How can local SEO benefit your Manchester business?
Local SEO focuses exclusively on helping businesses generate exposure for search terms that have local intent. Yet, local SEO is still something that is surprisingly overlooked by many businesses…
A recent study showed 46% of all searches on Google seek local information (source Social Media Today). But if your business is in Manchester or the surrounding areas, just how important is making sure that you get Local SEO right? And what difference can it make to your business and therefore the amount of revenue that you produce?
Let’s take a look…
Why is local search important for your Manchester business?
If done correctly, local SEO can make your business stand out from competitors and ensure you have increased visibility for highly relevant local searches. Many small businesses are often overshadowed by larger companies online. But optimising your website for set locations in and around Manchester can increase the likelihood of appearing for search queries in specific areas.
These search terms could contain a specific location such as Digital Marketing Manchester or a ‘near me’ search such as Bar and Restaurant Near Me, which would display results based on your location. In short, if your website is optimised for local searches then this increases the chances of driving highly qualified traffic there.
However, local SEO involves a lot more than simply optimising your website for local keywords.
Google Maps and Local Pack
Whenever a local search is carried out, Google shows a map along with a list of three businesses that best match the search query. This is known as the Local Pack or Google 3-pack and the businesses which are listed will all have their relevant NAP data (name, address, and phone number) listed.
In order to appear in the local pack, your website must have this data but it’s vital that you have the relevant information in order to appear for certain search terms. For instance, if you want to rank for keywords relating to Manchester, your business listing should have a Manchester address and a phone number that starts with 0161.
It sounds simple, and this is not the only requirement needed in order to appear in the local pack. But without the relevant NAP data, your business will not appear in the Google 3-pack listing.
Further factors that determine whether your business appears in the local pack listing include whether there are any reviews, if the opening hours are shown, if your business is listed in multiple directories, if your business has a Google My Business page, and whether local schema has been implemented correctly.
Local schema is a great way to signal to search engines what kind of business you have as well as the services that you offer. For instance, you can implement schema that tells Google and other search engines that you are a beauty salon or an ice cream shop. The specificity that schema markup allows ensures your website is optimised for highly-qualified local searches, which could eventually turn into a source of revenue.
Why should you optimise your GMB page?
If you are targeting users in Manchester and the surrounding areas then one of the most important things you can do is optimise your Google My Business (GMB) page.
In 2016 it was reported by Brand Muscle in their State of Local Marketing report that 56% of local businesses had not yet claimed their GMB listing. But over the last few years, GMB pages have become as valuable to local businesses as organic listings.
Your GMB page should mention the exact services that your business offers so that it is visible for the relevant search terms. For example, in order to appear for queries such as Breakfast Places in Manchester, your GMB page must mention that your business sells breakfast. This is such a simple thing to do but many businesses local to Manchester may still not have claimed their GMB page – and so are missing out on potential visibility for their services.
If you have multiple locations, a branch in Spinningfields, and on New York street – like The Alchemist, for instance – then an individual GMB page should be created for each location in order to target search terms for that specific area.
As well as separate GMB pages, you should also create individual landing pages for each location on your site. Whether a search is carried out in Salford or Stockport, it is important that your site and GMB page are both set up in a way that captures the most relevant traffic.
What are the common local SEO mistakes?
Aside from not having a Google My Business profile, there are also a number of mistakes that can be easily made when it comes to local SEO. Ensuring your Manchester business does not do these could be the difference between appearing above competitors in the organic results as well as the local pack listings.
For instance, your business name, address, and phone number must be exactly the same on your site, GMB page and directory listings. The importance of this cannot be overstated as even something as small as a misplaced comma could mean that competitors have the edge over you for highly qualified search terms that could lead to potential revenue.
Furthermore, Google’s shift towards the importance of relevancy, signalled by the BERT update and neural matching, means that it is even more important to mention the location of your business within the content of your website listing.
So if your business is in Sale, it is important to state this and not just that you are based in Manchester as this could give Google the context needed to rank your site above other competitors for local search terms.
Still not convinced?
Local SEO does not just help drive traffic that is at the start of the sales funnel to your site, it helps increase the visibility of your site for relevant, highly qualified users who are nearing the end of their purchase process and are searching for services specific to your location.
Getting it right could introduce your business to a number of customers at the expense of your competitors that were previously falling through the net because your website was not optimised in the correct way.