When most business owners think of SEO, they think of optimising their website for the keywords that they are targeting.
However, they often overlook local SEO; the process of targeting keywords related to your local area to boost your affiliation with your region.
So, when internet users are searching for terms like ‘car washing in Greenwich,’ search engines will find them the businesses in their local area.
Nobody wants to travel hundreds of miles just to wash their car, which is why search engines try to find them the best local businesses. Even companies that offer remote services to a national, or even international, clientele can benefit from local SEO.
That’s because some potential customers will still search for local companies, even if they know that they can get these services from anywhere. They like to work with companies in their local area, so you’ll be able to get yourself to the top of their searches if you target local SEO.
Google, the largest search engine on the market, is dedicated to finding the most relevant answers to any given search. Most of the other search engines on the market are similarly committed to finding websites and content that meets the needs of users. That’s why their algorithms revolve around finding out the intention of each search and selecting webpages that meet these requirements.
If your website is optimized to show that it is linked to a specific area, then search engines will offer your site as an answer to queries related to local companies. If you only target topic-specific keywords, without any mention of your location, then you could miss out on local search results, and by extension, a lot of website visits.
That being said, the opposite is not true, and local SEO can boost your overall rankings. That’s because local SEO invariably involves your target keywords combined with the name of the town, city or village that you’re based in. As such, you can expand your rankings for your target keywords at the same time as growing your local SEO.
In all, it’s a win-win situation!
If you’re keen to integrate local SEO into your online strategy, then read on to find a selection of practical tips.
Learn How Users Are Searching For Local Businesses In Your Niche
If you’ve already got a strong SEO strategy in place, then you’ll know the keywords that you need to be targeting to reach the results pages for searches relevant to your business.
Local SEO runs on a similar principle, but that doesn’t mean that you can just stick the name of the town or village your business is based in onto the end of your target keywords.
Instead, you need to find out how users are searching for local businesses and then incorporate these writing techniques into your website content. The easiest way to do this is to for the name of your business market, then put ‘in’ followed by the area you live, at the end.
Check out the ‘Searches related to’ section at the bottom of the results page, as well as the ‘People also ask’ results, so you can find out what questions your website needs to answer and the related keywords you need to use.
You can also use established SEO tools, such as Ahrefs or SEMrush, if you have access to them, to find the related searches that you should be targeting.
Once you have a list of queries that your website needs to be answering and the related keywords that its content needs to include, you can adapt your writing accordingly. Re-write your homepage content, as well as any relevant auxiliary pages, to include these terms and answer the questions that are being asked.
Include Local SEO In Your Content Marketing Strategy
It’s not enough to only optimise your homepage and service pages for local SEO; you also need to make sure the technique is included in your content marketing strategy.
As such, any blog posts, research guides and whitepapers you write and publish, on your website or another, need to include elements of your local SEO strategy.
That might mean including your region alongside your company name, or it might involve trying to create blog posts that reference your local area. You could also write content that answers the questions being asked by local searchers to ensure that you create completely relevant and insightful articles.
You also need to include elements of local SEO on your social media pages; primarily, you’ll need to host your contact details, including your address. You can also add your social media pages to most business listings, which I’ll talk about later.
By constantly considering local SEO, and not treating it as an afterthought, you can ensure that it really makes an impact on your website and helps it to reach the top of relevant local searches.
Take Advantage Of The Local Business Listings Offered By Search Engines
Most major search engines offer local businesses free listings, from which they pull details such as contact information and map listings. These free listings can make a huge difference to your website’s local reach, so it’s crucial that you make full use of them.
Google, which, as I’ve already mentioned is the world’s biggest search engine, offers the Google My Business Account, on which you can list contact details, a link to your website, basic information and more.
It also allows users to review your business so that you can get additional exposure. However, you do need to manage your reviews to ensure that they remain a true reflection of your business and don’t get polluted with fake reviews and nasty comments.
Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, and one of the other top services, which, while still well below Google, is still an important part of the market, also offers a local business listing.
