Local SEO for Local Businesses

As a local business owner, your primary goal is to show up at the top of your customers Google searches with your website and other related accounts. Organic or natural search results are still critical to your online success and driving enquiries to your business.

In this post, we will cover the important parts of Local SEO practices, how to quickly and cheaply implement steps yourself, or ask for help to manage this digital marketing strategy ongoing.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO (search engine optimisation) is the practice of optimising a business’s website and local area presence online for local customers who are seeking to discover and engage with a business.

This also extends to providing customers with location information and a map to the physical location of the business.

Google will present businesses close to the searchers physical location or proximity in the form of search results, including a Google My Business listing with a Google Map, Citations and online content.

These results are served to the searcher via a range of sources as discussed below.

Your Google My Business Listing

The Google My Business listing is the primary listing you should setup for your business.

It’s a free listing that tells Google that you exist, your location and the type of business you have. In addition, it tells customers who you are, what you do and where you’re located.

There are some preparation steps that you should have ready so you can easily complete the listing, these are:

  • NAP details which include your business Name, business Address and Phone number.
  • Business hours.
  • Decide if you will deliver your service within an area and/or at your office location.
  • Your business Category.
  • Website address.
  • Photos of your location, inside and outside and other relevant images that help describe what you do.

To setup the listing, visit the Google My Business website here. Once you have completed this step, you will be asked to Verify the listing. This is typically done by entering a name and address to send a Postcard to your office location to verify the location exists.

Upon arrival, the postcard will contain a verification code that you can enter onto the newly created listing to verify and go live with Google. This can take around 10 days to receive.

Website Optimisation for Local SEO

In terms of website optimisation, there are a number of aspects that should be reviewed and adjusted for better results for local search. This is effectively your ‘Shop Front’.

This post won’t cover the in-depth technical aspects as it can be overwhelming for those who are not confident or proficient in managing these pieces. We would recommend speaking with your Web Developer and have them review this and make changes as required. If you are confident in doing so, always make a backup before you do anything.

Items to cover are:

  • Crawlability
  • Site Architecture
  • Contact page content – free guide here
  • Schema Markup code – https://schema.org/
  • Mobile Friendly – free Google testing tool here
  • Site Speed – free testing tool here
  • On page keywords and SEO.
  • Page Meta descriptions.
  • H1 and H2 tags.
  • Alt tags on images
  • NAP details with hours and accepted payment methods.
  • Links – internal and backlinks from other websites.

Free tools like Yoast can make this process easier to cross check what is on a web page and how well it is set up for SEO. If you don’t self-manage your website, speak with your Web Designer about this option for your website.

Citations – The Online Listings You Need

Google and Bing use Citations (online listings) to acquire business information that can then be listed in the search results. Each citation has a trust rating as a trusted source to obtain this information. It is critical that businesses setup these listings with fully complete contact details and information about the business.

Most of these listings such as Google My Business, a Facebook Business Page, LinkedIn Company page, Yellow Pages Online and many others are free to use.

This link from Bright Local will provide with a list of the top citations you should have in place.

This link provides a list of citations (online listings) for local businesses.

Directory style citations are often used by customers to find a specific type of business in their local area. These include Yelp, Local Search and TrueLocal to name a few.

These listings can be time consuming to complete but, are essential to your Local SEO success. There are a number of providers that can assist in completing the task online for you.

Targeted Keywords and Content Marketing

As mentioned in our recent post on Content Marketing, it’s important to establish the keywords or search terms you will include on the website pages to be found.

Using a free tool like Ubersuggest will allow you to review your chosen keywords and check how competitive it will be to try and rank for them. You don’t need to be a ‘Web Guru’ to use this tool. You can obtain suggestions that you can use in your page copy, page titles and blog post topic ideas.

Over time, the keywords used on your pages and blog posts will be ‘indexed’ or listed in Google searches and found by your customers.

Why Reviews Are Important

Reviews can be acquired from your customers on Google My Business, Facebook Business Page and the citations.

Google evaluates reviews a business receives by the volume they have, the star rating, who reviewed it and what is said.

The star rating can be seen in your Google My Business listing together with other account reviews. Customers often search for reviews when looking for products or services.

A business that shows a large number of positive reviews is likely to receive more enquiries than a business that does not. This is ‘social proof’ by real customers that is highly trusted.

Social Media

It’s also important to ensure your social media accounts are linked via your website and these accounts contain accurate details and information on your business. While these channels do not provide a large benefit to Local SEO, they should be included in the big picture.

Activity such as regular and useful posts, sharing blog posts on these channels sends signals to Google that your business is active, offers useful information and helps build engagement with your customers.

Share your experience with us

What has been your experience with Local SEO? Has it been easy to understand and implement? Share your experience with our community by leaving a comment below.

Need Help?

If you need help with your current Website Design, feel free to reach out to us to see how we can help. Call 1300 636 835.