More often than not business owners can fall into the trap of thinking that their product or service means all things to all people in all places. Here’s the thing – No medium to large organisation ever started out big – they ultimately all began by starting out selling to those within easy reach before expanding their reach.
This is where local SEO can really help tap into your local market segment, gradually building your business to the next Deloitte of the world. Here we’ll discuss how you can walk away with actionable tactics to improve your local search visibility, helping you capitalise on local ready-to-buy customers.
Local SEO Fundamentals
In a nutshell, local SEO is made of five steps;
- Visible contact information
- Directory listings
- Online reviews
- NAP consistency
- Mobile optimised website
Making sure your contact information is visible on every page of your site is a great way to increase your local search visibility and your online conversion rate. People are more likely to call through to your office if your contact information is easy to find, rather than them having to actively search for it. In today’s world people are busy, and any unnecessary friction can cause you to lose out on valuable business.
Although Google is getting really good at knowing to find what you are looking for, it still requires a little help from us. Directory listings are a really good way for Google to establish your actual physical location by referencing your business’ NAP; name, address and phone number, therefore making this tactic one of the most important for local search rankings. Also, if you haven’t done so already, head on over to Google’s ‘Google My Business’ platform and register your business for free. From here you can start building out the online prominence and authority of your business’ location.
More often than not, a good online review could be the difference between a customer or a lost opportunity. In fact, 90% of purchase decisions are influenced by a positive review. Google also uses positive reviews as a major ranking signal for their local algorithm.
Now it might sound like I am contradicting myself, but a positive review doesn’t necessarily mean you will win the customer. Reviews have to come across genuine. With the internet comes a lot of spam, and your customers are skeptical and usually smart enough to tell the difference. In some cases people don’t even trust real reviews due to being put off in the past. It’s essential that reviews are earned. With that being said, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and the data shows this time and time again, so be sure to leverage online reviews for local SEO. Reach out to existing customers and make it easy for them to review your business. Google in particular allows you to actually share a specific link with your customers that makes it really easy for them to rate your product or service and drop a nice line or two about how good you have done by them.
If you think you are being spammed and your local SEO is suffering as a result, check out this post.
Consistency in your NAP (name, address, phone number) when submitting to online directories is really, really important. This also goes for your social media accounts, too. Inconsistent NAP submissions will only confuse search engines and your directory listings will be less effective as a result. When creating directory listings, make sure they are the same as how your NAP appears on your website. In some instances this may be impossible due to the way some directories require you to fill out information, however if you try to maintain this consistency wherever possible it will drastically improve your local search visibility.
Mobile Optimised Website
Without a doubt, this is the most important element to a local SEO campaign. According to Google, around 50% of mobile searches lead to in-store visits. Converting local leads to customers means your website needs to be mobile friendly. Most local searches are done from mobile devices when on the go, meaning your website needs to be responsive to adapt to smaller screens. Google has also started penalising businesses in an attempt to improve the overall user experience across the entire web in general. Google penalties are a major pain and take a lot of time to revert; meaning wasted time, money and resources for your business. Like you need that, right?