Are you a small business owner looking to enhance your online visibility? You need to invest in local search engine optimisation (SEO). If you are new to SEO, do not fret because we will tell you all you need to know.
This article will help you understand Local SEO, how Google ranks businesses, and the best practices you should follow.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising a business’s online presence to attract more customers from local searches. Essentially, it’s a way to make sure that when someone searches for a product or service in their area, your business pops up as a top result.
By ensuring your online information is accurate, consistent, and relevant, local SEO can help you improve your visibility in local search results. This makes your business easier to discover, ultimately attracting more customers.
What differentiates local SEO from traditional SEO is its focus on specific geographic areas and keywords. Rather than trying to rank for broad terms like “pizza restaurant,” you want to target more specific keywords like “pizza restaurant in Melbourne” or “best pizza in Melbourne.” This is where local SEO comes in, as it helps you optimise your online presence for these specific areas and keywords.
In short, local SEO helps small businesses level the playing field with larger competitors.
What Factors Affect Your Google Ranking?
Google depends on various factors to decide which web pages should be displayed on the first page of search results. While we don’t know how exactly Google’s algorithm works, we know plenty about the factors that affect their ranking process.
Here are the factors that affect your Google ranking:
- Relevance: How well your business matches the user’s search query, including keywords and search intent.
- Distance: The proximity of your business to the user’s location or the location specified in their search query.
- Prominence: The popularity and reputation of your business. It is measured by the quantity and quality of reviews, links, and mentions.
- Video content: Using video production can boost your Google ranking, as it increases user engagement and enhances your online presence.
What Are the Best Practices for Local SEO?
To optimize your online presence for local searches, consider implementing the following best practices:
1. Conduct keyword research
Identify relevant keywords for your business and location using tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush.
To get the most out of your keyword research, focus on long-tail keywords that include your location and specific services or products. For example, if you own a hair salon in Brisbane, consider targeting keywords like “hair salon in Brisbane” or “best haircuts in the Centre of Brisbane.”
2. Optimise your Google My Business (GMB) profile
Ensure your GMB profile is complete and up-to-date with accurate business information, including your name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and website URL.
Also, add photos and videos to your profile to showcase your business and engage with potential customers. For example, if you run a restaurant, consider adding photos of your dishes or a video tour of your establishment.
3. Build local citations
A citation is a reference to your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites or directories. Building citations can help improve your local SEO by establishing your business’s online presence and verifying your NAP information.
To build local citations, start by submitting your business information to reputable online directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or Foursquare. You can also create listings on industry-specific directories or local chambers of commerce websites.
4. Get customer reviews
Positive customer reviews can help boost your business’s online reputation and improve your local SEO ranking. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile, social media pages, or other relevant websites.
To get more reviews, consider offering incentives or discounts to customers who leave a review. You can also follow up with customers after a purchase and ask for their feedback.
5. Create location-specific content
To further optimise your local SEO, create content that is specific to your location and target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, or social media updates that highlight your business’s connection to the local community.
For example, if you run a bakery in Reservoir, consider creating content about local events, landmarks, or traditions that are relevant to your business. You can also use location-specific keywords in your content to improve your visibility in local search results.
Local SEO matters. It levels the playing field for small businesses against their bigger competitors. It also helps attract more customers and establish your business as a preferred destination for local residents. Follow the best local SEO practices and improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.