3 top tips to getting Local SEO right.
Let’s talk about SEO.
When it comes to web design and digital marketing SEO is now at the forefront of client requirements. Google (and to a lesser extent Bing) is an unavoidable force that drives internet traffic and if your website isn’t meeting their requirements then unfortunately you may as well hang up your e-hat and go home. We talked before about a website being a kind of digital billboard for your business, in which case SEO would be a way to make sure it’s located next to the busiest road.
There are two methods in securing a top place in search rankings; the low cost yet slow march of organic SEO, and the wallet stretching paid adverts of Google AdWords. A successful SEO campaign often utilises one, or even both of these methods and between them they make up the majority of the SEO packages offered by digital marketing agencies. However, there is a third method….Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is optimising your site so it appears high on a search result depending on the user’s geographical location or by their specific search criteria. Think about the following scenario. You’re out shopping and you have a hankering for a sandwich but you don’t know anywhere nearby. You pull out your phone and search for sandwich shops in your area. What you get is a list of results along with a map with nearby sandwich shops as well as reviews and directions to find them. Local SEO is what determines which results rank the highest.
Let’s have a look at another example. If you if you refer to the screenshot below you will see the search results for ‘Web Design Sheffield.’
The green area represents organic search results – these are the ones gained naturally through, among other things, the content of a website.
The yellow areas are where the Google AdWord results sit – these represent the prime Google real estate, but of course they come with the price tag to match.
Despite being the most fought over pieces of search engine real estate these areas are not what draw the eye the most. That would be the map area…or the ‘Google 3-pack’ of local results. Being the focus of attention means that optimising your site to appear below that map isn’t just an alternative or side thought to search engine optimsiation, but is perhaps more important entirely.
In addition to being the most eye catching area of the page, results that appear here allow customers to view the website, get directions to and even call your business directly – Google are pretty much handing you conversions.
How is it done?
Local SEO isn’t some new magic that requires a complete revamp of your marketing strategy, but rather it requires getting the existing stuff right down to a T. This is because despite limiting the results to your local competitors, local SEO is incredibly competitive. You see, unlike organic results Google will only display the top three results. Although a user can view the full selection if they choose, the amount of clicks after the top three drops significantly.
So let’s look at the three most important things to get right so your business can appear in those top results.
- Organic SEO – This is still number one when it comes to Local SEO and if you rank high organically you will likely be doing well on the local searches too. So think content and links, content and links…and yes, content and links!
- Ratings and reviews – The local search results place a much higher emphasis on customer ratings. Once your site gets to the top you’re competing with the big dogs and if you aren’t hitting a four to five star average then you’re going to struggle to compete for clicks. That means getting your customers to leave a review is more important than ever!
- Be location specific – If you’re undertaking a local SEO campaign it is usually a good idea to adapt your keyword focus to incorporate the area in which you want your results to display in.
Local SEO features in our latest SEO Ballistics package. Contact us for more information!