After you have avoided the hidden traps of purchasing a website and it’s finally SEO optimised and running, you are now ready to promote the heck out of it. However, not every business is set for world domination. If your business only serves clients locally, it makes sense to put most of your marketing efforts into local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This guide gives you proven tips and tricks to improving your local SEO.
One of the things we get asked the most from our local clients is how can they get their business on the top right position with a photo, phone number and address details similar to what we did with our client Wardsteel & Aluminium below when certain industry related keywords are searched via Google search engine.
As you can probably guess, having the top position shown along with your company photo, website details and telephone numbers when potential clients search for a product and service does wonders for your business’s bottom line like nothing else. It means Google places enough trust on it (on top of the other hundreds of similar business listings) to recommend their seal of approval.
Firstly, before we tackle the problem of optimising your website locally, we need to understand there are two criteria for it to appear in that position:
Their business name and domain name are at the top position when you search for them. As you can guess, unique business names make this step a lot easier.
They need to be in the top position already with certain targeted keywords – this is the harder version.
For 1, it is as easiest as starting a Google + account and claiming your business listing with your business name, address, telephone number and operating hours here.
For 2, which is what your aim should be, it can be a little more difficult. Below are a list of things we did to help our clients reached the top position in Google search.
Before we start, you will need to copy a paste a few things about your business so have these prepared will save you time further down the track:
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Business Email address
- Business Phone number
- Business Description
- Business ABN/ACN
- Social Media links
Establish a Google + account
First things first, in order to get to 2, we must first complete 1. Sign up to Google + and claim your business listing in the link above. Remember to link your website to this business page otherwise you will not benefit from the added traffic from this.
You will receive your Google verification code in the mail in a few business days. After you received this code, enter it in and voila, you are verified!
Establish Local Presence
While there are many ways to establish local presence, the easiest and the fastest way is to associate yourself with local providers and directories. Now, not every local directory is made equal, there are a few directories that will generate a higher value for your website. Depending on the industry you’re in, these directories will be different as well. The food industry and the automotive industry for instance will be quite different. However, in Australia, the directories that will generally get you the best results are:
Of course you can add more directories but it’s more about quality than quantity with link building. Because you’ve already written down the requirements above, filling in these shouldn’t take too long.
After completing these two steps, you’ll be well ahead of other similar websites to ranking well for local SEO.
However, local SEO is about consistency and effort so it’s a good idea to include content marketing on a regular basis.
By associating yourself with local businesses, you validate yourself to Google that you are also a local business. Below are some communities and events you might want to associate yourself with:
Local schools/high Schools
Schools give out high value links locally because they are normally well established and recognised.
Local sporting events
Sporting events brings people together. Why not see if your local footy club requires sponsorship?
Local charitable events
Local fundraising or voluntary events can be good opportunities to network
Local industry directory
As mentioned briefly, local directories can provide high value links for your business.
The newspaper you get delivered free every week can provide great opportunities for you to reach out to other businesses and people within your area.
Review take up nearly 10% of the factors deciding local ranking. Why are reviews important? It’s because it authenticates the business and people want to do businesses that are rated well by others hence Google takes it into consideration.
Because of that, it’s a good idea to have your business to promote positive reviews and also monitor and respond to bad reviews on various review sites.
Review sites will vary depending on the industry you’re in. Take for instance, the food and hospitality industry will have more relevant reviews from Zomato, goodfood.com.au and tripadvisor while the automotives industry will benefit from productreviews.com.au. If unsure, simply Google on the review of your largest competitor. You should then have an idea of which review websites are prevalent within your industry.
Note – Do NOT try to set up fake accounts to give yourself positive reviews or your competitors fake negative reviews as you will lose all beneficial ratings or even get penalised if discovered.
While doing all the above will give you good results, it may still not reach the top position. There are many factors influencing this including age of your website, its click through rate compared to your competitors, number of links, content quality etc.. but as long as you keep your website up to date with excellent information and allow it some time, it will be in a good position to rank high.
What are some of the best techniques you use for local SEO? Please share comments below.
By David Zhou
Consultant at ShoutItOUt.com.au
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