Local SEO is increasingly important to your business being found, since a growing percentage of internet queries are location based, whether directly or indirectly. We’ll address what local SEO is and its importance before giving you the do’s and don’ts of local SEO. All of these local SEO tactics are something any business can implement, though some may need help doing so. And none are black hat tactics that will hurt your business in the long run.
An Overview of Local SEO
Local SEO is simply local search engine optimisation. One form is the integration of location based search terms into your content. Another is building location information into your digital footprint using tactics like putting your business literally on the maps people check, though you can also put the maps with location references on your own website. Local SEO is essential to showing up in “show me X businesses near me” searches, since search engines use the location it associates with your business to determine whether or not to put you in those local searches. This is aside from the obvious local SEO where someone queries for pizza in Kensington.
The Do’s of Local SEO
Do build location based references into your website’s content. Don’t just list your address on the “about us” page. Put it prominently on your homepage, ideally not requiring someone to scroll down to see it, in addition to other relevant pages. You can dramatically boost your local search engine optimisation while providing value to customers by giving them directions on how to get to your business or directing them to free local parking. Another useful titbit is telling them which train stations or bus stops you are near so that they can find you, conveniently boosting your local SEO when people search for businesses like yours near that stop. If you don’t know how to do this, contact a firm like WSI Digital Ltd.
Do link to map capsules so that someone looking at your business’ website to find out where you are can navigate inside the map already on your site.
Do go to the effort to create separate business entries for each of your business locations, if you have more than one. Give each store or restaurant a clearly separate name so that search engines recognise them as different. Whether they are identified by numbers or neighbourhood doesn’t matter as long as the format is consistent. A side benefit to this approach is that it segregates reviews on business directories by location, allowing people to see that your Greenwich outlet has five stars while the Chelsea store has only three.
The Don’ts of Local SEO
Don’t put location information in a graphic on your website; this information isn’t accessible to search engines.
Don’t overlook the importance of business directories. Many people still search for businesses based on these business listings. More importantly, search engines also use this information to determine where your business is based. If you don’t keep those business directories, the digital equivalent of phone books, up to date, maps may take people to the wrong location. Inconsistent entries with both old and new addresses will dilute your location in the eyes of the A.I., and it will rank other businesses with clearer location signals over yours. Differences in formatting like “Joe Sicilian Pie”, “Joe’s Sicilian Pie” and “Joe’s Pie” are read by search engines as separate businesses, likewise hurting your local SEO rankings. And don’t forget to update business directory listings as you move locations or close stores.
Don’t ask employees to list their home addresses as locations for your business, since this dilutes your local SEO. And also don’t pay for reviews, since search engines penalise your site if you do this.
Don’t ask employees to post reviews as if they are customers, since this is easily discovered by a little research.
Local search engine optimisation is becoming more important in finding customers, especially those literally in the last steps before they walk in your door. So, make sure that you invest time and effort in improving your local SEO results if you want to reach the customers that matter the most.