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If you offer products or services in a locale (as opposed to exclusively online), then listen up. From shops and restaurants to personal trainers and plumbers, local SEO needs to be a high priority on your marketing to-do list. You could be missing out on so much local web traffic if not!

Using local SEO to your advantage requires some know-how; and we are here to furnish you with just that. Here is everything you need to know about local SEO, including our top local SEO tips.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO looks to improve your search engine rankings in the area in which you operate. In essence, it allows the people who are looking for what you do in the area you do it in to find you online. By following local SEO best practice, businesses can improve organic traffic generated by searches made by customers in their area.

Why is local SEO essential to your business?

There are several ways in which local SEO can have a positive effect on bricks-and-mortar establishments, or service-based local businesses Here are some of the benefits of local SEO:

It drives physical traffic

For businesses with physical premises, you need people through the door in order to earn money, so the awareness of you that’s raised by appearing in local searches makes you top of the list to visit.

It drives online traffic

By boosting your search visibility, users will find your online shop window easily when they’re searching for the products or services that you offer.

It increases credibility

By appearing in more searches through good local SEO practices, your credibility is boosted and there’s more chance of getting referrals, particularly if you have the positive reviews to go with it.

It saves money

Advertising is pretty expensive, but following local SEO practices is relatively inexpensive, so it’s a no-brainer to include it in your marketing strategy.

Understanding local SEO and your customers

Leveraging local SEO means understanding what your nearby potential customers are searching for. For example, if you’re a plumber, people in your area may be searching for ‘plumber near me’, which prompts Google to show local plumbers in their area. What would your customers be looking for? This is how you determine their search intent.

Our TOP 10 tips to boost local SEO

Ready to get cracking on your local SEO strategy? Here are our SEO tips for local businesses:

Optimise your local listing profiles

Remember how we used to consult telephone directories? Online local listings are the modern equivalent. These are the popular places online where you want your business to be showing up:

Google Business Profile is a big one, and it can have a huge bearing on your local SEO success. We wrote a whole guide to optimising your Google Business Profile listing, but our main tips include:

  • Create or ‘claim’ your business
  • Populate your profile 
  • Update it with the correct info 
  • Encourage reviews
  • Add some images 

Conduct local keyword research

Using your content to target local keywords is an essential part of being found by people in your area. Decide on keywords you should be targeting by using a tool such as Ahrefs to find out what people are searching for - guessing is no good!

Create content that is locally relevant

Using those keywords, create content that resonates with users in your area. The forms of content you create could be:

Blog posts

Use blog posts to cover topics that will interest the community you serve, whether it be local news, FAQs, case studies, or events.

Guides and tutorials

These permanent pieces of content are highly searchable, and can cleverly contain local keywords. Think how-tos and step-by-steps.

Product descriptions

Detailed information about the products or services you offer locally present a great opportunity to naturally cover both long and short tail keywords.

Local SEO link building

Backlinks are something like SEO gold dust - a respected website links back to your content, signalling to Google that you’re worth prioritising in the SERPs because you have useful things to say. We’ve shared our backlinking best practices before, and with link building for local SEO, you should apply these to high quality local websites. These local link building best practices include:

  • Create quality, helpful content 
  • Work within your niche 
  • Connect with local journalists 

Online reviews

The reputational benefits of online reviews speak for themselves, but did you know that they can also have an impact on your SEO, particularly in a local sense? Improve your local SEO with reviews by doing the following thing:

Managing the reviews you get

Responding to the reviews you receive isn’t only good customer service by signalling a genuine interest in their feedback and making their experience better if necessary, but it also shows Google that you’re an active business too. Try to reply to reviews within 24 hours of them being posted, ensure your response is personalised and offer a thank you or an apology as necessary, and follow up if the reviewer responds to your response.

Encouraging more reviews

During interactions with customers, make them aware of how much you value their thoughts on the experience they had with your business, and encourage them to leave reviews. Then, respond as above, and know that you’re doing all you can to address customer feedback, and improve SEO through Google reviews.

Optimise your website for mobile search

It’s been reported that nearly 60% of local search happens on a smartphone, which is a huge reason to optimise your site for mobile devices - as if you needed one! Your site should adjust to the size of any device’s screen, with text and navigation that scales to a readable and usable size too.

Use schema markup data

Schema markup is often referred to as structured data, and it’s code that helps search engines understand what’s on a webpage. Schema is added to the ‘back end’ of the website with the rest of the HTML, so it’s cleverly hidden from the user, but still readable to Google. It works particularly well for local SEO, because you’re able to input information such as opening hours, location and contact information.

Make sure your NAP information is up to date

Name, Address and Phone number - that’s what we mean by NAP! Failing to update this can lead to customer disappointment and or frustration, so it’s good practice to keep these current - as we know, a good user experience can only mean good things for your rankings.

Post to your local listings regularly

You can share posts and photos to your local listings like you would a social media platform, showing both local customers and Google that your business is…well, open for business!

Add location pages to your website

We will sing the praises of location pages all day long here at 427 - they just work so well. Creating location pages that are genuinely helpful to users in that location, including specific information about areas within that location umbrella and what you offer there, can have huge benefits to your SEO.

We work with a local drainage client with teams across the South of the UK - by creating location pages for each of the major towns and surrounding areas that they serve, we’re aiming to cover all bases when it comes to relevant local search.

Before you write this content, do local keyword research so you know you’re targeting terms that local customers are searching for.

Need help with your local SEO?

We’re proud to include local SEO services in the package of SEO activities that we offer to our clients, and as we work with both product and service-based local businesses (both in Sussex and beyond), we flex this muscle very often indeed. If you’d like to get in front of people near you, give us a call - we can help get your local SEO off the ground, aiming for those top spots in local search results.

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About Chris Simmons

Chris is our onpage SEO Specialist at 427 Marketing, having joined the team in early 2023. He works with our content team to cover the 4 pillars of SEO; content, onpage SEO, technical SEO and offpage SEO. Prior to joining the 427 Marketing team, Chris spent almost 10 years applying his SEO and content skills across several different industries in marketing agency and inhouse roles including tool hire, auctioneering, health care within the NHS and high end luxury retail in both B2B and B2C capacities. His passion for writing, content, UX, technical and on page SEO has expanded our content offerings, helping provide reliable advice about all things SEO to 427 Marketing.

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