Why your business needs to be focusing on local SEO

Businesses often invest a huge amount of time and money on their websites, making them the glossiest virtual shop fronts you can imagine, only to be left feeling confused and frustrated when the business doesn’t immediately come pouring in.

Sound familiar?

The problem may lie with your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which means your business is not easily visible when people are searching online for the service or product you offer.

The Google algorithm determines which sites show up in what order on a search – and it’s constantly changing, increasingly moving the focus on searches towards locational based searches – in other words favouring businesses that are closer to where you are. As a result, it’s more important than ever for organisations to focus their attention on ‘local SEO’.

So, what is local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?

To put it simply, local SEO is a search engine optimisation strategy that enables your business to be more visible on Google.

Any business with a physical address and serves a particular geographical area can benefit from local SEO. If you’re not utilising this free strategy, then you’re missing out on a great tool to grow your business with.

By improving your SEO, you can influence multiple factors in relation to how your business is found online. And when you optimise the right elements of your website’s digital footprint, your site, you will ultimately show up higher in search results ….and when you show up higher in search results, it is more likely that your site will get clicked on.

Why local SEO?

Google isn’t stupid. After analysing the behaviours of its billions of users, it concluded that people searching for particular kinds of businesses would need their results to be in their immediate vicinity. For example, if you’re searching for a plumber in London, receiving search results for plumbers in Scotland is about as useful as a bucket with a hole in it. No-one wants a plumber hundreds of miles away from where they need them. Likewise, as a business, if you’re showing up in searches hundreds of miles away, and you’re not able to deliver your service remotely, that’s a waste of your market efforts.

So, Google’s local search algorithm factors in proximity, AKA, the searcher’s location, when providing the search results.

Local search isn’t a new thing. But with the rise of mobile internet access, and so many of us using our mobile phones to search the web wherever we are, local SEO has become massively important for businesses who offer local products or services. We are no longer confined to our desktops, so being visible to potential customers as they move and surf the net is essential to the success of your business.

How can you improve your local SEO?

One of the best ways to do this is by using Google My Business (GMB). Having a business listing in GMB that is optimised for this purpose will be hugely beneficial when it comes to improving your local SEO.

Not only will it mean you’ll be found online by local customers, show up in both service-specific Google searches as well as in Google’s Local Pack (AKA Google Maps), but you’ll also increase trust with your brand. 5-star ratings on GMB will boost the appeal of your business. It’s a fact. You’re also able to offer deals, share news and engage with your customers via this platform too. All of this ultimately means increased engagement, footfall, and inquiries, which in turn means an increase in sales and a higher rank in search results.

What you can do:

There are a few things you can start doing right now to get the ball rolling with improving your SEO.

Firstly, you should set up and optimise your Google My Business account. It’s a fabulous resource, and it’s entirely FREE. Be sure to do the following:

  • Create, audit and manage your local citations
  • Use keyword optimised posts with branded graphics
  • Upload images. (If you have a physical address, images of the outside of the building are often used to help people find you, so they know what they’re looking for)
  • Engage with your customers by responding to their Google Reviews – even to the not-so-great ones, as other customers will be watching out for your response!

Maximise search potential with a data-driven SEO strategy:

Sometimes it’s difficult to see where you could be going wrong when you’re so close to your business. Hiring an SEO specialist is often useful for this reason. Every business and website is different, so making sure they understand your business, your goals, and your competitors is a must. Carrying out a competitor analysis is a great way to get vital information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your website in terms of how your content and site rank for SEO. There are three main areas to consider when looking to improve your SEO:

  1. Technical SEO 

Technical SEO looks at indexation issues, broken links, and crawl anomalies. It’s vital to keep on top of your website health and make it as easy as possible for your customers and search engines to access your website content. Using Google products like Search Console, as well as third-party tools to monitor and manage your website’s health will help you here.

2. On-site SEO 

On-site search engine optimisation focuses on improving design and content to feature the information that users want. It’s much more than just adding keywords and internal links to copy. On-page SEO focuses on the user’s journey and optimises this for the best possible click-through rate.

Search engine results are dynamic and continually changing as Google and other search engines enhance their algorithms. As a result, it’s important that you, or your SEO specialist, use the latest data and knowledge available when making decisions to optimise your SEO results.

It’s a good idea to stick to using Google’s best practice to ensure your SEO ranking is improved using the right methods. Google will penalise you if you try to take any shortcuts, like acquiring dodgy backlinks and keyword stuffing – and rightly so. After all, if everyone was able to get to the top search result by cheating their way there, Google wouldn’t be succeeding in ranking the best results.

3. Outreaching and off-site SEO

Off-site SEO focuses on outreach, brand awareness, social visibility (including social media), and review sites.  Remember, how your website appears on the internet matters. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a good representation of your brand and ensure your website is connected to authentic, relevant, and trustworthy websites. In addition, it’s important to manage your existing backlink profile and ensure that any spam or low-quality websites are removed.

Start utilising SEO today

SEO can seem confusing at first, but understanding the basics and how Google chooses to rank local search results will enable you to begin optimising your website’s digital footprint. There are, of course, so many factors that will have a bearing on your visibility. The factors that influence these local searches continue to change and evolve over time so it’s essential to be on the ball with this.

No one becomes fully versed in SEO overnight – it takes time to understand and it can feel like a lot of jargon at first. Hiring a professional with SEO experience and expertise can help you to find your feet in the world of Search Engine Optimisation.

If you need guidance or need help with optimising your local SEO, schedule a call today.