Google’s search algorithm is constantly evolving to ensure more valuable, relevant results for users. This is becoming more and more refined as user behaviour changes and businesses flood into the online space to showcase their products and services. This means digital marketing has to become more refined too. One powerful example of this is the rise of local SEO; the future of successful digital marketing.
What is Local SEO?
So, we all know what SEO is by now. It’s about ensuring all the content your business outputs is tailored to respond to online consumer behaviour and appeal to the Google search engine. Local SEO is the geographically-refined version of broader SEO. This means the optimisation of your web content for people who are looking for products and services in their local area. They don’t just ask Google for recommendations of pizza restaurants; they’re asking for recommendations of pizza restaurants that are close by. These are called “near me” searches, and they pop up on the first page of Google results in their own box accompanied by marked locations on a map.
While SEO is very important to your digital marketing strategy, it’s traditionally about broad searches. While these searches net a wide number of customers, it’s not going to be as rewarding for your website and business if you operate in a small local area unless you combine it with local SEO as well.
If we stay with the pizza restaurant example, let’s see how local SEO makes your business more competitive online. If you aren’t targeting a specific geographic area, you’re essentially competing with every pizza restaurant (possibly in the country). And there are a lot of them. However, you only reasonably expect to get customers from an area, say, around 15kms, which would fall into a specific suburb or set of suburbs. The pizza restaurants in this area are your real competition, so including keywords that have your local area (such as Richmond) in them will mean your restaurant pops up in those searches.
The Basics Steps of Successful Local SEO
Step One – Claim your space
The first thing you should do is claim your Google My Business Page. It’s essentially a profile page for your business on Google. You’ll have to fill in some details about your business, including its name, address, phone number, website details and business category. This is all so that users can spot if you’re offering what they’re looking for and so that Google can list you correctly to relevant searches. It also adds credibility. You should ensure this is filled out fully, including photos and videos, complete with the correct metadata.
While Google is the biggest player out there in the search engine game, don’t forget about the others. Visit Bing for Business to set up a similar profile for Big users and claim your listing, and don’t forget to do the same on Apple Maps Connect.
If you need help, Digital Freak offers a Google My Business setup and claim service. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
Step Two – Do Your Keyword Research
You already know the importance of high-quality keyword research from your SEO campaign, and local SEO is no different. First, you have to know what queries are directing customers to your website (for example, “pizza in Richmond”), then you have to incorporate these into your web pages to correctly optimise them. You can also start using these location-based keywords in your blog and social media content. That way, when people are looking for the best pizza in Richmond, your business pops up. If your business offers a wider service radius, go ahead. For example, Digital Freak targets keywords including Richmond SEO, Melbourne SEO, Victoria SEO and Australia SEO. Because we can provide our SEO services to businesses across the country.
The more search phrases you rank with, the better, so play around with the names of geographic locations as well as distances and affordability. And if you’re having trouble figuring out the best keywords to use for your business, give Google’s Keyword Planner ago. It’s free and easy to use.
Step Three – NAP Citations
NAP (name, address, phone) citations are essential to local SEO and one of the most important aspects of your entire campaign. Essentially, these are mentions of your business online that include your business’s name, address, or phone number. This includes listing your business on websites like Yelp, CHOICE, TrueLocal, DizyLocal Australia, UrbanSpoon, Search Frog, TripAdvisor, and Go Guide. In addition to listing on general consumer sites, be sure to look for ones that are specific to your particular industry.
Step Four – Structure Your Content and Website
Apply the same SEO best practices to local SEO as you normally would, paying special attention to critical areas like title tags, meta descriptions, URLS and H1 tags. Your website structure can also benefit from a little local SEO attention by adding local landing pages with relevant URLs that include your target location. You can even have multiple pages for each location that you service, so that you pull in customers nearby. Be sure to embed a Google Map to each of these pages to show customers where to find you and simply click through for directions.
Another good idea to include schema markup in your strategy. This sounds technical but it’s fairly simple – all you’re doing is adding a list of similar search tags to your HTML to give Google the best possible idea of what your website is all about, which will improve page rankings. Google even has a Structured Data Markup Helper designed to assist you. If this is beyond your technical abilities, however, Digital Freak offers this service too!
Step Five – Boost Your Credibility
Digital marketing specialists are constantly talking about online credibility simply because it is so important. It’s all about how people use the internet to find businesses – after getting results on their search, they’re going to check the reviews before they make their decision. And a business that has no reviews just doesn’t look trustworthy!
People want to see that other people have visited your business and given good feedback, either in terms of ratings or in detailed comments. The better the reviews and ratings, the more likely they are to step through your door or visit your website. This isn’t about buying good reviews or manipulating reviews however, it’s about encouraging genuine feedback as part of your digital marketing and customer service policies.
You can do this by sending out automated follow-up emails to customers to ask them to post reviews, or even rewarding people with a chance to win a prize by entering a competition through supplying a review. Don’t forget to engage with customers online by responding to their review, either with a “thank you” for a positive review or by offering an apology and remedy for a negative one.
As you can see, local SEO is all about refining your SEO strategy to make it more targeted, more competitive and more effective, making your business easier to find and making it easier to engage with your customers. If you’d like assistance optimising your digital marketing strategy for local SEO, contact us today. Our team is experienced, friendly and ready to help!