Q. Why has Google recently updated its local search algorithm?
A. To provide internet users with more relevant results on businesses closer to home. This is an opportunity for us to jump on the bandwagon by presenting you with the challenges of local SEO. The trend is very clear: consumers are increasingly looking for local brands, and these are highlighted in the search results on the web. With that in mind, it is now more crucial than ever to be referenced well locally. One of the best ways to do that is to rank higher on Google Maps!
So let’s take a look at a couple of relevant points and what can be done to rank you higher on Google Maps:
- What is local SEO and why does it matter
- Why should you focus your efforts on local SEO
- How to be well referenced locally.
What is local SEO and why does it matter?
Local SEO is a subset of general SEO. It consists of being well positioned in the local search results for internet users to find you. This is essential for many businesses because more and more of Google searches have a more local focus: a DIY store near me, the best SEO in Teesside, opening hours for the pub, a sports club close to work, etc.
Here are some numbers that will help you understand just how important this really is.
- Of those who use search engines to find information on products or services, 4 out of 5 are doing local searches
- 34% of those conducting a local computer/tablet search visit a store during the day (up to 50% for those doing local smartphone searches!).
Being referenced locally on the internet is becoming more and more important to avoid missing potential customers! To do this you will have to carry out a certain number of actions, some specific and others are more general – read on!
An overview of local results on Google
In addition to the results highlighted in blue, the map on the right of the image is important because it indicates the location of your business on a local Google Map. Any customer seeing this pointer can then get certain information such as driving directions, check your reviews etc.
So Why Should You Focus Your Efforts on Local SEO?
Local SEO is important for a lot of companies, however, it is not mandatory. Good positioning in the local results usually requires you to have conducted some kind of web marketing editorial strategy, social networks, local citations etc. It means that local SEO is not always the priority for a company! Is it for you?
Competition in your geographical area
Where are you located?
- In Teesside or in the suburbs: the competition could give you a hard time to obtain results in local search.
- In a town of medium size like Middlesborough or Darlington etc, the competition is not as fierce as a city but there is still a certain amount of local research from internet users. So you can tackle local SEO fast enough, this will be a great weapon to recruit new customers.
The age of your business
Google favours the more long-established names in local search results. If you opened 3 years ago, or if you just launched on the web last year, getting good local SEO will be more difficult.
How To Be Well Referenced Locally
So how do you get your business back on the first page of Google with its name, address and phone number (NAP)? In SEO local and global, Google uses so-called ranking factors in its algorithms to determine how it should position you.
Here are some recommendations that will help you with your local SEO.
Be present in local listings
To ensure that your business really exists, to locate it locally and to provide reliable information for Internet users, Google looks at your listings in the main directories such as Yellow Pages and local directories etc. If you are not listed then do it, it’s normally free to enter your information, ensuring it’s complete and consistent from one list to another. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR NAP IS THE SAME THROUGHOUT!!
Have customer opinions
Google pays close attention to customer reviews. This is proof that your company has a business and provides quality service and since Google wants to put together the best addresses, the more positive your comments are then the more your local SEO will be boosted. However, don’t worry if you have any negative reviews, it’s inevitable and it can even serve to build your credibility. Just answer politely and show that it concerns you and try to fix the relationship!
Create a business profile on Google+ and Google My Business
Google My Business is a service offered by Google. It is primarily aimed at companies that want to gain visibility locally. Really it’s a cornerstone of your local SEO and having a business listing on Google My Business will allow you to appear on Google Maps, collect customer reviews and share news about your business etc…
If you need help or advice on any of the above tasks then please just contact us today