Focus on your localised area first, before tackling the world

When starting an SEO campaign, the temptation is to go for the big hitters first, the keywords that will drive lots of traffic from all over the world and in turn make your profits soar. Unfortunately, however, the reality of that happening is fairly slim, unless you have a large budget and/or little competition. The place to start is your local area.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO has become an essential component of the wider digital marketing strategy for those who want long-term success in search results. Its growth is related to the rise in smartphone usage and location targeting, and works on the basis that most searches conducted via a mobile phone (four out of five according to Fresh Egg) are to look up local information.

So if, for example, a visitor to London were to make a Google search for “Best Italian restaurant” on their smartphone, the results would display a list of local restaurants and their locations. Google would also offer the opportunity to call the restaurants, get directions to them or visit their websites. Statistics indicate that a high number of people make a transaction off the back of a localised search – primarily calling or visiting the business.

Given that information, it’s easy to see why localised SEO is the best starting point. By providing Google with information about your business and targeting keywords related to your local area, you can begin to drive local business in. Even if your business doesn’t have a physical location, starting at a local level is a worthwhile endeavour.

Optimising your website for local search

There are several ways to ensure you have a good presence in local results. Firstly, Google Places for Business and Google+ Local are an easy and effective way to start showing up in search and maps. In Google Places for Business, simply verify the business, provide contact information, opening hours and address, and supply some category information so that Google can understand what you business does.

Link this to your Google+ Local page, which is the social element, and encourage customers to leave reviews, post photos of your business and any further information that is relevant or shareable. You can optimise this page by including your brand name, a relevant keyword and the location in the information copy. If you have more than one location, create listings for all of them.

The next step is to optimise pages on your website with location terms. Your contact page should include your business address in a format consistent with those on your Google Places for Business and Google+ Local pages. You can also include the location in the meta title tag and description, alongside your brand name and primary keyword.

To complete the page, embed a map to help with rankings – it will be useful for visitors who want to find your business as well as helping your local SEO rankings.

Monitoring local SEO rankings

There are a number of tools out there to help you monitor local SEO results, not only in Google but also in Yahoo and Bing.  You can set up automated reports, look at charts and graphs and even compare your Google+ Local page with those of local competitors. Take a look at options such as BrightLocal tools or GeoRanker.

What then?

Once you have established a strong presence in your local area you can begin to expand your reach to county level and then, if relevant, nationwide. Expanding your activity inevitably requires more time and resource as the terms you’re targeting become more competitive. The best way to progress is to invest in a good team and develop a sound strategy that ties in with the rest of your marketing activity.

Contact Whitefish Marketing for help with your local SEO

Whitefish Marketing is a Folkestone SEO agency, offering services to business looking to grow their online traffic and ultimately sales.  Here at Whitefish Marketing, our team understand the best practices required for local SEO rankings.  So contact us today for an informal chat on how we can help grow your business locally.

David Vs Goliath: Your Local SEO battle
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David Vs Goliath: Your Local SEO battle
Learn more about how to carry out Local SEO for your website, to help secure greater visibility for search terms related to your geographic territory. Don't try to take on the entire nation or world just yet - focus on your immediate area first to help better grow your business.

About Chris Surridge

Chris Surridge is an experienced Digital Marketing Director with a wealth of knowledge on Search Marketing Strategies and Conversion Analysis. His value is in strategic planning for client accounts, and his consultative services.