The Complete Guide to Local SEO

Do you want your business to have a local presence? If so, this blog post is for you! In this article, we will discuss the importance of Local SEO and how it can help increase your online visibility. By following these steps we guarantee that you will see an increase in traffic from Google, Google Maps, and other local search engines in no time flat!

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for a particular geographic region or area. As the name suggests it’s usually done by smaller, more locally-based businesses. Those businesses that service one particular city. 

Local SEO firms help companies get found by Google and other local search engines by focusing on updating address, phone number, and business hours information as well as adding keyword-rich content. SEO Is a field riddled with jargon and local SEO is no different. If you’re confident doing it yourself, we’d love to help.  

Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing

 

A view inside the Google My Business dashboard

A Google My Business listing is a free and easy-to-create page that can help you have a visible presence on the web, both locally and nationally.

It’s a free and easy-to-create page that can help you have a visible presence on the web, both locally and nationally.

A Google My Business listing is an important part of your digital strategy because it allows you to get found by both local searchers as well as national ones. By optimizing your website for the area in which it operates, this type will helps generate more traffic for companies than those who don’t optimize their pages!

Enter your business name

As a business owner, you have the ability to control your Google search rank by claiming or creating an account for your company. Doing so will let people find and connect with you on various online platforms that are important in today’s marketplace such as Facebook.

List your primary and secondary categories

Google now gives you the power to advertise and get discovered when people search for businesses in your category. For example, if you run a coffee shop Google will recommend it on their map or through other means of advertising when someone is looking for ‘coffee near me’. You can also add features like booking tables that are unique to that business type – such as restaurants with reservation buttons.

Add your business address

If you’re running a business where customers can walk in, such as an office or cafe, it’s important to have your address visible. But if there are places that people don’t visit directly (e.g., accountant), then the street address doesn’t need to be displayed on your Google Maps listing.

Add your business phone number

You want your potential customers to be able to quickly get in touch with you so they can ask questions and ensure that what they find online matches the service actually delivered. If Google Maps has a wrong phone number, this will lose you business!

A customer is going to trust their experience on the internet more than someone’s word at an event or venue; make sure there are no discrepancies between these two facets of marketing by including accurate contact information for all pertinent places where it may appear.

Add your website

Adding a website to your GMB profile is an easy way for searchers to find you. Google makes it possible by adding the “Website” button next to your listing on their search engine, and they have even gone as far as making this step easier with their new GMB update that now allows businesses without websites to create Google sites and lists those in their profile. 

Optimizing Your GMB profile

A view of colorado web impressions optimized GMB profile

The importance of optimizing your GMB profile cannot be overstated. It’s important to make sure that what you are doing online matches up with what your customers see at the physical location. By including accurate contact information for all pertinent places where it may appear in both parts of your marketing, a customer is more likely to trust their experience on the internet rather than someone’s word at an event or venue.

Add any additional information about your local business to your GMB profile. This will help Google fully understand what you do and it’ll make people more interested in what you have to offer them–leading potential customers right into the hands of a trusted expert they can turn to for their needs! i.e. YOU!

Add your business hours

Make sure to include your exact working hours, both regular and holiday. Along with this information, you should also select the days of the week that are open for service (e.g., only Saturdays). If you end up changing your hours or days available during a shift, make sure to change them on GMB so customers who have saved those times won’t be disappointed when they show up!

List your business attributes

Moreover, you can also add any attributes that apply to your business. Do you offer delivery? Can customers pay by card? These are just some of the things potential (or current) customers will want to know before visiting and provide this information for them in advance!

Your products and services

This makes it easy to communicate the exact services and products you sell to your customers without having to direct them to your website.

Upload photos

Good pictures will familiarize potential customers with your business before they visit. Make sure to include photos from different angles and shots of the interior, exterior, menu items – even if it’s just a coffee shop!

Make sure to include photos from inside your brick and mortar shop, photos of employees completing relevant work, team photos, and original photos of your products.

Write a business description

Be sure to use keywords related to your business in your content. This will help you be found by customers who are searching for what you offer!

Think about how people may search online when they’re looking for a product or service, and include relevant terms on every page of the website. For example if you’re a cleaning company based in Sydney, include keywords like ‘Sydney home cleaning service’ or ‘ cleaning service in Sydney’.

Questions & answers

Your customers can leave questions about your business for you to answer, or alternatively, ask them yourself. The most important thing is that the information given in these answers must be 100% accurate and not misleading.

Keep your profile up to date

If you’ve changed any business details such as name, phone number or service offerings- make sure your GMB listing reflects it. Even if something like closing 30 minutes earlier doesn’t get updated- that can have a negative impact on reviews and ultimately your reputation. Anyone who has the ability to edit your Google Business Listing (even google) may do so make sure to check regularly for inaccurate information!

