For small businesses that only operate in one or a few specific areas (as opposed to a nation-wide company) local SEO is one of the biggest marketing methods that will help to attract new customers. You may have heard all about SEO, or you might not really know much about it all. However, if you want your business to succeed in the modern, technology-dominated business world then SEO should be one of your closest allies.
If you don’t really understand SEO, then here is a quick introduction for you:
Search Engine Optimization is the application of a set of principles that will result in your website featuring higher up in search engine results. So basically, when someone types in a keyword related to a service they need, the companies that feature high up in the non-paid results will have good SEO practices in place.
So what is local SEO?
Local SEO is the set of principles that you need to adopt to make sure that your company features in searches in a specific place. If you search ‘pizza’ for example into Google, you are going to get Google Maps with a number of places that sell pizzas in your area. That is as long as you don’t have your location switched off. Google knows that something like a pizza will be a local search because pizza places have a certain area that they cover.
Many people using search engines will add the specific area that they are looking for a service, so they may type (or say) ‘Plumbers in Manchester’ into Google. If you were a plumbing business in Manchester then you want your services to be shown on the map and appearing in the list results. For this, you need to have a good local SEO strategy. If you get that right then more people will be contacting your company to use your services.
So basically, if you understand how to incorporate local SEO, you are going to win more online business and ultimately, your business will be more successful. It’s also worth noting that the location of your hosting provider can also make a difference. For example if you’re are focused on US local results then it makes sense for you to op for an American server location. More info about this can be found here.
There are some key concepts that will help you in building a good local SEO strategy:
Create effective titles and meta descriptions
Your title and meta description is the excerpt of content that appears for your company in the search listings. Including the area that your business covers will help and make sure that this area is really advertising the key service of your business. Use your meta description as wisely as you possibly can. Make sure that your main keyword e.g. ‘plumber’ is featured early in your description.
Analyze the competition
Different industries and services may take different approaches to their SEO strategies, so it helps to check what your competition is up to. Do a quick search of the most common keywords associated to your services and see which companies are coming up top. Ignore the ones who have paid for ads (although you might want to consider paid ads too) and see what that company is doing well.
You will probably have seen many results that come up in the results have ratings underneath through sites like Trust Pilot or even Google Reviews. Now many people make the mistake of thinking that they can’t influence these ratings but you can encourage your customers to fill in feedback about your company on these sites. You could send them a thank you email after doing some recent work for them and include a link to complete the review.
Get in the directories
There are so many online directories out there that it can be difficult tracking whether you feature in them. Check that you are featured in the most popular business directories and that all of your details are correct. If you’re not in the local directories then you will definitely be missing out on business opportunities.
Get a local SEO plugin
Not got time to spend on doing all of these things? You can always turn to plugins like Yoast to do the hard work for you. So if you have a WordPress website, Yoasts’ local SEO plugin will help you to improve your local SEO without spending loads of your time.