It’s called Bing Places for Business, and it works in a similar way to Google’s business listings. You can add business details, contact info and social media/ website links so that you can grow your business reach on this search engine.
Yahoo!, a search engine powered by Bing, also allows you to list your business and add details. Some other search engines do too, so work out which ones you’re targeting and then find out more about how you can optimize your content for them and take advantage of any local business listings they might offer.
Taking advantage of these listings is an easy, free way to boost your local SEO and enhance your business’s online reach. There’s literally no reason not to use them, and if you don’t take control of them yourself, then they might still exist, because customers might be mentioning your business online. If you’re not using it to its full advantage, then the listing won’t benefit your business and help you to grow your local and overall SEO.
Make Sure Your Website Is Suitable For Mobile Use
While it’s vital that your website looks good on a desktop computer, now more than ever it is crucial that it also works well on a mobile device.
That’s because there are 4 billion active mobile internet users worldwide, and smartphones are more popular now than ever before. Therefore, you need to make sure that you’re not missing out on this vast audience.
Many smartphone users turn to their phones to find the local businesses that they want to visit, with research showing that 82% of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches and that these local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within one day.
As a result, optimizing your website for mobile use is an essential part of any local SEO strategy. The first step is to test if your website works on mobile devices by using the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool from Google.
If you find that your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, then you need to work with your website development team to improve it and get it working on smartphones.
With a mobile-friendly website, you’ll be able to grow your local SEO reach and enjoy the benefit of an even wider audience for your content.
Optimise Your Website For Voice Search
Thanks to the rise of digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Bixby and more, voice search is a booming trend in the search engine market.
It’s estimated that as many as 58% of online adults have used voice search at some point, which means that you need to make sure that your content is optimized for this blossoming technique.
When you consider the fact that 46% of voice search users search for a local business on a daily basis, you’ll see why this is such an important part of your local SEO strategy.
Improving your website and making it voice-search-friendly means using natural language and working out how users will speak their queries.
This is because most voice searches are done in natural language; Google reports that almost 70% of the voice searches made on its Google assistant are made in natural language.
Do your research and work out how users will try to find businesses in your industry using voice search and then incorporate these phrases and queries into your writing.
Optimizing your content for voice search as well as mobile, SEO, local SEO and more, might seem like a lot of hard work. Still, the reward is being visible on all relevant platforms and getting your company under the noses of relevant individuals.
Stay Up To Date With The Latest Search Engine Updates
Search engines are constantly evolving and updating their algorithms, as well as developing their interfaces to serve their users better.
It’s crucial that you stay on top of the changes in the market if you want to keep your website ranking for your target keywords and grow its local SEO. These developments could have a serious impact on the strategies you use, so you need to stay updated.
To do this, you have to constantly explore the ways you can improve your website to help it reach the first page, above the fold search result placements you covet.
The best way to stay up to date with the latest updates from Google and other major search engines is to follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletters. Follow their blogs using a newsfeed optimization tool like Feedly to see the latest posts on new developments.
If you don’t want to clutter up your inbox and read through hundreds of social media posts every day, then try following a selection of regularly-updated SEO blogs. Check out the TechWyse ‘Rise To The Top’ Blog and other popular marketing blogs to keep on top of the latest updates.
These blogs will offer you a general overview of the updates and how they might affect your website. If you’re an SEO expert or marketing manager who wants to understand how you can use these developments to your advantage, then UK Linkology’s blog shares expert advice on the practical implications of these algorithmic updates.
By staying up to date with the latest search engine developments, you’ll be able to adapt around them quickly and ensure that you achieve the rankings you want and maintain them.
No website is ever guaranteed to stay at the top of search engine results pages, and without constant vigilance and updates, your site could easily fall to the bottom again. Keep on top of the newest developments in the SEO, local SEO, and digital marketing spaces to ensure that your website is always at the forefront of any relevant search.
Growing your online reach and achieving the search engine rankings that you want takes time, effort and determination. You can’t just create a great website and then leave it. SEO is an ongoing process, but if you work hard, then your investment will pay off.
I hope these tips help you to understand why local SEO is important and how you can use it to your advantage.