The internet allows businesses to reach customers all over the world, but if you want to reach customers in your own neighbourhood, you need to think about local search engine optimization.
Local SEO is an important digital marketing strategy for any business that services local customers. If customers nearby don’t find you when they look online, you will miss out on their business.
This article will run through key points you must understand to see results from Local SEO.
The title tag is the name of your page, which users will see in their search results, on their browser tabs, and in their bookmarks when they save your page. The title shows your visitors and search engines what they will find on your page.
Your title should include the most important keyword that you want search engines to link with your page. It should also accurately describe the page to draw in your potential customers. Keep your title succinct, accurate and attention-grabbing.
The title should also include your brand name if possible, especially on the home page. A good format for the home page is to name your business, then list the services it offers and its location eg. John Kennedy Tools – Trade Equipment in New Orleans.
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. To show up in local search results, you need to make sure search engines understand exactly where you are.
Google can find this information on your website, and it will also compare it to other information on your business around the web. The more places your information appears, and the more consistent it is, the more reputable your site appears to Google and the better you will rank in search results. This is especially important to get you connected with potential customers in your local area.
More than nine out of every ten customers read online reviews when seeking out a local business or service. Six out of every ten users will judge your business based on its star rating, and almost half of your potential customer base will not bother with your business if it does not have a minimum three stars out of five.
Both quality and quantity of reviews will affect your ranking in search engine results. The more five star reviews you have, the better your ranking will be, and the higher you will appear in a search. Ensure that you provide great service, and don’t be afraid to encourage happy customers to give a good review.
Because Google can’t “see” the images on your site, you need to provide extra information to help search engines understand your pictures.
Give each image an accurate file name including your keywords. When adding the image to your page, include a title text (which appears when a user hovers the cursor over an image) and an alt-text (which appears when an image fails to load), which include your keywords.
For the benefit of your website visitors and to ensure your page loads smoothly, compress images to the proper size using a program such as Photoshop or an online service such as Compress JPEG.
A citation is a mention of your business online that includes some of your NAP details – name, address, phone number – such as your Yellow Pages listing.
A social profile, such as a page on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, has a similar purpose but provides more detail, can be personalised, and tends to include more up-to-date information.
Your website will be ranked more highly by Google if you have more citations and social profiles tied to your site and your business.
Make sure your details are consistent and up-to-date across all your citations and social profiles. Use five or more high-quality images. Write unique and informative descriptions of your company’s products, services and character.
One very useful marketing tool is Google My Business, which allows you to influence, manage and improve the way your business appears across many popular Google platforms. From one page, you can check your presence on Google Search, Maps and Google+.
This allows you to see and edit the way Google brings up information on your business in search results, see how users discover your business, and respond to customer reviews. You can even make sure your placement on Google Maps is correct and easy to find.
When creating your website, you can include code called Schema markup that helps search engines to interpret your website and display its information more helpfully to users.
Local businesses can benefit from local business schema, which tells Google exactly how to find details such as your name, address and contact details on your website. This way, Google can make sure local customers find your business when they go looking.
Schema markups can also be used to create rich snippets, which include bonus elements from your site in your search results, such as event dates, review ratings, and news articles.
This is a great way to show users the kind of information they will find in your site, and to make even your simple search result more intriguing.