SEO is your best friend.
Local SEO is super competitive, so you need to put in some effort to increase your rankings.
There’s no way to request better local rankings on Google. However, by following best practices, you might be able to improve your chances of showing up for local searches and in the ‘map pack’.
When Google ranks websites for local searches, it still focuses on three key factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. Therefore, your website must deliver what people are searching for.
Before focusing on local SEO (search engine optimisation), you need to have a website that works well (e.g. is mobile friendly and loads quickly), employs SEO best practices and is full of unique content that people are searching for. Once you have your website in tip-top shape, you can begin to focus more on your local SEO strategy.
“Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimisation.” – Google
Here are our top 7 tips to dominate local SEO:
Google Business Profile reviews
Formerly Google My Business, Google Business Profile, is one of, if not the most crucial local SEO tools you have at your disposal. If you don’t have a listing set up yet, get your business listed on Google today.
Once you have your listing set up, one of the keys to local SEO success is having lots of reviews and a high rating. Google’s algorithm will decide that the winners are the local businesses with the best, most popular products or services, i.e. the ones loved by the locals.
Therefore, you must have a review acquisition strategy in place. But, don’t forget that your reviews should always be from real customers — buying likes, thoughts and comments may harm your listing. Not exactly the effect you’re going for!
For that reason, it’s also important to remember that you should not offer incentives (e.g. leave us a review and get 10% off your next purchase with us) to acquire more reviews. For more information, check out Google’s advice on getting reviews here.
It’s not easy getting lots of authentic reviews; however, if you put the effort in, especially when other competitors ‘can’t be bothered,’ you will be 10 steps ahead of them.
To further make the most of your Google Business Profile listing, you should:
- Make sure your business information is filled in and is accurate (especially your business hours)
- Add photos and videos to your listing
- Add regular posts to your listing
Super important for local SEO, your NAP (business name, address and phone number) should be highly consistent across all mentions on the world wide web. This includes your website and on other websites, too. By being consistent with this information, Google will be able to join the dots a lot easier.
Therefore, we recommend mirroring how your NAP on your Google Business Profile listing shows across all mentions online.
It’s a good idea to start a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet to keep track of these mentions, so if you change your address or phone number down the way, you can easily update them all quickly.
As well as your NAP, it’s a good idea to make sure any other important information like opening hours (very important!), menus, product prices, etc., and any imagery and video, are up to date.
Localised content onsite
The more you talk about your local area on your website, the more relevant your website will be for local searches. You can add localised content through a blog section on your website, alongside making local mentions throughout your web pages.
Create location pages with your NAP and opening hours if you have more than one location. If you have just one location, make sure all of this is featured prominently on your ‘About Us’ page (you don’t want to duplicate the same content across multiple pages — again, make it easy for Google to find and rank you!). Oh, and big bonus local SEO points if you feature a Google Map on the page.
To stand out to people searching on Google, you can also mention your local area in your meta titles and meta descriptions on the search result pages.
Localised mentions offsite
Alongside having localised content on your website, you should also look for opportunities offsite. If other websites, especially locally focused ones, mention your business and link to your website, your local SEO strength will significantly increase.
Two popular ways to gain offsite local mentions are:
- Add your business to online business directories, especially local ones.
- Acquire mentions on websites and blogs focused on your local area – this can be through media mentions and guest posting, for example.
Social media content is more critical than ever. Make sure you’re posting localised content, and engage, engage, engage! User engagement metrics also play a significant role in the battle of the local rankings. Google asks, ‘What do the locals think of you? Do you rate yourself?
LocalBusiness structured data
If you want to boost your local SEO, you should be using structured data markup. Structured data markup is little bits of code on your website which tell the search engines precisely what elements on your webpage are.
The most critical type of structured data you can use for local SEO is LocalBusiness. Through this structured data, you can mark up all the information about your business, from your NAP to opening hours.
Make sure you optimise for voice search
The future is here, and Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have changed how we search for things. 45 percent of internet users now use voice search and voice commands each month. Instead of typing ‘best Perth bars into a search engine, they’re asking Siri, ‘what is the best bar in Perth?’ or ‘where is the best bar near me?’ Think about these conversational search terms in your SEO strategy.
‘Near me’ searches have also increased. Consumers are now looking for ‘sports stores near me’ rather than ‘Perth sports stores’ — another reason to make sure your Google Business Profile, NAP and location pages are optimised.
Update your existing content
Search engines love new content, and that’s why it’s so important to keep your content as fresh as possible. If your website is filled with outdated content, do some house cleaning every so often. Time and resources permitting, make sure you’re updating old blog posts with new ideas.
Note: pay special attention to the images in your blog posts, especially if they’re screenshots from social media platforms and websites. Different platforms update their designs all the time, so make sure you’re not dating your content by not updating the images you use.
Local SEO isn’t a one-off task. It’s something that you should continually be building up. The sooner you can start acquiring more Google Business Profile reviews, improving the consistency of your NAP, adding localised content to your website, gaining mentions and links from other sites, adding structured data and optimising for voice, the better.