Do you have a local business? Think local. Do you do online marketing for a company with bureaucratic restrictions? Think local. Google’s last local algorithm update, along with the rise of smartphone usage, has turned the local SEO guidelines upside down.
Last week we talked about how to optimise videos. In this post we want to focus on a marketing component that has grown significantly over the last years. Let us introduce you to the local SEO world.
What’s local SEO?
Local SEO is one of the most important SEO strategies for those companies who want a long term relationship with search engines. How come? Local SEO, as the name suggests, focuses on providing relevant results based on the searcher’s current location. Therefore, if your business is geo-located and you’re not planning on moving out, you’ll be appearing on each local search result. For example, if I search for “Chinese restaurant” on my mobile phone now, Google would provide me with the results nearest to me.
Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Although both local SEO and the usual SEO campaigns share some ranking and marketing elements, (i.e. the importance of links and on-page SEO factors) there are a few small differences between them.
How do I start?
Before creating a link building strategy, as with any other SEO campaign, you’d need to do up-front work on your website to ensure your page is optimised for local queries in order to get the best possible results. You should conduct a local SEO audit to ensure your goals are being covered by the strategy.
As with any other SEO campaign, content and internal links must be linked with keywords and relevant content for your business, whether it’s a corporate website or a shop / e-commerce website. But if you’ve already created your company website, you’ll need to set up two things before going through the SEO audit: your business information and a Google My Business Page.
Setting your business information
The first step would be to fill in your basic business information and set up a Google My Business Page. Make sure all your web location information is up to date (opening times, updated full address, contact numbers…). Offices move, close, disappear and new ones take their place. It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to keep an eye on your business information. Don’t forget to make all the changes on your own website, local business aggregators and local citations as well. Adding your business to these listing sites often results in getting new backlinks to your website which is beneficial for organic traffic.
If you own a hotel or a restaurant, make sure you have all your prices on your Google My Business Page. The more you add, the more information will be displayed in each search result:
Don’t forget to set up your Google My Business Page. We’re talking about Google, so the business page shouldn’t be disregarded. Every business should have its own business page to appear in local search results. Make sure you fill in all the information on the page. For more information, check out the Google guidelines about how to set up a Google My Business page.
Next step: SEO Audit
After filling in your basic business information, it’s highly recommended to run an SEO audit of your website. Why? As we said before, it’s important to have your business website optimised before releasing it to the world, as it’s going to be your primary product in local SEO.
An SEO audit will help you determine which on-page factors are not as efficient, complete and relevant as expected. You will also be aware of the current value your business has in search results, and how to amend or improve it.
An SEO audit will let you gain an understanding of the competition level you’re up against, and how much you need to do to beat them and rank above them. After an in-depth on-page optimisation and analysis, you’ll be ready to start your local SEO campaign.
As with any other marketing campaign, the next step would be to complete a competition review, define targets and set real goals in the mid and long term. But if you don’t have enough resources (or time) to rebuild the website or go through an SEO audit, you can always start with off-page SEO strategies, such as local citations and local link building.
If you have already set up your Google My Business Page and defined your online strategy, let’s get social. The next steps would be to:
- Optimise your Google My Business Page
- Optimise your Google + Images
- Gain customer and Star Reviews
We will go through these three bullet points in another post.
If you would like us to help with your local SEO, please get in touch with us.