Publish GMB Posts

A GMB post on the cost of SEO in Australia published by Maxim Media's GMB

The reason that you should publish GMB posts is that it will keep your company fresh in the minds of your prospective and current customers. Publishing posts on your GMB can also be helpful if you need to announce any changes to hours or days, like when you’re going on vacation or closing for a holiday.

You can also use your business’s GMB posts as an opportunity to talk about new products that you’re carrying or special seasonal discounts.

Moreover, this is a way for employees who don’t have their own social media accounts (e.gkitchen staff) to give customers and other stakeholders more insight into what’s happening from their spectrum of business operations.

Company updates

The Google My Business app gives you the power to post updates about your business and keep in touch with customers, even when you’re not on site.

Temporarily closed for reconstruction? Made a change in your business hours? Make sure to stay connected with your customers by consistently publishing posts whenever there’s something new happening within your company. 

New events

If you are hosting a big concert next weekend, or if there’s another event happening at the bar where you work, make sure to upload lots of relevant pictures and videos so that people know what they’re missing!

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

MaidForYou's GMB listing showcasing their 288 reviews and 4.9 star rating

Google reviews DO influence rankings. The better your reviews, the more likely to rank higher on Google’s search engine.

Business owners should not try to game the system by offering discounts or coupons in return for reviews. Google has been known to penalize businesses that do so and you don’t want your business reputation tarnished because of it!

Alternatively, you can do the following:

  • Provide an amazing sales experience.
  • Remind customers about the importance of providing both good and bad feedback.
  • Have a funnel to prevent customers from leaving dissatisfied and leaving bad reviews.
  • Email or SMS customers with a link to your GMB after a purchase to request reviews.
  • Reply publicly to both negative and positive reviews with a thank you.

Local Directory Listings

bright local's citation tracker dashboard

Citations are references made concerning your company’s NAP (name, email, and phone number) which appear predominantly on online business directories.

Citations are the key to Google Maps, and they can also help you rank well in any search engine. The more citations mentioning your business name, email address, or phone number that you have listed on various websites such as yellow pages and sites like Yelp for example–the greater chance of being found by potential customers! 

Audit your citations

See if there are any duplicate, outdated or incorrect citations on your page. Moz has a helpful tool called Moz Local that can be used for performing an audit and checking out big aggregator sites where most smaller local directories get their citations from. Some of these include Brightlocal and SEO Builder. SEO Builder charges as little as $49 USD for a one-time aggregation of citations directed towards your business.-

Build citations & keep yours up to date

You can find directories where you can manually submit your business information. If you’d rather not do the work, there are many third-party services that offer this service for a fee or monthly subscription.

Always make sure to update any existing citations if there are changes with your business, name, address, or phone number.

Keep your business information consistent across the internet. Use the same exact structure and spelling when citing your NAP, so it always matches up with what Google sees on both their search engine results page (SERP) and any pages that you’ve linked to from other sources. This will make things less confusing for everyone involved!

Don’t Forget Social Media!

three young women lying on the grass playing with their mobile phones

While social media doesn’t directly influence your search ranking, it boosts your online presence. You should create profiles on numerous popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These profiles provide ultra-high authority citations for your business website whilst providing your customers with another method of being able to stay in contact with your business.

Keyword Research

ahrefs keyword research dashboard

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty, local SEO for your website. Unlike with globally based SEO, with local SEO we’re looking for service-based and location-based keywords to rank for.

To become an authority in our local market, we’re looking to rank for both monetary-based and informational-based keywords related to your particular market.

If you’re a cleaning business owner for example, for the monetary-based keywords, we’d be looking to rank for keywords like ‘house cleaning city’ or ‘cleaning service city’. These are keywords where the searcher is using the actual buyer’s intent. That is they’re actually searching to purchase your product or service.

We’d also want to rank for keywords that create topical relevance for our monetary-based keywords. These are keywords like ‘how much does it cost to clean a house’. These keyword examples are from searches that are not actively looking to purchase but they are wanting to become informed about a purchase they may be looking to make in the future.

Here’s how we do keyword research

  • Create a spreadsheet.
  • Use SEMRUSH to find keyword volumes.
  • Add keyword volumes to the spreadsheet.
  • Find out what keywords competitors are ranked for.
  • Input relevant keywords with volumes into our spreadsheet.

Once that’s done, our next focus is on the other website optimization we can control and that’s on-page SEO.

On-page SEO

semrushs site audit feature

Once we’re done collecting our relevant keywords, it’s time to optimize your site with Google’s best practices in mind.

