7 Top Local SEO Tips 2017

When optimising your website for search engines, you can be forgiven for expanding your sights too early and forgetting the most important place to be top of the table – in your own city. When you first start with SEO, you immediately think about the global reach of search engines and become too focused on the big picture, missing out on ranking locally. With that in mind, I’m going to break down the top tips for local SEO so you can implement right away and get your website on the right track. 

1. Physical Address

This isn’t as obvious as you may think. Businesses now are so entrenched in the online world that they don’t name a physical address which is a big mistake. Even if your company is run solely online it is important to have an address, whether it’s a factory, an office, anything. Listing a physical address makes the following stages much easier and makes your local SEO strategy more focused.

The name, address, and phone number of your business should be consistent throughout your marketing and online presence. Not only does this avoid confusion with your customers, but it makes the Google My Business step much easier. Your website should also include a map to your location, with directions not only on the map but written out below using local landmarks or businesses as reference points. It is important to remember at this stage that your website isn’t designed for search engines. Make an accessible, content rich website that users love and the search engines will naturally follow.

The final point on this is that if you have several branches of your business with different locations, these should have their own web page. No, not a whole new website for your company in Leeds, for Sheffield and for Manchester, but specific pages should be set up on your main website to cater for the different locations. Again, not only is this highly user-friendly, but will also help with local SEO as you naturally optimise each page for that location.

 

2. Google My Business

If you don’t have a profile set up on Google My Business, stop what you’re doing and go set one up. You input your company’s information including address, contact details, website address, and opening hours, and in return Google gives you a short snippet for your business that appears on their search engine results page after someone searches for you or for your services.

It is vital you input accurate information and then ensure you keep this profile fully updated. The profile you get in return is highly useful, both in terms of SEO and customer acquisition. These snippets usually sit above the organic search results and it only takes a quarter of an hour to set up, so get to it!

 

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3. Unique Content

This should be a given, but I have to bring it up in relation to local SEO. Content is the most effective tool you have to attract users to your website. With creative content, you are attracting all sorts of new customers that are now interested and know of your brand. In local SEO terms, content that is focused on a specific location is highly effective in ranking locally.

For instance, if you are a food delivery service you could put together reviews of the best restaurants in Sheffield. Not only would this appeal to the residents, but the restaurants named would be inclined to share the story and it could get traction in local news outlets and blogs. Suddenly, you have a great piece of content that ranks highly and appeals to your customer base. Everything you do doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, sales driven. Think about engaging your customers first and the sales will come.

 

4. Link Building Strategy

There is much debate around what is valued most by search engines in terms of SEO. In truth, I believe it’s a combination of everything. Search engines are trying to paint a picture of your website to provide their users with the most relevant results possible, so they take everything into account.

Link building is the process of getting inbound links from websites relevant to your own that are trust-worthy and reputable. Granted this is easier said than done, but you can start by looking at the authoritative directories in your sector. These are not hard to find. A simple search will present you with a ton of options, then stick them into SEMRush or Moz and find their trust rank to see whether they are worth pursuing. Beyond that, share a link to your website through your social media channels frequently, and then look at building relationships with local businesses using guest blogs or by sharing each other’s news. Link building is not an overnight fix, it takes time and attention but it is well worth it in the end.

 

5. Effective Use of Keywords

By “effective use” I don’t mean to stick a keyword in at every opportunity, that would be the opposite of effective. Instead, use keywords naturally in your content as you are writing it. The title tags, heading tags, and URL should all contain keywords that you have researched thoroughly. In principle, your keywords should be structured as follows: “Service keyword, location, company name” for instance “Web Design Sheffield | DS Creative”. This is what’s known as a longtail keyword, as it contains a set of keywords that can be broken down into several relevant keywords.

Using your location in your keywords is vital in optimising locally. Now whenever a customer searches for your service in their area, your keyword will rank highly for them. However, I’ll reiterate, you are building your website for your customers, not for search engines. Overusing keywords is known as keyword stuffing and is best avoided at all cost. Not only is it unappealing to users, it is punishable by search engines. Use the keyword structure, include your location, and use keywords naturally in your content and you will be on the right track.

You can learn more about everything keyword related by reading our blog: SEO Basics - Keywords Explained.

 

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6. Encourage User Reviews

User reviews have been given more weight by search engines like Google recently. Now search results called, rich snippets, are favoured and appear more prominent on a results page. A key feature of these types of results are user reviews, so encourage them, respond to them. While you cannot reward someone for a positive review, you can reward your customers for reviewing. Offer them something if they review your company on Google or social media; entry into a competition, a free e-book, money off their next order. The more reviews you get the better, as in terms of local SEO, local searches are headed by those rich snippets that have reviews, so this is a vital part of optimising your business locally.

 

7. Engage with Social Media

Use social media for the purpose it was created – interaction! Talk to your customers, engage in polls and discussions, share your content and encourage your followers to share and open a conversation. Not only will this improve your customer relations and brand awareness, but social media snippets can appear on search results if they are popular enough. This is much easier to do if you have focused on a specific location as you can look at engaging with local news stories, and potentially rank when users search for them.

Social media is a vital part of SEO today, so ensure that you have a strategy in place and engage on your platforms every day.

 

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SEO is a complex subject that encompasses a vast amount of techniques and details that can seem daunting to the untrained eye. However, by having a clear, specific strategy that you follow and adapt as you improve, by analysing and testing and changing based on the results you get, SEO doesn’t need to be complicated. Starting with local SEO is a way in to the great rankings war, this will give you focus and strategy. Once you are happy with your results, then you can broaden your horizons and take on the nation. But for now, baby steps.

As always, we are happy to help you with any of your SEO needs – whether you would like us to explain some things for you, do an audit of your website and identify what you need to do to improve your rankings, or take over the implementation of SEO on your website and relieve some of your stress, we at DS Creative are here to help – get in touch today for a free SEO Audit!

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chris

Created by, Chris 

 

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