Using local search to improve your business

Any business that is looking for long term success on search engines has to be considering local SEO to succeed. However, many business owners are falling behind on what they should be doing in this area. When you consider that 50% of mobile queries are local searches, it pays to invest in local SEO. When a customer comes looking for a local business or services, the companies that rank highly for local searches will get picked up and those that don’t will be left behind.

What is Local SEO?

It’s pretty self-explanatory, really: Local SEO is about providing results to people based on their local area. So if someone puts in a query of ‘haberdashery Leeds’, it’s the list of Leeds-based results that pop up under that.

Why is Local SEO important?

Mobile internet use is booming, now overtaking desktop usage. More people are using their phones and tablets to find what they are looking for in their local area while they are walking around.

Local results are becoming increasingly important to Google, which looks to provide users with the most relevant information that it can. Local SEO takes into account local content, social media, Google Maps listings, links, reviews and address citations to provide up-to-date info to the user.

How can you optimise your company for Local SEO?

  1. Google+

Firstly, you need to claim your listing on Google+. If you have already claimed your Google Places page, it can be transferred over to Google+ automatically.

Making sure that you have a social media presence on Google’s own social media service is a sure fire way of improving your local rankings. It means customers can see your reviews, contact information and opening hours easily and quickly.

  1. Reviews

Speaking of reviews, these are crucial to how you appear online locally. You should encourage people to leave good reviews for you when they’ve had a good experience with you, and remember that quality beats quantity hands down.

  1. Citation

Name, address and phone number citations have a dramatic influence on your local ranking. Make sure that you have your details in good quality local directories, plus get links from reputable national directory services such as Yell. The more you have, the better it looks to Google, but don’t just get them from any old place or it could do damage to your online reputation. Avoid any directories where getting a link is the main selling point – or if you have to pay for a link (NB: simply paying for your details to reviewed doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor quality website).

  1. Local SEO website optimisation

Use your town/city/county in your meta tags and descriptions to get a boost for your website. Make sure that your website is also making use of the Schema Local Markup too.

  1. Mobile friendly website?

More and more people are choosing a responsive website and the reason is that if you are running one that looks terrible on mobile or that takes too long to load, you are going to lose out to a degree. Make sure that your website looks good and is user friendly whatever device it is viewed on.

Local SEO is only going to become more important as Google looks to improve the results that it gives users. Make sure that you are on top of it today.

Author Gyles Seward

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