Emir is an invaluable member of our team, serving as one of our esteemed Account Managers. With a profound passion for on-page SEO, he possesses an exceptional talent for discovering innovative ways to optimise websites and enhance their rankings. Joining our organisation, Loop, in 2022, Emir brought with him a wealth of expertise gained from his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management and Advertising. Currently, he is eagerly pursuing his Master’s degree in International Marketing Strategy, further enhancing his comprehensive understanding of the global marketing landscape. Emir thrives on challenges and continuously seeks fresh opportunities to elevate our clients’ businesses to new heights. Aside from his professional endeavours, Emir has an unwavering passion for culinary arts and loves to cook up a storm. This ardour for cooking exemplifies his drive, creativity, and meticulous attention to detail, qualities that seamlessly translate into his work as a Digital Marketing Executive. His commitment to delivering exceptional results and his genuine enthusiasm for each project make him a trusted and highly sought-after professional. Emir’s profound expertise in on-page SEO, combined with his ambitious pursuit of knowledge and dedication to his clients, make him an invaluable asset to our team. His passion, both in and out of the office, reflects his commitment to excellence, leaving an indelible mark on our clients’ businesses.
Posted on 25/01/2023 by Emir Haskic
Your Guide to Local SEO
As a small business owner or marketing manager, you understand the importance of reaching potential customers in your community. However, with so much competition online, it can be difficult to stand out in search engine results. That’s where local SEO comes in.
Now more than ever your business’s footfall and traffic to your website are both critical parts of keeping your business operating sustainably. Without customers, where would your business be? Local SEO can play a huge role in getting new and existing customers to your business whether that be online or visiting your shop in person.
By optimising your website and online presence for local search, you can increase your visibility to those searching for businesses like yours in your area. In this guide, we’ll be sharing tips and strategies for boosting your local SEO and ultimately helping you get found by more potential customers. Whether you’re just getting started with local SEO or looking to take your efforts to the next level, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive in and start boosting your local search rankings today.
What is Local SEO?
First things first, what actually is local SEO? Local SEO refers to the process of optimising your website to rank higher in search engine results for a specific geographic location or area. This is typically done by including location-specific keywords in the website’s content and meta tags, as well as building local backlinks and citations.
The goal of local SEO is to increase visibility and drive traffic to a physical business location or captivate a specific service area. This type of SEO is particularly important for businesses that serve a local area in a saturated market, ie. hospitality or services. Why is this? Because users are much more likely to use broader terms to find what they’re looking for, ie. “Restaurants in Northampton”.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is important because it helps businesses, big and small, grow their visibility for their brands in local search results. This is crucial because the majority of consumers who search for local businesses online will often choose a nearby business over one that is further away. The latest studies have revealed that over 97% of internet users have searched online to find a local business, and this number continues to climb. Pair this with the fact that over 46% of all Google searches have local intent, you’ll start to recognise its significance.
With local SEO, a business can increase its chances of being found by these local consumers, which can lead to more foot traffic, phone calls, and online conversions. Additionally, even if those users aren’t quite ready to take an action, it can help improve your brand awareness in the areas in which your business operates.
Local vs National SEO
If you’ve heard of the term local SEO, then it’s likely you’ll have some understanding of what national SEO is. But how do they differ?
For starters, Local SEO focuses on optimising a business’s online presence for the specific geographic location where the business operates, whereas national SEO focuses on a much larger pool of the population. National SEO is geared towards optimising a business’s search presence for the entire country or region within which they sell their products or provide services.
Local SEO includes tactics such as claiming and optimising Google Business Profiles and local citation work while national SEO includes tactics such as link building and content optimisation on a national level. Local SEO, as the term suggests, focuses on targetted specific locations whereas national SEO strategies will strive to rank for broader and less targetted keywords.
8-Steps to Build Your Local SEO Strategy
Now for the part of this guide, you’re probably most interested in, how can you build your own local SEO strategy. We’ve included 8 easy to implement steps to get you started.
- Conduct a Local SEO Audit
- Claim and Optimise Your Google Business Profile
- Create High Quality, Localised Content
- Build, Manage and Update Local Citations
- Use Structured Data (Schema Markups)
- Build High-Quality Links
- Encourage Reviews
- Monitor Your Local Competition
1. Conduct a Local SEO Audit
A local SEO audit is a process of analysing and evaluating the various elements of a website and its online presence to identify any issues or areas for improvement that may be impacting its ability to rank well in local search results.
To get started with your local SEO audit, you would typically start by analysing the technical aspects of your website, such as its structure, navigation, and overall performance. This can include things like checking for broken links, missing meta tags, and duplicate content. This is also a good practice for SEO whether you want to rank nationally or locally. You should also evaluate the website’s content and look for opportunities to optimise it for local keywords and phrases and ensure the website and its content is mobile-friendly.
