Local SEO for local businesses
SEO changes all the time and it can sometimes seem like it’s just intentionally confusing. Local SEO is more important ever. It allows local and small businesses to optimize websites and make sure you are easy to find. It would be business wise to be on top of the rankings.
Local SEO Tip One
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions 101
Don’t be scared of something that sounds needlessly technical. We will break down some Local SEO information into bite-size chunks for you. Title tags and meta descriptions or pieces of HTML code that is purely designed for search engines, customers never get to see this information. All these titles and meta descriptions do is give search engines like Google essential information that helps them understand what the purpose of the page within the website is. Think of it like a mini advert, when you search in Google your delivered with the search results each of those results is called a search snippet. A search snippet is the date of that is pulled from the back of your site and this is typically taken from the metadata and the title tags. No less you Google increase the width of the main search results area which will not particularly interesting on the surface is quite important. The reason being that title links have increased from 62 roundabouts sorry from 52 roundabouts 60 characters and their description tags have increased from about 160 characters to 200 characters. No that’s not particularly a shattering but think about it as extra space that if you use wisely means you can get more information in that all important but the search engine shows.
If you are not sure how your title new meta descriptions will look there are a couple of links here. Emulator so you can actually see how they will look.
https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/titles-and-meta-descriptions/ (WordPress users)
Now writing these titles and descriptions and inserting keywords is a big part of what a Local SEO agency does, it’s important that when there’s a whole host of competing results that that text in the metadata is descriptive, compelling and unique. If it’s all three of those things when people see your results then they are more likely to click on your link than your competitors. Nobody knows your business as well as you do so don’t worry about having a go at writing this information for yourself.
Sometimes you see page names that are separated by upward lines, called pipes, this wastes space. What you need to do is think about the most important things that you want to convey in that title and a good tip is to whatever keyword you’re focusing on have that at the beginning of the title. Also if you want to reach those all-important local customers then remember to include the name of the town or the city or the borough or the general areas were your business serves the customers regardless of whether you’re offering products or services think about the areas. Remember if your business shows up in the search results you only get that one chance to actually get them to click on the search result and then visit your website so it’s important this information contains as much detail as you possibly can that is interesting and informative. Took number 2 makes use of online direct and citations
Local SEO Tip Two
Directories and NAP Citations
Google has a lot of data about consumer behavior and they indicate that four out of five consumers will use search engines to find local businesses or conduct local searches. That can give you a clearer idea why Local SEO is so important for you. We know that 80% of all online searches in the Western world begins with Google and the other 20% tends to begin with Bing. Many small and local businesses have not claimed even a single local business listing online yet and that is an absolute shame and a missed opportunity for you. It is vitally important that you get your business listed correctly and that listing is consistent across the top online business directories. A business directory is like the Old Yellow Pages used to be, just a list of businesses with their contact details and what they offer. There are many online business directories such as Citysearch, Yelp, Thomson directory and 118 to name a few.
It’s vital now that your business is listed correctly and consistently in the top ones of those online business directories, you can also check with your local newspapers website and membership sites like the Chamber of Commerce to see if they have any other local business directories you can be listed on. These tend to be locally based and free of charge. You can also to do a search in Google or Bing for keywords like your city name plus directory, simple things like “Bournemouth directory” or “London business directory” or “Liverpool South business directory” and that will give you more options that are local to you to research and add your data into.
It’s really important to get your businesses name address and phone number correct and this is consistently represented in the same way across all the main sites. This part of Local SEO is easy to do but without care can be easy to get wrong as well. Things like the name, address, phone number are often abbreviations for the term NAP citations. These NAP citations are shared across a lot of sites so keep your NAP citation information consistent. Check for things like misspellings or abbreviations or lack of area code or wrong phone number as simple changes in these can create absolute chaos when it comes to Google trying to figure out which information about the business is the right one. If Google or Bing isn’t sure they may display incorrect information or worse yet they may not share the information at all.
Local SEO Tip 3
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google my business which used to be called Google local business listings is free of charge and it’s a very important Direct as it is owned by Google. As well as Google my business there’s also a bing place for business bins version of the same thing pretty much. Free and it gives you a lot of exposure for your local business in a local area if you’ve optimized that information enough to show up.
