If your business is small, or in a static location such as a shop, and you want to attract local customers to your website then you need to take advantage of local search engine optimisation techniques.
97% of consumers search for local businesses online*
The opportunity for local search is huge. Local search has now started to dominate the search listings as Google tries to personalise results to a user’s location. In many cases the regular search results are not even appearing above the fold. So if you are not in the local search database, you won’t get found. There are thousands of online directories and websites that offer guides to local businesses. Sometimes this information is taken from telephone directories so you might find your business is already included on a particular website. But don’t forget to refine the information they have about you. Some directories let you add a logo, opening times, information on what you do and what you sell and collate reviews from customers. This is a great opportunity to add in your relevant keywords.
The search engines themselves also have their own local search directories. Google Places is a free directory listing allowing you to add photos, videos and offers. The Google Places dashboard lets you see what keywords your visitors are searching for to find your listing – if you can understand more about your visitors you can tailor your offering to their needs. Yahoo and Bing offer similar local directories:
If you’re using paid search, Google Adwords allows you to select the specific area that you want your advert to appear in, whether that is a whole town, county or a radius out from a particular location.
6 tips for local search
- Add your location or town to the title tag of your website The title tag is found in the code at the top of your website. You should be able to alter this within your content management system. Or you might have to request that your web designer alters it for you if you don’t have a CMS. For example, SEO Agency St Albans Company Name.
- Add your address and phone number to every page This has great usability benefits as well as making it clear to Google where you are based.
- Give your location on the home page Make sure you include your location keywords on your home page, for example, Wonderful Web is a web design agency based in St Albans, Hertfordshire and we provide….
- Claim and optimise your Google Places listing Use your keywords throughout your Google Places listing. Provide as much information as possible. Don’t forget the Yahoo and Bing local search directories.
- Ask people for reviews The local search engines often use reviews to determine ranking so get your customers to rate you. Put a link on your website to a local directory where you are collating reviews and ask your customers face to face if they wouldn’t mind reviewing you.
- Linkbuilding Get your listing in as many local directories and websites as possible. Many of them contain ‘noFollow’ attributes which means that their links won’t count towards your inbound linking strategy but these sites are great for increasing your exposure and you might find that your directory page ranks higher in the search results than your own website.
Seek out links in the following places: – Chambers of commerce/local business groups – Local business directories/local newspaper sites – Friends who have sites – Partners and clients Check out Wagada’s local SEO service.