Why is Local SEO Needed for my Small Business?
Local SEO is often overlooked and this is a HUGE problem.
Why? It’s just another complication in the extremely messy and unknown vessel that is SEO (search engine optimization).
It’s usually put to the bottom of the “to-do SEO list”.
The problem is this:
You could be losing a huge percentage of your sales by not optimizing for local results and the best thing about it is this:
Like I mentioned in my previous article here, local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day.
That stat is incredible. There are over 100 BILLION searches done through Google every single month.
Over half of these are on mobile.
That’s 50 BILLION + mobile searches per month with many showing local results to help aid the searcher to what they are looking for.
Think about it for a second.
If you’re in London for example and you’re looking to get a plumber in to fix your shower ASAP, the first thing you do is search Google “Plumbers in London (or area)”
The search shows you the “Local Search Box/Pack” which looks like the below:
The FIRST thing you do (or what I do anyways) is I look at the top 3 and look at a few reviews.
My eyes go straight to the top result as it has the best rating (4.6/5).
I’ll probably then give them a call and if they can do the job then my search is over. I may phone others for a quote but if the first business can satisfy my need with a decent price I’ll waste no more time. Many people will phone around so being in the top 3-5 is important.
I’ve done this countless times for handymen, plumbers, gyms, shops etc. If you’re not showing up here the chances are you’re missing out on a load of business.
The scary thing is this:
I don’t even check out their website! I simply go from this Local Search pack. I trust the review and the pictures. I can tap to phone on mobile and tap for directions if needed.
In other cases, when you need more details then you will check out their website and you better make sure your site is mobile optimized or you’ve potentially lost a sale.
As you can see, local search is huge. You can gain plenty of easy customers by doing the tasks I’ve outlined below.
This is far from being the go-to-guide for everything local SEO but it will give you a solid base to grow from.
You’ll be showing in local search, you’ll have a consistent online presence and you’ll have a strong chance at ranking in the organic results under the local search pack too.
The local search pack is just one win from many by completing this local SEO to-do list.
Local search is more than the search pack, the results under this which is called “organic results” is personalized through locality. Google will try and pick the best websites locally to show to the searcher.
Many people will want to check out the company website and will ignore the local search pack. You need to cover all bases.
1. Set Up A Google My Business Page – Correctly
Google My Business is a vital part to your local SEO strategy.
This is where you’ll fill out all the details Google need to help push your business into local search.
Most people will rush through this, finish maybe 50% of the details and think that’s good enough.
Your first task is to fill out 100% of the details accurately. This is the base you will then go from in terms of replicating this data across the web.
Name, address and phone (NAP) should be correct here. Make sure you double check!
Your business details MUST be the same here as they are on all other platforms, this includes Facebook, LinkedIn, directories, Yelp, Yellow pages and more.
Your next step is to verify the page. You can do this a few ways but a simple way is to get a code sent to your physical address, this can take up to a few weeks but you simply put this code into this page and you’ll be verified.
Please, please, please use a custom domain email.
If you run a plumbing business do not use JohnDoePlumbing@hotmail.com.
It’s far more professional and is the preferred choice.
Use your business name only. If your business name is John Doe Plumbing Ltd do not start adding words at the end such as “John Doe Plumbing Ltd – London’s Best Plumbers”. Google does not like this.
Fill the “About” section with lengthy and important information about the company. Make sure it reads well, is descriptive and it links back to relevant parts of your website. This is where you can sell your services and come across professional.
Upload HIGH QUALITY photos. We love photos, please take advantage of adding a variety of high quality photos of the premises, the inside, the employees, the work you do, awards you’ve won, products and more.
Virtual tour. You can do this yourself or get it done professionally. I recommend option 2.
Make sure the lighting is favorable as a client of mine had some incredible premises but the virtual tour turned out dark which made the virtual tour look bad!
Make sure the details are filled to 100% and that you are saving everything you’re putting into this. You will likely be replicating the exact details across the web to stay consistent.
When you type in your company name into Google or it comes up in the local search pack, this is the data Google will use. The photos, about details, virtual tour, name, email, phone number and more. This is what the world will see so make sure you spend time perfecting it!
2. On-Page Optimization
By “on-page” I simply mean “on your website” optimization or “things you can change on your site optimization”. Off-page optimization would be things that you do “off-site” such as build links on other websites pointing to yours. These are tasks you can do on your website to optimize it for local search.
I’m going to break this down to simple terms so the SEO jargon doesn’t confuse you.
Your website content needs to be optimized here, let’s start with page elements.
