At Wagada HQ we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of knowledge in the SEO industry. We’ve always got our ear to the ground to find out about the latest changes and improvements that our clients could make to ensure that they are always at the top of the search engine results. We recently attended an SEO conference where there was a lot of excitement around the increasing importance of local search and the impact that this is going to have on businesses in the future.
Local search refers to the way that Google refines your search results based on your location. This means that two people typing the same search terms will get different results depending on where they live. This is because the search engines want to provide the websites that will be of most relevance to the individual user. The search engines are now so refined that they can also take your search history into consideration, and therefore if you have previously looked for a particular restaurant they show higher in your listings than other restaurants would do.
Of course this is really exciting news for small businesses which have mainly local clientele. It means that they are far more likely to be seen on the search engines by customers in their area and therefore could see a boost in sales and website hits. However to make sure your website gets the benefits of geo-dependent search results you will need to make sure that it is fully optimised for local search. We have found that location landing pages are not as relevant any more and businesses can’t necessarily rely on them to keep a top position in the local listings. That’s why in this blog we’ll explore some of the actions that you need to take to help your site get seen locally and move up the local search rankings.
Whilst this may seem obvious it is worth checking that your business address is correct on both your website and your listings. Google bases its local search results on your business address so if it hasn’t been entered correctly, or if you have moved premises recently, then it’s worth reviewing your site, listings and social media pages to ensure that your address is up to date and entered in full.
The way that users search for products and services is evolving all the time. Search terms now tend to be written in the first person e.g. a customer may search for ‘Indian restaurants near me’ rather than simply typing in ‘Indian restaurants’. This is important when you consider the keywords and long tail keyword phrases that you plan to use in your website content. It can be a good idea to undertake some consumer research to find out exactly how people are searching for your business and the language that they are using. As voice search becomes ever more popular it is also important to incorporate this into the way that you optimise your website. Voice search is much more casual and conversational than typed searches. For example a voice user may ask ‘Alexa find me the best Indian takeaway near me’. Ensure that your site includes these conversational phrases so that you will rate higher in voice search rankings too.
The rising importance of local search means that Google My Business is now more important than ever and could have a big impact on your search engine ranking. However it is not simply a case of setting up your listing and then leaving it! Google wants to see you using every opportunity to engage with customers on your page – answering their questions and responding to any feedback that you get. You should monitor your account regularly to keep it as up to date as possible and you can even set up notifications to alert you as soon as someone has posted to your page. This allows you to respond to customers quickly and easily.
It is also vital to get your imagery right on your Google My Business pages. Research has shown that images reach the brain far more quickly than words do and therefore they can have a great impact on your customers. We always recommend that you don’t just use stock imagery but instead use something unique, eye catching and relevant to your business.
Using Google My Business to post promotional content is also a great way to boost your website in the local search rankings. Think up compelling offers, promotions and even competitions which could create excitement around your product or service and encourage customers to engage with your business. Remember that unless you enter a date range these will automatically be listed for seven days only.
Link building still plays an important part in helping with your local SEO and this is the perfect opportunity to make the most of your network within the local community. Link up with other local businesses to see if they are happy to share some of your posts on their websites and offer guest posts to locally based bloggers and online influencers. It’s also important to note that even ‘no follow’ links can help to boost your local profile as long as they are relevant local links.
If you want your business to thrive then it’s vital to make the most of local search opportunities. By getting your website optimised for local search you can ensure that customers in your area can find you quickly and easily. A quick win is to make sure that your full business address is correct on your website and all of your listings. You should also make the most of Google My Business by engaging with customers on your page and using it to run promotions and special offers. When you think about keywords take the time to consider the words and long tail keyword phrases that local customers may be using and include these in your content. Don’t forget to think about the way that customers use voice search too. Finally make the most of your local networks to gain link building opportunities within your community. If you would like advice on boosting your place in your local search rankings, help with link building or support on setting up Google My Business come and have a chat to Wagada HQ. We’ll help you get your website to where you need it to be.