What is Local SEO?
Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website for local search results relevant to both your business and your area.
This process focuses specifically on ranking your business within your town or area and, due to their massive UK and Ireland market share, we will be focusing this blog on ranking specifically for Google search results.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
Ranking factors are essentially the various signals Google measure to determine how relevant websites are to particular user search terms and phrases. Google want to provide each and every user with the best answer and, when it comes to local SEO, these are some of the important ranking factors they consider.
Google My Business
Google My Business accounts are absolutely crucial to local SEO success. As with everything they’re involved in, Google places a greater emphasis on businesses that use their services.
Create an account linked to your business address, verify it via post (you should receive your code in a number of days) and then proceed to add as much detail to your profile as possible. The more descriptions, contact details, images and reviews, the better!
Outside of technical SEO, links are considered one of, if not the most important, ranking signals in both regular and local SEO.
When building links to your site to boost local SEO performance the focus should be on local, relevant sites like your chamber of commerce or resource pages. You could also seek out local blogs or websites within your industry and work towards a link via blogging or other link building methods.
Reviews are an extremely important aspect of local SEO for two reasons. The first is that Google actively promotes websites with more active GMB accounts and the second is that customers have been proven to use reviews as an online decision making factor.
In an online world where spam and scam websites are all too prevalent reviews can be a clear and important identifier of your credibility and reputation. Encourage them as much as possible from your customers.
Google always wants to provide their customer (the searcher) with the best possible answer and with local SEO this includes the proximity of the business.
If two businesses, selling exactly the same product or service, are equal in their local SEO efforts yet one is geographically closer to the searcher then it will appear higher. In this case there is nothing you can do apart from strive to be better than your competitor in every other manner possible.
Relevance is another key local SEO ranking factor and in this case Google will promote specialists more so than generalists. This means you should be promoting a clear, identifiable message if possible.
If one nearby shop is known as the tool shop and another is known for selling a variety of products that just happens to include tools, the first will rank higher even if both sites are equal in their local SEO efforts.
It’s important to remember that local SEO is just a subset of SEO as a whole and as a result you still need to consider and monitor on-page and off-page essentials. These essentials include title tags, meta tags, great content, authority links and technical SEO factors like site speed. Find out more here.
It’s All About Local!
If you’re still unsure what Local SEO is let’s consider some examples. A Northern Ireland mechanic based in Bangor will focus their local SEO efforts on ranking for searches in Bangor and no-where else.
Likewise, florists in East Belfast will change their focus slightly when compared to florists in West Belfast. Many actions will be the same but there will be slight tweaks to ensure the best performance in a small area.
The focus is all about local (the name should be a giveaway!).