Once you have completed your audit, you can use the findings to create a plan for improving the website’s local SEO and increasing its visibility in local search results. This can include making technical changes to the website, optimising content, building local citations, and improving the website’s backlink profile.
2. Claim and Optimise Your Google Business Profile
When a brand creates and verifies a Business Profile listing, historically known as Google My Business (GMB), it can provide important information to potential customers, such as the business’s name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and photos. All critical pieces of information that your prospective local customers will need. For those of you who are new to this, we recommend checking out our guide on getting started with Google Business Profiles.
Optimising your Business Profile listing for local SEO involves ensuring that the name, address and phone number (NAP) information is accurate and up-to-date. In addition to this, your NAP information should be consistent across all online listings and directories or you’ll risk confusing search engines and users.
As well as having high-quality imagery, categorising your services properly and maintaining your reviews, you can use your Business Profile to update your customers. You should consider adding regular posts, offers, and events to it, this can help to keep your listing active and relevant.
3. Create High Quality, Localised Content
Creating and optimising the content on your website is an important step in local SEO. This includes creating blog posts, landing pages, and service pages that are specific to your location and target audience. This helps search engines understand the relevance of your website to a location and improves your visibility in local search results.
When creating local content, it is important to include your city or region in the page title, meta description, and throughout the content. This helps search engines understand the location to which your content is relevant. Additionally, using local keywords in your content, such as the name of your city or region, local landmarks, and popular events also helps to improve your relevance to local search queries.
You could also consider creating landing pages for each of your locations if you have multiple offices, shops or franchises. This allows you to provide location-specific information to your customers and search engines. Including a Google Map and your business address on your website makes it easy for customers to find your location.
4. Build, Manage and Update Local Citations
Local citations are mentions of your business on other websites such as directories, review sites, and local business listings. They help search engines understand that your business is a reputable and credible source of information for your location.
To build and manage local citations, you can claim your business on popular directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Trustpilot. You can also submit your business to local business directories, you’ll need to carry out some research to identify directories that are valuable and relevant to your business. It is also important to monitor your citations regularly to ensure that the information is correct and up-to-date.
5. Use Structured Data (Schema Markups)
Now we’re moving into the realm of technical SEO. Structured data is a standardised format that uses a set of tags or microdata, called schema, to describe a page in a way that search engines can understand. By using structured data, you can provide search engines with additional information and context about your business. This can help your website appear more prominently in local search results.
We’ve included some examples of structured data below:
- Use the LocalBusiness schema to provide detailed information about your business, such as your address, phone number, and business hours.
- Use the Organisation schema to provide information about your business, such as your business name and logo.
- Use the Person schema to provide information about your business owner or team.
- Use the Review schema to provide information about customer reviews, including ratings and review text.
- Use the Event schema to provide information about events, such as dates, locations, and ticket prices.
6. Build High-Quality Links
If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ll know that backlinks are links from other websites to your own. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more authoritative your website will appear to search engines. They are an important part of SEO because they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable and relevant.
To improve your local SEO you’ll want to build out a link-building strategy that targets local websites specifically. Think of other relevant businesses in your vicinity, local news outlets and industry-specific blogs. You’ll need to identify and keeps your eyes on new opportunities to get featured in local publications.
There’re various ways you can build your link-building strategy and ultimately this boils down to how much time and effort you can invest into your strategy. A quick way to get started is with a guest post, producing content for another website in exchange for a link back to your site. You can learn more about link-building strategies in our Essential Guide to SEO which you can download below.
7. Encourage Reviews
This one sounds relatively straightforward but it can be harder than you think. Online reviews can have a significant impact on your visibility in local search results as well as your general brand reputation and authority. Positive reviews can improve your visibility in search results and increase your credibility.
You should consider devising a plan that follows up with your customers after a purchase has been completed or a service has been renewed. You could add in incentives to sweeten the deal, tactics like discounts or rewards should help entice your customers to give you feedback.
8. Monitor Your Local Competition
Monitoring your competitors’ local SEO strategies can give you valuable insights into how to improve your own local SEO efforts. Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing can help you stay ahead of the curve and adapt your own local SEO strategy as necessary. By understanding what keywords they are targeting, what kind of content they are creating, and how they are building backlinks, you can get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
You can use a variety of tools to help you monitor your competitors’ local SEO strategies. You can also use tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to track their keyword rankings and backlinks. Additionally, you can use tools like Buzzsumo to see what kind of content your competitors are creating and which pieces are performing well. By using these tools, you can gain a better understanding of your competitors’ strategies and use them to inform your own local SEO strategy.
Loop Digital SEO Agency
That concludes our guide to improving your local SEO. Here at Loop Digital, we support businesses to grow by planning, launching and optimising high-impact SEO strategies. We’re home to a team of seasoned SEO experts and have access to some of the industry’s leading technology.
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