines to identify your business as relevant to those specific locations.
Creating and optimising your Google Business Profile
This section will focus specifically on how you can optimise your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) for local search.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including in search results and on Google Maps.
How can I optimise my Google My Business listing for local search?
To optimise your Google My Business listing, make sure that you fill out all of the information, including your NAP, business hours, and photos. Use local keywords in your business description and choose the most relevant categories for your business. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and be sure to respond to all reviews promptly and professionally.
Building Citations and Local Backlinks
Next up we have building citations and local backlinks. Here, we’re going to explore how you can harness the power of online business directories to forge improved local rankings.
What are citations?
Citations are online mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number. They can appear on local business directories, review websites, and social media platforms.
How do citations impact local search rankings?
Citations can impact local search rankings by providing search engines with information about your business’s location and relevance. The more high-quality citations your business has, the more likely it is to appear in local search results.
How can I build citations for my business?
To build citations for your business, start by creating profiles on local business directories. Make sure that your NAP is consistent across all directories and include photos and other relevant information about your business.
What are local backlinks?
Local backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website and mention your business’s location. For example, a local news website might include a link to your website in an article about local businesses.
How can I build local backlinks for my website?
To build local backlinks for your website, start by creating high-quality content that is relevant to your local audience. Reach out to local bloggers and influencers to request a mention or a link to your website. You can also sponsor local events or charities and ask for a link in return.
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions around local SEO.
How long does it take to see results from local SEO?
The timeline for seeing results from local SEO can vary depending on factors such as your competition and the strength of your online presence. However, many small businesses start to see improvements in their local search rankings within a few months of implementing local SEO strategies.
Can I do local SEO myself, or do I need to hire an expert?
You can certainly do local SEO yourself, but it can be time-consuming and complex. If you have the time and expertise, it’s certainly possible to implement local SEO strategies on your own. However, many small businesses choose to hire an expert to help them with local SEO to ensure that they are maximising their online visibility.
How often should I update my Google My Business listing?
Regularly updating your Google My Business listing is a smart move. Make sure that all the details are current and precise. The best practice is to update your Google Business Profile every time your information changes.
Pro tip: Post weekly on Google Business Manager to maximise visibility.
At the end of the day, local SEO is an important part of any small business’s online marketing strategy. By optimising your website and online profiles for local search, you can attract more customers who are looking for your products or services in your local area.