We want to make sure of the following:

  • Our keyword is in the H1 tag of the page we’re looking to rank for.
  • Our page has a short but descriptive meta-description.
  • We’re only using one H1 tag per page.
  • We use keywords and their variants in our H2 tags.
  • Our images are optimized for load speed and have alt tags that are descriptive so as to be easily read by a blind person.
  • Our pages use short URL slugs.
  • Your pages are all linking together with natural anchor text within the page’s content.
  • Schema mark-up helps search engines describe your pages better. We want to make sure you’re using relevant schema mark-up for all your pages.

Once that’s done and it can take some time, now it’s time to build relevant landing pages for your services and location pages.

Landing page creation

carpetkings carpet steam cleaning sydney page

A large part of local SEO is creating relevant landing pages. A landing page is a single webpage that is designed to sell a product or service.

The purpose of a landing page is to be clear and concise about what the offer is, why it should be bought, and what a potential buyer can expect when they purchase the product or service.

A landing page usually starts with a big, clear headline with an accompanying sub-headline followed by bullet points (short phrases) explaining what the offer entails. A landing page should always be focused on selling something and should never allow visitors to browse the website in any significant way.

location landing pages

On your website, you need to have a web page for every location you provide a service in. So, if you’re a carpet cleaner in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs but also want to be found by customers in Gladesville and Marrickville, you’d create a /carpet-cleaning-Gladesville/ page or a /carpet-cleaning-Marrickville/ page.

Services landing pages

You should also create landing pages for the different types of services your business will provide. To use the carpet cleaning example again, you’d create a separate URL for your hot steam extraction service (/hot-steam-extraction/) and a separate URL for your carpet damage restoration service (/carpet-damage-restoration/).

Each service’s landing page should have an inner link to your location pages, as well as your about us page.

Make sure to have a capture form at the bottom of each service and location page to make sure you’re getting the most out of each visitor that lands on your website.

About & contact page

The ‘About Us’ and contact pages are vastly underrated by SEOs in terms of their importance for local SEO.

They convey relevant information to potential customers and to search engines on how to contact your business and who the people are behind your business.

It’s important to include the following information on your ‘About Us’ page.

  • Your company’s mission statement.
  • Any achievements, accolades, or awards you’ve won.
  • Pictures and thorough descriptions of your staff.

Once you’ve made sure your website has the aforementioned features. It’s now time to start considering arguably the most difficult facet of local SEO, the acquisition of backlinks.

Link Building

link building spreadsheet where all live link placements for maidforyou are recorded

Building high-quality links are crucial in the local search engine optimization process. High-quality backlinks make your website seem trustworthy, which signals to Google that it’s worth ranking on top of its results page. 

Here’s how we build backlinks for our clients. We first start by finding out which sites are linking to their competitors. We then create a better version of the copy their competition is already linking to and reach out to them directly to link to us instead.

Further, we contact companies in relevant market verticals to link to our client’s long-form content and share this content with their readership.

We also utilize a service called Help A Reporter Out to acquire authority links from organizations requesting information on our client’s specific industry.

When building links for your local business, do not purchase links from Fiverr, in fact, do not purchase links in general.

The best way to acquire a large number of links is using email outreach. Once you’ve begun to acquire links on a month-by-month basis, it’s time to make sure your business website is mobile-friendly and loading as fast as possible.

Site Speed & Mobile Responsiveness

google page speed insights page above the fold

Your site’s structure and architecture are very important when it comes to local SEO.

Site speed is a direct ranking signal and a slow loading website that is not built for mobile devices can have an adverse effect on your website ranking in the search engine result pages.

Slow site load speed provides a poor user experience for potential site visitors, so it’s not a wonder that it can cause harm to your website’s rankings.

To make sure your website is loading optimally, complete the following tasks:

  • Optimize images: For a fast mobile-friendly website, smaller size pictures will load much faster. The plugin Smush can be used to compress your images and even lazy loading for when they come into view on the page!
  • Remove unnecessary code: Unused CSS and JS files are like the extra baggage you have to pack for your trip- they take up precious space in a suitcase. It’s just not worth it!
  • Optimize CSS delivery: Removing unused code from websites saves space on server storage which speeds up loading time because less data needs to be transferred between client and server. Removing unnecessary code also reduces clutter around text-heavy pages
  • Use A CDN: A content delivery network (CDN) is a globally distributed network of proxy servers around the world that store cached versions of your website content. When a visitor requests one of your images or pages, they are delivered by the server that is nearest to the visitor’s geographical location. This means faster load times for your website.

Completing all the above will ensure your website passes Google’s Core Web Vitals and it will assist your website in climbing up the search engine result pages for local queries.

There you have it, Maxim Media’s complete guide to local SEO. It’s the perfect guide if you’re a tradie looking to DIY your marketing If you’re not confident doing it yourself, we’re able to complete it for you, with a method not too dissimilar to the one described above. Contact us and we’ll get you on the road to first page rankings today. 

We hope your business website is on the road to first page rankings today.

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