Local SEO (search engine optimisation) is a powerful tool to help build your business by attracting customers who live right in your backyard.
We all know how convenient it is to find an online mega-retailer that stocks everything—all we do is hit a button and presto! We order what we need. Sometimes, yes, we actually get it. But often, the size or colour or item that arrives at our door is incorrect.
Buying local, on the other hand, feels really good. Once we understand that we are keeping our community businesses running, we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction that we are helping to keep our towns thriving.
Wouldn’t you rather support friends and neighbours in your community instead of some faceless big box store owned by a mogul who may even live on another continent? We would. And the Shop Local, Buy Local movement has been swelling as we, across Australia, take pride in our hometown communities.
What does this have to do with SEO, you may be asking? Most customers use online search engines to find the websites for local businesses, so if you’re a small business owner who is not taking advantage of local SEO, you’re leaving money on the table. Or, more precisely, the customers are leaving their money in ANOTHER business owner’s cash register.
If you want local customers to come to you, they need to be able to find you. So how can you use Local SEO to provide customers in your community with a map to your door?
WHAT IS LOCAL SEO? So much of SEO can be confusing and overwhelming, but the definition of Local SEO is pretty straightforward.
Traditional, or organic, SEO has a broad global or national reach. Local SEO keys in on a specific geographic area. It’s an approach to search engine optimisation that helps your business reach customers in your area.
If your business (1) offers goods or services, (2) opens its doors in a physical location, and (3) serves customers in a particular geographical area, then Local SEO is a tool you can use to help bring nearby customers to your store or business.
TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL SEO Optimising your Local SEO is like leaving a trail of electronic breadcrumbs to your business. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are some quick and easy things you can do:
GOOGLE “GOOGLE MY BUSINESS” Google My Business is a free way for you to reach customers and tell them more about your business. It also tells you how customers are engaging with your business. You’ll improve your local search results and your ranking on Google Maps.
If you haven’t already claimed and started managing your Google My Business account, you’re missing out on a no-cost marketing opportunity.
Once your Google My Business page is ready to go, remember to share it through your business’s social media channels.
THE REVIEWS ARE IN
Claiming your Google My Business page also provides an opportunity for you to ask customers to tell others about their terrific experience. Of course, a website is going to say great things about the business, but it means a lot when customers share their reviews and testimonials. Don’t be afraid to reach out to satisfied customers and ask for a testimony you can share.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
For a business with a single location, your website should feature an “About Us” page, which should highlight not only information about your products and services but also establish a sense of place and sense of history.
If you own a restaurant, your “About Us” might talk about when you opened your doors, why you chose that spot, and how you picked some of your favourite menu items. It should also talk about your participation in the neighbourhood food festival every year, establishing your ties to the community.
If you have multiple locations, create a separate page for each one, with content specific to each community.
Of course, your website should include the basics—hours, contact information, maps, directions, and parking information. And be sure the details are easy to find. Potential customers should not have to struggle to get to you.
KEY IN ON THE LOCAL Local keywords are the most applicable to your business. Google’s keyword planner can help you generate lists based upon your particular business type and geographical area. You can then use these keyword phrases to help drive local traffic to your website.
SHOW OFF YOUR CONNECTION TO THE COMMUNITY As a local, you have first-hand insight into your community. You know ways to attract customers that big companies and online retailers can’t match.
If you own a local bookstore and café? Create a blog about local writers and artists. Ask them to be guest bloggers. Talk to notable locals about their favourite books. Help local non-profits by sponsoring their events.
Each business is a little different, so get creative! Every communication with potential customers doesn’t need to shout, “BUY! BUY! BUY!” You know what content will engage your customers and best fit your niche.
GO MOBILE Is your website optimised for the mobile user experience? If not, it should be. Customers will use their phones to find out your location, contact information, your hours, and reviews from other customers.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, potential customers may judge you before they even set foot in your shop. Don’t let their first experience be a negative one.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR LOCAL SEO? If you want to increase your website’s visibility to bring more local customers to your door, contact PWD.
We are Perth’s foremost SEO agency. We offer a free SEO site audit to see what your website does well —which helps us figure out where you might use a little boost.
At PWD, we can help you understand and improve your SEO in general. We’ll increase your search rankings and help your local SEO shine bright.