As a local business owner, you need to have a constant flow of leads to make your business a success. Traditionally, local businesses had to rely on newspapers, pamphlets or the yellow pages directory to get their business in front of potential customers. However, with advent of the Internet, the business bent towards it to market their products and services in the hope to acquire new business.
Here we will explore what local SEO is? How search engines determine local search and the steps you need to take to ensure your online presence is optimised.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a process of optimising your online presence to attract more businesses from organic search traffic. These searches take place either on Google or other search engines. People not only use Google but other search engines as well like Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, Thompson local, etc to look for local businesses and information. But here we will focus on Google the most as it is a widely used search engine.
Local SEO is unique in that it takes into account the searchers proximity to their desired results. For instance, searching for the best hairdresser near me will produce a list of highly-rated salons within a few miles of your location. Search engines prioritize local businesses in the results called Map Pack where your business will be ranked. Getting on top of SERPs may seem impossible for local businesses as there is fierce competition. However, if you have a physical location, you already have an advantage over purely online business.
To optimise your business for the local SEO, you need to understand the main ranking factors that Google uses for local search.
How Google Determine Local Search?
Relevance – Google’s local search algorithm connects searchers with answers. So, when they search for a nearby hairdresser shop, they get the best recommendations. However, you need to ensure your Google My Business listing is accurate and updated to guarantee that potential customers looking for a business like yours will find you instead of a competitor.
Distance – Another major factor that Google takes into account is the proximity of the searcher to your business. Due to this, it is essential to include your address and other relevant contact information in your Google My Business listing and other directories across the internet.
Prominence – The third factor that Google takes into account is the prominence of your business. Prominence is how well the business is known and it also factors in things like directory listings and online reviews. According to Google business’ overall star rating and the number of reviews are used to determine local search rankings.
Step-By-Step Guide to Local SEO Optimisation
Here are some steps that will help you optimise your business for local search.
Add complete information to Google My Business Listing
Businesses who provide complete and accurate information makes it easier for the search engine to match with the right searches. If your GMB listing is incomplete or not even there, then it’s harder for search engines to match your business with local customers.
Verify your Locations
Before your GMB listing appears in Search and Maps it needs to be verified. Verifying your listing is a simple process and Google offers a few different ways to do it. On your laptop or computer, go to https://www.google.com/business and sign in with your Google account or create one. Then enter your business address and create or claim your listing. Fill the basic information and submit it for verification. If you are using your phone, then open the My Business app and follow the same steps.
Keeps Hours Accurate
It is important to include accurate, up-to-date hours of operation in your listing. Make sure that you include special holiday hours, to avoid frustrating customers who make their way to your business only to find out you are closed.
Add High-Quality Photos
Once the verification process is complete, you can begin optimising your listing. Upload high-quality photos as they help tell a visual story about your business and let customers know what it’s like to do business with you.
While it may seem basic to fill out your Google My Business listing to get found by Google, 56% of local businesses haven’t even claimed their listing. So, it is essential you do that. This guide will help you optimise your business for local SEO. If you need more information or help with local SEO optimisation, then Tuckerfish is always there to help.
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