Looking to attract customers in a specific area? Optimising your local SEO strategy is key to putting your brand on the map.
From understanding its importance to developing a successful strategy, our guide takes a deep dive into the world of local SEO.
Local SEO is an essential strategy that increases your businesses visibility within a specific location. Without paying attention to your local online visibility, you could be hiding your products or services from hoards of potential customers. In fact, a huge 46% of all searches have a local intent – for example, “SEO agencies in Manchester” or “hairdressers near me”.
So whether you want to rank as a nearby sandwich shop or solicitors, our local SEO guide will help you put your business on the map. Literally.
To rank for local search terms, there are a number of factors which come into play. It’s not as simple as applying the same tactics you would to a blanket, nationwide SEO campaign – it’s all about optimising your location as much as possible.
A detailed GMB listing is essential when it comes to ranking locally. Once this is in place, potential customers should see all they need to know about your business instantly.
Your GMB listing should ideally include:
A Google SERP will display three localised suggestions based on the user’s search query (before they click to view ‘more businesses’ below), which is often referred to as the ‘Map-Pack” or “Google’s Local Pack”. A well-planned local SEO strategy can boost your website’s visibility within the organic search results and also within Google’s Local Pack.
For example, when targeting terms such as “SEO Manchester”, “SEO Agency Manchester” and “Search Engine Optimisation Manchester” and “Manchester SEO Agency”, ranking both organically and within Google’s Local Pack, will improve your website’s click through rate and ultimately your conversion rate – win win!
Google reviews are a fundamental part of a local SEO campaign. Lots of positive customer reviews will build trust and can help to prioritise your business above others. Plus, a positive overall rating will encourage more clicks. According to Search Engine Journal:
“82% of shoppers wouldn’t touch a retailer with less than 3 stars.”
Before you get to grips with your local SEO strategy, it’s essential you optimise your site for mobile use. As roughly 40% of all mobile searches have local intent, a mobile-friendly website is vital. If you imagine a potential customer roaming nearby and searching for a bite to eat, they’ll be on their mobile – and they’ll want to see results that instantly tell them everything they need to know.
So, if you’re ready to grab the attention of the customers on right your doorstep, we’ve broken down our local SEO strategy into five simple steps:
The first part of your strategy should be carrying out keyword research to discover search terms that are related to your services – what are people already searching for that you can offer? Having the right terms will be an important part of optimising your online content later on.
Once you’re analysing the terms, you can then look for related keywords. For example, if we found potential to rank for the term ‘Local SEO Manchester’, we would also look for other related keywords, such as ‘Local SEO agency Manchester’ and ‘Local Search Optimisation Manchester’.
Found your main localised search term? You can now begin to apply this to your website and local landing pages to appear in more searches.
For example, you could use your core term ‘Local SEO Manchester’ within:
Title tags show up as the title of your web page when it appears as a search engine listing. As you’ve found a search term you know people are interested in (and relates to your page), it makes sense to include it as a title tag. Remember, anything over 60 characters will be cut off from sight.
It’s always a good idea to include your main keywords in the website link. This will help Google clearly understand what your page is about – for example candidsky.com/SEO/local-seo-manchester easily tells search engines what we specialise in, and where. Whatever your URL, make sure it’s user friendly and isn’t just randomised letters and numbers.
After you’ve conducted keyword research, be sure to optimise your title tag with a core keywords. For example, if you’re looking to rank competitively for SEO terms in Manchester, be sure to select terms such as “SEO Agency in Manchester”. This can help your website to rank competitively within the SERPs.
Meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor for Google and according to Ahrefs, Google re-writes meta descriptions 63% of the time. Instead, meta descriptions should be treated more as ad-copy and can be the last opportunity to get customers to click through to your website.
Not only is image text a great way of improving your website’s accessibility, but it can help your local SEO strategy too. As Google scans your site to understand what it’s about, alt text descriptions can help provide more context.
You can now focus on those other related keywords beyond your core search term. While you may have mainly optimised ‘Local SEO Manchester’, you can create locally-optimised content that covers other relevant terms in more detail.
For example, you could include the terms ‘local SEO Manchester’ or ‘local search engine optimisation Manchester’ further down on your homepage – or create pages, blogs, or guides to cover them in more detail.
Next, it’s time to set up your Google Business page. If your business has multiple venues, it’s worth setting up a page for each venue. This will help your local customers discover the branch that’s closest to them.
Simply follow these steps to set up your GMB page:
Make sure your business hasn’t already got a page registered, as this could be confusing for people searching for your services. If there’s already an existing page, make sure you’ve claimed it in your name so you can optimise and update the information.
It’s really important that your contact details are consistent across your website and GMB page. Check that any details listed on your site match the ones on any local directories, GMB page, or citations.
It’s important to select a category that’s best suited to your business. With our example of targeting ‘Local SEO Manchester’, you would choose ‘Digital Marketing Agency’. This will help potential customers easily find the service they’re searching for.
When you first sign up for a GMB listing, you’ll need to enter a verification code on your profile. Google will typically send you a postcard with the code within 14 days of signing up.
From encouraging customers to leave reviews to adding images of your business, take the time to optimise your GMB page as much as you can.
Information like opening hours should always be to up to date. If anything in your business changes, it should be reflected in your GMB page.
When it comes to optimising your site, citations and backlinks are invaluable. You can acquire citations from local business directories, like Tripadvisor or Yelp. Having your business featured on these sites can help people exploring the area discover local businesses like yours. Again, it’s important to make sure the details on these sites match the ones on your website.
It’s also worth searching for opportunities to gain backlinks on relevant websites. For example, you might find an article called ‘The Top 10 SEO Agencies in Manchester’. If the article is relevant to you or mentions your business, you could ask if the author of the page would consider adding a link to your website.