5 Expert SEO Tips for Local Businesses in 2017

A lot of emphasis is placed on the importance of SEO (search engine optimisation) as a part of a business’ digital marketing strategy.  For those who may be new to this vast world, SEO is the process of improving the rankings of a website across search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo, for example) and it is the best way to achieve organic web traffic from users who are searching for particular products or services. However, this can be quite the costly campaign, especially in a competitive market with lots of big firms and high barriers to entry. Just getting on the ladder can often be more than smaller start-up businesses can afford, which makes the price of achieving top rankings quite substantial.

Alas, all is not lost. Nearly a third of all searches from mobile are related location making it a big factor in SEO, so it is possible to use this to your advantage and focus on Local SEO. Here, we take a look at our top 5 SEO tips for local businesses.

  1. Make sure your site is properly optimised

The first rule of SEO is to optimise first for users and then search engines. Therefore, the first step to any SEO campaign, regardless of the scale, should be your onsite optimisation. Effective on-site optimisation is essential before you’ll see any kind of improvement in rankings. To put simply, this is the process of making your website user-friendly and as visible as possible to Google. This involves steps such as adding meta tags and meta descriptions (these give Google and users a synopsis of the page) to pages, deciding and implementing keywords across pages and making sure you have great onsite content. There is much more that goes into this stage and we can help you optimise your site should you need more support.

  1. Register for Google My Business

Google has over 77% of the search engine market share. This means it is very advantageous to focus your efforts on optimising specifically for Google rather than trying to please all of them as each search engine’s criteria differ. Besides, when have you ever heard someone say ‘one sec, I’ll Bing it’?

Google is all for helping businesses of all sizes as seen by the latest ‘Possum update’. This update has had a huge impact on local search results, meaning local businesses have a greater chance of being found depending on location. ‘Google My Business’ is a free and simple feature for businesses, organisations and brands to manage and organise their online presence across Google, by bringing together feature in Search and Maps (which has over one billion users). When a user searches for a business, Google comes back with opening hours, location and website (amongst other things). You can start the process hereAfter filling out all your business information and verifying your location via postcard, the very same information will be available for anyone searching for your business.

Completing all of this information will maximise how often you’re seen by local users in their local results by enhancing your presence in both Search and Maps and increasing your businesses local rank. Consumers can also add reviews which are visible on search which is great for securing new business.

  1. Add your business to local directories

In a similar way to Google My Business, a great way to increase your local ranking is to list your business in local online directories such as Yelp. Just a quick search for ‘business directory’ will bring up numerous possible places to list your business. Google’s Pigeon update back in 2014 places more weight on these sites so this is a big advantage. Make sure your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent, even down to the capitalisation, across as many reputable directories with good domain authority as possible. This should be exactly the same as is appears on your website and on Google My Business. These quality links will provide a good foundation for a backlink profile on which to establish not only your local SEO rankings but also your national rank when the time comes.

  1. Get links to and from your local suppliers

One of the best-selling points for a local business is being able to say that you use local sources and suppliers within your business. This can also aid in your local SEO efforts too, whilst being beneficial for the SEO of your supplier, so this is a win-win. Linking to your local suppliers and getting a link back is a sign to Google that your site is to be trusted and has relevant information for users. This, in turn, increases your local rankings as Google believes your site and your content will be relevant to what users need.

  1. Maximise Social Media and user reviews

Social media is now vitally important in an overall marketing strategy, yet it also plays a role in local business’ visibility in search results. Making sure your social platforms are always active will increase your follower gain — and in turn, your pages and linked websites will appear within search. Local results can also be influenced by user views and your engagement in responding to them. Make sure to respond to any reviews, feedback or criticism on a social platform, whether good or bad. However, you must make sure these reviews are genuine and come from the outside, ie. not from your company.

This will give you a good starting point to begin efforts with your local SEO and if properly implemented can provide a solid foundation for any future work. We have much experience with SEO, with many success stories for our clients. We are only a phone call away so get in touch and see how we can help you and your business.