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Why You Should Be Using Local SEO

Did you know a staggering 97% of internet users search for local businesses online? There are definitely optimisation opportunities out there for small businesses with a bricks and mortar or physical service provided in a specific region. Are you taking advantage of these?

Why you should be using local SEO to your advantage.

Local businesses can benefit hugely from SEO and there’s lots of reasons why! Firstly think about how users search, more than half of Google searches are made on a mobile phone and this will only increase over time. Mobile users are usually on the go, so it’s fair to assume that many of these will be looking to acquire local information, for example – a nearby restaurant or car mechanic. Are you optimised to reap the benefits of local search? If your presence is weak then you need to think about increasing your efforts.

How do I do that?

There are various ways you can optimise your website for local SEO. From keyword optimisation through to local listings, reviews and social media. It’s good to start at the beginning and work your way up so let’s begin with local keywords. A little keyword research into the search habits of your customers within the local area will uncover valuable information about how your potential customers are searching in Google. Be sure to link up your location with your keywords too. For example if you are a locksmith based in Peterborough then your keyword might look something like ‘Locksmiths in Peterborough’ or ‘Peterborough Locksmith’, dependant on how users search but you will establish this from your keyword research.

You might also want to consider adding a few landing pages to your website optimised for the different locations served by your business. This will reinforce to Google where your business is based and the areas you’re close to. It’s important that you choose locations wisely, you obviously have to think about the areas you serve but run them through the google keyword planner to ensure your efforts aren’t wasted on a location that is rarely searched for. Ensure your page copy is unique for each landing page otherwise Google may penalise you for duplicate copy.  A top tip, add links to your new landing pages in your footer section ensuring that they only appear on your home page.

Google Places & Social Media

Google places is a free tool you should definitely be using if you want to be found by local searchers. By sharing your location details you’ll appear alongside other relevant local businesses on the Google places locations map, making you easily identifiable to searchers and local customers. Be sure to optimise your account with keywords and all the important information about your business, as well as integrating it on your website too. It also helps if you have some good reviews. Google reviews will not only boost your SEO but will help you to appeal to searchers. Try contacting previous clients and ask for a review, it won’t take long and it will benefit your business tremendously.

So at this point you’ve got your keywords in place, landing pages have been added to your site, you’re on the Google locations map and you’ve got yourself a few five star reviews. What next? Social media! It’s important that you keep your social media profiles active as that will influence your Google ranking positions? Typically, businesses with well managed social accounts rank higher in comparison to their competitors within the search engines. So if you think you don’t need a Facebook or a Twitter account, think again. Facebook is especially important as many users use it to find local businesses. Consistent posting and interaction is the key to success here. You may also want to try and build up a few nice reviews on Facebook too! Don’t forget about Google Plus either. When creating a Google Places account make sure you obtain a Google Plus account. Be sure to regularly post and interact with users just like you would on Facebook.

So there are your reasons to use local SEO, thanks for reading and good luck!

Karen James is the founder and director of Cambridge based marketing agency Lilac James. In her spare time she enjoys running after her three dogs, raising chickens and looking after her five grandchildren. Follow Lilac James on twitter @LilacJamesCambs