Local SEO is a constantly changing discipline, there are several different ways in which ranking can be achieved and each have their own set of rules for website and web presence optimisation. Choosing the most efficient way to target local search terms varies from company to company, generally based on the industry they are in. We always ensure we plan carefully, to find the most effective method for each company we work with.
When considering how to approach a Local SEO campaign, we ensure that we look at the terms that are ideally suited to your business. We will ensure to check both localised search terms and terms with local intent (see these explained below) to confirm whether or not they display map results or local organic results, or whether they just display the most relevant organic results with no localisation.
These would be terms that when searched will include the local term i.e. “Local SEO Bournemouth” these will often show both the regular organic results as well as the search engines own business listings.
It is down to the search engine as to which search terms they consider to have local intent. As a general basis search terms including a service and location name will naturally show local results. However in the case of Google, since the Venice update (an old one now) back in Feb 2012, a search can just be for a service and if Google consider that service to be strong in local intent they will display the local results based on your location settings, often assigned to you based on your IP.
Google allow any business to register a business page that is hosted on their domain. This is free to join and has a wide array of benefits. When a Google + page is set up for a local business, you will have the option to create this as a shop front or service area, shop front’s will generally be businesses that are visited by customers i.e. retail stores, restaurants, hotels etc. Service area will be businesses where the company visits the customer i.e. plumbers, builders, electricians etc. Either way it is of great benefit to let Google know that you service customers in a particular town or county, so they can apply the benefit to your listing in search for the related localised searches. When a local business page has been set up it is essential that the location of your business be verified, this will help Google know that you are a genuine local business and at the address that you claim to be. The verification is achieved by Google sending a postcard to your address, and you entering the associate code into your Google local listing account. It is best to complete your listing as fully as possible, with images, company descriptions, website links, social links, logo’s and even videos on a connected YouTube account where possible.
While these do not have the great effect that they used to it is still good to get your business details out there on a number of the popular business listings. The practice of adding hundreds of these and gaining ranking benefit is long gone now. These days it is best just to focus on those listings where you will receive traffic directly from the listing itself. The sites we will always use for UK companies are:
It is key that only good quality listings are used as low quality ones can harm your web presence. All of the above have free listing options, as most of the paid listings are not worth the money they charge, but we would often analyse this on a site by site basis.
This is a factor that is relevant for all SEO, whether you will be targeting local or national keywords. However when considering targeting local terms it must be carefully planned to ensure, you use the right terms in your titles, descriptions, headings and content of your pages to:
Often this does mean building additional pages, to target additional areas. Our personal opinion is to build the core service pages to describe the services only, with no mention of location, then use landing pages to target the individual locations. However if a small area is to be targeted i.e. 1-2 towns then the key terms can be included in the core service pages.
When additional areas are to be achieved, landing pages for those areas can be created. We always ensure that when a landing page is created it contains completely unique content, we will also localise the page, mentioning details of the area, including maps etc so that this can be truly associated with this service in the appropriate area, and have the best possible chance for ranking for both localised search terms and terms with local intent.
We believe, search engines will also look at the reputation across the web of any business. This means that they look at reviews across sites such as their own Google + business listings, yell, trip advisor, Face book etc. This allows them to monitor the quality of your business, but more importantly, potential customers are now more frequently doing the same, as well as looking at social accounts to see the quality of the interaction there.
Google business accounts provide a very nice dashboard to monitor your reviews from a number of sources. To keep up the online reputation of your business, always ensure that we respond to any reviews, good and bad, request that customers leave a good review and provide them with links to make it as easy as possible. The most important thing of course is to provide a good service.
At edirect, we understand that for most small business owners, the process above seems like a very challenging task. We have however seen many business owners complete this on their own successfully, but many more be unsuccessful. edirect Local SEO services are provided in order to take as much or as little of this burden off of the back of the business owner as possible. We can take the complete set up of this on for any business owner, or we can support and assist the business owner along the way. Our SEO rates are bespoke and will be calculated based on the needs of the client. If you are interested in edirect local SEO services please contact us today for a free, no obligation, and consultation.