If you are a small business dreaming of competing with the big national brands, then we are rooting for you. But, until you get there, you should focus on your local customers and find the best ways to target them effectively.
That’s where local SEO can make a big difference.
Local SEO is crucial for small local businesses. Reports show that 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
But, what does local SEO actually mean and which strategies can help you get at the top of Google’s local search results?
Let’s find out!
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to the SEO strategies that can help local businesses boost their visibility in local search engines. If you sell a product or service (i.e. you own a shop, travel agency, restaurant, etc.) and you want your local consumers to find more information about your business, then by optimising your website for local SERPs you can increase the organic traffic from searches performed by prospects in your area. In a way, it sounds very similar to your regular SEO strategy, so what makes local SEO different?
How Does Local SEO Work?
Google’s algorithm looks at various ranking signals, such as the keywords used, the quality of your content, the user experience, and others to decide how to rank a web page.
For example, if you look for “how to bake sourdough bread,” Google will show you what it considers to be the most relevant results for your queries based on specific ranking factors. But, if you look for “where you buy sourdough bread in Adelaide,” you will see a list of three businesses that Google considers to be relevant to your search. This listing is part of Google’s local 3-pack, a feature that is shaped like a map and displays the places related to your query.
When you optimise your site for local searches, you are telling Google that your business is located in a certain area and that you want customers in that area to find it. And, to do that, you need to tell Google that your site is in close proximity to your target audience, that you offer the product or service they are looking for, and that you are a trusted and reputable business. That way, you increase your chances of ranking in Google’s local pack.
Here’s how you can do that…
How to do SEO for a Local Business
Here are some of the best local SEO strategies that can help you rank higher in local searches:
- Claim Your Google My Business Listing
If a potential customer wants to learn about your business’ operating hours, they are not going to look in the Yellow Pages to find that information. Instead, they are going to Google, type in your business name, and look at the info provided by the Google MyBusiness listing.Google MyBusiness can provide numerous benefits for local SEO. It offers essential information about your business, such as your address, phone number, operating hours, photos, and review and can make it easier for prospects to decide if you can offer what they are looking for. GMB also has Google Maps integration, which makes it easier for prospects to check your business’ proximity.
When you claim your GMB profile, make sure that the details you are entering are correct, accurate, and up to date.
- Mention Your Physical Location in Your Content
One of the most obvious ways and effective ways you can optimise your content for local content is to include location keywords throughout your content – blog posts, landing pages, product descriptions, and so on. You should also create localised content that is targeted to specific issues that your local customers are facing.
- Create Local Content
We get it: targeting broader keywords in your content is more appealing as it can help you reach a wider audience. But, as a small local business, it can sometimes be more beneficial to target a narrower, more specific audience who is more likely to be interested in your products or services. We are not saying that you should only create local content, but try to get a good mix of both broad and local blog posts.
For example, if you are a wedding organiser, you can create content about how to pick the right shoes for your wedding night, but you can also write a post where you mention some of the best local stores where potential customers can find quality shoes. Not only will you help your audience, but you can also boost your link-building efforts.
- Look into Local Business Directories Too
As we’ve mentioned before, almost half of the online users go to Google to look for local information. And, sometimes, prospects don’t want to browse through a website’s pages to find the information they want but find it as fast as possible. That’s where local business directories can come in handy.
There are plenty of Australian local business directories you can use, such as yellowpages.com.au, yelp.com.au, truelocal.com.au, aussieweb.com.au, australianplanet.com, and others. These sites are not only good for boosting your visibility in local search, but they can also provide referral traffic from people clicking through your listing.
Consistency is key here. Make sure that your local citations are consistent and accurate across all listings. If Google can’t tell which address is correct, then it will take it as a red flag and not show your business at all in the search results.
- Know Your Local Target Niche
As a small business you need to differentiate yourself as much as possible from the competition in your niche, be it big or other small, local companies. Take a close look at the products and services you offer, connect with the typical customer you are targeting, then focus primarily on that type of customer. The more selective you are, the more likely you are to move up the search rankings of your target customers.
For example, if your business offers confectionery cooking courses, don’t just use “cooking course” to target your audience. Instead, use a more specific and localised keyword such as bakery products cooking course in Sydney” to improve your chances of reaching the right people, not just a broad audience who will most likely not convert.
- Optimise Your Titles for Local SEO
The title tag is usually the first thing users see when scrolling through search engine result pages. Not only that, but it can also tell users if your content is relevant to their needs.
Of course, your title tag must be enticing and catchy, but it should also convey key information about the content. So, make sure to include some of your primary keywords as well as location keywords if you want to boost your local search ranking. For example: “How to Find the Best Laptops for Work in Sydney.”
- Optimise Your Meta Descriptions
The meta description is intended to give the customer a complete overview of the content of the page. While it’s not a ranking factor per se, it can help you get more clicks to your web page if you manage to convince prospects that you have what they are looking for.
Keep your meta descriptions short, but compelling and to the point. Let your audience know exactly what they can find on the page. Make sure to include your primary and some location keywords too to let your prospects know if they can find the information that interests them on your page.
- Use Local Keywords in Your URLs
There’s isn’t a consensus regarding the effectiveness of keywords in the URL for SEO purposes. Some say it matters, some say that including keywords in your URL is overrated. But one thing is true: an URL that uses keywords will tell a potential customer better what a page is about. For example, “www.businessname-teething-toys-sydney.com” is more explicit than “www.businessname-product12738.com.
While location keywords might not have a direct impact on your SEO, they can help improve user experience. Your prospects will have an easier time telling if a particular page is useful or not and might spend more time browsing your site. In turn, that can boost your ranking as Google will see that your web page is helpful and relevant.
- Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
“Near me” searches on mobile devices have increased by 150% since 2017. 61% of consumers are using their mobile phones to look for information about the businesses that interest them, such as their address, operating hours, reviews about their products or services, and so on.
If you haven’t already, then it’s high time you make your site mobile-friendly. Create a responsive design so that your web pages can adjust to any screen size. In some cases, it can also be useful to create a separate mobile app to further enhance the user experience. For example, if you are an online shopping store, a mobile app might make it easier for prospects to browse through your products, add them to the cart, and order them.
- Improve Navigation with Internal Links
Internal links create a solid connection through which both Google and consumers can navigate your site more easily. The easier it is for consumers to move from one page to another, the more time they will spend on your site. And that can tell Google how useful and relevant your page is.
- Boost Your Link Building Efforts
Getting links from other relevant, authoritative businesses in your area is another way to boost your ranking in local searches. That’s because it shows Google that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business.
One way to get more local inbound links is through guest blog posting. Find a business that is adjacent to yours and offer to write a guest blog post. You can also build relationships with local influencers, promote local events on your website and social media channels, or host a local event.
- Are You Ready to Create a Successful Local SEO Strategy?
If you are a local business, then local SEO should be part of your SEO strategy. As you’ve seen, it’s an effective way to boost your visibility in local search results and reach your local audience.
If you don’t know where to start or how to create and implement a sound local SEO strategy, then you should take a look at what we can do for you. We have years of experience in digital marketing as well as the right tools to help your local business grow.
Get in touch with us now to find out more about our services.