Does the dreaded word 'Local SEO' jumble your brain?
Do you want your local business to rank higher on Google but not sure how to?
Do you find most of the SEO tips and guides you read online hard to follow?
Well look no further because I've spoken to many small business owners like yourself who are experiencing the same problem.
With these 32 easy to follow local SEO tips, you'll be impressing yourself (and your customers) within no time at all!
Any local SEO tip list is useless unless you have a well designed website to start with.
For your website to rank well, the visitors to your website need to have a great experience.
So what does that mean?
That means making it easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and making it mobile friendly.
Which in turn, makes it local SEO friendly!
TAKE ACTION: Get a friend or family member to look at your website with fresh eyes. Ask them how easy they find it to use and how you can improve it for your visitors.
As I just mentioned, making your website mobile friendly is super important nowadays for local SEO.
Having a mobile friendly site is the most popular strategy I implement.
The number of mobile users continues to grow and the number of desktop users are dwindling.
Think to yourself, how often do you use your phone to look at websites?
This information means that having a mobile friendly website is not a option anymore...
It's a necessity!
TAKE ACTION: Have a look at how your website looks on your mobile phone. Make a list of the most important information you want to appear first and rearrange your pages to match this.
Blogs are fantastic for search engines and more importantly, local SEO!
Search engines just lap up blogs because they offer fresh, relevant, timely and unique content.
Most likely, you're not updating your website pages very often but a blog means regular and new pages.
To a search engine robot, if you're updating your website frequently - then your business must be doing well!
To the robot, you must be serving your customers well and they reward you for it...
By boosting your ranking on Google!
Isn't local SEO simple and great?
TAKE ACTION: Jot down 10 ideas for blog articles. Think about the products or services you offer and how the expertise you know can help your customers. For example, if you own a cleaning company, why not create a spring cleaning checklist?
So many small business owners get super excited about their website that they forget about the crucial elements!
Why did you create your website in the first place?
I bet one of the main reasons was so that they could contact you and find you easier.
Make it easy for customers to do this by putting it as the first thing that they see!
You don't want to make it difficult for customers to find this important information.
TAKE ACTION: Put your business number and address in your website header NOW! It's as simple as that.
Every business owner knows how much influence a good or bad review can have on their local SEO rankings.
Reviews and testimonials are a key component when a potential customer is looking for you online.
So it's really important to have them everywhere: on your website, on Facebook, on Google, on Yelp and any other social media platforms you have.
If you're wondering if reviews really matter, think back to a time a bad review influenced you not to choose a company.
I know I can.
The number of reviews you have impacts how high you rank on Google.
TAKE ACTION: Ask your regular customers if they wouldn't mind leaving you a review. If you have a good relationship with them, they really won't mind helping you out at all.
It's very easy to set up websites now.
Anyone can do it.
Including elusive scammers.
Making sure your website has a contact page with your physical address, telephone number, business hours and directions tells both your customers and the search engine robots that you're a legitimate website.
An example of a contact page done well is Chalmers HB in Wells.
Their page includes their phone number, email address, physical address, a map and local car parking.
TAKE ACTION: Have a look at local businesses with great websites and see how they've presented their contact page for some inspiration!
There are people who have always and will always put www before a web address.
However, there are a lot of other people now who, for ease of access, don't put www.
You want to make sure you're getting both sets of traffic.
The last thing you want to happen is for someone to come across a "Not Found" error message.
To do this, you need to verify ownership of both your www and non-www website addresses.
I know it sounds complicated but this helpful answer from Google will help!
TAKE ACTION: Type into Google your website with www in front and then without it to see how it appears for your customers.
Having a website gives you access to customers you never knew you could have.
Being online means that 24/7/365, people can find information on your business.
Pretty great huh?
To make sure you're reaching as many people as possible, a little something called 'Keyword Research' comes into play.
Keywords are like a compass for the search engines and are great for local SEO.