A web page is made up of the below. Refer to the picture below for the placement of each element:
- 1. Content (Paragraphs)
- 2. Page Title (Meta Title)
- 3. Headings (h1,h2,h3 with H1 being the most important)
- 4. Page URL (shorter the better)
- 5. Images (Add an “Alt Tag” to describe what the image is, Google cannot read images.)
- 6. Keywords (add your target keyword in the content + related keywords to help Google identify what the page is about. Your target keyword should also be in your meta title, H1 tag and within the first 100 words of content).
Meta data is the data that is “behind the scenes”. It doesn’t show on the actual page (only like above on the tab for the title) but it must be done so that Google and other systems can use it.
Meta data is made up of a meta title and meta description. These are what show in Google search. See the screen grab below:
Now you know the elements, what’s the actual steps to do to ensure you’re in the best position to come up in local search?
Once your website is live, set up your Google search console and google analytics. You’ll need to insert some code to the “” of your website so Google can gather data and index your site to show in search.
Make sure your site structure is optimal for your business. If you’re a local business in one location, then the below structure is optimal:
1 Location Set Up
Your homepage should be your “hub”. It should contain pictures, videos, well written content on your company and the location it’s based. It should also feature reviews/testimonials and your address, business name (same as Google My Business), phone number and opening hours.
Your other pages should then be pages about the services you offer. If you’re a plumber you may offer maintenance, fitting etc. Build a separate page for all of these.
2+ Location Set-up
Your homepage should still be the hub with all information about your business but your pages should then be specific to the locations/cities you operate in.
Instead of your main navigation being filled with your services it should be your local destinations. These pages should then be in-depth and describe what services your offer etc. If you have offices in London, Bristol and Cardiff then you build pages with all information for each city.
Make sure your pages about your services are filled with unique content that will benefit the visitor. You should aim for at least 500-750 words. Use images and video to help sell your service and to beef up your site. Google prefers high quality content that’s unique (which means it isn’t copied and pasted from other sites).
Make sure you build the website for mobile first. The world is now more mobile than desktop. You should make the experience easy and seamless. Ensure you are building for the future.
Like I mentioned above, content AND links are used as ranking factors for Google. Without links, you won’t rank and you won’t get the traffic needed.
These actions are typically “off-site” actions that are super important to local SEO.
When deciding to click on a search result or local result in the local pack, reviews play a huge role.
Having stars next to your business name increases your CTR (Click through rate).
As you can imagine, people are more drawn to a business that has the following:
- 1. A large number of reviews
- 2. A high score (4+)
- 3. No negative 1-2 star reviews
Think back to when you browse amazon for the cheapest offer on a product.
Your scrolling is highly based on volume and total score of the reviews. It’s a huge factor in you choosing which seller to go for, it’s the same with local SEO.
Ensure you have reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and any other legitimate review site.
You can do this by emailing old clients with a link to these review places, send out a note with each order to promote them leaving a review etc. You can be creative but please push to increase your review score at all times!
In local SEO google uses trusted citations to help push legitimate local businesses in search.
Moz local is a great start when doing this.
Moz local helps you scout the internet for your business information on citation sites Google uses to help them rank local results.
Moz local will tell you where your business information is different, what you need to do, the places you need to input your business information to be as visible as possible to Google and more.
It costs $87 for the year but is worth it simply due to the time saved and you can keep your eye on your business information across the web.
Remember in section 1, consistency is key for local SEO, ensure your information is exactly the same across these citation sites.
This step is easy but like citations, you should also post uniform information across all directories like you have for citations and Google My Business.
You should seek out high quality local directories, nationwide respected directories and respected industry directories.
Do not spam this. Do not go and put your information and website link into irrelevant directories, this can cause you more harm than good.
You will only find between 5-15 high quality directories; many will ask for payment.
You’ll get the benefit of exposure and a link back to your website.
Some directories to consider are:
- 1. Google
- 2. Bing
- 3. Yahoo!
- 4. Yelp
- 5. Facebook
- 6. Better Business Bureau
- 7. Angie’s List
- 8. Merchant Circle
- 9. LinkedIn
- 10. FourSquare
There are 100s quality directories to consider. Have a search and list directories you deem worthy. Make sure to include industry related directories too.
This has been a quick run-down with some step-by-step actions to help improve your local SEO.
Hopefully you understand the importance of local SEO for your business and make sure you utilize the power it has.
The world will only become more mobile and people are always wanting quicker search results and faster service.
Make sure you’re the business in-front of searchers each time they search for the service you offer in your area.
This guide also stems out to businesses that also sell online as well as local.
By becoming a local business and having your location in Google, this will help you with looking like a legitimate business in Google search.
You want to start right now?
You can download our free SEO-Guide right here!