Do you want your business to be seen when potential customers are searching for local products/services?
Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way of getting listed in Google’s local 3-pack, but by working on your local SEO you can make your website more visible.
But first, why is local SEO important for businesses and can it really increase online and offline sales? Here are some local search stats.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
- 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
- 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location.
- 18% of location-based mobile searches result in a sale within one day.
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
- 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.
As you can see from the stats above there’s quite a high intent to purchase when someone is searching for a local business.
Ideally, you’d like a piece of this action and it’s not far out of your reach. Follow the 8 local SEO hacks below and start to boost your local search visibility.
#1 – Use Local Keywords
Let’s say you have a coffee shop in Manchester. You probably don’t want to attract customers from outside of the Manchester area. Customers in Leeds aren’t going to be interested in driving over the M62 just for a coffee (even if it’s a really good one).
To fix this, you need to anchor your business in your target area by using “keywords + location” on your website. For example, you should include “coffee shop Manchester” in your page title and heading, and naturally, include it in your content.
#2 – Google My Business
One of the most important off-page local SEO aspects is your Google My Business (GMB) profile. GMB provides the information for the local 3-pack and also appears for brand searches on the right-hand side.
If you’ve not got a GMB profile you’ll either need to create one or claim it. Here’s our guide to creating a Google My Business profile.
Optimise Your GMB Profile
Double check that your details are correct on your website and on your GMB profile.
- Is your address correct and in the same format? If you’re abbreviating “road” to “rd” then make sure you stick to that format across all citations.
- Is your phone number correct?
- Are the correct opening hours displayed?
- Is there a link to your website?
- Have you chosen the most relevant category for your business?
#3 – Ensure NAP is Consistent
Your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) need to be consistent on every website it’s listed on. Google My Business will cross reference your business details that appear on your website, social media profiles and local citations (see #5).
Incorrect or outdated citations can confuse Google and customers searching for your business details. Having consistent NAP data can increase your local visibility and damage your reputation by looking unprofessional.
#4 – Add Structured Data
Structured data markup is a snippet of code that is placed in your website code. The markup contains details such as; business name, address, phone number, logo, website address, opening hours and prices.
To create structured data markup you can use Google’s markup helper. Simply enter your website address and start to highlight the relevant data you want to include.
Once complete, you need to add the code to your website or forward it onto your web agency.
#5 – Add Local Citations
A local citation is any website that mentions your business and usually includes your business address, phone number and sometimes your website address.
Citations can be from business directories, review websites, other local directories in your area and social media profiles.
Local citation examples…
- Thompson Local
- Trip Advisor
- Four Square
- Local chambers
- Local newspaper websites
- Niche-specific website
- Local blogs
Local citations are important because Google wants to be confident in the information it gives to searchers. If your NAP is consistent across your local citations then Google will be more confident it has the correct information and display it to searchers.
#6 – Get More Google Reviews
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations, making them important for local SEO.
If you appear in the local 3-pack, directly under your business name will be your star rating. If you’re in the local 3-pack you’re doing something right, but if your competitors have a better star rating than you, customers are more likely to chose them over you.
Reviews for businesses are evaluated in 3 ways.
- The number of reviews – How many reviews does the business have?
- Review rating – 5-star reviews are going to look a lot better than a 1-star review.
- Speed & Date – Regular and recent reviews look a lot better than reviews from several years ago.
Getting a customer to leave a review doesn’t have to be difficult. You can either ask customers to find your GMB profile in Google or you can create a personalised link to send them to make it super easy.
#7 – Mobile-Friendly Website
If you’re planning on dominating local searches it’s important to have a website that works well on a mobile device. Mobile-friendly websites should be standard by now, but there are still businesses out there with old websites that don’t work well on mobiles.
If you’ve done all the hard work of getting someone to click on your search result you don’t want to fall at the final hurdle. Non-mobile-friendly websites can frustrate users, making them leave along with your sale.
So before you embark on optimising for local search make sure your website is working well on mobile devices.
#8 – Blogging About The Local Area
Adding new blog articles to your website is not only a great way to keep your website fresh and updated, but it gives you the opportunity to talk about local events and news.
Blogging about local events, using your local area as a keyword, will increase your visibility in the local area. It also gives you the opportunity to link out to other local businesses and authorities, and it will give you content for your social media.
Creating content around the topic of your local area will anchor your business in your area, boosting your local search visibility.
If you follow the steps above you can easily improve your local search visibility and start to dominate the local area.
We understand that running a business requires you wearing many different hats and getting all the details correct can be a task. But don’t worry because we can take your local SEO headache away, leaving you to concentrate on your business.