What exactly is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a search engine optimisation strategy that aims to improve your listing on search engines for local searches. This could be getting found in the Google maps listings or for a localised search keyword such as “accountant in London” for example.

It benefits businesses that have a physical location especially small independent shops or companies offering a service locally.

When writing content for your website include things that will help your local SEO such as focusing on terms that include your location and or nearby places. Lots of people add “near me” to their searches so consider including this in the content.

Use social media to engage with the local community. Make use of hash tags and local groups.

Add Structured Data to your Website

Using Structured Data can help your business appear in rich results and the local pack on Google Search.

Although structured data doesn’t directly guarantee a higher ranking in local search results, it can be a valuable tool to improve the visibility and click-through rate on Google search.

Installing and setting up Structured Data on your Website requires a degree of technical skills usually by a web developer. You can visit https://schema.org/ to explore the different schema types available.

Google Business Profile

A business profile on Google allows you to manage how Google displays your business in the maps listings and on Google search.

If you run a local business then it is really important to create a Google business listing.

Google usually shows 3 business listings on page 1 of its search results for certain types of keywords. This can be anything from searching for a takeaway to finding an accountant.

Bing Maps

Bing Maps was created by Microsoft to compete with Google maps using the Bing search engine. They offer fairly similar experiences but the main differences are that Google has better quality maps and traffic information.

NAP citations and Backlinks

Getting your business listed on local directories, social media sites and blogs is very important. Search engines pick up on sites linking to your website i.e. backlinks. They also recognise citations which don’t necessarily have a backlink but will mention your business name, address , telephone number etc.

The importance of NAP consistency

NAP consistency, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone number consistency, is highly important for your business listing on Google Maps and local SEO in general.

When listing your website on Google or on any other business directory or anywhere you list your business you need to be consistent in the data you enter. If you have slightly different details across different sites this can be confusing or misleading not just to people searching but also the search engines. When your nap details match up this not only helps your Google maps listing but also helps your local SEO.

Online Reviews and Responding

Another factor that Google uses for how high you rank in the maps listings is reviews. Look to get reviews on sites such as Trustpilot and obviously Google Reviews. Encourage your customers to leave a review of your business. You can simplify the process of reviews by using cards such as these https://reviewscard.com/ . Your customer simply taps the card with their mobile and they are taken straight to your reviews on Google.

So they have no excuse not to leave you a nice review!

Reviews, as well as being a ranking factor, also play a huge part in how people purchase a product or service. Around 90% of people read online reviews before purchasing.

Interacting with the people that leave you a review is vital. It shows that you care about your customers. For positive reviews you should thank them for their feedback and with negative reviews you should Acknowledge their concern and look to offer some way of resolving their issue. If the review is from a person who has never been a customer i.e. a fake review you could reply and ask why are they leaving a review when they are clearly not a customer.

What is Google’s RankBrain and How Does it Affect Local SEO

Google’s RankBrain is a machine learning system integrated within their search algorithm, designed to understand and interpret search queries more effectively.

We don’t fully know how rankbrain affects rankings on Google but we do know that it looks at how users interact with a website including how many pages they click on and how long they spend on the site.

How to track your local SEO performance

Once you have got your website and Google business listing setup you want to be able to track how well it is showing up in Google search and the maps section.

Manually checking where you appear in the results can be time consuming and not always accurate as Google gives personalised results in some circumstances.

Using software such as keyword.com to do this for you not only saves you time but also gives more accurate results.

Keyword.com allows you to trial their software for an unlimited time. You can track up to 10 keywords with a weekly update.

If you need to track more keywords than that and want more regularly updates you can upgrade to a higher package. If you pay annually you get 2 months free which brings down the cost.

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