For smaller, more localised companies, Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can be an extremely powerful tool to boost business. Think about it like a local village pin-board or local paper. These mediums are pretty outdated, but ten/twenty years ago they would have been your route to promoting and marketing your business in your local area.
In the 21st century, the Internet is your village pin-board and Local SEO is the tool with which to get your name displayed on it, loud and clear. Local SEO differs to ‘normal,’ wider SEO as it works to get your website ranking highly in your particular region, rather than out there in the big wide web. This gives your business much more of a fighting chance of getting up there on the search engines and attracting the right attention.
If you’ll excuse the aquatic metaphor; in your local Internet pond there are far fewer fish to compete with, meanwhile, out in the great big ocean of the World Wide Web, there are huge, global sharks with massive online marketing budgets to spend. By using Local SEO techniques, you ensure that you get noticed by the people who matter to your business: local residents. Not only does this mean that you are seen by those who are most likely to require your services, it also gives you a much better chance of ranking highly.
If you’re a small business with big online plans, Local SEO can also be a great first step into online marketing. Using Local SEO you’re more likely to see results faster, which can bring you the traffic, attention and income to help you expand further later.
Here are 3 Local SEO techniques to get you started, which can be used to market your business online in your area:
- Google Places
Google Places can be used as a fantastic Local SEO technique which can get your website ranking right at the top of Google very quickly. Essentially, when a searcher enters a search term that includes a place name, Google may display a map with pinpoints highlighting local websites which match the term, right at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
This sounds easy, but it can take some work to ensure your business is included in these local listings. Your SEO company will need to get you listed if you’re not already and ensure that all websites listing your business’ details contain the same information. Another good step is to help your site look locally relevant by boosting content, reviews and local links (see localised link building below).
- Localised keywords
Keywords are all important. Investing in some good keyword research will help you discover what people in your region are searching for which will allow you to optimise your website with these searched for words and phrases. For example, if you were the owner of a small photography business that service a particular location, you are not likely to rank for “photographer” (i.e. the word on its own) in the grand scheme of things. Yet, do your research and you may find that “photographer [location]” or “portrait photography [location]” are popular and much less competitive.
When searchers hunt for services anecdotally, they often search for keywords comprised of: “service” + “location” – optimise your site with the right terms and you’re likely to benefit from increased levels of local traffic. One downside, however, is that these keywords are pretty unnatural and difficult to weave into your website text. Simply inserting your location throughout your website’s copy may have some impact, but the talents of a skilled SEO copywriter can help you get those essential keywords in, without sacrificing the quality of your content.
- Localised link building
Using your lovely local keywords you can also start using Local SEO to begin localised link building. By getting links from local blogs, directories and websites, you should start to appear higher for local searches. You may find that opportunities for localised link building are finite or a little bit limited, which is why it is essential to team this type of strategy with a strong Google Places listing.