When Google’s Pigeon update was rolled-out globally last December, small businesses started to see the importance of local SEO. The update allowed search engines to understand local behind search queries, which is why searching for a general term like “books” will bring up book stores nearest to your location rather than the general website for Waterstones.
The good thing about local search engine optimisation is it is within your control. Here are things you need to do for to get your business ranking in local search:
Optimise Your Google My Business Page
Ensure that your My Business page is complete. It should be filled out according to Google’s guidelines: selecting the correct business category, including pictures and unique content for the descriptions. Include links to all social media platforms and make certain that all of your profiles and content have geo-localised keywords.
If you had Google Local or Google Places, your account will have automatically been updated.
Check Directory Listings for Accuracy
Track down your local citations and ensure they all have the same NAP information. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number (some include Website!). Those three pieces of information must be consistent and accurate.
If you’re Tony’s Continental Foods, but you have one listing that says Tonys Continental Foods and another that says Tony’s Continental, you are losing the value of those listings. According to Moz, a mismatched NAP is the third biggest negative ranking factor – ouch!
Once you’re on the major directories (Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.) look towards being listed in hyperlocal directories (think Council websites, nearby markets, and so on).
Optimise Your Social Media Accounts
Surprising fact: You don’t need a website to do local SEO. If you’re without a website that means you need to build social media accounts that stand in for it. Even if you do have a website, many customers will visit Yelp!, TripAdvisor, or your Facebook page. All of those should have useful information like contact details, locations, opening hours, and phone numbers.
One of the first things a customer will see in a local search are your Google+ reviews. It shows up on Google Maps if they click your business. Ensure that all of the most important information is in one place for them to see.
Start Asking for Reviews
Seventy-seven percent of online shoppers use reviews to make purchasing decisions. That means the more positive reviews you have, the more likely you’re going to bring in more customers. Remind your clients to leave a review with a sign on the door or counter. Offer an incentive to leave a review on one of your preferred platforms.
Blogger reviews are perfect if you don’t have a website. Offer bloggers a free product or a complimentary meal at your restaurant in exchange for a review. That way, organic search results will have more than just your social media accounts – there will be real experiences of your business or product.
When (yes, when) you get a negative review, respond graciously and mention how you are trying to improve. You can’t please everyone, but you can face criticism with a bravely. Similarly, don’t only respond to negative reviews. Thank users for their exceptionally kind ones as well!
Make Sure Your Mobile Site is Flawless
Earlier this week, Google launched a mobile-friendly algorithm update which means it’s more important than ever that your site be optimised. Ensure that your mobile site has the most useful information highlighted and easy-to-access. Consider adding Click-to-Call, Book a Consultation (that connects to your calendar) or Reserve a Table Now buttons to make it easier for customers to contact you.
In case you’re not convinced that you should be doing local SEO, know that 3 billion search queries will contain local terms every month. If you’re not optimising your small business for local search (even if you don’t have a website!) you’re losing out on a lot of potential business.