It’s simple enough to claim here Google my page there’s a link here below just fill out the details and then you’ll find that there’s a verification process you need to go through. This is my Google search for a postcard with a pin to your business’ physical address. This stops competitors trying to steal your business location and it also means Google gets to verify you are a legitimate and genuine business.
Please be aware that it should only be a business owner who should request the Google business page. The reason for this is a lot of small businesses now understand the value of working with the local SEO agency to help with SEO and other digital marketing efforts. It’s fine that you Grant them permission to be a manager of your page make sure you retain ownership. Here at H Enterprises Limited, we have had several issues where it has taken a long time to recover ownership because a previous agency has retained the information.
Go HERE to claim your Google My Business Listing
Once you have access and you’ve confirmed your pin online you can then fill in all the data on the Google my business page, populate each and every section so that your listing is complete. If your service business and you don’t have a physical location or you don’t want customers or clients to visit you can actually opt out and hide your physical address you can also indicate that you visit clients or customers at their premises.
Bing does have a comparable service bing places for business it’s all very similar to the Google version and it help to have your business presence on there anyway, think about it it’s Google has 80% of the Western market share it’s likely that Google thing has the other 20% so 20% of something is worth a lot more than 0% of everything.
Local SEO Tip 4
Tips for making the most of reviews
Online reviews matter we live in a world which is incredibly social and we connect with people all over the world through the power of digital mediums. It is critically important for any business regardless of size to understand that online reviews matter more than they ever have done before. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and a whopping 7 out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business.
Two places where you should focus on getting reviews the most is the social Media platform Facebook, the biggest social Media platform and many businesses take advantage of having a free Facebook business page. If you do have a free Facebook business page then make sure like with Google my business to fill out all the data on there and to make the most of asking people to give you reviews on Facebook.
The other area is the Google my business page this is even more important to some degree because the reviews will show in the search results. Google uses a one to five-star rating system this is psychological because we recognize 5 stars as being the highest rating. Make sure to ask customers and clients to leave you an honest review that asks them to make it five stars. As you can see in our GMB listing above, the 5 stars make that stand out.
If you get a Bad review and it does happen, don’t worry it is not the end of the world. Many customers understand that not all businesses are going to be able to satisfy all of their clients all of the time. The biggest factor in dealing with a negative review and indeed a positive review is how you respond to it. Take time to respond to all reviews good and bad as this shows your potential customers and clients that you value their input. Googles’ own advice is that high and positive reviews from your customers will improve your website visibility! Now that is a clear indicator that reviews are likely a factor in your rankings for local search.
Do You Want to learn how to get listed in Google’s local 3 pack?
The Google local 3 pack is the magic 3 spots that appear below the map when you do a Google local business search. So as an example if you search for “escape room Brighton” you’ll see in the image below.
There are three results that show immediately below the map – that is the top 3 that are always going to be visible before having to click in to see the other also-rans. There is a range of more professional level SEO techniques that will allow you to feature in the local 3 pack this is worth its weight in gold as though they more likely to get clicked on than any of the other local business listings. Contact us to find out more.
Local SEO Tip number 5
Use structured data markup
Structured data markup that sounds like a geeky and nonsense word or phrase that’s designed to scare a local business. Let me explain what it is and demystify it for you. You might actually have heard it referred to as something called schema markup and it’s just something that can be added to your website code and it’s purely designed to provide search engines with more information about your business. It can feature things like the areas you serve, what you sell, reviews you’ve collected or services you offer.
Only a third of all websites are currently using the schema markup and most of those are only using the very basic version. You can really make your local business stand out and possibly rank higher than your competitors if you add properly structured data markup to your website. The interesting thing is Google wants you to add this data markup because it really helps their robots and spiders determine what your site content is about, understand your business relevancy and they even provide something called a structured data testing tool so you can check to see if the markup is actually properly implemented. Running a small business you don’t want to get into things like coding but there are things like Google data highlighter where you actually lets you check the schema content with your mouse. For that, you just need to be connected to Google Search console for the tool to work.
Final Thoughts And Next Steps
There are just a few really simple tips that will allow you to get the most from your local business listings. If you’d like to know more then please feel free to contact us we are offering free video technical audits for any visitor to this site to see how you can make the most of your local business and outrank your competitors.
Contact us to accelerate your business growth.