Are you struggling to get your local business website to show up in search results when people in your area search for products or services like yours? If so, you’re not alone. Competition for top spots in local search rankings can be fierce. But don’t despair! There are proven strategies that you can use to boost your local SEO and climb the rankings.
1. Claim and verify your Google My Business listing
The first thing, and probably the most important, is to claim and verify your Google My Business listing. You won’t appear the the local search results without registering, so start here. Simply go to the website and sign in with your gmail account, then follow the steps.
2. Optimize your website for local keywords
Optimizing your website for local keywords is crucial if you want to improve your visibility in local search results. This involves a two step process of first identifying the best keywords to use, and then using them in the right places on your website.
You need to identify the keywords and phrases that potential customers in your area might use to search for products or services like yours. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you find popular keywords and assess their search volume and competition. Look for keywords that best describe your product or service, and combine them with geographical keywords that describe your area.
Once you have identified the right keywords, you need to include them in key website elements such as the title tag, meta description, header tags, and throughout the body of your web pages. By including your geographic keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions the search engines are better able understand the area you serve. Building local landing pages that are optimized for specific local keywords can also help. These pages should include relevant information such as your address, phone number, and business hours.
If you really want to get into keyword research and optimisation there are some great guides online. Try one of our favorite sources bellow.
- Search Engine Land have a good guide to keyword optimisation.
- Moz’s guide to on-page keyword optimization is also worth a read.
- Hubspot has a great post on keyword research that will help you find the best phrases to target.
Tools to help with keyword research and optimisation
The are some great tools online that can help with your SEO. They all offer primium and professional level subscriptions, but some also offer free tiers or trial periods.
- SEMrush: A comprehensive SEO and digital marketing tool that offers keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audit features.
- Ahrefs: A powerful SEO tool that provides keyword research, backlink analysis, and site audit features.
- Moz Keyword Explorer: A keyword research tool that provides search volume, difficulty score, and opportunity score data.
- Ubersuggest: A free keyword research tool that provides suggestions and data on search volume, competition, and cost-per-click.
- Screaming Frog: A great website SEO audit tool with a free tier.
Build high-quality, relevant backlinks to your site
Building high-quality, relevant backlinks to your website is a crucial aspect of local SEO, and indeed all SEO. This is another topic worthy of several blog posts in its own right. If you’d like a more in-depth information on link building check out some of the links below, but first I’ll summarise the important points.
Backlinks serve as a “vote of confidence” from other websites to search engines, and they help to establish your credibility and increase your visibility in search results. To build high-quality, relevant backlinks, focus on creating valuable, informative, and relevant content that others will want to link to. This could include blog posts, infographics, videos, or other types of content that are relevant to your target audience and the products or services you offer.
Another way to build high-quality, relevant backlinks is to reach out to relevant websites and ask for a link. Look for websites in your industry or niche that have a high domain authority and a relevant audience, and offer to provide a guest post or other type of content that they can link to. Participating in online communities, getting listed in relevant directories, and partnering with other businesses can also help you build high-quality, relevant backlinks. However, it’s important to avoid shortcuts and unethical link building tactics that violate search engine guidelines, as this can lead to penalties that harm your search rankings.
- MailChimp: A nice guide to back link building, specifically aimed at small businesses.
- Search Engine Journal: Another great link building guide from the experts.
- HubSpot: Finally, a few more creative strategies for finding those backlinks.
Get listed in local directories and citations.
It’s important to get your business listed in high quality local directories such as Yelp, and to make sure that your business information is consistent across all these sites. Encouraging customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook will also help increase your local visibility and credibility. By following these best practices, you can improve your website’s relevance to local searches and increase your chances of ranking well in local search results.
To check that your information is consistent across the major directories try using Moz Local. It’s free to use, and if you don’t mind paying a little each month they can also manage and update all those listings for you. It will also give you an idea of the best places to register your business.
Encourage customers to leave reviews.
Encouraging customers to leave reviews is a crucial aspect of building a strong online reputation and improving local search rankings. To encourage customers to leave reviews, it’s important to make the process as easy and accessible as possible. This can be done by providing a clear and simple way to leave a review, such as a link to your listing on a review site like Google or Yelp. This link can be included in follow-up emails, on your website, or on your social media profiles.
Another effective way to encourage customers to leave reviews is to ask nicely and offer incentives. Train your employees to politely ask satisfied customers if they would be willing to leave a review, and consider offering incentives such as discounts or special promotions to customers who participate. Responding to both positive and negative reviews in a professional and timely manner is also important, as this shows that you value your customers’ feedback and demonstrates your commitment to providing high-quality products and services.
By following these strategies, you can encourage more customers to leave reviews and build a positive online reputation that will help you attract more traffic and improve your local search rankings. Remember, the more positive and credible reviews you have, the more likely customers are to choose your business over your competitors.
