If you run a local business of any kind, gaining a strong local SEO presence in Google should be a central feature of the overall digital marketing strategy. After all, a huge 46% of the 3.5 billion daily Google searches are local. Missing out on your fair slice of the action simply isn’t an option.
However, the harsh reality is that the local SEO arena is a fiercer playground than ever before. Consequently, then, a comprehensive approach to your search engine strategy is the only route to success.
On-Page SEO optimisation consists of changes that you make to your website, unlike off-page SEO optimisations which are on other websites. Here’s all you need to know:
Meta Title Tags - Use Geographical Keywords
Keywords are the heartbeat of strong SEO as it lets Google know that your business provides the service to satisfy the consumer’s needs. When people search for local companies, they are likely to type in the service name and the location . For example, “[service] + [city name]”. For example, solicitors London, solicitor Kings cross, solicitor New York, solicitor Melbourne. So including these type of keywords in your website meta titles for the page you want to rank is essential.
We have included an example below of this website where we rank number 2 in our city. (London is one of the most competitive cities in the world). We use the location city name of London in the meta title. We also use UK to rank for nationwide searches containing the location UK.
This is another example of this website (One PPC) ranking in the Googles local London Map ranking using Google My Business.
The image below is another example – but this time using a different industry, namely solicitors (e.g. solicitors London, solicitor Kings cross, solicitor New York, solicitor Melbourne. )
On-Page Keyword Research
Create a top list of keywords that your target customer would use to find you on Google.
This can be the name of your services, industry or profession- and used in combination with other words for more precise targeting. The “other” words signal commercial intent.(e.g. Services, Company, prices or locations within the target market)
Match one website page to each of target keywords (Service types). If you target multiple pages, with the same keyword this will usually do more harm that good because you compete against yourself.
Be Mobile Friendly
Before doing anything else, you need to ensure that the design and navigation of your website is optimised for handheld screens as well as desktops. Studies show that over 60% of all searches now take place via mobile while we’ve all used our smartphones to search for a local service when we’ve been out and about.
Google shows a different set of results depending on the device being used. Sadly, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile, you’re essentially cutting the potential audience into just over one-third.
"Time on Site" - Dwell Time
Keep making your website better and increase engagement on your website. Google’s AI algorithm RankBrain looks at the time people spend on your site.
Schema.org markup is a way to give the search engines more information about your business.
Make sure your website loads quickly. Use a quality web host and compress images on your website. Both Google and Facebook say that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, bounce rates increases.
Off-page SEO is strategies and techniques that happen on other websites on the internet. For example Social media, news publications, local directories and more.
Google My Business
When users complete a local search, Google’s first page of results is split into two sections. ‘Organic’ results (the traditional list) are dictated by keywords and other features. However, the ‘snack pack’ displays local businesses on a map. While traditional SEO does influence this too, it’s the reviews gained through the Google My Business platform that matter most. As such, setting up your free listing with all the relevant info is essential.
In addition to Google My Business, it’s worth signing up to various local directories as they are authoritative sites that will naturally boost your overall presence.
Local Directories / Citations
Register your company website with local directories such as such as Yell, Yelp, etc. and use make sure your company name, address and local telephone number (NAP) is listed in exactly the same way it is listed on your website and Google My Business. Google search uses both Google My Business and citations with your website, local number and address to rank website pages locally.
Only choose relevant industry links that are relevant and match the theme of your website or local business areas.
Bing Places for Business
Microsoft Bing has its own version of GMB, called Bing Places for Business. Make sure that your business is listed there as well to obtain another local backlink.
Analyse your local competitor backlinks. (Your main competitors that would typically rank well).
Create a Google search console/Google Webmaster account and upload your XML sitemap. This updates Google of changes that you make to your website much faster.
Government & Education
If you can be listed on a local education or governmental website, this will help improve your rankings. Google trust education and governmental websites as strong signals of quality websites.
First and foremost, social media platforms offer the perfect opportunity to build a bigger following, interact with your clients directly, and gain valuable insight into their behaviours. However, the influence of social media on your local SEO should not be ignored. Search engines actively crawl social media pages, especially Twitter, which can impact your ranking.
The big social media platforms are among the largest websites on the net. Moreover, paid advertising through social media can have a positive impact too. Do not forget it.
Create social media business accounts- even if you don’t have time to update them right away. These are useful for distributing content as this is developed in the longer term as more content, pages and posts are created.
Still Need Help?
Local SEO is a complex subject, and there’s a lot to get your head around. In truth, the issues mentioned above are just the start while you’ll also need to consider the evolving algorithms to truly unlock the company’s full potential. A professional touch is usually the best solution, so give One PPC a call today.