As Google Partners, we often talk a lot about Google, and more specifically what you can do to please the giant, information eating search engine. But one of the things we maybe don’t talk about as much as we should is local search, and what good local search looks like for your business. We’ve talked before about the value of local search, and why your business should be taking advantage of it. (To find out more on that, read this post). But local SEO can get pretty complicated, especially if you’re new to it all. So for today’s dose of information, we wanted to share 3 simple things that could make your local SEO a lot simpler.

 

Fix The Technical Issues 

This is the area of SEO that a lot of businesses miss, but can really make the biggest difference. If you have a website that is slow and bloated with code, or you have lots of duplicate pages littered around the site, then your search rankings are naturally going to drop. So before you do any local SEO work, ask a web developer to take a look at your site and fix any technical issues. Once your site is running properly, there are a couple of things you can do to make your site more indexable and functional for local search. These include:

  • Create a “Contact Us” section featuring your business name, address, and phone number for each location.
  • Use Schema markupto add context to your pages and help Google understand your site information.
  • Place NAP information for each location in the footer of your pages.
  • Invest in NAP accuracy, making sure this information is used consistently across all channels you use.
  • Make sure your phone number is easily clickable on mobile devices so users can call you directly from your site.
  • All location pages should be linked to properly from your navigation menu. 

 

Use Location-Specific Keywords 

If you’ve done any sort of SEO work before, then you will probably have a list of keywords you want your business to be found for. This is a good starting point, but when it comes to local search specific is always better. As you go through your keyword list, see where you can work in local terms or locations. It’s a good idea to vary your keywords a bit, since online users will all have slightly different search habits. So if you’re a plumber in reading, for example, you might choose ‘plumbers in Reading’, and ‘Reading plumbers’. As well as using the specific location, you may want to optimise yourself for more specific areas – so in this example, The Thames Valley. This means you might choose ‘plumber in Thames Valley’.

 

But that’s not all. As well as the more traditional exact-match and long-tail keywords you will be encouraged to choose by SEO experts, you should also bear voice search in mind. Voice search is a rapidly growing area of local search that has the potential to explode over the upcoming months, and if you start embracing it early you will see even better results from it. To harness voice search, you need to use location-specific keywords that feel natural, and often take the form of questions. Be ready for users to ask their smart devices ‘what’s the nearest plumber’, with natural search phrases scattered throughout your text.

 

Claim your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business listings are a key component of local search, and have been since they were first introduced. In fact, according to a recent study by Moz, Google My Business listings are the number 1 ranking factor for Google’s Local Search services. So if you ignore absolutely everything else on this list, make sure you at least do this.

 

Once you’ve claimed and verified your listing, you need to optimise it to be even better for local search. That means answering some basic questions about your business to start with, including details like name, location, address, phone number, website, description and business hours. You’ll also be asked to choose your business category, which will help Google understand your business and display your listing for the correct search terms. Once all those basic steps are done, you can work through the additional information, like if you provide WiFi, parking or other benefits that might attract local viewers. Upload some pictures while you’re at it, and ask some of your customers to review your services to give you a good head start. We have a few tips to make your Google My Business listings better in this blog.

 

The other reason it’s so important to claim your own Google My Business listing is because if you don’t, google may just make one for you. Google has automatically created many Google My Business profiles for businesses across the country, so you may find you already have a listing, and maybe even reviews that you knew nothing about. If this has happened you can claim ownership of that listing and optimise it the same way as described above, but so can anyone else. If you want to protect your brand and your business, this simple step can go a long way.

 

At Ad-Extra, we always encourage our customers to look at their local advertising strategies before they branch out into anything wider. We help business owners set up and optimise their Google My Business listings, and run Google AdWords campaigns that are targeted to their local area. With our help, your business could appear at the top of Google in local search, when and where you want it to. To find out more, just get in touch with us today.