In this article, we will discuss what local SEO is and how it can help local businesses get more sales leads and customers. Local SEO, or search engine optimization for a particular location, is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results on Google Maps and other websites like Yelp that cater to a specific geographical area.
The goal of doing this is so that when people are looking for services in your area they find you first in the local search results!
This blog post is designed to help business owners attract more local search results and drive more traffic to your website or local business. Local SEO is a hot topic these days, and it’s important that you know the basics of how it works if you want your business to rank higher in online search results.
In this guide to local SEO, we’re going to cover local SEO, tips for ranking higher, what Google My Business is and how to claim your Google My Business listing.
What is local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is the process of getting your website to rank higher in organic search engines results and targeting specific keywords that would result in your company being shown on Google.
The goal is for search engines to show your listing at or near the top of a list of results when people are looking for things like “Chesterfield SEO”.
Local search engine optimization is a process that many businesses have been using for years. Local SEO is different from regular SEO because it doesn’t just rely on the number of links to your website or other factors; it also relies on location-specific keywords, such as “Chesterfield SEO”.
The goal with local SEO would be to show up near or at the top of the list whenever someone searches for things like Chesterfield Search Engine Optimization.
This can require more research into which geographical locations you operate in so that people searching will find you when they are looking within those areas instead of outside where their presence isn’t established yet.
Why is local SEO important?
Local search engine optimisation is a game-changer for small business owners that want to sell their products or services on the web and should be the cornerstone of their marketing strategy.
Unlike regular SEO there is much more emphasis placed on the location of a company in relation to the searches approximation to it.
This provides a unique opportunity for small businesses that are located in the same city or county to compete with bigger corporations. Imagine if you could rank higher than your nationally known competitors solely because of your location?
When people search on Google, they will generally only see results relating to their current geographic area.
The ranking algorithm is designed so that when someone searches “Chesterfield SEO” and then clicks through to one of the first few links, they should always find helpful information about an established business nearby them rather than from across the country that has nothing relevant to offer them.
Previously, larger businesses could target areas where they might not have physical premises, making it difficult for smaller businesses, with less marketing budgets and resources, to rank for locally specific searches.
However now that GMB has been introduced and local search engine optimisation is becoming more prominent in importance, smaller businesses are able to compete with larger corporations by focusing on what’s important for a customer who might be just around the corner: location-specific data.
What is local SEO marketing and why it is important?
Local SEO marketing is the way to get your website ranking higher in search engine results pages for specific geographical areas. For example, if you’re a plumber based out of San Diego and want to rank better for keywords like “San Diego Plumbing Services”, then local SEO marketing is what you need.
Local businesses can use directories, maps listings or review sites such as Yelp and Google to build trust to build their online presence in their local service area.
Local SEO is a way for local businesses to appear in the organic search results without having to spend money on expensive ads.
Local search results level the playing field against the big players and local SEO is crucial for local businesses that want to appear in the organic search result.
What is Google My Business?
Google my Business is a free and easy way for small business owners to update their information so that they can show up on Google.
GMB allows local businesses to create a page with details about the physical location of where they are located, contact numbers, pictures of the establishment, operating hours or days open as well as videos depicting what its products or services are.
How to get a Google My Business profile?
Claiming a Google My Business profile is easy and free.
To claim your Google My Business profile visit this link.
Select the “Manage now” link. Either log in with an existing Google account or follow the on-screen instructions to create your GMB listing.
Once completing the simple steps by filling in all of this information you can then verify your new GMB profile using an SMS text message
To claim your business on Google, follow the steps below;
- Search for the business you want to claim on Google;
- Click “Claim this page”;
- Type in a name for your GMB profile and fill out all other details required by Google.
- Once completed, click on “Sign up”. After completing all the steps all that is left to do is wait until Google verifies your information, usually via a card sent by post
Does local SEO work for brick and mortar shops?
If your business has a brick and mortar shop then local SEO can help drive people to your physical store. Essentially what local SEO does is helps local businesses show up in the top rankings for different search terms.
If some is searching with local intent, perhaps using the search “petrol station near me” they are very likely to visit the first result that appears in the local pack results and head over to the physical brick and mortar petrol station to fill up.
If you have a brick and mortar shop then make sure to update your address, number, website URL and other information on Google My Business so that people can find you easily.
What are Google posts?
Google posts are blog posts you publish on your GMB page in order to attract new customers and also an important ranking factor for any business local SEO strategy that want to rank for a specific local keyword.
