Search rankings are important to the success of an online business as it increases its accessibility to its local audience. Local SEO primarily enables local businesses to increase their ranks on search engines to those searching for a product or service in their local area.
Studies have repeatedly found that most consumers search for local businesses online. Local SEO is very important for businesses targeting their local area even if their main business is considered “offline”. In the digital age, most consumers will go on their smartphone to find information so rank poorly on search engines locally may be detrimental to a business’s ability to connect with its customers.
Local SEO isn’t only limited to local businesses and is just as important for national and global organisations. Having a good local SEO strategy ensures that a business regardless of size will be more successful and competitive within its market on a local level.
In industries that have more competitive keywords, the more in-depth an SEO needs to look within and outside a website to optimise it. These are three basic elements to ranking locally on Google.
1. Google My Business
A key part of the local SEO strategy is Google My Business. It is an arm of Google that allows individuals to post local business listings on Google. This allows businesses to be listed on Google Maps increasing accessibility to maximise the potential of the listing. Users can use this listing for directions, add photos, phone number, and review the business to encourage consumer engagement.
Google lists the 3 most popular businesses amongst its search results based on its algorithm. Being on this list is extremely valuable as the exposure helps attract customers. Not all consumers will scroll through the entire list of results so being top 3 will result in receiving disproportionately more attention than being 4th on the list. Customer reviews are also important in determining the popularity of businesses as good reviews act as evidence of happy customers.
2. Local directory listings
Listings in local directories can help to improve the business rank. The strategy involves listing your business name, address, number, and website on multiple local directories. This is an outdated strategy but can still work, as long as the listing is on a reputable website such as Yellow Pages, there won’t be any issues with Google. Google does not like spam and spamming local directory listings can result in punitive measures from Google’s algorithm if taken too far.
It is obviously ideal to keep your contact details consistent across multiple directories. However, since directories have for the most part lost their function as actual places to find businesses, it isn’t the end of the world if your contact details on some obscure directory were slightly outdated.
3. On-page SEO
This is arguably one of the most overlooked components of SEO. On-page SEO is the practice of optimising the content on a website such as the meta titles, meta description, headers, subheadings, keywords, URL structure, sitemap, and linking within the website.
Backlinko has a comprehensive guide on on-page SEO which anyone serious about optimising on-page SEO should read. It is a 121-page long blog post which details in excruciating detail how to perfect a website’s on-page SEO. A non-technical business owner would need to dedicate many hours to learning technical on-page SEO instead of growing their business by doing business development.
Local SEO is incredibly powerful for small businesses to target their local area. For small businesses wanting to get a leg up on their local competitors, local SEO is truly the way to go. Mastering SEO isn’t as hard as rocket science but if you are a business owner serious about it, it may be best left to those who do it professionally.
Sitelabs is an Australian digital agency located in Melbourne that specialises in web design and local SEO marketing. If you have any questions about local SEO, please feel free to contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you.