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Searching manually is less work that it might seem. The local SEO experts at Bowler Hat have an excellent step-by-step guide.
A good location page should contain a combination of practical information, such as maps and opening times, plus detail on why someone should visit. Make sure these pages are uniquely useful, as a number of pages with near identical content can be an issue if Google thinks you are creating them for SEO and not for users. Giving each location a tailored description can be tricky, so here are some ideas on what you could include:
Local SEO is about connecting with your audience at that moment they are seeking what you offer.
Hopefully, you’ll have the most important citation, Google My Business, so you’re already on your way!
Local SEO helps us show up for as many of these local searches as possible. By optimising for the signals search engines use, some from traditional SEO, some specific to local, you increase the chances of appearing when your audience is looking for your offering in your locality.
How to build credibility with reviews.
That’s local SEO at work. You see localised results, with the search engines showing you the most useful options based on where you are.
Imagine you’re planning a weekend away. A search for hotels York presents you with more local results, this time based on your specific search terms.
Of course, many UK counties have long names, so using standard postal abbreviations can help if you are short on room (title tags should ideally have a maximum of 160 characters):
If you have one location, you can add this to your homepage, contact page and key landing pages. If you have multiple locations, you need to do this for each location’s landing page.
Indian takeaway and delivery service – Banbury, Oxon.
In general SEO, earning promotion for your site, in particular mentions of your brand and links on external sites, is one of THE most important factors. And local SEO is no different.
Most of the time you’ll see what’s known as a map pack of three listings on a map of the area, plus ten organic listings, and potentially some paid ads.
Great platforms to consider would be Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and even SnapChat.
You might also want to use structured markup to highlight any reviews you have on your site.
Where would your site expect to be seen by the search engines? For example, a dentist would have different citations to a restaurant. Be sure to look for local directories as well. What are the important local listings that are used in your area?
Tip 3 – Include geographic terms in meta descriptions.
Adding to this, Google are placing more emphasis on the importance of reviews. They now use reviews from third-party sites in the more detailed information section (known as a knowledge box) within the search results. Getting review stars can make you stand out from the crowd, and many local SEO experts believe review signals (such as quantity and diversity) are a ranking factor in local results.
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number, and it is an important concept in local SEO. Having it correct, and consistent, is vital.
Once you’ve verified your listing, log in to Google My Business (via your preference of the desktop website or the app on your phone or tablet) and you’re presented with a dashboard. Here you can edit your details, add new photos, respond to customer reviews and analyse data on how potential customers are finding your site.
Each of your locations should have an individual home on your website, a page to optimise around. By having a separate page, all the elements can be tailored for that specific location.
Claiming your listing is (thankfully) more simple than it used to be, and once complete can be tweaked as you see fit.
Search engine algorithms are incredibly complex, and take into consideration a wide-range of factors. Google have stated that they consider over 200 elements to determine the best results.
Let’s make it clearer by using an example.
Of course, the best way to get better reviews is to provide a superb experience for your customers. Assuming you’re already working on that, here are some ways to get the most of your online reviews.
Citations are an important part of determining prominence AND relevancy. A few of these on established, trusted sites help establish certainty about who you are, where you are based and what you offer.
To get more reviews, you need a strategy, and to make leaving them as easy as possible:
For more ideas on how to get your website started with SEO, check out our beginner’s guide that is packed with tips, tools and resources. It is also available to download as a free PDF.
For local SEO, we can add this markup to confirm our location and contact details to Google.
Whether most of your business serves the local community or you’d like to target those visiting your part of the world, it is local search results that allows your audience to find your business when they need it.
Whether you want to drive more leads or footfall, a local SEO campaign will help you appear in front of the audience searching in your neighbourhood.
There are many, many different ways to earn links for a local website. Sources might include local press, chambers of commerce, local bloggers, charities and more. Here are some of our favourite ideas to get started with, and some in-depth articles for more tactics:
If you have multiple locations for your brick and mortar businesses you should create a page on your website dedicated to each of them (if you have less than 5 or so). This will give each of your local businesses a better opportunity of displaying within local search results (and the local pack if they each have a dedicated Google My Business profile).
You could even look into using long-tail keywords for your local SEO, with a more detailed description of your product or services. These may get less traffic initially, but they have a much higher conversion rate. If you can match exactly what a potential customer is looking for, they’ll be more likely to invest in your product/service. Look at the top 15, out of 86,617, search terms containing ‘ dentist ‘ searched each month in the UK alone.
A bonus to this is that any of the words the user searched that are also in your meta descriptions will appear as bold in Google and stand out. This can really help drive traffic to your website from those who have conducted a local search for something that you can provide.
You could also include additional information that helps with local SEO such as opening hours, directions, phone number links (yes, using tel: links), and social media links. These will all help not only in providing customers with information but will also improve your rankings as a local business.
Ideally, you want a backlink from another high-ranking or authoritative website. This will boost your local SEO appeal to search engines. You can also try to build backlinks with influencers on social media that your target audience looks up to. It’s all about generating the right leads.
