By Lucy Bradley
In the past, we’ve written about how to maximise your local SEO presence but today we thought we’d take it back to basics, and put together a guide on how you can start building your local SEO profile in the first place. How can you maximise and build on your local SEO profile, if you don’t have any visibility to begin with? Local SEO is huge in digital marketing and it is only set to get bigger going forward. It’s reported that 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location so it’s important you make sure your business is the one getting found by users performing these local searches!
Claiming your Google My Business profile is the first (and one of the easiest) steps you can take to improve your local visibility, but unfortunately a step businesses don’t always take. After claiming your profile, take the time to check all the details you have on there are up to date. Make sure you put together a unique description of your business that tells users about you and gives them a better idea of the products/ services you offer. Next, upload as many photos as you can – but be sure to use up to date, high-resolution images that reflect your business. Have you uploaded a local phone number and address to your listing? Also, make sure you check your opening hours are up to date (do they change during Christmas?) – let the user know as much information as possible! Most importantly, is your website on there? Take the opportunity to drive as much traffic back to your site as possible. Ultimately, the key aim is to provide as much information and detail as you can to the user so they can gain a better understanding of your business and how you can meet their needs.
NAP stands for name, address and phone number and is an important factor in ranking highly when it comes to local SEO. You should make sure that your NAP is present and correct on your website, GMB and across a range of other directories across the web. Having a fully cohesive and consistent profile across the web helps Google to better understand your business, and makes sure that they are displaying the correct information about your business in search results. In line with the above, make sure you’re creating and claiming a range of local profiles and directories beyond just your Google My Business profile. Each listing directory represents a citation, and these mentions of your business are important aspects when it comes to ranking for the search engines.
Gaining local reviews are another factor that has an impact on ranking for SEO, so it is worth putting some time and effort into review generation. This doesn’t have to be limited to Google reviews, this could be on your other online listings such as Yelp, Yell Or dedicated review sites like reviews.com. Whilst they’re great from an SEO point of view, they’re also an important tool for showing off your reputability as a business which helps to build trust and rapport with the user – helping you to stand out from your competition further. If you’re struggling to generate testimonials check out our quick and easy tips here!
In the digital marketing world, we’re all well aware of the power of backlinks as a ranking factor. They work by showing your authority to Google, and local link building is no different. Focus on gaining links from local businesses that are relevant to your business – it’s about gaining quality links from websites that talk about similar topics to yours. Local PR is a great way to build links, look at entering local awards, working with local courses, sharing your news with local PR agencies/newspaper, sponsorship or even trying to line up interviews with these companies. Essentially, look at anything that you can do locally that can help to earn you a backlink.
Structured data points Google to the important parts of your website, and is used to help Google understand the content on your website easier. This is great from a local SEO point of view, as you can point to areas that are specifically related to you as a local business – Google wants you to tell them more about what your business is about. It’s also great for those local searchers! Using structured data provides for information to the user in the SERPs such as your address, contact details, opening hours, reviews and a range of other fields. This makes it easier for users to have access to the information when they need it most. See the full impact of structured data here.
There are various ways you can look to build on and optimise your local profile further, but our list should help to give you a starting point and make sure you are being found by those who matter most!