Local SEO – How to Rocket your Rankings?

Are you new to SEO and don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you just need some guidance on the new algorithm updates in recent months. If you are a local business that wants to get noticed in search engines and generate more customers, you have to understand Local SEO. Without Local SEO, your business will not be able to take advantage of the local online demand for your products or services.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a branch of SEO that specifically deals with search engine optimisation for local businesses. Undertaking an effective Local SEO campaign will allow your business to appear on Page 1 of Google’s search engine results pages, both in the “Map Pack” and the “Organic Listings”.

There have been a lot of changes in the SEO world over the last several years, especially for local SEO with the possum update which was rolled out in September 2016. We’ve created a list of important dos’ and don’t’s for local SEO to help your company dominate the local rankings.

Quick and Simple tips:

  • Duplicate Google My Business listings cause more visibility problems than ever before
  • Third party reviews have more weight
  • Category confusion causes more problems that it did before
  • Industry related links carry more weight
  • Review content is more important
  • Proximity gained a lot of weight
  • Unique content isn’t good enough anymore as everyone is doing it so your content actually needs to be local.
  • Use local structured data markup (schema.org markup)- this can be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, services you offer and so on.

How to rank in the map pack?

So everyone wants to be here, but it is increasingly difficult to get there! Here’s a few of our top tips:

  • The #1 ranking factor is now proximity of address to point of search
  • Physical address in city of search is now the #2 ranking factor
  • Inks still matter more than anything else
  • Local links are the most valuable whether it is a follow or a nofollow link
  • You don’t need to worry as much about domain authority or trust flow

Ideas for local links

  • Local sponsorships
  • Local volunteer opportunities
  • Local offline groups
  • Neighborhood watch groups
  • Look at link profiles for similar businesses in other cities
  • Target your competitors links! They are easy to get and will be devalued for your competitors
  • But remember, don’t point all your links at your homepage

Content elements to rank for local

  • Put the city in the title tag
  • Put the city in the H1 heading
  • Include the city in the page content
  • Include the city in the image alt text
  • Include the city in the URL
  • Include the city in the meta description
  • You have to post on your blog regularly but also things that people will actually want to read
  • Ensure you’re sharing links to blog posts on social media
  • Use local content silos to rank in other cities

Citation Signals

  • Citations aren’t as powerful as they used to be, but they’re a foundational tactic that should be completed
  • Your business needs to be listed where Google epects it to be listed,
  • Incorrect/duplicate citation info sends a bad signal to Google

Google My Business Signals

  • You must claim your location
  • You must use local phone number and it must match the number on your site
  • Make sure your include UTM tracking code on your GMB website URL

Review Signals

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews before choosing a company to buy from
  • Spread your reviews between Google, industry sites, Facebook and Yelp

Final Tips for Local SEO and your overall digital marketing

  • Have you carried out keyword research through AdWords keyword planner? This will help you to identify keywords you want to appear for, what people are searching for and help you with content ideas for your website
  • Have you looked at competitor benchmarking? Who is doing well and what are they doing?
  • Google trends is a great and FREE tool, so use it
  • Have you ran a site audit on your website to ensure everything is correct?
  • Do you have Google analytics set-up?
  • Do you have Google Search Console set-up?

If you have any questions on local SEO, or if you’d like to talk in more detail, give us a call or fill out our contact form.