Here’s everything you’ll need to know to get started on or to improve your SEO
Every local business can get more leads and attract more customers using Local SEO. In this article I’m going to explain what Local SEO is, and why implementing some local search optimisation can help improve your firm’s online visibility.
Local SEO is a really effective way to market your business online – no matter how big or small. It helps businesses promote their products and services to a local audience at the exact time they’re looking for a local product or service. Local SEO uses a variety of strategies — including getting your site ranked on search engines like Google and Bing, getting listed in business directories such as Yelp and the Yellow Pages or Golden Pages, having a Google My Business listing, listing in a Bing Places for Business page, locally relevant content on your website, online customer reviews and many other strategies.
Millions of customers use a local search every day to find the best local businesses close to them. You can help increase your chances of getting found by these potential customers through the use of Local SEO strategies and tactics.
Local SEO is a very targeted online marketing approach. It’s not like paying for an advert in a local newspaper or doing leaflet drops to homes in your area that may or may not be seen by a potential customer who is actually interested in your products or services.
The use of Local SEO allows you to position your business on search engines and other digital marketing platforms so you’re seen by potential customers — on their terms. It puts you in front of your ideal customers or clients right when they are looking for you. It’s inbound marketing at its best!
1. Local customers are turning to the internet to find local businesses – on desktop AND mobile
Yes, there are still some people who use printed phone books, but more and more people are turning to the internet to find information about local businesses.
2. Local search marketing is highly targeted and timely
The top reason for local search is to find a service business nearby. The second most common reason is to find an actual product or service. A lot of local searchers are looking for a particular business by name, but many who search don’t have a specific business in mind when they begin their search. By using local search strategies you can position your business and tell them what you have to offer to local customers – as and when they’re looking for your type of business. There’s no better time to connect with a potential customer or client – than when they really need you.
3. It has the highest conversion levels of all local advertising channels
Online directories display the business name, address, phone number and sometimes service details. Local directory marketing has a much higher conversion rate, than many other more traditional advertising options – up to 50% conversion on certain directories. That means that by getting your business accurately listed on as many quality online local directory sites as you can, you’ll probably convert 1 in every 2 leads into an actual customer or client.
4. The mobile Internet is Growing
Increasingly more customers use their mobile phones or tablets to find the best local businesses while they are on the go. In fact, mobile internet use now outstrips desktop access. Local SEO covers both PC and mobile internet access, which means that you never miss out on a potential customer.
5. There’s a great return on investment
Unlike traditional advertising, with local SEO there is very little wasted exposure. You reach potential customers when they need you — not when they don’t. This makes Local SEO both really efficient and very cost-effective.
6. According to Google, only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing
Google My Business is a listing that Google makes available for almost any business. Getting listed on Google My Business can help increase your chances of showing up high in local search results on Google. Surprisingly, many local businesses haven’t figured out the importance of online marketing yet. That leaves the door open for you to get a head start before the rest of your competitors wise-up and it gets a lot more competitive.
7. Many of the best local SEO opportunities are still FREE (for now!)
It’s free to claim your listing on Google My Business, Bing Places for Business and on hundreds of other online business directories. That means there is still some free promotion for your business.
8. Only 20% of Adults Get News from Print Newspapers
Traditional advertising media is declining – and has been for some time. In fact, fewer and fewer people are reading local newspapers. Recent figures show some local newspapers have lost 80% of their readership in the last 20 years. Why? It’s because many more people are turning to the internet for their local news and information about local businesses.
9. Over 80% of Local Consumers Trust Online Business Reviews
Word of mouth is a major factor in the success of many local businesses. So why not increase your company’s online reputation? You can ask trusted customers to leave a positive review about your business online — and at the same time attract hundreds of new customers.
10. Your Local Customers rely on the internet to find information about Your Business
These days many people depend on the internet to find out information about all types of products and services. If your business isn’t getting found in the local search results, you’re missing out on many new customers. By implementing a variety of Local SEO tactics for your business, it can help you show up on the internet for future customers to find!
These trends in Local Search are strong now and they’re going to get stronger and more critical in the future. Here and now is the opportunity for you to take advantage of local search engine optimisation. Give your business a customer getting boost, before your competitors catch on. All local businesses, regardless of the size or industry – from electricians and builders to gardeners and accountants – can improve their business presence and make more money through local SEO. So, now it’s time to get started today!
I could be wrong – but for most business owners – we want to get found on Google. It’s a huge source of new business enquiries and where your customers will most likely find you. There are several ways to get your business found on Google. Obviously its important to point out to you that the search results vary between desktop and mobile, but one such way is to Get found on Google Maps.
I’m sure that you knew that Google is the number one search engine. Approximately 70% of all internet or web searches take place on Google. And You-tube search is the number two – but if you didn’t already know it, Google owns Youtube too. Bing is in the third place – with about 5-6% of all searches – a very, very poor cousin!
Once upon a time, probably about 10 years ago, it was possible to quickly put up a basic website, pepper it with your keywords and get listed on page one of google. You could stuff your keywords in as much as possible – so that even a blind man on a blind horse would fall over them… Those days are gone forever I’m afraid.
Then again, there was that time that all you had to do was point thousands of cheap, useless, unrelated links at your site. The links the better. Didn’t matter how spammie the links were – your site normally just rose to the top. Not no more it wont.