A Google post is an update that can be pinned as a top tab to highlight what the business offers or what its latest promotion is for example:
- new menu items
- new products or services
- special discounts and deals *all specials are available at participating locations only*
- update to opening hours or special holidays
Google posts allow you to:
- market your business in a more personal way, and show what makes your spot special.
- keep customers up-to-date on the latest promotions or changes to opening hours that might affect them!
- provide information about new products, services or upcoming events so potential leads know
What is the difference between SEO and local search?
Normal search engine results show a generalised list of the most popular links to web pages that contain what you are looking for.
They don’t always take into account which location or city you’re in, meaning only those specific websites from your area might pop up on their page and it’s difficult to find anything else.
Local searches include local-specific results including Google My Business, Google Maps, and local-specific websites.
Local search results are broken down into categories such as restaurants, events or attractions which make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for in your area.
It’s also worth noting that when someone searches on a mobile device they will be shown the most relevant result nearest to their current location.
The final reason why local SEO is important comes down to what we touched on earlier – the potential customer.
When someone searches ‘restaurants near me’, their location will affect which results they are shown, and inevitably this means that if you’re a restaurant owner in another area, then your restaurant won’t be listed or appear.
What is the local pack or local map pack?
The local pack results, also known as the local map pack, are the results that appear at the top of a Google search which show what is near you and includes contact information for each business.
A local marketing strategy can increase sales, leads and customers by increasing exposure in a more targeted area. The local pack results show business information such as contact details and opening hours.
The local pack results will also show your business on a map, and the map will include a marker to show you where your business is in relation to the user.
The local pack will also show what is in each direction of your markers, so if you have a restaurant and want to expand by opening more restaurants then this would be an important feature for you.
To increase your chances of showing up in the local pack results, you need to consider a number of factors that all contribute towards what is called Local SEO. This guide to local SEO will help you understand what it is and how to get started.
Another way that a local marketing strategy can increase sales, leads and customers is through online reviews. Online reviews are becoming more important for business success as they help build trust with your audience.
How does local SEO differ from organic search results?
Local SEO is organic search results that are specific to a local area. If someone does a Google search looking for a service in an area local to them, then local SEO will be the search results that show up at the top of their page.
Why are local citations important?
Local citations or business listings are important because they have proven to help improve rankings in Google’s local searches and are a form of local links and link building.
Local business directories are important because they provide a variety of ways for people to find your local business, including via the internet search engine and social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Local directories send out signals to Google and other search engines that your business is legitimate and reputable which help your local search ranking and increase the chances of your business listing appearing in more local search results.
There are dozens, if not hundreds of local directories to submit your business to, luckily there are ways to mass submit your business to directories online where you can submit your business to dozens of local directories in one sitting.
The more citations you have, the better off you will be with ranking in Google Local listings and this is why it’s important to get listed on all the right local directory sites.
Why is having a consistent name, address and phone number (NAP)important?
A consistent NAP is important because it helps people find your local business when they’re searching online or on mobile devices.
A consistent NAP also helps to avoid mistakes and confusion, like if someone calls the wrong number and gets a different company instead of yours that’s located nearby.
If you use an inconsistent NAP, then Google will not know which companies are the same and which ones are different. This can hurt your ranking in search results for that company name, or even prevent it from appearing at all.
For example, if the local pack has a different NAP to your website then Google may not even know that both businesses are in fact the same business and may show different results for local searches.
Here is some more information about what a NAP means:
- NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number of one business location
- A consistent NAP will help people find your business easier and with more consistency.
How important is Google my Business for digital marketing?
Google My Business is a very important piece of digital marketing for small businesses. It has the potential to bring in more customers by showing up on Google and giving people specific details about what you’re looking for.
For example, let’s compare two small companies, one with a GMB account and the other without. When searching for a pizza restaurant in Chesterfield, on Google Maps on the web, the first one with a GMB account shows up first.
If both companies are in Chesterfield and have GMB accounts then it comes down to other ranking factors, such as reviews and both our proximity to Chesterfield.
The second one without, doesn’t show up even though it is also located in Chesterfield because they haven’t created their Google My Business page and added all of the information that’s required to rank higher for specific keywords.
When I was looking for an accountant near Chesterfield, there were several different pages with good reviews but only two had claimed and optimised their GMB listing, adding website and contact details, which do you think I chose?
We already mentioned that Google my Business has levelled the playing field and crucially, is a totally free service. Having a chance that your website be top for a search is no longer only available for businesses with deep pockets!
