We know that lots of marketers struggle with search engine optimisation. This is the tricky business of getting seen on Google and other search engines. This was once a simple practice, but has now evolved into a complicated beast. Google update its algorithm regularly which means the art and skill of SEO is constantly changing. As a marketer, it’s your job to keep up.
One of Google’s latest, and biggest updates, is the focus on local search results. Google now understands that if you search for ‘plumber’ or ‘cafe’, you’re probably looking for a service in your area. It will use a complex method to show the most accurate local search results. So if you’re not optimised for your local area, you’ll get lost! If you haven’t optimised for local search yet, you should. Here’s why.
Mobile use is increasing
Internet use on mobiles has now surpassed that of traditional desktops and laptops. That means over half of the people searching for your service are doing so on a mobile device. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are intrinsically linked to location. They are used to get information on the fly. Customers will be out and about, searching for your service on their phone. How many times have you searched for local restaurants while in town, for example? When people search on a mobile device, they need to find you.
Google has come to understand the huge importance of online reviews. Studies show that over 90% of people trust these reviews which makes them very powerful. For cafes, shops and bars, TripAdvisor plays a big role in your local search results. Google will present the highest rated services at the top. It’s all about reputation. The same with Yelp for the likes of plumbers and trades. Online reviews have a huge impact on your potential customer base and local search results.
The size of your social media following doesn’t directly impact your search rank. However, it’s important to think of Facebook search and Twitter search as their own identities. Facebook puts a big emphasis on location with its search results. You’ll also notice you get suggestions of pages to follow based on what people in your area are following. You need to build a core, local community and social media is the best way to do that.
So, how do I optimise for local search?
Now that we’ve established how important it is, let’s look at how to implement it. For local SEO that delivers results, it’s often worth hiring the professionals. They know the best practices. However, you can do a few things yourself. Make sure your business is registered on Google Maps so Google can find it. Use location based keywords in your copy, urls and meta data. Encourage customers to leave reviews on review sites. Start building your local social media following with pictures and engagement with customers. Your SEO impact comes from a variety of practices working together. Build them slowly and watch your business grow more prominent.
SEO is always evolving and adapting. To get seen, you need to evolve with it. Take this advice and use it to be the best local businesses you can be!