Five tips to help improve your website’s local SEO ranking

If you’re a local business and you’re not actively working your SEO for local searches, then you’re missing a trick. A lucrative one at that.

Over the past few years there has been a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight” and a 200%+ growth in mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me.”

60% of smartphone users have also contacted a business directly using the search results such as the “click to call” option, and 46% of shoppers surveyed say they confirm inventory online before going to a store.

Trethowans
Trethowans

Need more convincing? 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, and 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles.

The simple truth is that your customers may be local, but it’s the world wide web they’re turning to to find you and decide whether they want to patronise you.

Five tips to help improve your website’s local SEO ranking

So if you have’t yet optimised your website for local SEO then now is the time to start. And here are five tips to get you started in improving your local SEO ranking.

1) Make use of Google My Business

Having a Google My Business profile will help enhance the visibility of local search results for your customers. Let’s say, for example, you own a tapas restaurant. If someone searches for ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘local tapas restaurants’ your business will appear. Like this:

When drafting your profile, it important that you share your business address with Google. They will then send you a card to verify the set location and in a few days, your business will earn a place on the Google map display.

Setting up Google My Business will also make it easy for customers to share their reviews online, which will help add much-needed social proof.

If other local businesses haven’t set up a Google My Business profile, doing so gives you a significant advantage over them.

2) Make proper use of local SEO keywords

Keywords are at the heart of great SEO. But not just any old keywords. You need to use the right keywords in the right way to ensure that your website appears high up on the search engines results pages (SERP).

So what are the ‘magic’ keywords that will unlock the SEO potential for your business? Obviously if you want to rank for local searches, using local place names is essential.

There’s so much we could share about keywords, but here’s a quick overviews of some of the most important points to remember:

  • Research keywords that people are commonly using
  • Avoid highly competitive head keywords
  • Include keywords in your page title and headlines
  • Use them naturally in your copy
  • Don’t ‘keyword stuff’

If you’d like a more thorough guide to finding and using keywords on your website, you can watch our SEO Masterclass here. You can also use SEO software, like Third Party Modules to help you.

3) List your site in local directories

Listing your business in local directories plays a critical role in SEO and enhances your marketing strategy immensely – especially if your own website isn’t performing well.

Why? Because Google works to index all directory entries provided. And if you have listed your business in an influential directory, it will ensure that your entry ranks among the top five results.

So even if your own website doesn’t rank for your ideal search term, there’s a chance that your directory listing will, helping get your business in front of people who need it.

As an extra benefit, you’ll get a backlink from listing on a local directory. A backlink is like a ‘vote of confidence’ for SEO and will ensure that your general performance is improved on the search results.

4) Leverage local online coverage

Are you making the most of local news coverage? If not, now is the time to start. Get familiar with writing a press release and when you spot the potential for a story, send it into your local news outlets.

A local new site has immense authority in the area that it covers. So if you can secure a backlink from a local news source, you’ll get valuable PR exposure plus a backlink that carries significant SEO weight. .

The other benefit of the local coverage is that Google algorithms will notice where these links appear and will attempt to associate your business to that particular locality.

5) Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

More people are using their phones to search today than desktop. Indeed. according to a survey by Hubspot, 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. And by 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. 

Google also uses ‘mobile first’ indexing, which means that it favours websites that are optimised for mobile. (Effectively penalising those that aren’t.)

So if your website isn’t already optimised for mobile use, now is the time to fix it. It’s also important to ensure that your website loads quickly on mobile devices.

Need help with your local SEO ranking?

Local SEO can help you to get found by local customers – and help influence their decision to visit from and buy from you. So if you’re a local business it does’t make any sense to ignore your local SEO.

If you need more help maximising your local SEO, our SEO Kit makes using SEO for your site reassuringly possible. In it we guide you through:

  • How SEO works (and how to avoid Black Hat mistakes).
  • How to use your Google My Business listing
  • How to plan and implement a successful keyword strategy.
  • How to write for SEO (and how to optimise for voice search).
  • Why backlinks are so important – and how to get the right ones.

And if you’re wondering whether it’s worth investing the time or money in your local SEO, consider this: if you don’t make sure your website appears in local searches, you can bet your competitors are. So you could just be handing over precious business to them.

Investing a small amount of time and money making sure you rank highly in local searches should reward you with an ROI many times over.

SEOtactica are an SEO Agency in New Jersey.

Photo by Jake Davies