All too often, businesses and brands fall into the trap of believing that all they need for a successful online presence is a website.
You know, a simple one that you can get your friend’s sister, who’s a web designer, to build for you and at a low price, of course. Or even one that you can build for yourself, because who actually needs a web developer, anyway? Surely it’s not that difficult. If you’re of this opinion, then we hate to break it to you, but you are sadly mistaken. Absolutely, some businesses do only need a simple one-pager website to get them started and can often get away with using an entry-level freelancer to design it. But, regardless of size, design aesthetic and eloquent content, your website has to be optimised, or it may as well not exist.
There are countless tips, tricks and strategies that those “in-the-know” recommend you implement in your optimisation endeavour. Nevertheless, if you’re a local business like a shop, restaurant or often have in-office meetings, local SEO services absolutely have to be at the top of your list.
But wait, What is Local SEO?
It is the process of optimising your website to ensure that people can find your business in real life. Local SEO is not only important for companies that require in-person visits from consumers, but it is also essential for any business that aspires to engage with consumers in the same geographical area as them. Optimisation is considerably easier to achieve when you have a physical address linked to your business. Most SEO specialists will tell you that the primary tool for optimisation is content. And although this is true, local SEO’s impact on your ranking cannot be disregarded.
Achieving an adequate search engine results page ranking is the focus of SEO in a general sense. But with local SEO, it’s about more than just the search engines; social media, word-of-mouth and tangible experiences have a significant role to play in reaching your local audience. If you mention your website and social handles on your offline collateral, this could generate an impressive number of leads.
So, Where Should I Start? And Which Tools Would you Recommend?
Since Google is the preferred search engine among today’s internet users, it makes sense to use tools created by them. Google My Business (GMB), is just that. A highly sophisticated product, GMB has become an integral part of optimising businesses online.
There are a couple of steps to follow in the process of setting your business up with GMB. These include verifying your physical address, inputting primary business information such as your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and ensuring your business info is consistent across all corners of the internet. Selecting the right business category and adding images of your business and indicating your trading hours is essential as well. These are not the only important factors that contribute to your Google ranking. Although technically they’re not in your control, two other influential factors that you should know about — the proximity of your business to the search location of your potential consumers, and then whether or not you have an address in the city that your prospective consumer is from.
Where to from here, now that I understand Local SEO and the importance of Google My Business?
Here’s a checklist of the local SEO basics that you need to know:
1. Become The Influencer
Social media affects every aspect of our daily lives, whether we like it or not. As such, establishing, growing and maintaining an account on at least one of the major ones is incredibly important. Once established, leverage this following to feed traffic back to your site via link sharing in bios and feed posts.
2. Links and Listings That Work
Local businesses must prioritise link and listings help algorithms find your site, and quality directly impacts your Google search score.
3. Retain Reviews
Everybody can recall at least one horror story of a bad brand review gone viral. And we can all agree that nobody wants to be the brand on the receiving end of consumer grievances. Unfortunately, the damage caused by a bad review is not limited to their amount of views. You see, if you’ve done the job right your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information will be consistent across rating houses and effectively tie all subsequent scores to your business as listed on Google My Business.
As a business owner today, you have to think smart when it comes to local SEO as the number of mobile searches conducted is increasing daily. When you use a local SEO strategy, your audience can get information about your business based on their location and yours.