8 – Mention your location & service in the website heading tags.
Increasing your online visibility by adding your local business to business directories can also help with your local link building, but keep in mind that the majority of those links will be NoFollow links. There are some local SEO tools that can help with this, but make sure you first know exactly how to use those local SEO tools, or that a member of your team is confident to do so.
Another important part of your SEO strategy is link building. Internal links indicate to Google the structure of your website. You need to ensure all pages are linked to each other in a logical manner, with more links back to the most important pages, or as some call them, ‘money’ pages.
Schema is a type of code that helps search engines understand the semantic nature of websites. It’s formed by tags that are added to web pages, and there’s a type of tag for everything, including FAQs. You can use Google’s ‘people also searched’ to find common FAQs.
Google My Business is the must-have of local SEO tools that can help to feed positive data about your business to the Google local algorithm.
FAQ schema indicates to search engines that the content is in question and answer format. Common FAQs will also appear at the top of search engine results. If your website appears in the top spot followed by a list of relevant FAQs, your business will appear more legitimate and draw in more customers. Check out the dedicated FAQ page from Optical Express with the Schema markup working in the background.
Don’t have the time at the moment to read these helpful tips?
If those businesses happen to create a similar piece of content you will attract local links if they mention that you were there and search engines tend to appreciate when websites create local content, which will then organically generate inbound links (or local backlinks in this case) which can greatly help with your local SEO.
Building business citations will help to increase your website’s ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). A citation is essentially a mention of your business on another website and typically includes useful information such as the name, address, and phone number.
Frequently check all listings, mentions, or any social media posts about your business and ensure your NAP is accurate and consistent. If you come across your business details online which are not accurate, it is usually incredibly easy to send a quick email to get this resolved. Correct details help with local SEO as it means Google is getting the same information from all sources that they check.
10 – Mention your location & service in the website page copy (text)
Below is an example of a local search that we conducted, you can see that this business appears as they have worked on their local SEO. If you’re looking for a café in Paris, one of the first that shows up in the results is Café de Flore. Have a look at some of their reviews below.
When your local citations are live, it is important to check the data aggregators to ensure that the correct and relevant information has been published on your business profile. Some of these local listings may even be eligible for voice search, which is already being used by people all over the world to find small businesses when they need them. Siri, Alexa, Google, can already provide information about local businesses to somebody today if they ask. Voice search is already here!
Local keyword research is essential for local SEO. Essentially, you’re including the specific terms entered into a Google search repeatedly in your website’s content, title, and description. If you’re not sure which keywords to use, try research the competition, or alternatively test out options by typing them into Google. Google will generate the most commonly searched options. Also, check within the ‘people also search’.
This is separate from having a Google My Business account setup. In this scenario, we are referring to having an embedded map on the contact/locations section of your website to help new customers find their way to you. If you operate from several locations (such as a franchise), have a map for each of your brick and mortar businesses would be beneficial to your local search engine optimization. Remember that it is also incredibly important for your local SEO that each unique location has its own dedicated Google My Business profile to ensure they show up in local searches for customers in that area. Each location will also need its own dedicated business profile on the business directories to help them gain inbound links and increase your visibility within the local search rankings.
Search engine “crawlers” can’t actually see your images (although Google is becoming increasingly clever about this), so if you label them with an alt tag including your location and service, this will indicate to them what they are. They’ll then be directly linked to keyword searches, helping with local SEO.
Another way to improve your reputation is by including testimonials on your website. These will not only give you credibility but will also appeal to your customers’ emotions. Try to create a compelling story about a time you went above and beyond for a customer, for example.
5 – Include testimonials on your website.
You can also then use features such as Google Posts to provide useful information and content to your local audience as a way of improving your local search visibility from your Google My Business listing.
Your content that you create specifically to help with your local SEO needs to ideally include local information, something that would really speak to members of your local community consuming it. You should try to keep content fresh so you could even refer to local news or events, for example. This will help you to reach your community.
Using popular local keywords in your website title will help it to rank higher when it comes to local search. For local SEO purposes, you should try to incorporate your location and service in your website title. This will improve your click-through-rate (CTR) from Google local search results and help with brand recognition.
You can embed a map on your website, and include directions for customers. You can do this by following the instructions on the ‘menu’ tab on Google Maps, then simply click on “share or embed map”. It’s important to have a map of your location in order to boost your local SEO.
Local customers will search Google for the product or service they require along with the location, so you want this to directly relate to your site. This will show you as an authority in your area and will improve your ranking on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as well.
This is a way to inform the search engines (such as Google) of the hierarchy of your website. Ideally, you want the more important pages to rank higher for local SEO. These may include your specific product/service pages. Include more internal links to the pages you want to rank the highest.
Online reviews also have an impact on how Google ranks your business. It’s one of the factors that determine your local search ranking. Asking for reviews is the best and easiest way to get them. This method for Google reviews is incredibly underutilized by most businesses.