They tell the little robots what your site is about so they're able to send the right people to your website.
If your business is a butchers, you want people to come to your website who are interested in buying meat or learning about different cuts of meat or how much to use for a dish.
So using keywords around those areas show the search engines the kind of people you're looking to attract.
TAKE ACTION: Read this fantastic guide from Backlinko about Keyword Research.
Do your very best to create original content for each of your web pages.
Google isn't stupid and will know if you've plagiarised directly from another website.
And they will penalise you for it by lowering your rank.
I know a lot of business owners struggle to get their writer hat on but it's really as simple as imagining that you're talking directly to your customers.
? How would describe what you do?
? How are you better than your competitors?
? What are common questions your customers ask?
TAKE ACTION: Have a look over your existing website and think how a customer with no knowledge about your products/services would interpret it? Would it be helpful for them?
This as simple as making sure that each page is targeting the relevant keyword.
And we do this by creating a nice little spreadsheet with the columns: Page / URL / Primary Keyword / 2nd Keyword / 3rd Keyword / Total Searches.
The point of doing this is that when your customers are searching on Google, your relevant pages come up.
Each webpage on your lovely website exists for a reason.
Mapping is just a process of looking at each one deciding what answers it offers visitors and why it exists.
TAKE ACTION: Create a spreadsheet with each of your webpages in and jot down the top keywords for each one. Check if each page is really optimised for each keyword.
Google rewards websites with clean URLs.
Meaning they'll push your website up the rankings!
What is a clean URL?
Well, using this post as an example, I used the URL:
Rather than using a messy URL like:
See how much better the first URL looks?
TAKE ACTION: Go through each of your URLs and check if they're clean. If they need improving, try and change them to your keyword for the page. (Just make sure the webpages don't disappear and if they do, use a simple 404 redirect plugin to fix them).
Google considers page meta titles one of the top elements when trying to determine what type of business you are.
For example: if you're a butchers, Google expect you to have the word "butchers" in your title.
If you're trying to rank for "Butchers Wells", then you need to have that somewhere in your title.
You should also have a unique title for each page to optimise your local SEO.
Even if they are similar, try to give them their own title so that Google can tell the difference between each page.
TAKE ACTION: Have a look at each page title on your website currently and see how you can improve them using this tip.
Along with titles, Google next looks your meta descriptions.
The meta description is what appears in a Google result right below the title.
So you want to make this enticing, but easy to understand.
A Google robot is going to be looking at these to judge what your website is about.
You need to make the description easy for the robot to understand so they rank you for keywords, but enticing so a human reader will want to click on your page.
TAKE ACTION: Have a look at each page description on your website. Can they be improved?
It's super important for your webpages to be structured.
What I mean by this is to have clear headings that explain what the page is about.
Visitors won't read what's going on without scanning the headlines first.
So we want to make sure we have important keywords in each heading.
And remember, keywords that your target audience are searching for.
What information do you think your visitors are looking for when they come to your website?
TAKE ACTION: Visit each webpage and give yourself just 5 seconds to glance through the page. Then look away from your screen and jot down what bits of information you got from the page. Is this what you want your visitors to learn from that page?
An alt tag is used in your images to describe what that image is about.
And why are they important?
Because those Google robots can't actually see your picture.
So they use this alt tags to detect what the image is about.
They want to see if that image is relevant to the text on the page.
TAKE ACTION: Check that each of your images on your webpages are using the keywords you set for that page.
The longer a visitor is on your website, the greater value Google deems that your website has.
It makes sense - if people are staying longer, you're offering them value.
To do this, a simple trick is to link between your pages.
If someone is on your website reading about your services, they might be really interested in a blog post you wrote recently about a similar topic.
So drop a link in there!
Make it super easy for your visitor to get lost browsing your website.
Keep an eye on your links however.
Google penalises websites with bad structure.
Error links = bad structure.
TAKE ACTION: Go through each page and see if you can drop at least 2 internal links per page.
