Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Local SEO
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As a marketer or small business owner, you may wonder why local SEO is so important. After all, doesn’t online marketing reach everyone?
Well, yes and no. Online marketing can reach a wide audience, but it’s not always effective for driving traffic to a physical location. This is where local SEO comes in.
So what is Local SEO? Why is it so important? And how can you improve yours?
Keep reading to find out!
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising your website and online presence for local search results.
Over the years, search engines have evolved to use your location data, established through your IP address and cookies, to serve the most relevant local search results for users.
Thanks to that, we can find information on local businesses and services in seconds, which is really handy!
We all make local searches – typical searches you might make are:
- ‘Chinese takeaways near me’
- ‘MOT garages in London’
- ‘Barbers near Portsmouth’
When searching phrases like these, you’ll see a list of businesses in your local area that matches your search query, displayed via Google Maps – this known as the ‘Local Pack’ or ‘Google Map Pack’.
If your business serves local customers, grabbing those top spots on a local pack is a surefire way to attract more traffic to your website and foot traffic to your physical premises.
Why is Local SEO so important?
Studies have shown that most people don’t go past the first page of search results when looking for something.
But with local searches, people often won’t go past the local pack!
So clearly, Local SEO is vital if you want to get noticed by potential customers in your local area.
But here are a few other reasons that Local SEO is essential.
Driving foot traffic to your premises
As I mentioned above, local SEO helps drive more awareness of your business and helps get more customers through your doors.
Businesses located on busy high streets or shopping areas are lucky enough to have a regular foot traffic going past their premises.
But if your shop, garage, salon, studio, or whatever type of premises you have, is a bit out of the way in a more remote business park or industrial estate, people might not even know you’re there!
Focusing on your local SEO helps build more awareness of your business and helps drive more foot traffic to your premises.
Stay ahead of the local competition
Depending on your type of business and where you are, your local competition could be pretty sparse or it could be densely populated.
If you have a lot of local competition, going after those top positions for local search queries can give you more of an edge when trying to keep up with more established and well-known competitors.
Just be aware that your competitors will likely have the same idea, so you’ve got to make sure you’re nailing your local SEO if you want to claim and retain those top spots.
Building trust with your customers
Trust is a big thing for your customers, and ranking at the top for local search terms and having a lot of highly-rated reviews, is a great way to gain their trust.
To maximise the trust you build with your local SEO, you need to build up a good amount of reviews on your Google business profile and fill your website with valuable content that your customers will love.
While those two points aren’t exclusive to local SEO, they’ll help with building trust with your local customers.
Growing your business
When you combine all the points above – more brand awareness, footfall in your premises, staying ahead of your competitors, and building trust with your local customers, it’s no surprise that business growth can come as a result.
So, local SEO is essential if you’re targeting local customers and want to grow your business effectively.
How to improve your Local SEO
Optimising local keywords
Optimising your web pages for local keywords is the first step in improving your local SEO.
Set out the keywords your customers would use to find you, and include them in your page headings, content, and metadata.
For example, if you own a plumbing business in Blackpool, rather than optimising your service pages for keywords like:
- Plumbing services
- Drain unblocking services
- Boiler fitting services
You’ll want to optimise for:
- Plumbing services Blackpool
- Plumbing services in Blackpool
- Plumbing services near Blackpool
- Plumbers Blackpool
- Plumbers in Blackpool
- Plumbers near Blackpool
- Drain unblocking services Blackpool
- Drain unblocking services in Blackpool
… you get this gist.
As well as internal optimisations, you should also try to build backlinks that use your local keywords as anchor text.
Building these backlinks on relevant, high domain authority websites will help improve your website’s authority and positively impact your rankings.
Listing your business on local directories
Get listed on online directories!
The biggest ones you need to get on are Google My Business and Bing Places – these are essential for getting your business listed on maps and ranking in local packs on Google.
Outside of these main directories, there’s very little SEO value in getting listed on online business directories.
Because they had been abused in the past for SEO purposes, Google and other search engines essentially ignore backlinks to your website that come from directories or view them as negative if they come from more spammy directories.
So, rather than trying to get listed on as many online and local directories as possible, focus on the more reputable and relevant directories your customers will visit.
Sites like Yelp, Bark, Trustatrader, Checkatrade, and Yell are all good directories to get listed on that could bring more local traffic and leads to your website.
Build up your reviews online
One ranking factor that Google considers on the local pack is ratings and reviews.
If you’ve got zero reviews on your Google My Business profile, or worse, a low rating, you’ll find it much harder to get your business listed on the local pack, let alone reach the top positions.
Build up your reviews on Google and Bing by reaching out to your customers.
If you send out orders to customers, leave a small flyer in the package asking them to leave feedback/reviews.
Ask customers who have left reviews on other sites like Trustpilot, Bark, and TripAdvisor to go and leave a review on your Google profile too.
The long and short of it is the more positive reviews your business has on Google and other search engines, the easier it’ll be for you to rank highly in local search results!
Location-based landing pages
Creating landing pages that are fully optimised for local search terms can be a great way to improve your local SEO if you service specific areas.
For example, if you provide legal services in the Dorset area, you might want to create landing pages for the key areas in Dorset, like:
You’d then optimise these location landing pages for local search keywords like:
- Legal services in Bournemouth
- Solicitors in Poole
- Legal firm Weymouth
- Solicitors firm Dorchester
and so on.
You can then track these keywords in software like Semrush to see how your landing pages perform in organic search results, whether they need any further optimisations, and whether your business is ranking in the local pack.
Need some help with your local SEO?
If you want to optimise your website for local searches, but need a helping hand from the experts, get in touch about our local SEO packages!
Our team of experienced SEO specialists can optimise your website for local keywords and build campaigns around your Google My Business listing to deliver impressive results and grow your awareness locally.