A surprisingly big topic in 2015 was that of the success of local businesses. It was the year that saw an increasing trend in ‘pop-up’ shops and even US giants Amazon opened their first bricks and mortar store.
It’s not difficult to see why as well. The study from Yodle below shows that national chains can’t
compete with local businesses on personalizing service, being trustworthy and service in general.
When consumers want to find these businesses as well, the internet is the main source. Therefore not turning up in relevant results relating to your business is a big no-no! There are many advantages of appearing in local search, the biggest provided by Google says that “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day”.
That’s a staggeringly positive statistic for local companies and when you bear in mind that competition is much less fierce locally, this can be very promising. Local SEO is not only powerful but it’s incredibly easy for even the least technical person to implement. So what can be done…
- List your business on Google My Business. This ensures you are discoverable on Maps, Search & Google+
- Get your NAP sorted, that’s Name, Address and Phone. Ensuring these are consistent on all site pages and directories is vital
- List yourself on more directions. Check out Moz Local for this. This includes sites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Local, Foursquare and Manta
The only technical aspect of listing your details is applying a Schema markup to your website. This is essentially a piece of code that needs to applied to the footer of your website.
All you have to do is change the capitals to match your business. This just makes it easier for search engines to interpret the information on your web pages and ensure you are shown for all relevant searches.
[color-box]<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<p itemprop=”name”>COMPANY NAME</p>
<p itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<p itemprop=”streetAddress”>ADDRESS LINE 1</p>
<p itemprop=”telephone”>PHONE NUMBER</p>
<meta itemprop=”latitude” content=”LATITUDE” />
<meta itemprop=”longitude” content=”LONGITUDE” />
It’s also a good idea to add a Google Map to your ‘Contact Us’ page on your website. The benefits of this are that consumers can instantly see reviews and most importantly can get directions to your place in just one click.
Optimal Local Landing Page
For the ‘Contact Us’ page there are number of things you can do to boost local traffic to your site and also generate an element of trust.
- Use local keyword e.g Swansea, in your URL, heading tag, title tag and within content where appropriate
- Include a testimonial like the one above
- Have reviews on other sites? Include links to Trustpilot, Yelp, Google review etc
- Picture of staff
- Contact Form with call to action
The importance of reviews for your business is vital for your whole business, but it takes extra prominence when it comes to local searches. As we touched on earlier business and external signals are extremely important when optimising for local search, whereas they aren’t such a high priority for national search.
Below is a list from Moz that highlights the important factors for local search.
With reviews your priority should be Google Reviews as this helps you rank higher when people search locally for your business. See example below.
However you shouldn’t solely rely on Google Reviews. Yelp for example is used by Apple Maps and that is used 3.5 times more than Google Maps.
To get this off the ground ask your current customer base to leave reviews for you. To make it easier create a landing page on your site with instructions on how they can leave a review. This great free review handout from Whitespark is a brilliant tool to direct the uninitiate to leave a review.
It also helps to generate some Adwords for your keywords as well. Using an exact match such as “Product + Location” would also ensure that the CPC is quite low. The benefits of Adwords as well is that…
- Use location extensions
- Call button extension for mobile
The call extension for mobile is very important when you consider that the clickthrough rate for mobile is much higher than desktop. For the first result on mobile it is 27.7% as opposed to desktop which is 19.3%.
Furthermore with mobile a Google study showed that 1 in 3 smartphone searches were made just before a consumer visited the store. Have you ensured your site is mobile friendly if you not sure, check out Google’s mobile friendly tool.
As we saw earlier from the study by Moz link building is the second highest metric when it comes to local SEO. Here’s a few tips to ensure you are getting good links back to your site and a few that also have a local intention.
- Do you have suppliers that could link to you? In the example below Stanley Bostitch don’t sell directly to the public, therefore Packability gets all site traffic from this specific Carton Stapler
- Have any local competition? Use a site like Monitor Backlinks to check what links are pointing to their site
- Check out Meetup.com, where you can search for a list of local events relevant to your business. You can contact the site owners then and ask about potential sponsorships. This will give you a link back to your site as well then
- Have a good working relationship with local businesses? Ask them to add a link on their site. Alternatively give a discount to other businesses who would be willing to participate in a link exchange
- Sign up to Journo Requests. This service is free and you’re emailed every day with requests from journalists. A lot of these have local intention as well. These are all taken from Twitter, so make sure you have a personal Twitter account to be able to reply to them