Local SEO Services
What is local SEO? How does it work? Should I be doing it?
These are some of the questions we hear a lot. Read on to learn more.
What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimising your website for a specific region or area. If you are a local business it is fair to say that you are primarily looking for local customers. More often than not these customers will have as selection of local businesses that they can choose from, whether they're a barber shop, a cafe, an estate, or anything in between. Each customer that searches is a potential lead for your business and so your visibility in a local search is crucial.
There are are a few basics to get covered before you start to feature higher up in search rankings. The first thing to organise is a quality website.
A web page should be the first thing on your list when it comes to optimisation for local SEO. An online presence helps promote your brand, gives you web visibility, and ultimately helps you to drive traffic to your company or service. Websites are digital marketing 101 and they should follow a simple set of rules. A site should:
1) Be user-friendly
2) Contain relevant information about your products or services
3) Contain keywords that relate to your company or service (words users enter as search terms)
4) Provide methods of contact such as a phone number and address (so people can get in touch)
5) Load quickly
All of the above contribute to a better quality customer experience. Nowadays Google is much closer to being human than most people realise. It understands what it takes for a website to provide value to customers and it will rank you (along with other search engines such as Bing) accordingly. Local search engine optimization, such as getting your website in order, will soon mean that those searchers become potential leads for your business.
A local SEO agency such as FCAB Digital will take the time working on your local search engine optimisation and your website to ensure that you are visible online. Any digital marketing agency or SEO services business should be constantly reviewing your web presence against the criteria above and looking to improve your visibility.
Business Profile and Local Search
Google Business Profile is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to local marketing and local SEO. How often have you been out and about only to think of a service you may need (such as a restaurant or a supermarket)?
Most keywords for search queries like this look something like 'X near me' and this will ask Google to check for local businesses associated with the variable of 'X'. The search engine will act as a local search engine and provide you with a list of the following:
-their location (particularly important -for brick and mortar businesses)
-contact details (including a link to your website)
When it comes to local SEO and local SEO services, ensuring that this information is a) visible and b) accurate is essential. Your Google Business Profile listing provides all of this information when prompted to do so by customers as they submit search queries relating to a local business search.
It should be noted that other search engines as Bing offer their own equivalents and these work in a similar way to Google. Bing Places for Business utilises the same information though the reviews data (as well as company information) is pulled more readily from other areas such as Facebook and Yell. You can work on this separately however and it is recommended that you do to ensure that the listing is accurate. A Bing Places for Business listing should form part of your local SEO strategy.
It is worth noting at this point that any information included in your Google Business Profile listing will be included on Google Maps (as long as the address information is accurate!) Anyone looking at a view of the local area will be able to your locate your business on the map and, really handily, will be able to use the 'directions' function of Google Maps to make their way to your store or service location.
Whilst all of the local information contained in a listing is relevant to a local search query it won't mean much if the content in the listing doesn't match what is on your website. Local SEO and SEO services will ensure that the accuracy of content such as this is up to date, meaning that you and your team are free to focus on running the business location.
At FCAB Digital we realise that this is another element to worry about on the virtual landscape. Our specialists work tirelessly to ensure that all of the information relating to your business is up to date and in sync so that your online presence works for you, rather than the other way round.
Reviews and Local SEO
The bane of most local businesses - a million customers served and 999,990 are happy with the service they received. Those 10 negatives reviews however...
Let's talk about it. One of the first things people do when looking for a local business (this is particularly true of restaurants) is look for a review. That negative feedback can be a pain however all is not lost. The easiest way to cancel out the negatives with the positives is to simply provide customers with an easy way of writing a review for you. By the law of averages, if you are a local business providing a good service then the more reviews you receive, the greater the percentage of positive feedback.
Google's Business Profile provides people with space to leave your business a review. As we say to our hairdressing clients, if you've got customers sitting in your chair, ask them to write you a review. They're not going anywhere whilst you've got a pair of scissors in your hand! This will then feed in to the authority of your business' online presence and when users perform a local search, they are more likely to come across your local web presence as opposed to your competitor's.
