Local SEO | September 13, 2016
Local Quick Wins: 7 Ways to Improve Your Local SEO
Time and time again I see brands making a hash of their local SEO – and missing out on valuable custom.
But local SEO needn’t be a headache. Here are my seven simple steps to fixing up your local search visibility:
1. Claim and Verify your Google My Business Listing
This is the basis of any successful local SEO project, and might seem like an obvious one, but many businesses have unclaimed listings in Google Maps.
Claiming and verifying your listing gives you control over the information that is displayed and also protects you from the risk of other people claiming and controlling your business information.
2. Get your NAP right
For search engines to understand your business location, it is essential that you have your Name, Address and Phone number (commonly referred to in the SEO world as ‘NAP’) clearly displayed on your website. Most brands choose to display this information in the footer of their website.
It needs to be crawlable and indexable so that Google can corroborate the information, and therefore display your business location correctly in the search results.
3. Keep it Consistent
Google is, I’m frequently found telling people, both significantly cleverer and stupider than we give it credit for. While it can process data and make decisions for users at unfathomable speeds, it can often get tripped up by the smallest issue. For instance, it can easily get confused if it finds inconsistent data about your business online. That means if your address isn’t completely consistent on your own site, across the internet and on Google Maps itself, then Google may not present the right information.
I’ve seen plenty of times how the smallest discrepancy affects a client’s local visibility – thus harming site visits and offsite revenue.
So, ensure that your NAP is displayed in exactly the same way on both your own site and within Google Maps itself, as well as in appearances of your business address across the web. Consistency is key!
4. Optimise your Website for Local Terms
Take advantage of search volume in your local keywords and optimise your location landing pages for relevant search terms. Having well-optimised meta information, headers and body content contributes to your relevancy and reinforces your business location, resulting in more visibility in the local SERPs.
5. Enhance your Google My Business Listing
Inside your Google My Business account, as well as ensuring your location information is accurate, you have the option to add additional information. This can include opening hours and photos of your premises, and give the opportunity to respond to reviews.
This updated information will help both users and search engines find your location and can contribute to the optimisation of your map listing.
6. Manage your Citation Profile
Citations aren’t particularly sexy, but when it comes to local visibility, they’re pretty essential. Your citation profile backs up your business presence by proving your importance to search engines. There are a huge number of citation sites to explore, but certain industries rely on particular local sources to prove their importance. For instance, if yours is a business in the leisure industry, then TripAdvisor is a very influential site – so it’s essential that your NAP is found there.
Ensuring your business NAP appears on the most important local aggregators gives you the best chance of performing well in the local SERPs. And, as ever, consistency is key here.
7. Don’t Ignore Traditional SEO Signals
Traditional SEO signals such as your website authority are still a major ranking factor in the local SEO arena. You need to work on your domain as a whole, alongside your local campaign, in order to see success in the search results.
Having said that, depending on your location, there are certainly quick wins to be had with local SEO, particularly if you operate in a less competitive are.