Using your keywords and phrases too many times in a page or a post is over known as optimising, and often gets your site penalised. and pointing un-related or spammy links toward your site – at worse will surely get your site a google penalty – at best, they’ll be ignored.
Google’s vicious little pets; the Panda, the Penguin and the Hummingbird have all seen to that. These are the code names that Google has given to their big “bad” algorithm updates. (and these animals seemed quite friendly before!).
Not only have these updates made life harder and more expensive for the business owner – they’ve made the process of search engine optimisation more scientific.
The search results are a little complex. Actually they are a lot more complex than they were just two years ago. And unrecognisable when compared to ten years ago. It’s important to consider how to get found on Google Maps because the maps results appear at the top of the page. Prime real estate as they say!
Today we have a different search result on mobile search than that of desktop. Add to that – Google also understands if our search has local intent. This is based on how we phrase our search and the key words and terms that we use in the search.
It recognises that some search terms are for local services – lets take how to get found on Google Maps in Newry – for example, Pizza, a plumber, emergency plumber, electrician, painter, etc… Google understands that if you are looking for an “emergency plumber”, and you are currently in Belfast – that you are not looking for a plumber based in Newry or Portadown. The probability is that if you are in a given place, and you search for an emergency plumber – you need one in a hurry – so google serves up the closest relevant results.
For local services – you really need to think about how to get found on Google Maps. If not – you’re missing ot on a large number of clicks and there fore business.
It also understands that if you are in, say Liverpool, and you search for a “plumber in Belfast” – you are looking for results in Belfast and it will serve the most relevant results. It is artificial intelligence at it’s best. It has a great understanding of search intent and local relevancy – where it is required.
Yes, keywords are still important. And yes, inbound links are still important. But there are many more factors that play into the local relevancy.
For example – local relevancy is attained with the help of maps listings, map embeds, keywords + location, image optimisation – including geo tagging and exif data, video optimisation and video embeds – among many other influences.
Like everything else – what was once simple, is not more complicated. Gone are the days when a business owner could set up their own maps listing and hope to see results.
For starters – two years ago – there were 7 google maps listings – then it went to five and now there are three.
With fewer visible listings – comes greater competition for these places to get found on Google Maps in a given area. With greater competition comes the requirement for more and more tactics to be used to obtain a map listing. A combination of technical SEO is required both on-page and off-page to get ahead in the maps listing now. Layered maps and map embeds in keyword optimised, relevant pages, silo’d supporting pages and posts, along with silo’d locally relevant content….
If you’d like to get found on Google Maps in your area – get in touch – if only for a chat – so at least you’ll know whats involved. That way, you’ll not get the wool pulled over your eyes.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the work that’s required on your website to get it to rank high the search results. This article is going to tell you a little about how to SEO your website.
What does that mean?
Lets start with the basics… Most of us know Google. Google is the largest search engine for searching the web for information. We often talk about ‘googling’ for the answer to a question. We’ll ‘Google it’!
(side story – but did you realise that some brand names become household terms for the action that you take? Like the example above – we talk about googling for some information or an answer. We’ve also talked about doing the hoovering at home…. ever wonder why in America they vacuum, while we hoover? Hoover was actually the big brand name in vacuum cleaners 30 years ago – right up until they offered to give away free flights to New York when you bought a hoover and couldn’t fulfil on that promise…)
So now you know what a search engine is. Google are not the only one. You Tube is the second largest (also part of Google), then you have Bing, DuckDuckGo and many other minnows…
When I talk about ranking on the search engine – I mean specifically having your website appear on the first pages of Google. and lets be honest – if you’re not appearing on page 1, you can forget about it. No-one will go to page 2 to see if there are better results there. Everyone expects that the most relevant, and best search results will appear on page 1. That is exactly what Google tries to ensure. they want to serve up the most relevant and authoritative search results to their customer – the searcher.
So now you understand what the search engine is and you know what is meant be ranking. What next?
The next step is to understand what search terms are being used to search for the services or products that you offer. In other words – what words or phrases are your potential customers entering into google when they are looking for the services that you provide?
This is important. You’ll need to do some research for this. The research can be tedious and time consuming – but there are a few ways to make it easier for yourself.
1. Look at your competitors first. the ones who are getting more business from the internet than you. In other words – the competition who are appearing higher up in the search results that your business. You can use some keyword tools to reverse engineer their website to see what words and terms that the are ranking for. These tools require a paid subscription of $100 or more per month, and they have a bit of a learning curve – so probably not something that the business owner will for themselves. If they rank high in the search results – they have someone who knows how to SEO your website.
2. Use Google Adwords to get suggestions for key words and phrases. You can use the keyword planner tool in adwords to have it suggest a list of potential words and phrases. This was once very accurate, but recently, it’s become less valuable – probably because it’s not in Google’s best interest to make this information freely available.
3. You could ask past customers what words or phrases that they have used to find your website on the web. This is a useful exercise to do, as there’s often a difference between what you think that people search for, and what they actually search for. You’ll want to note this information down as a reference.
Making use of this new found information. How do you go about it? Here’s how to SEO your website.
Ready for it?
You’re going to write content. Lots of it.
Content is king in SEO. And links are Queen.
You’ll need lots of articles or blog posts on your site that are written to include your key words and phrases.
Google will read your content and will recognise the placement of your key words and phrases – but only if you’v create the content with them in mind.
This may not be what you wanted to hear – but that’s how to SEO your website to have it found.
Of course there are lots of other things to do also – but creating relevant content is always the starting point.