Google’s goal is to provide themost accurate search results to the user in the fastest time possible, and this means giving you the best, most relevant search results which are going to solve your problem.
What exactly are you talking about here?
Local SEO.. we’re talking about the small map on the search results when you search using your mobile device or laptop.
What businesses should care about Local SEO?
Local SEO is extremely important for local businesses. If a user searches for ‘plumber’ or ‘locksmith’, the results they will see on the map are local companies who are in close proximity. So if you work for one of these companies, you want to be optimising for Local SEO.
Some other examples of local businesses: restaurants, painters, plumbers, pest control, counsellors, mechanics etc.
Why does local matter?
Local SEO gives small business a chance to rank.
FACT: For a new company starting out within a competitive industry, its hard to rank on page #1. It can take between 6-12 months to see results.
Larger players with big budgets dominate page 1. They occupy all the top organic spots making it really hard for smaller businesses to get in ear shot. They have bigger budgets and dedicated marketing teams to drive performance.
And we all know, if you’re not on page1 for your desired search term (and really within the top 4), you’re not getting much action.
When you’re a small business without the dedicated focus on SEO, it becomes hard to achieve organic page 1. Then you resort to paid search ads. And depending on how competitive an industry you are in, this can be expensive as hell.
‘personal injury lawyer’, $111 for 1 click…. pretty crazy right!
So, optimizing to appear on the Local Search Map is now the name of the game. This way local businesses gain better visibility, more traffic, and can compete.
Optimizing for local search gives smaller local companies a chance.
Enter, the importance of Google My Business. If you’re not set up with GMB, then you’re missing out BIG! As, you won’t appear on the local search map.
Google My Business
A wise man once said.. if Google owns the ecosystem, (Google.com, GoogleMyBusiness, Google Ads), do everything you can to make them happy. If they provide tools within Google My Business, take advantage of them, and they will reward you.
Google is steaming ahead with tons of tools and updates for the Google My Business platform. Upload photos, publish blog posts, add your company URLs and appointment booking URLs, manage your reviews, and message customers.
Localised Content – building out location pages for each service area. You may have 1 office in 1 location, but you may serve many municipalities. Build a locations page on your website.
Local backlinks – target backlinks from other local businesses, and other associations within the local community. Examples of these would be car garages, churches, local charities, local sports clubs. This can be achieved through partnership, joint events, sponsorship, charity donations.
Reviews – Google wants to show reputable companies in local results. They will aggregate reviews from all review sites, so make sure you’ve got a good balance across Google Reviews, Yelp, Homestars, BBB.org, etc.
Backlinks build credibility and overall Domain Authority. The more links from reputable websites pointing back to yours the better.
Imperial Gem Lab, a Jewelry appraisal company, has a link from Appraisers.org, a leading appraisal association. This quality backlink is adding to the website’s reputation and therefore the domain authority.
As with SEO, no-one truly knows exactly how the PageRank algorithm works, there are only guidelines that Google shares.
However, there is a general consensus amongst the marketing and SEO community about what the top 20 most important elements are.
With Local SEO, there are many experts who constantly test and retest in an attempt to crack the code.
Here are some tips from experts in the field who have seen results by carrying out these Local SEO activities.
Having Google Maps with a location pin on your homepage.
Linking out to your Google My Businesspage from your website
Having multiple review channels – Google will aggregate reviews from each of the individual review sites. Having reviews on Google My business is not enough. Google wants to see strong reviews in Yelp, Homestars, TrustedPros etc.
Schema markup – adding local business Schema. Schema is the language by which google reads the content and architecture of your site. If you give it clues as to what your site it about, Google doesn’t have to figure it out by itself. E.g., Local business, with these opening hours, in this industry, with these phone numbers.
Activity on Google My Business – many SEO consultants are reporting traction when posting content on Google My Business. And some are even now offering it as a service, because they are convinced it’s having an impact on performance. Be sure to include this as part of your social media schedule.
Localised Content – local content related to the areas you are serving. Write a bit about the city and neighbourhoods in relation to the services you offer.
Ads in local search
“I’ve seen ads in the local pack”, can we do that as well?
Yes it’s possible with Google Ads. Navigate to location extensions in your Google Ads account. Learn more
Podcasting for Local SEO
It might not seem that it’s related, but podcast appearances are a very powerful tool in your Local SEO arsenal.
For 1 they provide a solid local backlink.
2. they will typically share across all their social platforms, email database, meaning exposure is pretty damn good.
and 3 podcasts channels will typically try and promote the hell out of their shows to gain listenership. So there are going to give you a great exposure and promotion, for typically 30 minutes of your time
What might result from this is another 4/5 links for their community to your site.