Getting to Grips with Local SEO

Traditional SEO works by getting your website to show up for a search query anywhere the search is conducted. Local SEO however, is a getting a site to show up for a search query in a specific geographic area. Any business with a physical location or that serves a particular area needs Local SEO. This involves having additional signals both on and off your website.

Google Pigeon was rolled out in December 2014 in the UK and is a new algorithm update from Google to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results. It is based on more traditional web ranking factors which means web and map results are now the same. This update also improves their distance and location ranking parameters.

How did the SERPS change?

  • Smaller search results
  • Different radius for different queries
  • Fewer 7 packs and more 3 packs
  • Directory sites are heavily focused

Local Ranking Factors

Moz do a survey each year on local search ranking factors by asking the leading local experts about how they are seeing the local search results working, and also the specific factors they have been paying attention to compared to the year before. This then gives a reflection of what everyone is seeing and working on.

Please see below the results of the ranking factors from the survey.

Local Search Ranking

Data provided by Moz

On Site Signals

Because of the way Google is evolving and determining which sites are best for the user’s search terms, means you need to start creating content for people not search engines, so that there is better engagement on the website. Google will reward you if users are engaging with your website, spending more time on pages and looking through your site. Instead of relying on tricks to get you on page one, you should be creating awesome and relevant content for your audience.

The site elements that need to be optimised for local SEO are:

  • City in title tag
  • City in H1 heading
  • City in page content
  • City in alt text
  • City in url
  • City in meta description

Having a Google map on the page for the physical location is also a great way for Google to match the website and location together. To do this correctly you should embed the map from your ‘Google My Business’ page and not from Google maps as these are different.

Other site elements to optimise include having NAP on every page marked up with schema. NAP means Name, Address and Phone number and schema is code that organises the elements and tells Google exactly what each element is. Having a local phone number on your page is good for building trust for the user and also tells Google that you are in that location.

You need a blog on your site and you need to blog regularly, making it a place for local information so local traffic will come to the blog. Don’t just blog to sell your services talk about other related events or news and build traffic to the blog this way. Local content you could put on your blog could be current events in the city, upcoming events that people might be interested in or local guide on the area.

Link Signals

After the Google Penguin update, source and subject matter are more important than ever to make sure you have genuine links pointing to your website. Traditional link builders go for high authority sites and avoid low authority but low authority local sites are pure gold for Local SEO, as it is all about the association with the location. Getting links on local sites will help your exposure for that location.

The best way to get links to your website is through the relationships you have with other people so use that and remember that you shouldn’t be building links... you should be earning them.

Citations Signals

Citations are mentions of your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on other websites and are a powerful signal of local relevancy. If you are almost on page 1 or almost in the map pack, citations can get you over the line. These are important because it is where Google expects your site to be on sites such as Yell, Thomson Local, Touch Local, Yelp and many more.

The citations must be consistent on all sites because if you have any incorrect or duplicate information, it can be a bad signal for Google. If you have changed you name, address or phone number than make updating these sites a priority as it will help your local search.

Google My Business

The most important thing you can do is claim your GMB listing. If you have problems claiming then use Google phone support. If you listing is complete than customers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to consider buying - so make sure that you fill in all the necessary information. You can optimise your Google Business Listing by doing the following

  • Long descriptions with formatting and links
  • Choose the correct categories
  • Upload plenty of photos
  • Use a local phone number
  • Upload a user image and cover photo

Reviews

Getting online reviews is important as 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as reviews from friends or family. Also 4 out of 5 people will decide not to buy from you if you have bad reviews. If you care about your customers than they will care about you so ask the right questions and remove any issues you have so that they can only leave good reviews.

To get reviews hand out postcards with a purchase or a completed service and have the review url with instructions so they can complete the review easily. The best reviews to concentrate on are Google reviews as these can help your search presence. You need 5 reviews to see a star rating on Google. The aim is to get more reviews than your competitors and this will build trust in your brand.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this post on Local SEO and if you have any comments or questions then please tweet them to @ISD_Marketing or @ISD_Paul.

Remember that here at Internet Sales Drive we offer Local SEO service so if your business is struggling with local then please give us a call on 0115 921 4636 or email us at info@internetsalesdrive.com

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