With over half of Google searches now being conducted by people ‘on-the-move’ – that is, searching on smartphones or tablets rather than desktops – it’s important that your site is optimised to show up when people are nearby and interested in your products or services.
This process is known as ‘local search engine optimisation’, or local SEO.
The aim of Local SEO is not necessarily to be the #1 ranking on the search engine page rankings, but to be visible when Google serves locally relevant information to a searcher.
This is best demonstrated by Google’s ‘map pack’ of results that is frequently displayed at the top of searches.
There might be 10 results on page one of search, but there’s only three results that show on the map. Getting your business displayed here could lead to a big influx of relevant, local people visiting your website.
To be eligible to be shown in map pack you must first make sure that your Google My Business profile is set up.
The Google Business listing is the bread and butter of local SEO; it’s the place to tell Google your company name, address phone number, website, opening hours, category, and upload photos. Google is frequently including new features to the Google Business listings as well. In the last year, both ‘Q and A’ sections and ‘Google Posts’ have been added, meaning you can make your listing even more prominent on the search results page.
Keep in mind that the three most important words when working on local SEO are Distance, Relevance, and Prominence.
It’s these three factors that will get you ranking much higher for local search results – and hopefully in the map pack as well.
Distance relates to how close the physical address of your business is to the user’s location and query.
For example, searching ‘pizza near me’ will show different results on the map based on whether you’re in Uckfield or Lewes. In fact, it might even show a different set of results if you’re just one street over!
On the flip-side, you’ll also find it more difficult to show up for local searches in towns or cities where your business doesn’t have a physical location.
Relevance refers to how well your business information relates to a user’s search.
The best way to start with this is to make sure the correct business category is entered on your company’s Google My Business listing, then optimise your website for relevant keywords.
Finally, Prominence concerns how well-known your business is (think of this as like popularity).
The most effective way of increasing your Prominence is by getting existing customers to leave you stellar Google reviews.
Not only are having lots of good reviews a very powerful local SEO ranking signal, but it also gives would-be customers the view that your company has a strong track record of delivering fantastic products or services.
This ‘psychology of social proof’ is very powerful, with over 90 per cent of searchers taking note of online reviews. It can be difficult to get in the habit of asking for reviews, but — of the three —increasing your Prominence is the one that reaps the most rewards.
Ensuring you have the proper setup for local digital marketing can be a bit of a headache if you’re not experienced, but taking some simple steps can set you on the right path.
However, if you think you could do with some assistance getting started in local SEO – or to discuss any other digital marketing projects – get in touch with Tomango.