Over the last few years, Google has clearly stated its intent to start prioritising Local SEO. 46% of all searches are now local, which has prompted many business owners and SEO’s to revisit their strategy to match this shift.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO, or Local Search Marketing, is the practice of marketing to customers in your area at the precise point that they are online. Compared to organic search terms such as “garden landscaping”, which show a small level of intent, local search terms such as “best garden landscaper near me” or “garden landscaping brighton” show much more. This is why your site must be optimised for local search, especially if your service area can be searched for.
What is a SERP?
A SERP, or Search Engine Results Page is a web page produced by search engines when a user enters a query, each result is different depending on the content of the query. Local SERPS will appear above organic results, usually presented in a ‘snack pack’, a list of the top 3 local results for the searched term.
Local SERP’s will show much more information than organic SERPS, usually containing reviews, opening times, contact details and more. This is because search engines will pick up on a users intent (“garden landscaping New York”) and present the user with what it deems to be the best information available (a list of garden landscapers in New York).
Each of the local SERPS above will have been generated using Google My Business, a tool that allows you to input crucial business information and receive reviews through Google.
What is Google My Business?
Formerly Google Local, Google My Business is an online profile for your business or company. If someone searches for your company, your GBM profile will more than likely appear on the right hand side of the SERPs.
This is your knowledge panel and can include information such as contact details, business category and opening times. It will also contain user-submitted sections such as reviews and questions & answers. This gives businesses a level of responsibility and transparency, if you get bad reviews or fail to answer users questions, your online reputation will suffer!
How Can I Dominate My Local SEO Rankings?
Whether beginner or expert, the tips below can be implemented to help you dominate your local SEO rankings in 2020.
Ask for reviews
SEOOne of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO performance is to gather as many 5 star reviews as possible. This tells search engines that your company is high-quality and reputable. Social proof is as key in the online world for businesses as it is in real life.
The simplest method to gain reviews is to email previous or existing customers a link to your Google My Business page or add a link to your website.
If reviews are negative, ensure you are replying to them in an understanding and helpful manner, use these bad reviews as an opportunity to present yourself as a company that rectifies issues and listens to their customers.
This may be a job for the developers if you’re not not competent with coding, but schema markup (or structured data) is more prominent than ever and can give you a huge advantage over businesses not implementing it.
Schema markup wraps around key parts of your website (reviews, FAQ’s, contact details) which then allows search engines to show this data directly in the SERPS. This means important FAQ’s and non-Google reviews will begin to appear in Google’s search results under your website, more information provided means an easier decision for a customer to make.
You can even implement schema markup on your website search box, which allows customers to search for pages within your website without initially entering it.
Check your competitors key service category
Competitor research is key in SEO, it’s no different when you go local. If you want to outrank your high-performing competitors, make sure you ensure you have the same key service category. If they are performing well, your competitors key service category has either:
- Already been identified by their SEO agency
- Is purely coincidental and happens to be performing well regardless
Your key service category will influence where you show up for search terms, so make sure you’re not missing out.
Local backlinks and link building
As with competitor research, backlinks are a cornerstone to any SEO campaign. Your aim should be to gain high quality backlinks from local companies and news, this can be attained through sponsorships, partnerships or collaboration.
Examples of this could be a partner company, a local newspaper or a business partnership. You could also show your charitable side and reach out to charities by offering your services for free in exchange for a partner link on their website.
Having sites with a high domain authority linking back to you will provide an immediate boost in your Local SEO ranking. Think of a backlink as a handshake – this website trusts your website enough to link to it, search engines will see this and boost your credibility via association.
In 2020, it’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t utilise social media in their day to day lives. Businesses especially have jumped on the bandwagon and actively post/interact throughout the day, however, most fail to take advantage of the benefits it brings.
Whether you have Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter or all four, utilise these sites to gain visits back to your website through engaging content. Running a local competition that requires a visit to the website is a low-investment way of gaining valuable traffic, combined with a lead-capture form for maximum effectiveness.
If you offer a service to customers, then there’s a good chance you’re able to produce a series of case studies. For local businesses, creating a series of case studies showing work you’ve completed (or provided) in your service area and another way to gain social proof.
As an added bonus, it’s more engaging content for your website, something to shout about on social media and a great way to show off your work.
Another key part of any Local SEO campaign is citations. Are you on all the business listings relevant to your service industry? And if not…why not?
Firstly, clean up your existing citations, is your address correct? Website address? Inconsistent citations can confuse search engines and impact the trust between them and your business.
Secondly, get adding! Find every directory relating to your service industry and update it with your company logo, name, address, opening hours, website address and contact details. The more information here the better, just make sure it’s consistent across the board.
Dominating Local SEO
Follow the tips above and you will be well on your way to Local SEO stardom! Making all these changes isn’t easy and will require some maintenance, but the results will certainly speak for themselves.
If you haven’t got the time to implement these changes yourself, visit our SEO page to see how we can help you establish your business as the best in your area.