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…

 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.

 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.

 search engine result page for cocktail bar and restaurant near meAside 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.

 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.