As a local business, your main goal is to reach and connect with your target audience. Whether you’re selling products or providing services, marketing is essential. Local SEO is one of the most valuable digital strategies to put you in front of customers, as it helps people find your business.
But local SEO requires a different approach than traditional SEO. However, when you do it right, the results can skyrocket your leads and set you on the path to success.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for boosting your online visibility through local search engine optimisation.
Short on time? Here are the key takeaways:
- Local SEO is the best way to reach your target audience and build relationships with your community.
- Building a local presence differs from traditional SEO, but utilising the right techniques can offer long-term results.
- From creating a Google Business Profile to utilising citations and getting involved in the local community, there are plenty of ways to win with local SEO. We reveal them in this guide.
The importance of local SEO
Every business needs to connect with its target audience, and local enterprises are no different. Local SEO serves numerous purposes, including helping people find your business and ensuring you appear during relevant search terms.
Research published by Review Trackers states that 42% of Millennials will visit a store they’ve previously seen while searching on Google, and 57% of local searches are on a mobile device.
Let’s take a look at why optimising your website for a local audience is so important.
In the good old days, people would bring out the Yellow Pages to find businesses. Today, most will turn to Google, searching for services or products and using terms such as “close to me” for relevant results.
If you want people to find you, local SEO is essential. For example, the search engine will return relevant results if someone types in ‘vegan bakery near me’.
Even businesses with a national reach might use local SEO to target specific audiences for promotions or launches. By optimising their websites for these demographics, they can save money and monitor the campaign effectively.
It also makes it easier for companies to engage with their local audience and personalise the strategy, boosting conversions.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a powerful marketing strategy to use when you want instant results. However, it’s also much more expensive than SEO and best for short-term objectives.
Search engine optimisation is a long-term strategy which offers lasting results. While it takes more time, it’s cost-effective to implement – and maintain.
It’s so difficult to compete against those big-budget businesses that seem to have a never-ending marketing budget. As a smaller company, you can negate budget gaps by focusing on local audiences.
Even if you have businesses in different locations, segmenting your SEO strategy can save money and help you stand up against the competition.
Tip 1: Get a Google Business Profile
Previously known as Google My Business, a profile on the world’s largest search engine gives you more opportunities to connect with your target audience.
Research shows that 87% of consumers will use Google to verify whether a business is reputable, and these profiles are vital for your local SEO strategy.
The great thing about Google Business Profile is that it’s completely free and ensures your business appears to users searching for relevant products and services nearby.
Optimising your profile and giving potential customers information on how to reach you removes barriers to communication.
As you can see from our profile, it tells prospective clients who we are, our opening times and offers a clickable phone number, making it easy for anyone to get in touch.
Unsure of how to optimise your profile? Google’s guide gives you valuable tips to attract more customers.
Tip 2: Make your content location relevant
Content creation is a powerful way to reach your audience, but generic blog posts, infographics and video content that aren’t optimised for your target audience mean you’ll get a lot of irrelevant traffic.
Instead of choosing quantity, prioritise quality and create content for your local audience. You won’t get as much attention, but the people who click on your website will be qualified leads.
You can ensure your content is suitable for geographical audiences by performing keyword research and choosing the phrases that match your location.
For example, “UK vegan bakery” is fine for a general audience, but if you use Manchester vegan bakery or variations, people can find and visit your place of business.
Tip 3: Build links wisely
Links continue to be the backbone of any SEO campaign, but building them is no easy feat. Ready for some good news? Building links for a local business means you can find smaller publications relevant to your area.
For example, online magazines and newspapers with local readers are easier to get links from than internationally known publications.
These links will offer more value because they’re visible to people within your locality, instead of readers from all over who won’t necessarily travel just to visit your business.
Don’t forget citations
Citations are fundamental to local SEO, ensuring your details are in relevant directories and review websites. Quality over quantity is an overriding theme in SEO, and citations are no different.
Directories and review websites should be reputable and not classed as spam. Popular options for citations include:
- Local Directories
Tip 4: Ensure your website is responsive
A local business without a responsive website is like a car with no steering wheel. We already mentioned that 57% of local searches are on mobiles, and if your website doesn’t offer a fantastic experience, they’ll go elsewhere.
When people search locally on their mobile or tablet, 76% will visit the business within 24 hours (Think with Google).
However, they will judge your brand based on how the website performs, so it’s good to ensure all elements align with the Core Web Vitals Google uses to measure user experience.
Tip 5: Respond to reviews
Everyone loves a good review, and it’s natural to respond to them. After all, someone’s complimenting your business. Negative reviews matter, too, especially when it comes to building an online reputation.
Someone insulting your business might make you angry, but responding to their comments is essential for demonstrating empathy, understanding and professionalism.
Responding to your reviews enhances your local SEO and boosts your chances of appearing in the search results. Also, nine in ten consumers will check reviews before deciding whether to purchase (Statista).
Showing previous customers and clients you care about their reviews means they’re more likely to trust you, even after some negative comments.
Tip 6: Get Social
Never underestimate the power of social media for your local business. It’s one of the best ways to find and interact with your target audience, building solid relationships and cultivating loyalty.
You can also link your Google Business Profile to social media accounts, which enhances your chances of appearing on the Knowledge Panel in relevant searches.
When you post on social media, you can also use hashtags or find local groups, increasing your chances of connecting with prospective clients.
Tip 7: Invest in a local SEO audit
If you’re new to SEO or don’t have the time to build a local search presence, investing in a professional audit is a good idea. An experienced UK SEO agency will be able to evaluate your current website and highlight areas for improvement.
With access to specialist software, an SEO service will also monitor your competitors and develop a strategy that offers sustainable growth.
Tip 8: Focus on location-based pages
Businesses operating in different locations should have dedicated pages for each area. The search engines all share one goal: giving users the most relevant results.
Location pages send signals to search engines, letting them know your page is what users seek. These pages also enable you to optimise your content for relevant keywords and personalise it based on the area.
Tip 9: Get to know your community
In our ultra-switched society, businesses can no longer be faceless. Consumers want to know who they’re shopping from and what that brand stands for (Sprout Social). Luckily, as a local business, you have an excellent opportunity to get to know your community.
Joining in with events or sponsoring them shows you care about your area and makes a good impression on your target audience. Also, it’s an excellent opportunity for PR and might help you secure some backlinks.
The bottom line
Local SEO is intrinsic to business growth, and investing your time in building an online presence means you can look forward to organic growth. Once you connect with your audience and build relationships, it’s much easier to see a future for your business.
The first step in focusing on local SEO is auditing your current website and understanding what’s needed to beat your competitors. If you’d like to remove the stress from enhancing your organic rankings, our SEO consultancy services are here to help.
With a proven track record of helping brands win with local SEO, we’d love to hear more about your goals. Please feel free to book a free consultation with a specialist today.