If you own a local business, are you doing everything you can to be found when someone searches for your business type? Local SEO has become a bit of a buzzword in the past few months, but I think that this is far from a fad. It stands to reason that if you are looking for a plumber, you need a local one, as you are not going to ask someone from America to service your boiler if you live in the UK (imagine the call-out charge!).
There are a few factors that are critical when it comes to local SEO. Firstly, are you even appearing? You can test this yourself by simply searching your business name, but to rank within the correct types of listings, you need to pay attention to local NAP citations, local reviews, and business listings.
Local NAP (name, address, phone number) Citations
This may seem obvious, but consistency is key here. Ensuring that business details are consistent across your website, and business directories can have a very positive effect on local SEO. Search engines can only take information at face value, so if the information presented on Google is different to that on Bing, search engines start to wonder why and then downgrade their scores accordingly.
Computers do not read information in the same way humans do; a search engine is really just a big computer finding and presenting information. So if you can tell a search engine what the information is, you will get a positive boost. How do we do this? Schema Markup is a way of telling the search engine what the information being presented is, and an obvious place to use this is your NAP.
The above screenshot shows my details correctly marked up within the footer of my website. Below is also the code for you to use on your site.
<div itemscope=”” itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”WEBSITE URL“></a><div itemprop=”name”><strong>COMPANY NAME</strong></div>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope=”” itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>ADDRESS LINE 1</span>
<p>Phone: <a href=”tel:PHONE NUMBER” itemprop=”telephone”>PHONE NUMBER</a></p>
<a href=”mailto:EMAIL ADDRESS” itemprop=”email”>EMAIL ADDRESS</a>
All you need to do is change the text in bold to your own details. Additional information on Schema Markup can be found on its website.
Reviews can boost Local SEO
Reviews have a direct impact on your ranking, so it is worth putting in some effort to acquire them. According to the 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors by MOZ, people trust online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations. You can do this via many free services, such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp, to mention a few. I would suggest making Google My Business your priority in the first instance. Start by asking existing customers to leave reviews, and you can always have a reviews page on your website aswell.
Don’t have a Google My Business page? Maybe you should consider adding this your ‘to-do-list.’
There are an enormous amount of business directories that your company can be listed on for free. If you implement NAP that I mentioned above, the positive effects can be two-fold. Backlinks and consistent NAP give search engines a gauge of trustworthiness, resulting in positive rankings.
Clearly, this is a huge subject, and many factors can affect your ranking, but implementing the three above techniques alone have had some great results for my clients.
Not sure where to start? Why not request a free Website Health Report? This will give information that you can act upon to improve your local SEO ranking. Simply email me via the Contact page.