Local Search Engine Optimisation, or local SEO, is a type of SEO that focuses on optimising a website so that it is found in local search results. As 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information, local search is a vital component of any comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation campaign.
The premise behind is the same as regular SEO. As such, optimising a page for local SEO involves the same elements as a regular SEO campaign; content, on-page optimisation, and link building, but with a focus on localised intent.
The big search engines, Google and Bing are continuously working to update their algorithms to ensure they are delivering the most relevant results to match the user’s search intent. In many cases, the most relevant results are local. In fact, a recent Hubspot study found that 46% of all Google searches are local, which indicates that almost half of the time, users are looking for a local solution. As such, it’s becoming more important to optimise your website for local search.
Many B2B companies are put off by the term ‘local SEO’ as they often operate across the country or have branches in multiple cities. However, local SEO can optimise all the locations that your business has to attract leads and customers in that location.
92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results
Ensuring your strategy is right, or at least better than your competitors’ strategy, is essential to your success on the SERPs.
The first step to a winning B2B local SEO campaign is simple, and costs nothing: set up a Google My Business Account.
Google My Business for Local SEO
Despite the massive increase in local search, particularly on Google, 56% of local retailers haven’t yet claimed their Google My Business listing.
Claiming and optimising your Google My Business listing is the foundation of local SEO. If you are one of the 56% of businesses that haven’t claimed their listing, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities for generating leads.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is an online directory listing that connects your business directly with customers across Google, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+. The below screenshot shows an example of how your business may appear on the search results page with a Google My Business listing.
Why Use Google My Business?
With a Google My Business account, your customers can find your company immediately, anywhere, on any device, and it doesn’t cost you a cent.
- Be Found On Google: With such a prominent position in the search results, your business can’t afford not to set up Google My Business. If your business has multiple stores or locations, you can make use of the ‘Multiple Service Areas’ functionality, which means upon searching, your customer can find your closest location to them. This is particularly effective for mobile searchers.
- Showcase Your Business: Google My Business offers a fantastic opportunity for showcasing your brand personality and values. Customise your profile with a value proposition, photos, virtual tours, videos and other media to create a real point of difference from your competitors.
- Make the Most of Social Proof: Customers can review your products or services on Google My Business by giving a star rating scale and leaving a comment. Positive reviews can help your business build trust and credibility in your brand.
Don’t miss out on this free marketing opportunity, claim your Google My Business listing today – and stay ahead of the 44% of your peers who still don’t have one.
Other Vital Elements of Local SEO
While creating a Google My Business account is an excellent starting point for a local SEO strategy, there are many more things that you can do to ensure your website is fully optimised for local search.
As mentioned above, local SEO isn’t hugely different from organic SEO, it still centres around keywords, content, links, on-page SEO and reviews. However, when you are optimising for local search, these strategies should have more of a local focus to ensure your business is found when people are performing these searches in the area surrounding your business. It is vital to get these elements right in order to outrank your local competitors in the SERPs.
Local SEO Keyword Research
Keyword research for local SEO is not much different from traditional keyword research. However, local searches are most often performed on a mobile device, such as a smartphone, Amazon Echo, or Google Home, which have voice search capabilities. Voice search is shaping SEO going forward and it has been predicted that by 2020 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Ensuring your website is optimised for voice search is one of the ways to boost your local SEO.
This means, trying to optimise for conversational voice search terms like “find a financial advisor near me”. Most voice searches will be more question-focused, so when you are conducting keyword research, try to look for these terms. In addition to the Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush’s topic research tool, Keyword.io, and AnswerThePublic are great for identifying the questions people are searching for, and their search volume. Given the increase in this type of search, you should be able to find some questions that are relevant to your business, with a reasonably high search volume.
Content for Local SEO
Locally focused content is extremely important for a local SEO strategy. As with any content that you publish, showing a depth of knowledge on the topics that you cover is essential. However, while traditional SEO best practice is to write long-form content, this won’t necessarily get results for local SEO. Local SEO is more about matching your content to the user intent behind the query, rather than getting a high word count for the query. This means applying the keyword research that you have done to find out exactly what your local customers are searching for, and then writing content around these terms that addresses and answers their queries effectively.
Another tip for optimising your content for local is to ensure your headlines and metadata focus on local keywords and phrases. The snippet of your web page that Google shows in the search results should let Google, and the searcher, recognise your business as a local provider.
Links for Local SEO
Firstly, it’s important to follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines when considering any linking strategy, as you don’t want your link acquisition efforts to result in a penalty from Google. Any links that violate Google’s guidelines will be detected eventually, which will significantly affect your search rankings.
Once you know what Google likes and doesn’t like in terms of linking, you can start to define your local linking strategy. For local SEO, linking is slightly different than for organic SEO. There are various link categories that make up a quality local SEO strategy, including:
- Citation / NAP Sites: NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. These details are critical for businesses that want to rank in local search results, as search engines like Google take this data into account when determining which companies to show for geo-targeted searches. There are certain citation sites where you can submit your URL and NAP details to in order to increase local search presence.
- Local Directory Websites: Focus on adding your business to local directory sites to increase relevant links to your page and give your business more chance of appearing on local search results.
- Industry-Related Local Sites: Consider other local sites that might have link opportunities, such as newspapers, schools, universities and government associations. These sites can help significantly increase the value of your local link profile.
Content for Local SEO
For local SEO, it’s best practice to create a webpage for each relevant town, county, or region. By focusing a page specifically on each area that you serve, you can really boost your local search optimisation. Ensure each page speaks to the unique characteristics of the location while keeping it relevant to your business. It can also be useful to add case studies of businesses that you’ve worked within the local area to add credibility and demonstrate how your business has contributed to the community.
Reviews for Local SEO
The 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors report by Moz identified online reviews as one of the top 3 most important ranking factors in local search. In fact, having review stars in Google’s search engine results pages can improve your click-through rate by up to 35%. Customers trust and value online reviews, and treat them as they would a word of mouth recommendation from a friend or family member. They want to see recent reviews of your business that are long enough to provide specific details about the products or services that they received. As such, businesses should try to encourage their satisfied customers to leave detailed reviews on platforms that are relevant to them.
Google is the most important source of reviews for local SEO, which can be set up through Google My Business. In addition, depending on the industry you operate in, you may also want to consider generating reviews on Citysearch, Tripadvisor, Foursquare, Facebook, Yahoo Local or Yelp.
The marketing consultants at the Lead Agency have considerable experience in developing Local SEO campaigns that generate more leads and better quality leads for our clients. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help your business today.