A Simple Guide to Local SEO

Local SEO can be an extremely effective marketing tool for small and medium sized businesses.  And although many people believe SEO to be a mysterious art form that only those high up at Google understand, it’s not as hard as it sounds.  Most webmasters can do local SEO on their own with a bit of guidance, and those who don’t have the time can contact us for help.  Here are a few tips that can help you if you decide to go it alone.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

The first thing you need to do is understand your target audience.  Not only will this help you in determining which keywords to use, but it will also help to shape the types of content that you produce.  By knowing who your audience is, you can shape your website and marketing strategy to their needs and buying behaviours.

2. Select Your Primary Keywords

If you don’t know which keywords you want to focus on, you can use the Google Keyword Planner tool.  You can adjust the settings in the tool to see which keywords are the most searched for in your local area.  Try to stick to keywords that properly describe what you are offering.  And, be aware that not everyone will use location based searches so you may want to target non-local keywords as well.

3. Include Your Business Address and Phone Number

On every page of your website, your address and phone number should be clear.  This is vitally important for local SEO but often gets overlooked.  Make sure your details are in text form (not a graphic), and that the address and phone number is written in the exact same way across all of your pages.  If you have a head office and multiple locations, place the address of your head office on every page, and have a separate webpage for your other trading locations.

4. Create a Blog and Publish New Content Regularly

Every local business should have a blog that is updated on a consistent basis.  Google values websites that are consistently updated, and by producing blog posts that contain your keywords, you will also be illustrating to the search engines what your website is about.  Your blog posts can also link to other pages on your website, which will improve their SEO value.  Finally, you can also share your blog posts on social media, again increasing the amount of natural inbound traffic your website receives.

5. Get Listed on Directories

Directories are a vital source of link juice for local businesses, and can help a business to appear higher in the search engines.  Make sure your business has a listing on the main directory websites like Yelp, Yellowpages and Yahoo!  You should also have a Google+ page, and a Google Places account.  It is vital that the business information on all of these is exactly the same as it is on your website – even changing the spelling of Road to Rd can cause issues.

If you want to take your local SEO strategy further, contact us to see how we can help.  The above tips should help get you on the right track, but some advanced SEO strategies could help you to improve your search engine position further.

Image courtesy of localsplash.com