Having an online presence is more important than ever for local brick and mortar businesses. Whether you are a carpenter, a painter, a dentist, a lawyer or a mortgage specialist; people need your skillset.
And they are going to search for you online.
The way Google shows search results to users is changing rapidly. One of the major shifts is that users now see specific search results based on their location. This is an opportunity for you, as a small business owner, to be seen more often by local searchers.
The best way to be discoverable in the local search results is to implement local SEO best practices. This can seem like a daunting task at first, but there are things you can do relatively quickly and easy.
We have put together a list of actionable local SEO tips you can apply right now. Here goes:
1. Create a Google My Business Listing
Setting up your listing is free, and it is indeed the easiest first step you can take to improve your local SEO. The most important benefit you will get out of this is your own Google Knowledge Graph listing on the right side of the main Google search results.
In the previous Taksu Digital blog post, I covered why every small business should have a Google My Business listing in 2019. It contains some powerful features to really showcase your business on Google.
- Your business will be listed and discoverable in Google Maps
- You can display photos and videos of your business
- You have the ability to add Google Posts to highlight events and promotions
- You can integrate an online booking platform so customers can book directly
- Users can leave reviews about your business
If needed, we can help you out with the GMB verification process and also provide tailored recommendations to get the most out of your GMB listing once it is live.
2. Publish citations across the web
One of the ways Google determines the legitimacy and context of your business, and rewards you with visibility, is by checking for consistency in the information that is available about your business.
You should therefore have a presence on social media and on authoritative local business directories. Presenting consistent information about your local business on each of these platforms will ensure Google starts treating you as a brand.
The most important information that needs to be consistent across all channels:
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Website URL
- Phone Number
Think about it like this: if more information sources are telling Google the exact same information about your business, Google will start trusting the information more.
And this will result in better visibility in local search.
If you need help identifying the most promising local citations opportunities for your website and submitting your business to be listed on them, feel free to contact us.
3. Create dedicated location focused landing pages
To send more on page SEO signals to Google that your business serves a specific geographical location, it is good practice to create at least one landing page on your website that lists both your core services and your location.
A dedicated landing page like this provides excellent opportunities to optimize it around specific keyword groups related to your location. To give an example, the Taksu Digital website has separate landing pages for digital marketing services in Hong Kong, the UK and Indonesia.
Make sure to include your core service and your location in the following places:
- The page title
- The meta description
- Header tags
- In your page body content
If you serve several cities, it is recommended to create a separate landing page for each city.
Also, in case you have several physical locations or offices, don’t forget to add each location to Google My Business!
4. Include schema markup in your website
This one is a little more technical, and depending on your specific Content Management System (CMS), the steps required to implement schema markup code will differ.
Schema markup, or schema structured data, is HTML code which tells search engines extra information about your website. In fact, it was created by search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing).
It is a group of HTML tags that search engines use to better understand what your website is about.
This way, you can tell Google the following information about your local business, and more:
- Your geographical location
- Your business name
- Your phone number
- Your address
- The services you offer
Having schema code in place is yet another signal for Google to determine what search queries your business should rank for in local search results.
5. Promote your business locally
One of the best ways to increase your local organic search visibility is by getting mentioned on other local websites in your area or city.
For example, if you are interviewed on the website of a well-known local newspaper, search engines will recognize this. Bonus points if you can gain a backlink to your website: to this day they are still one of the most important ranking factors.
Context is becoming more and more important for Google to determine where and when to give your business exposure. By being mentioned and gaining backlinks from important local websites, you are providing Google with the context they need.
Another way of gaining contextually relevant local exposure is by reaching out and partnering up with local influencers and bloggers via social media.
6. Publish High Quality Local Content
When most people think about content marketing, they think about large websites that publish viral articles day in, day out.
The truth is that high quality content can be just as effective for your local business website.
When you regularly publish content that answers questions of your target audience, you will achieve the following SEO benefits, among others:
- You will be discoverable for more keyword variations
- Over time, search engines will start to treat your website as a local authority
- Higher chance of other people linking to your content
- Your audience will spend more time on your website
Most importantly, though, having high quality content on your website is one of the best ways to showcase your expertise.
Are you ready to start ranking in local search results?
We hope these local SEO tips have given you some ideas to start taking your local rankings to the next level.
If you want to know more about local search, or if you need advice on implementing any of the tips mentioned in this article, talk to us! We can help shape your local business strategy, identify the most important growth areas for your specific local business and help implement the steps required to give your business the visibility it deserves. Check out our local optimisation services here.