When you perform a search on Google it’s aim is to show you the most relevant results. If your business operates locally you will need to delve into the world of local SEO to get the most out of your online presence.
Google delivers both local and global categories of search results. Local SEO is about providing Google with the right information to enable it to differentiate between the two and show you the type you need.
There are three different types of local SEO depending on your needs;
1. Contextual local search – this is where the search query matches the actual location of the search. So for example searching for ‘marketing agency Bradford’ while in Bradford.
2. Inferred local search – this is where the search query is different from the actual location, for example searching for ‘marketing agency Bradford’ while in London.
3. Intent-based local search – this type of search is where the actual location is unknown, so this would happen if for example you performed a search on Google from your phone and had location services switched off.
Knowing which of these your target audience uses most frequently can help you when applying your local SEO strategy.
Make sure you get the below done early on when you first set up your online presence, they will help with your visibility;
Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business account will enable your business and website to appear on SERPs and maps created by Google. It is important that the information you enter here (business name, address and telephone number) matches exactly what is on your website and any social media pages you have – right down to where the commas are placed. This will help confirm and reinforce who you are and where you operate for Google.
Your website should contain content that is relevant to your users and to the keywords you want to appear in SERPs for. Ensure you have your business name, address and phone number is in the footer of your website (and matches the spelling and format used on your GMB account). Putting a sitemap on you site will help Google make sense of your content.
Backlinks are essentially links to your website from other websites, so people and/or businesses that recommend you. The backlinks should be from reputable sources and authors in order to help your rankings on SERPs. One way to get backlinks is to find directories and get your website added to them, industry specific directories, like-minded businesses are a good place to start looking. To really help your local SEO you should see if there are any local guides, press (like a local newspaper) or any community websites that have directories or would be willing to put a link to your website on theirs, in something like a blog post or reviews page. One way to find trusted sources is to research your competitors to see where and from whom they have gained high quality backlinks.
Where possible you should encourage customers/service users to leave your business a review, reviews in general are always helpful but Google reviews will provide the most help when thinking about SEO. Google reviews are the first reviews potential customers will see if your business is featured on the right side of the screen after performing a search on Google. Local communities revolve around trust, honesty and providing high quality services/products – good reviews are always an advantage when it comes to building trust.