Everyone is on Facebook now.
I challenge you to name more than that one "unique" person who isn't on Facebook.
You know who I'm talking about!
Having your business on Facebook adds credibility and shows Google that you're a legitimate business.
And it's such a simple way to boost your local SEO!
TAKE ACTION: Make sure all your information is on your Facebook Business Page. If you don't have one, go and set one up RIGHT NOW!
Doing this helps you in a few ways:
1. As we just discussed, it helps build credibility.
2. It makes it easier for your customers to find you.
3. It helps uniquely define you to other businesses in search engines. (There might be another business with the same name as you at the other end of the country).
TAKE ACTION: Simple - go add your physical address now!
The most credible Google ranking factor is Google itself.
Having a Google Places page will boost your local SEO with Google.
It's great because it also gives you a nice big box on the search results.
TAKE ACTION: Set up a Google+ account and add your business.
Having a physical address on Google Places brings you up on their maps.
So if someone is searching for a lawyer's office locally, it means your office will show up.
Having a physical address on here will help Google identify your business and again (you guessed it) add credibility.
TAKE ACTION: Add your address now!
By adding your website to Google Places, when a visitor finds your business - you are giving them a chance to find out more about you.
Again, don't make it harder for your visitors to find information on you!
Customers hate ambiguity nowadays so appeal to that.
TAKE ACTION: Make sure your website is linking on your Google Place page.
Adding a category (or categories) helps Google understand what type of business you are.
Remember, Google is clever but make it easy by handing them all the information they need on a platter.
TAKE ACTION: Add a category now.
Adding pictures to your Google Place page is just another tool you can use to persuade visitors to click on your website.
If you're showing up on a visitors search results, having pictures are a great visual aid to assure them that you are the business they are looking for.
Don't just put any pictures online though.
Put pictures on that showcase the most attractive part about your business.
Show some personality!
Make sure you're using every capability to increase your local SEO!
TAKE ACTION: Brainstorm what you can showcase. Is it your storefront warm and inviting? Are your employees friendly looking?
You can add a great little quick and easy to digest introduction explaining about your business.
Make it sound enticing - that a visitor just has to find out more about you!
TAKE ACTION: How would you explain your business to a friend in just a couple sentences? Use that for your introduction. It will be personable and friendly.
This may seem like insignificant on the grand scale of things, but it's super important.
A huge amount of customers go online to check what time you're open.
Be helpful to them!
And if you're helpful,as we discussed earlier, Google will boost your local SEO because they think you're serving your customer well.
TAKE ACTION: Double check if your hours are correct already. Or if they're not up, add them!
The Yellow Pages aren't dead yet.
It's positive to have another outlet to verify your credibility.
And for customers to be able to review you.
TAKE ACTION: Sign up now just like you did for Google Places.
It's always a great idea to get ahead of reviews and ask your existing or previous customers to leave a review.
Most people are happy to.
You just need to again make it easy for them.
Send them an email with the link and explain it only takes a few minutes to do.
This should be part of your ongoing strategy.
Never stop asking for reviews.
TAKE ACTION: Write a list of your customers you've served in the last 6 months and reach out to them.
From a search engine point of view, Google would expect a legitimate business to be responding to reviews.
Especially negative ones.
Google rewards businesses that serve their customers well.
And this means actively replying to all reviews that come through.
From a customer service point of view, you should always reply to reviews.
Don't see these as negative experiences but a chance to reflect on the way you work.
I know sometimes you can just get complete morons but...
The customer is always right!
(Well, we make them think that).
TAKE ACTION: Go and see what reviews you have already. If you aren't replying, reply to the last ten that were left.
Most importantly, you need to be using Google Search Console.
Google Search Console allows you to make sure Google can access your content.
You can submit a sitemap so Google knows what pages are on your website.
It also gives you tips on how well your website is performing!
TAKE ACTION: Sign up for Google Search Console and see what it says about your website.
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