Google My Business or social media marketing?
There are a lot of people who think that social media marketing is the same as Google my Business but it’s not.
Social media marketing has to do with building your business’ brand and constructing relationships with customers through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram whereas Google My Business can be used to increase search traffic by explaining what you offer in detail on their website.
Think of social media as the way for people to get to know you, while Google my Business, with contact details like a number to contact you on, web address and company info is a way for customers to find you.
We would always recommend both platforms, and best of all, they are free to set up and claim, unlike expensive pay-per-click (PPC) to set up and reap rewards from.
##What are local specific landing pages?
Landing pages are a form of conversion optimization or lead generation which can be used to target prospective customers based on what they’ve just searched for.
A landing page is designed specifically with that search term in mind, and it usually has one clear offer as well as an easy-to-navigate design.
Local specific pages are a great way to get more customers, leads and sales as they’re highly targeted and can really help when it comes to local search ranking in the organic results on Google.
Optimizing your website for local search involves creating a specific landing page to serve your target area for people who are searching with local intent.
The best thing about landing pages is that you can take the user right through your whole funnel from the search term, to offer, then onto lead capture form and if they opt-in or purchase, it helps you build up customer data like their name address and location and an email list to market to.
What are local ranking factors?
Local ranking is based on the number of links that point to your website and its importance.
The quality and relevancy of those links are also key factors in determining rankings.
The more topically relevant a link, the higher it will help you rank for keywords related to what’s being linked to.
Other local search ranking factors include the number of Google reviews and the popularity of engagement generated by your social media followers.
Local ranking factors:
The number & quality of links pointing to your site, relevancy of those links
- Social Media Engagement with local followers
- Google Reviews on google (must be public)
- Popularity/engagement from social media
- Local directory submissions
- Local link building
Are online reviews important for SEO?
One of the best ways to rank higher in search results is by receiving reviews on popular review sites, such as Yelp and Google.
Doing a simple google search for [business name] + “reviews” will give you an idea of how many reviews a business has online.
Many search listings will also display the number of reviews a business has. These ratings are usually related to how many stars you see next to each listing on Google Maps and what they say about that specific business.
The more reviews a company has, the better chance it’ll have at ranking higher in search results for its industry or region.
Let’s be honest, most of us will choose a business that has many reviews over a business that has none, especially if it’s in the same industry.
When you search for a company, make sure to find out how many reviews they have and read their testimonials!
This is one of the first things that I check before ordering services from any business online – something as simple as checking what others are saying about them can be extremely helpful when making a purchasing decision.
Web design and search engine optimization
Creating a new website for your business is a great time to ensure your SEO strategies and website design is on the same page.
You need to ensure each page has a consistent name, address, phone number (NAP), blog articles are written that resonate with your audience and that “keywords” are used throughout the website.
Always spend time on keyword research. Knowing what your potential customers are searching for could be the difference between success and expensive failure.
Use images that people can relate to, perhaps of easily recognised landmarks or your physical premises and staff.
Include all relevant info, like opening hours, ensure they are the same on your GMB listing to ensure a good user experience, nothing harms conversion rates more than conflicting opening times on your website and GMB listing, which one is the correct one?
Don’t give potential customers any reason to choose your competitors.
Web design is more than just a pretty design. On-page search engine optimization is often done AFTER a website is built, but it should be done when you are designing the site as the design should reflect the content you need not the other way around.
Chesterfield SEO services
As SEO experts, with our roots firmly in our home town of Chesterfield, we totally understand the importance of local SEO services
Even though we help companies all over the globe with global SEO strategies, our local SEO marketing still plays a major part in attracting new business for us, not just in Chesterfield!
If you would like to discuss SEO services or have an SEO and or website design project in mind then please fill out this short form to see if we can help you.
Local search engine optimisation services
A Local SEO company will offer all the SEO services needed to rank local businesses in the local search listings.
A local SEO company will help you;
- High-quality leads from new sources including the Google Maps results, Yelp and FourSquare reviews, and Facebook posts
- Get more customers before they even know you exist with personalized “Snapshots” of your business that are displayed to searchers
- Maximize your search visibility and show up on local maps for a better chance of qualifying as a top result on the organic searches for terms like “SEO Chesterfield” or “Local SEO company”
Local search engine optimization is vital for any company looking to grow its web traffic and prosper.
An optimised GMB listing, SEO optimised website, social media marketing, web directory submissions and a sprinkling of local advertising will give you a massive advantage over your competitors.