For some trade businesses such as carpenters and hair stylists, review information can be displayed in the meta text of your Google listing (as opposed to the Business Profile listing alone). In these cases the review information is often pulled from review websites such as Checkatrade or Fresha. Whist this information doesn't necessarily directly influence your positioning in search results it is more likely that someone will click on the link to your website or listing. This in turn tells Google that your website is of interest to people and will automatically raise the value of your ranking in their algorithm. Local SEO thrives on your ability to oversee these individual elements and do so promptly, all whilst running your own local business. This is another reason for why local SEO services are worth investing time looking in to.
A huge part of local SEO, as with SEO services in general, is keyword research. The keywords you use have direct impact on your local SEO and spending time thinking about your services, the words and phrases that associate with your business, and the search terms users may use to find them, is vitally important. Whilst it's likely that your website will appear higher in SERPs if people enter your company or brand name, your search engine optimisation depends on the content of your website and its relevance to your company as a whole.
Websites such as Neil Patel's Ubersuggest offer some free insight in to keywords and local SEO strategy. Most keyword research doesn't come for free and so if you're just starting out and fancy dipping your toes in the water, websites such as this and videos on YouTube are a good place to start.
Naturally a large part of local SEO is mentioning the location or locations that you serve (something you will also be asked to list in a Google Business Profile. Google is particularly good at calculating the relevance of information related to a company. If you own a clothing store in Manchester, to claim that you serve the community of Southampton is likely to be noted as not being local to your location and possibly evidence of keyword stuffing. This, in turn, will harm your local SEO optimisation and your local SEO strategy.
Investing time investigating this aspect of digital marketing is time well-spent. Keywords and your associated SEO campaign is a powerful mix of quantity and quality. FCAB SEO and other local SEO services will help to save you time when it comes to managing the most important part of your web visibility.
One of the most common misconceptions about social media is that the backlinks from site such as Facebook or Twitter are counted in the same way as a backlink from a high-authority domain. In theory this would have a huge impact on local SEO. However, according to Gary Illyes, Chief of 'Sunshine and Happiness' at Google (read: expert in webmaster trends and analysis), Google doesn't count these two things as equals and so that leaves us wondering: how does social media impact SEO? If it doesn't work in the same way that traditional backlinks do then how can it affect rankings and optimisation?
Social engagement comes in many different shapes and sizes and it can affect SEO, and similarly, local SEO in varying ways. Firstly, by publishing informative and interesting content on your website and social channels, you are increasing the value of your brand. In doing this, you are actively encouraging higher traffic to visit your web page and the more engaging the content, the longer people are spending on your website. This is significant for Google as the longer people spend on your website, the more valuable your domain is considered to be and if users are clicking on to other areas, you are decreasing your bounce rate.
Secondly, social platforms are very well optimised. They are huge domains that house a wide variety of content. If you are posting valuable and highly-shared content, your space on a page of these social hubs can link directly through search results.
Thirdly, the reach of social media sites and digital communities can once more affect your local SEO through the power of brand marketing. If people note your social presence and you are providing viral content you are more likely to generate backlinks via a third party blog or website. If this happens then it will directly impact upon your SEO and local SEO as a result. Link building is a core part of calculated SEO value.
Social channels and their impact on SEO is a well-aired debate in digital marketing and local SEO services. In short, the key takeaway is that whilst it doesn't have a direct impact on your SEO or local SEO, it contributes indirectly. In addition to this, brand exposure is always a thing!
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What does a local SEO company do?
A local SEO company will work to make your business more visible to the local community on search engines such as Google.
Local SEO is often handled by different SEO and digital marketing agencies. Most agencies do things slightly differently so it is important to find a partner who understands your business.
What is the difference between SEO and Local SEO?
What kind of business can use local SEO?
Any business that welcomes customers from the local community see the most benefit from local SEO. B2B businesses can also benefit from local SEO if their industry is typically searched for using localised keywords.
How do I do a local SEO audit?
Read the information above to completed a local SEO audit on yourself, or otherwise give us a call on 02034 889 116 and we'd be happy to help.