Your potential customers are local and they are actively searching online for a local business like yours, or a product or service that you offer.
Local SEO works to increase the brand visibility of a business in Google, helping to drive more interaction with customers, resulting in increased leads and sales.
Of course, your local customers aren’t just searching on their mobiles in the ‘here and now’ moment, they are also searching online at home, perhaps doing a bit of research and checking out a few similar businesses to yours.
Whether your potential customers are searching on desktops or mobiles, make sure they find your business before they find your competitors – invest in a local SEO strategy NOW!
Reaching more local customers
The key to a successful Local SEO strategy is capturing the attention of both these audiences. Those on the go and who are more likely to enter your store or call you immediately, and those who are searching online at home, and who may take a bit longer to get in touch.
Whether you opt for a responsive website that can adapt to the smaller mobile screens, or you have a separate mobile site, you will need to ensure your site creates a great experience for the mobile user.
The main areas of focus should be:
- Ease of navigation, so keeping menus short and concise
- Making it easy for people to find information they are looking for
- Fast and simple check out process
- Don’t over-complicate forms
- Fast page download speeds
- Don’t let promotions steal the show
Page speed is a core ranking factor, so if your pages taking more than 2 seconds to download, then investing in some speed optimisation will help increase your rank in local search results.
Get your business on the map
You will need to create a Google My Business profile and a Bing Places profile to get your business on the Google and Bing map.
When people search for a business, product or service with a location reference, or they are searching using a mobile device, Google will show 3 of the top listings that match the search query in the local area, or the area you have searched on. The user then has the option of viewing more businesses in the local area by clicking on the ‘More Places’ hamburger icon.
How are business’s ranked in local search results?
Business’s that appear in the local search results are ranked based on relevance, distance and prominence.
These factors are combined to give the best match for the customer’s search. For example, Google algorithms may decide that a business further away is a more likely to have what the customer is looking for than a business closer, therefore it will rank higher in local search results.
Relevance is based on how well the search query matches the detail in a Google My Business or Bing listing. It is important therefore to add as much business information as possible, including adding services and product information, adding photos, videos and blog posts to help increase relevance to the many different search phrases that may be input to search by users searching for your products and services.
Distance is calculated by how far each potential business is from the location terms in the search, or if the customer doesn’t specify a location, Google will calculate a distance based on what’s known about the user location.
Prominence refers to how well-known the business is. Some places are more prominent in the off-line world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking, for example famous museums, or well-known shop brands.
Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the Internet (links, articles, social profiles and directories).
Google review count and score are also factored into local search ranking, and more reviews and positive ratings will improve a business’s local ranking.
Your position in organic search results is also a factor, so applying SEO best practices for local search optimisation is also recommended. We do this for our clients through geo-targeting website content and by adding local business structured data markup to the website code.
Paid local search ads
Advertising on Google Maps is a powerful way to attract nearby customers, and is particularly effective for new start-ups who need to generate business quickly, but who have limited online organic brand visibility.
Paid local search ads will place your brand at the top of the Local Search Listings pack if your ad is relevant to the user search query and your ad rank is high enough. You will need to sync your ad campaign to your Google My Business listing and then set up location targeting.
You can target a specific location and set bids by location so that your bids increase for people located near your business. You can also optimise your keywords to relate them to your location and what people are searching for locally.
You can refine your location targeting even further by targeting specific postcodes if you feel some are more lucrative than others. There are also options to exclude postcodes too. Perhaps there are certain towns or areas that you don’t want to advertise in because you don’t deliver there, or the promotion you are running doesn’t cover certain locations.
Would you like to attract more local customers this summer?
Get a FREE SEO Audit today to find out what you need to do to attract more local customers, or call Louise at Whizz Marketing on 01252 622129.