Use schema markup to enhance your search listings.
Schema markup is a type of code that can be added to your website to provide search engines with additional information about the content on your pages. This information is used to enhance your search listings and provide a more rich and informative experience for users.
To use schema markup to enhance your search listings, you need to identify the type of content on your pages and then add the appropriate schema markup code. For example, if you have a restaurant website, you can use schema markup to provide information about your menu items, your operating hours, and your location. If you have an e-commerce website, you can use schema markup to provide information about your products, such as prices, availability, and product descriptions.
There are many different types of schema markup, including those for articles, local businesses, organizations, products, and events. To find the appropriate schema markup for your content, you can use resources like the Schema.org website or the Google Structured Data Markup Helper.
Once you have added the appropriate schema markup to your pages, you can test your implementation using tools like the Google Structured Data Testing Tool or the Bing Webmaster Tools Schema Validator. This will help you ensure that your markup is correctly formatted and that it provides the information you intended.
By using schema markup, you can help search engines to better understand your content, which can lead to enhanced search listings and a better user experience for your visitors.
Optimize your site for mobile devices.
Yes, the growth of mobile usage and its impact on web design has been significant in recent years. With mobile devices accounting for over half of all internet traffic, it’s crucial for businesses and organizations to make sure their websites are optimized for mobile devices. This means designing websites with responsive design in mind, which allows for an optimal viewing experience on various devices, from desktops to smartphones. Responsive design is achieved through the use of CSS media queries and flexible grid-based layouts. Implementing responsive design on a website can improve user experience, accessibility, usability, and user satisfaction, and also helps with search engine optimization.
Make sure your website is fast and easy to use.
Use high-quality photos and videos to showcase your business.
Using high-quality photos and videos on a website can help with SEO in several ways. Firstly, it makes the website visually appealing and engaging, encouraging visitors to spend more time on the site and interact with the content. This increased engagement can lead to higher search engine rankings, as search engines consider user engagement metrics when determining the relevance and quality of a website. Secondly, images and videos can be optimized with relevant keywords and alt tags, helping search engines understand the content of the page and increasing the chances of the website appearing in relevant search results. In summary, using high-quality images and videos on a website can improve the user experience, leading to increased engagement and helping search engines understand the content, thereby improving the website’s SEO. We always encourage our clients to use their own images where possible. However, there are some great online sources of free images to fill in when you don’t have the right picture.
Engage with your local community online.
Engaging with your local community online can help with local SEO in several ways. Firstly, it helps build a strong online presence for your business in your local area. By actively participating in local online communities and social media groups, you can raise awareness about your business and increase brand recognition. This can lead to more traffic to your website, and more potential customers in your local area.
Another way engaging with your local community online helps with local SEO is by generating positive reviews and user-generated content. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews on popular review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor can help improve your local search ranking. These review sites are highly trusted by search engines, and a positive reputation on these sites can significantly improve your local SEO. Additionally, user-generated content such as photos, videos, and social media posts can also help increase your local SEO. When users share content related to your business online, it helps build a strong online presence and increase your visibility in local search results.
Finally, engaging with your local community online can also help establish your business as a thought leader and trusted authority in your local area. By providing valuable information and insights through blog posts, social media posts, and online forums, you can demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as a trusted source of information for your local community. This can help attract more local customers and improve your local search ranking over time.
Read this post from 365 Retail if you want some ideas for how to engage with your local community.
Embed a Google Map
Embedding a Google Map on your website can help with local SEO by signaling to search engines that your business is located in a specific area. This information is important for local search results, as search engines aim to provide users with relevant, locally-based search results. By including a Google Map on your website, you make it easier for search engines to understand the location of your business and show it to users searching for businesses like yours in the same area.
Additionally, embedding a Google Map on your website can also improve the user experience. It makes it easier for users to find your business, and they can quickly see where you’re located and get directions. This can help increase the likelihood that they’ll visit your store or office, and it can also help build trust and credibility with potential customers. Overall, embedding a Google Map on your website is a simple and effective way to improve your local SEO and provide a better user experience for your visitors.
You can embed a Google Map in a couple of ways. If you are a developer, or you are able to hire one, you can use the Google Maps API. This is a free service offered by Google that allows you to embed a map directly onto your web page. You will need to create a Google account, get an API key, and then copy and paste some code onto your website. The code will create an interactive map that shows the location of your business and provides users with directions and other information. The process of adding a Google Map to your website is relatively straightforward, but if you are not familiar with code, you may want to consider hiring a web developer to help you.
By implementing these strategies and continually monitoring and updating your local SEO efforts, you can give your website the best possible chance of ranking well in local search results and attracting more customers to your business.