If you’re like most business owners, you want to grow your business. And if you’re like most business owners, you know that one of the best ways to do that is by reaching more local customers.
But what’s the best way to reach those local customers?
The answer is Local SEO.
Local SEO is a type of search engine optimisation (SEO) that helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers.
It’s a great way to reach out to new potential customers who might not be familiar with your business.
And it’s an especially effective way to reach out to mobile customers, who are more likely than ever to use their smartphones to search for local businesses.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising a website, web page or more commonly your Google Business Profile and other features on Google for users who are searching for products or services in a specific location.
The goal of local SEO is to rank higher in the search results for searches that include a geographical location, such as “restaurants in Birmingham” or “kitchen suppliers in Leamington Spa” etc.
To do this, businesses need to make sure their website includes relevant keywords and terms related to their location. Make it easy for Google to work our why your website is relevant to the local area.
But in 2024 it’s more about optimising the features that Google gives you in the search results, away from your website.
Over recent years Google has been introduced more features into the Google Business Profile, it’s almost like a mini-webpage conveying all the important information about that business. So there’s less reason for your target audience to visit your website. That means than enhancing your Google Business Profile is critical.
What is a Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a free business listing through Google that allows businesses to manage their online information, control how they appear on Google Search and Maps, and engage with their customers.
Google Business Profiles are an important part of local SEO and can help increase your visibility in search results, both on desktop and mobile devices. Plus, customers can use your Business Profile to quickly find your hours of operation, contact information, customer reviews, and more.
Creating a Google Business Profile is a simple way to get started with local SEO and make sure your business is being found online.
How do we create a Google Business Profile?
Creating a Google Business Profile is easy and only takes a few minutes.
First, you’ll need to create a free Google account if you don’t already have one. Then, go to google.com/business and click “Start now.”
Enter your business name and address into the search bar and select your business from the list that appears. If your business doesn’t appear in the list, click “Add my business.”
From there, follow the instructions to complete your profile.
Once you’re finished, your profile will go live and appear when customers search for your business on Google Maps or Search.
Then, you can add photos, edit your business information, respond to reviews, and more.
How do we optimise our Google Business Profile?
Once you’ve created your profile, there are a few things you can do to optimise your listing and make sure it’s as effective as possible.
Here are a few tips:
- Add photos: Customers love seeing photos of businesses before they visit them. Add photos of your products or services, staff members, shopfront, etc., to give potential customers a better idea of what they can expect when they do business with you.
- Use keyword-rich descriptions: When writing your business description, be sure to include relevant keywords so that customers can easily find you when they’re searching online.
- Respond to reviews: Reviews are an important part of local SEO—and they can also help build trust with potential customers. Be sure to respond promptly (and politely!) to any reviews left for your business—both positive and negative ones.
- Update your information regularly: It’s important to keep your business information up-to-date so that customers always have the most accurate information about your hours of operation, contact details, etc. Be sure to check your listing regularly and update it as needed.
What are the benefits of having a Google Business Profile?
There are many benefits of having a Google Business Profile, including:
- Improved Visibility: Your business will be more visible in search results, both on desktop and mobile devices. Customers will be able to see your business name, address, hours, contact information, and even photos and reviews.
- Increased Customer Engagement: Customers can leave reviews and photos on your Google Business Profile, which can help increase customer engagement. Reviews are also a great way to get feedback about your business so that you can improve your products or services.
- Better Insights: You’ll be able to see how customers are finding your business and what they’re saying about it. This valuable feedback can help you make changes to improve your customer’s experience.
Benefits of Local SEO
If you own or operate a business, it’s important to make sure that your customers can find you easily online. After all, the vast majority of consumers now use the internet to search for products and services in their local area. That’s where local SEO comes in. Local SEO is a specialised form of search engine optimisation (SEO) that helps businesses to rank highly for searches related to their location.
Increased Web Traffic
One of the main benefits of local SEO is that it can help increase web traffic to your website. This is because when your website shows up in search engine results for relevant local searches, there’s a good chance that people will click through to your site. And the more people who visit your site, the greater the chances are that some of those visitors will become customers or clients.
Improved Brand Visibility
Another benefit of local SEO is improved brand visibility. When your website appears in search engine results for relevant local searches, it helps increase brand awareness and name recognition. And the more people are aware of your brand locally, the more likely they are to do business with you when they need the products or services you offer.
Higher Conversion Rates
Another benefit of local SEO is that it can help to increase conversion rates.
When potential customers see your business listed prominently in the search results, they are more likely to click through to your website or give you a call.
The local aspect is an important one because when people search for businesses like yours in their local area, they’re usually looking for something specific—such as a restaurant to eat at, an accountants that’s near to them, a shop to buy from, a local electrician, a local marketing agency etc. They’re already further along in the buying process than someone who’s just conducting a general search, which means they’re more likely to convert into a paying customer or client.
Finally, local SEO can also help you to improve your return on investment (ROI).
When done correctly, local SEO is a very cost-effective way to market your business online. It can be much cheaper than traditional forms of advertising such as print or television advertising. And because it helps you to attract more qualified leads, it can also help you to improve your sales conversion rates and generate more revenue for your business.
How to do Keyword Research for Local SEO
Anyone who has done even a cursory amount of research on SEO knows that keyword research is important. What many people don’t realise, however, is that keyword research for local SEO is a bit different than traditional keyword research.
Here’s how to conduct keyword research so that your local business can take advantage of this incredibly powerful marketing tool.
1. Identify Your Target Market
The first step in conducting keyword research for your local SEO campaigns is to identify your target market. You need to know who you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts in order to determine which keywords will be most effective. For example, if you are a firm of family law solicitors targeting consumers, your target market might be married couples looking to divorce and in need of legal advice. What are they looking to search?
