How people find goods and services is constantly changing, but one trend that has been on the rise for several years is local search, where users will use a search engine to find goods or services that are local to them. If you run a small business and want to take advantage of this, you need to consider investing in local SEO.
Local SEO is the process of optimising your entire online presence to stand out to people looking for goods and services in your local area. If done correctly, this can help drive more customers to your business. It can be one of the most potent marketing tools in your arsenal – and can even allow your business to outrank much bigger brands in the search engine result pages!
With that in mind – how do you go about mastering local SEO so your online presence helps your business grow? Read on to find out!
Optimise Your Google Business Profile
One of the most valuable and powerful local SEO tools is free to use and provided by Google. Google Business Profile can help your business be among the first things a user sees when performing a search and forms part of the Google Map Pack. As Google Business Profiles can rank higher than any organic results and just below any paid ads, they are a gold mine for local SEO, so getting it set up right and investing time into it is paramount.
Get the best from your Google Business Profile
Choose the Right Business Category
Having your listing in the wrong, or even too many business categories, can harm your chances of showing up in the right results. Choose the one closest to your business products or services.
Update Details as they Change
From your contact details to your opening hours, ensure they are all updated as soon as they change.
Collect Customer Reviews
Reviews are a strong ranking factor for GBP listings; the more you collect, the better.
Add Products and Services
Listing your core business products and services helps Google understand your business better and show it in results relating to them.
If someone asks a question using the profile or sends a message, respond promptly to show that you are actively using your profile.
Having landing pages for each of your services allows your website to have more specific content, keywords and visibility for each service. For instance, if you are a tree surgeon, you could try to add one service page called “Tree Surgeon”, but chances are that this alone would not get you many results. However, if you added the main service page as tree surgeon, then some additional landing pages, such as:
- Tree removal services
- Tree crowning services
- Stump removal
- Ivy removal
Adding the additional landing pages allows not only Google to understand your business better but also for users to find you when searching for specific services.
Citations & NAP
Citations and NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) help Google to know where your business is located in relation to the user performing the search. The easiest way to add citations is to sign your website up to some local business directories or the local chamber of commerce and add your contact details to your website. Word of warning, it is crucial to keep these all updated when any phone number, location or contact details such as email or web address changes.
Customer reviews, as mentioned above, are a strong ranking factor for your Google Business Profile, but they also help to build social proof. Google only wants to show the most relevant results to the user, and when searching for goods and services, one way it deciphers this is through reviews. Word of warning, you can buy fake reviews or even be tempted to leave some yourself – under no circumstances should you ever do this. Fake reviews could lead to your GBP being removed and your entire online presence being de-ranked and removed from Google.
Content is one of the main backbones of SEO, but it only works if it is relevant to your business and, more importantly, is high quality. In an age of AI content writers and ChatGPT, it could be tempting to let AI do the hard work; the problem is that it is unlikely to be of the calibre required to outrank your competitors. You should also try to factor in local keywords and cultural nuances for local SEO. This can be anything from mentioning local areas to local landmarks to even localised languages or dialects.