We help manage a lot of clients’ local search strategies. But what is local search marketing? Well basically it’s the strategy you use to make sure your company is found when people search for your services. It’s making sure that your details are in the search results, and in particular the local results which are often accompanied by the Google Map.
The tactics used differ from traditional SEO techniques but can deliver you more targeted results. If you are a bricks and mortar company you want to be found locally for your services because that is where your clients are. No one is going to travel from Edinburgh to use a family solicitor if they are based in Sussex. So its not worth putting a lot of work in general SEO when local search are the results you are after.
There is a whole host of activities that can help your success in local search but here are a list of the simple things you can do to give your search success a boost.
Local Search Tactics
Google Places For Business (GMB)
Around half of all Google searches are location based, meaning that Google will prioritise results for relevant businesses in a given area. The first source that Google gets this localised information from is its own Google Places for Business platform, which also serves up results for people searching directly in Google Maps – so this is the most important step you can take in getting your business online. So your first step would be to claim your business profile on google. This is a very simple process that Google will guide you through but will involved a verification process either by post or phone.
On Your Website
The key to local search is making sure all you location data is consistent. Make sure your address and contact details exactly match the layout you have used on your GMB (Google My Business) page and consequently any other appearances of your company on the web. Another action is to introduce schema org mark-up to your address details. Schema mark-up is a bit of coding that you can’t see on the live website which tells search engines what the data is actually displaying. For example it will tell Google that a string of numbers is a phone number. It just helps Search engines recognise the data quickly and helps with the matching up process with other listings on the web for your company. Your web developer will be able to add schema data for you.
Also take some lessons from traditional SEO and optimise your pages for local search. This involves optimising blog posts or web pages with location specific details.
Citations are basically online directory entries for your business. Care has to be taken to ensure your details are consistent across all directories i.e. your NAP data (Name Address, Phone Number). Citations can be anything from yellow pages to your local chambers of commerce. Citations are a key part of the search algorithm for Google and Bing. Every time a search engine comes across a citation it gives you a vote of confidence and if your details are consistent across each location it gives you added credibility. The image from the kind people from MOZ at the top of this post illustrated the complexity of the relationships between citations and search engines.
Gaining good reviews is not only great PR and assurance to your customers it sends positive markers to search engines too. The more good reviews, the higher you will appear in the search results.
Local SEO links do matter, but not nearly as much as they do for purposes of ranking in Google’s general (non-local) search results. However, links (especially from high authority websites local to your business like your local newspaper, Chamber of Commerce, Educational Institution, etc.) can make a profound difference and help you dominate local rankings fairly quickly if you also optimise other relevant Local-SEO ranking factors.
If all that seems like a bit like hard work you can always buy your way to the top in Pay Per Click advertising where you get set strict targeted locations for where your adverts will appear.
If you would like help with your local search marketing we can help. Please get in touch call 01903 530787 for an informal chat.