2. Generate a List of Relevant Keywords
Once you know who your target market is, you can start generating a list of relevant keywords.
Start by brainstorming a list of potential keywords, and then use these tools to see which ones are being searched most often in your target market and geographical location.
3. Prioritise Your Keywords
Once you have generated a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to prioritise them.
Not all keywords are created equal, and some will be more effective than others at driving traffic to your website.
To prioritise your keywords, start by looking at the search volume for each one. Then, look at the competition level to see how difficult it would be to rank for each keyword.
Lastly, consider the relevance of each keyword to your business—you want to make sure you’re choosing keywords that will actually attract customers who are interested in what you have to offer.
Are those types of local searches a search that someone local would type into Google? Or maybe they could be anywhere in the UK?
4. Implement Your Keywords Strategically
Finally, once you’ve chosen the most effective keywords for your local SEO campaign, it’s time to implement them strategically throughout your website and online presence.
This includes using them in your website content, as well as in your social media posts and other marketing materials.
Use the local content in your Google Business Profile too.
Remember—keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. These days, Google’s algorithm penalises websites that stuff their content with too many keywords, so use them sparingly and only when they make sense within the context of what you’re saying. But they need to be there. Google’s not a mind reader.
Local SEO Checklist and Tips
What’s a good Local SEO Strategy?
If you’re a business owner, then you know how important it is to have a strong online presence. After all, most of your customers are probably using the internet to find the products and services they need.
That’s why it’s so important to invest in a set of strategies designed to help your business rank higher in the local search results, making it more likely for potential local customers to find you when they’re searching for businesses like yours.
Not sure where to start with local SEO?
Here are three local SEO strategies that can help boost your online presence and attract more customers:
Optimise Your Google Business Profile
If you want your business to show up in local search results, you need to make sure it has a Google Business Profile. When optimising your listing, be sure to include accurate and up-to-date information about your business, such as your hours of operation, address, phone number, and website URL. You should also add photos and create posts that highlight special offers or events happening at your business.
Optimise Your Website for Local Search
One of the most important things you can do to improve your local SEO is to make sure your website is optimised for local search terms. This means including relevant keywords on your website (e.g., “plumber in Leamington Spa”) and claiming your business listing on major online services like Google My Business and Facebook.
By claiming your listing, you’ll be able to control the information that potential customers see about your business, including your hours of operation, address, and phone number.
Create Location-Specific Pages
If you want local customers to find your website when they search for businesses like yours in their area, then you need to consider location-specific pages on your site that target those searches – but only if it makes sense to your users. Don’t turn your website into a collection of horrid repeated content.
These pages should include location-specific keywords as well as information about why customers in that area should choose your business over others.
For example, if you’re a plumber in Warwick, you might create a page on your website specifically for people searching for “plumbers in Warwick.” This page would then include information about why someone should choose you over other plumbers in the area along with relevant keywords like “Warwick plumber” or “plumbing services in Warwick.”
A good way to create local content is to talk about the jobs you’ve done for your customers, mentioning which area they were in. There are lots of location specific ideas out there.
Get Involved in Your Community
Another great way to boost your local SEO is to get involved in your community.
This could include sponsoring a local event, donating to a local charity, or writing blog posts about topics that are relevant to your industry and targeted towards a local audience.
When you get involved in your community, potential customers will see that you’re invested in making a difference—and they’ll be more likely to do business with you as a result.
If Google can see that you’re being mentioned and linked to locally, it can also benefit you directly that way.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Finally, don’t forget to encourage customer reviews—they can be extremely helpful when it comes to boosting your local SEO.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including links on your website and social media profiles (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
You can also send follow-up emails after someone has made a purchase from your business, asking them to leave a review if they’re satisfied with their experience.
The more positive reviews you have, the more impact it will have on your online presence—so it’s definitely worth taking the time to collect them.
Monitor your Progress
As with any SEO strategy, it’s important that you monitor your progress over time so that you can make necessary adjustments along the way. Luckily, there are many tools available that make this easy to do. Google Analytics is one such tool and it’s free. But the one I love is Google Search Console.
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your website’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t need to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but doing so can give you valuable insights into how your site is performing and how Google sees it.
Some of the things you can do with Search Console include:
- submitting your sitemap to help Google index your pages
- viewing which keywords are driving traffic to your site
- seeing how often your pages appear in search results
- troubleshooting errors that might be preventing your pages from appearing in search results
- receiving alerts when there are major changes to your site’s performance or when it has been hacked
Local SEO vs SEO – what’s the difference?
The most important difference is that Local SEO takes into account factors like your location, whereas regular SEO does not.
While both are important, Local SEO is often more important for businesses that rely on brick-and-mortar locations for customers, such as restaurants, shops, service providers, etc. Local SEO helps these businesses to be found by potential customers who are searching for their products or services in a specific location.
SEO, on the other hand, is more important for businesses that sell products or services online and do not have a physical location. These businesses can still benefit from Local SEO if they want to rank higher in local search results, but they don’t need to worry so much about things like their “Google Business Profile”, though that can still be useful for presenting your brand in a positive way.
Another key difference is that Local SEO is focused on generating leads and conversions from people who are actually in your area, whereas regular SEO is focused on getting as many people as possible to see your website regardless of location.
Finally, Local SEO requires a different set of keywords than regular SEO. For example, if you’re an SEO specialist in Leamington Spa, you’ll want to use keywords like “SEO specialist” and “Leamington Spa” in your website and content (like I’ve done there) so that people in that area will be able to find you more easily.
You can never control what Google does, but make sure you help Google to understand what your local business and your website can do for local consumers.
If you need help, you could hire a local SEO consultant.