By now, most businesses that have an online presence should understand the value of search engine optimisation (SEO). It is the primary means whereby businesses can drive traffic to their online assets, and connect with customers in their most important markets. Still, all too many businesses apply a generalised approach to SEO on their websites, which may not be the most effective thing to do.
Instead, there’s a pretty good case to be made that businesses should be placing greater emphasis on local SEO tactics, as they stand a better chance of connecting with valuable market segments. First, there’s the fact that almost half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, from users that are on the go and looking for hyperlocal information. Then, there’s the prediction that almost three-quarters of internet users will only use mobile devices for internet access by the year 2025.
Still not convinced? Consider that Google’s own search statistics indicate that almost a full third of mobile searches have local intent. That adds up to a whole lot of opportunities for businesses to connect to motivated, local consumers who are actively looking for them. For that reason, local SEO should be top of mind for businesses looking to supercharge their online presence.
Here are four ways they can do it:
1. Create and Populate a Google My Business Account
Since local search visibility is the goal, and Google is the undisputed king of the search mountain, the first place to start for local SEO is to create a Google My Business Account. This is the primary way that search users find local businesses. With an address or other location data added to Google, any time a mobile user (or even a desktop user) searches for a topic related to the business, there’s a good chance Google will include that business in its three-pack of relevant local results. The same holds true for users that conduct searches with Google’s other tools like Maps – local businesses get preference there too.
2. Get Listed in Local Directories and Citation Sites
One of the major factors that determine which businesses thrive in local search results is how many times the search engines find it listed in local business directories, and how consistent the entries are. For that reason, it’s important to get listed in as many local directories and citation sites as possible.
Be aware, however, that many of these sites will include user feedback and review sections, so each one with a business listing must be monitored and maintained to avoid any negative information ruining the business’s reputation. For small businesses, this can be quite a chore, but it’s also a great way to engage with customers and build solid social proof.
3. Localise Web Properties
If you’ve ever done a search for a local business, you may have noticed that the first page of results will often include sites that mention the specific location the search originated from. To take advantage of that, it’s a good idea to modify all business web pages to include a title that mentions the location being targeted. It’s an even better tactic to create location-specific landing pages for each area the business serves. Mattress firm Ecosa is a perfect example of this tactic. Their site includes a custom-designed page for every major Australian city – so no matter where their customers search from, they’ll see a page that’s tailored to their specific location.
4. Include Location-Specific Structured Data
One of the more recent innovations that Google uses to deliver accurate and useful results to searchers is their inclusion of structured data from indexed pages. That means website owners can now include specific information within their websites such as products, services, and service locations, and tag that data in a way that highlights it for Google’s web crawlers. It’s something that almost half of all websites neglect to do, so it presents a unique opportunity for businesses to improve their local search results performance in a targeted, specific way. Google even provides a data highlighting tool that makes the process of marking out an existing site simple, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of it.
Show Up Where Customers Are
Any business that takes the time to focus on local SEO tactics should find that they’re able to tap into their local market in a much more effective way. With more users seeking out companies in their local areas via mobile device searches, this will soon be an absolute necessity for any company that hopes to thrive in the coming years. The good news is that the basics of local SEO aren’t hard to tackle, and the tactics provided here should make it a cinch for any business to get started right away.
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