Why you should be using local and location specific SEO

lee mackinHave you ever used Google to search for a business’s opening times or to find ‘x y z near me’? Answered yes? You’re not alone. Some 82% of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches. In fact, according to Chartmeter’s 50 must know Local SEO facts “Where to buy” and “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years.

As a result of an expanding marketplace, and increasing competition, a huge emphasis is put on using local and location specific SEO to further optimise your online business. And rightly so. It’s imperative that your business is set up and fully optimised across the board.

Using location services and language specific content can boost your competitive edge in your industry. Why not take full advantage of your presence in the local community and encourage high rankings for your niche?

“But how can I use personalisation/local SEO to capture more sales from tech savvy potential customers?” I hear you cry.

Here’s our guide:

What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows business owners to maximise the potential of Google and manage their online presence. GMB provides your business with a listing that will appear when a customer searches for content that aligns with your business. GMB generates details including: business address, business hours, industry category and reviews that are relevant in specific searches.

This information  means that potential customers can view similar businesses in any search. For example, a person may search, ‘BBQ restaurant near me’, and Google will use the data to find all businesses that correlate with the search. Having an up to date account with high quality and specific content will put you where you need to be in Google’s business listings.

Use personalisation to optimise your content
Now that you have a fully functional Google My Business account, it’s time to optimise your content. Encouraging customer reviews can further authenticate the validity of your business along with plenty of high quality images. The more accurate content you produce, the more likely Google will include your business in the sidebar space for local searches.

You might also consider location specific content to further optimise. For example, including content that is specific to several cities could widen the search scope for your business. Be warned, duplicating pages and only changing the location name is not enough, and will be viewed as spam. It’s important to also think about how your content looks and checking it is free of spelling mistakes, URL errors and irrelevant information.

Create a sleek customer experience
In an increasingly ‘mobile first’ world it’s important that your website is set up for mobile use. Those searching ‘near me’ or ‘where to buy’ are more likely to purchase from a site that is easy to navigate. If the customer journey from search to buy is completed in the fewest steps possible, then your conversion rate will improve. Potential customers are looking for a trustworthy business with good reviews and community interaction. 92% of people on Yelp are looking for a local business they can return to.

How to use local SEO for interaction
For an even more successful head start, get more involved with your local community. Having content that aligns with local news or events will boost your business in the listings. When searching for a business, people will look into recent activity and reviews.

You can reach out to other local businesses using their contact details from online listings and be more involved in the local business community to help strengthen relationships, increase your presence and engage with more potential customers.

For larger organisations this could mean interacting with the industry influencers and networking with established brands, and potentially lead to additional inbound links and social media interactions, improving the search engines view of your site.

Local SEO for small and large businesses
Even though we use the term local SEO, it’s not just those with small businesses that need to implement these steps. For a big international company whose website has many different language versions, it is important to get hreflang management right. Hreflang management allows the same web page to be recognised for several languages and tells Google about these variations. This can be a big pro for your customer base and improve the experience on your website. The goal being that it gets the right users to the right place.

There is of course an extensive amount of focus you can put on SEO and we vote that it should be top priority. As well as getting the set up right, the continuation of optimisation is just as important. Relevant content, outstanding reviews and inbound links are just getting you started. If you remember the 3 Ls (local, location, language) you will be well on your way to creating a fully optimised online business.

Lee Macklin is SEO consultant at Organic

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