Search Engine Optimisation is a key element of any online business strategy. Improving the regularity of your website’s appearance on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) can enhance your reach to past, present and potential clients, establishing your products and services portfolio to a wider and connected audience. Helping to establish your brand’s identity in local communities can be beneficial in a number of ways, which we will explore in this article.
Why Is Local Seo Important?
Utilising Local SEO is an essential component of drawing good quality traffic to your website and general online content. Whether your company has an on-the-ground physical location, or you simply operate in a specific geographic location, increasing your visibility and making your company more accessible to local customers should be a priority in your online marketing strategy.
SERP is becoming increasingly local-centric. Taking a local approach to picking up new business can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example, building local brand awareness works in tandem with building up your local client base. You can outrank your competitors purely on a geographical basis. Organic search results will vary greatly in proximity to local algorithms; the customer pool might be larger, but so is the level of business competitors. Your company’s SEO will require a far greater level of optimisation to raise your ranking.
What Is the Difference Between Traditional Google Rankings and Local Pack Listings?
Google rankings are formulated by a multitude of algorithms designed to sort through billions of web pages to provide you with results it considers closest to what was searched.
Whereas the Local Pack is a SERP tool which features a large map of local business generated from the search, along with the top three suggestions most specific to the search wording. You can then open up these suggestions to view more results. These results are generated through “Google My Business” listings.
Local Packing Lists appear at the top of SERP, therefore providing an element of augmented visibility for your business. Key information about your business can be highlighted through this, such as an easy access website link, your business hours, phone number, and company address. This is ideal for click-to-call referrals on a mobile-phone platform.
The challenge with Local Pack is where your business ranks highly in Local SEO listings, but not so well in the Local Pack. As the Local Pack is the first search result displayed on a SERP, this would mean that you are pushed further down on the results page and are less in the spotlight.
Local Pack is generated through Google’s business listings. If your business is listed in their database then you are eligible for Local Pack. Claiming ownership of your business listing is an important step, as is confirming your company’s location. You can then optimise your business’s visibility by entering in as much carefully worded and specific information about your business as possible, thereby feeding the algorithm to increase your online profile. It is important that if you choose to participate in Local Pack listings, maintaining current company information is vital as out-of-date information will lose potential clients and customers.
Improve local SEO through…
Building a robust strategy for harnessing your local SEO will aid you actively going forward. Researching your market, competitors and target audience will enable you to gain clarity in how best to establish your online presence.
The more in-depth your understanding of how best to describe your business, the better equipped you are to hone your keyword search; thereby increasing your reach online.
There are a multitude of free platforms and systems available which are specifically designed to optimise your local SEO. Please see below for outlines of the various options to explore.
Maintain Your Online Presence and Information
If your company information is out of date, you can advertise your company on a plethora of platforms but customers still may fail to find your business or trust in its legitimacy. See below for more on cleaning citations.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a fantastic tool for managing your online presence across the scope of the search engine. It is a free system and is a crucial first step for setting up your local presence online.
It categorises your company (e.g restaurant, florist, retail shop, etc), registering your business hours, address, and any reviews left for your business. Google’s ‘Knowledge Graph’ also uses the information from your Google My Business profile to structure and reference data. Don’t forget to include keywords and phrases in your business listing to optimise your search reference. When the listing is completed, the system then generates your company’s location on Google Maps. Third-party platforms that use Google Maps API will also show Google My Business listings.
Building and Cleaning Citations
Structured and unstructured citations are an ideal way of exhibiting your company information online. A structure citation refers to an online business directory displaying key information about a company, such as a website link, telephone number, company address, and opening hours.
Structured citations can be found on platforms such as Yelp, online Yellow Pages, and Facebook business profiles. Whereas unstructured citations refer to online locations which display the same type of information but are not specifically designed to be business directories platforms. For example, a reviewing website may post an unstructured citation embedded within their review. An online blog or magazine may also be prone to unstructured citations.
Citations, both structured and unstructured, can improve your local SEO standing greatly. References from trusted platforms further aid search engines in verifying the accuracy of your company’s information and increase the rate of SERP’s your company shows up on. The more frequently your company appears online, the greater rate of site traffic you are likely to gain, thereby furthering your online standing.
It is important to ensure that any citations made online provide accurate and up-to-date information; if citations host inaccuracies, it may reduce trust in your companies legitimacy for prospective clients, furthermore it can deter these prospective clients from getting in contact. Cleaning citations is an active process. It may be beneficial for you to maintain a database of citations and their locations, making note that you have confirmed the accuracy of all details provided about your business.
Optimised Location and Service Website Pages
Optimised location pages are a convenient resource for accessing local clients and customers. Capturing these consumers is relatively straightforward so long as you take the time to structure and perfect your website pages; including pages dedicated to your company location. Consider your keywords carefully to connect with local clientele, and take the opportunity on your location page to clarify other relevant information about the company, such as a contact telephone number and the business operating hours. This will help to improve your ranking on general organic search results, and local map pack results.
Online reviews are a fantastic tool for optimising your local SEO. Online magazines, blogs, and websites dedicated to reviewing companies, products, and services maintain their own basis of trust with their online audience. Location-based searches will likely pick up on your company’s online reviews; the more your company is presented online, the more likely you are to gain traction in your local SEO.
Keeping on top of managing your Local SEO can be a stressful prospect. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to have a conversation about managing your Local SEO; commitment-free – we would love to hear from you!