For smaller businesses with a budget, local search engine optimisation is a great option to consider. It can seem daunting to try to tackle the search engines when the there is a heavily saturated market that is competitive in nature. Local SEO presents the opportunity to go big in a small space, allowing you to gain SERP presence in a smaller, less competitive vertical. Further, local SEO allows you to direct more targeted and relevant traffic to your website, increasing engagement and click throughs.
Hubspot reports that seventy percent of people who use search engine use local search to find businesses offline. Additionally, thirty percent of Google searches seek local information. With this many people searching for local businesses and information, the importance of local optimisation is clear. Local SEO will promote brand awareness, increase a company’s credibility, result in more visits from targeted searchers in the business’ area, increase your conversion rate and improve your return on investment, many times at a lower cost of general search engine optimisation.
Optimising a diverse range of channels that promote and point to your website sends a powerful message to search engines and searchers alike. Say you run a search on “Search Marketing in Tunbridge Wells”, or “SEO professionals in Maidstone.” You will receive a mixture of PPC (pay-per-click) results on the top and right hand side, these ad spots are paid advertising charged per click. Google Places results will be in the middle of the SERP, followed by organic (free) listings and local directories. Additionally, images and videos are prominently displayed along side the search results.
A well optimised page will be present throughout the different sections on the search results page. You want to aim to rank for a landing page specific to your area, like Sevenoaks or Kent, and have a well optimised home page. You will want to be listed on Google Maps, and have a well optimized Google Plus page, with your local phone number and address. When your business appears in five different sections of a search result page, you can expect a clickthrough rate of over sixty percent for the keyword you have optimised.
The need to optimise different sites so that you can take up multiple search engine results in a local search should be obvious at this point. Brand awareness, credibility, visits, and conversions will increase. But what are the best channels to optimise?
Obtaining citations that contain detailed information such as your business name, phone number and addresses is your first step. Directories such as Yelp, or Yell.com give you a great opportunity to rank competitively. If you include pertinent information in the appropriate categories such as “Tonbridge Toy Store” and select the correct industry for your vertical, you will appear in targeted, less competitive search page results.
Shoot to optimise directories such as Yell, Hotfrog and Cylex. Make sure that the information is consistent and add photos and videos to capture attention. To ensure your information is accurate, Google your business name to find any incorrect information.
It is also important to put up a company profile on Google My Business. Create a page, get it verified then optimise it. Doing this will give you a business listing on Google Maps, which is an advantage.
Leverage social media as a tool to reach out to your audience and promote discussion. Build a Facebook page and write interesting and helpful posts, as well as regular posts on your newest products and services. Having a social media site will enable you to build a local community of loyal visitors and will therefore increase traffic and conversion.
Optimising video and images will give you a competitive advantage on the local SERPs. People will be more likely to click if an image appears next to your business in a search result. Optimising videos, for example gives you a platform to engage with your visitors, improve your customer service, and to educate search engine users about your product or service.
Obtaining reviews will allow you tostand out from the competition and gain the trust of your prospects. Try to get testimonials on Yelp or Tripadvisor. You can utilize your email database to request that your customers leave reviews on these sites. Encourage reviews by adding them on to your company website, and always respond to reviews, negative or positive.
Add more diversity to your SERP by obtaining links from your local chamber of commerce, local trade groups and industry associations. To step up your self promotion, host local events, guest blog for businesses, and create a page of community resources for your visitors to utilize.
Start a company blog with information that is relevant and useful. Consider writing complementary reviews for other businesses you are not competing with. It is likely that the businesses you have reviewed will link back to you, increasing your page rank and driving direct traffic from their links.
So to recap, local SEO brings a host of benefits to the table. It is easier and more strategic to go big in a smaller space, and you will see the potential to quickly climb up the SERPs for your area. Because you are optimising long tail keywords, you can rank well for popular keywords combined with your local keywords.
Signing up for Google My Business and getting on Google Maps will also give you access to all of the apps that use location. You can rank high within search engine results and also these mobile applications. Additionally, more and more people are utilizing their phones to locate businesses, so optimising for your location is a good idea.
Your credibility and trustworthiness will increase as you gain more result pages for the keywords you have optimised. By obtaining reviews, you can increase this credibility even more, eliminating market friction when your prospects need to decide whether to do business with you or not. By increasing your efforts to optimise your pages for local locations even a small amount, you will reap a multitude of benefits and will increase your conversions without having to break the bank.
Use this great tool from our friends as your local SEO checklist, whether you want to rank in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Kings Hill or anywhere else you want to rank locally, this will keep you on the right track to ranking first and dominating your competitors.