Do you want to attract more customers in your local area? Want to know the ranking signals that will affect your local visibility online?

We share the local SEO ranking signals to concentrate on in this infographic.

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Here’s a quick summary:

  • Google My Business
  • Google My Business Categories
  • Photos on Google My Business Page
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Online Directories/Citations
  • Listings on Review Sites
  • Number of Positive Reviews
  • Reviews with Keywords & Location
  • Create a Facebook Business Page
  • Social Listings
  • Consistent NAP
  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Structured Data Markup
  • Click-Through Rates from Search Results
  • Localised Content
  • On-page Location + Keyword Optimisation
  • Title + Meta Description
  • High-Quality Inbound Links
  • Diversity of Inbound Links
  • Inbound Links from Local Relevant Sites
  • Inbound Using Local + Keyword in Anchor Text
  • Proximity to the Searcher

Check out the infographic for more detail.

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How to do local SEO right

Working online means that you can theoretically attract business from all over the world. Even if your website attracts national or global conversions, however, local trade will always be welcome. Few things can compare to the experience of looking into the eyes of a repeat, local customer that knows and trusts your business.

If you’re seeking nearby customers, embracing SEO is non-negotiable. 93% of people seek out local businesses online, with a third of these individuals searching daily. As these investigations pitch your business against the entire internet, you’ll need to ensure that your local SEO is on-point.

How to improve your local SEO strategy

We have established that local SEO is critical to attracting attention. Like all SEO, however, the success of your strategy depends heavily upon your execution. Follow these six steps to ensure that your local SEO sees the results that you’re seeking.

Ensure accuracy

Ensure that any data about your business online is accurate. This means:

  • A valid address for both correspondence and attendance. If a GPS or Sat Nav requires a different postal code to Royal Mail to identify your address, make this clear
  • A current telephone number and email address. Few things frustrate users more than a contact number that connects to dead air, always goes unanswered or links to a different business
  • Correct opening hours. If users are Googling your business, they are theoretically interested in your services. If your business is closed when they expect to find you, it will not make a good impression. They’ll quickly find a local rival that is willing to accept their custom

Accuracy sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses fall at this hurdle. Inaccurate local SEO data leads to a loss of trust from potential customers, and this is so easily avoided.

Create a Google My Business page

It’s hardly a secret that this is Google’s world and we’re just living in it. Any business that has genuine ambitions of attracting local trade needs a Google My Business account. The good news is that it’s free to claim yours, and it only takes a minute or two to populate all the data fields.

Do take the time to complete your Google My Business account. Leaving your profile unfinished and unpopulated will cost you a great deal of local SEO traffic. What’s more, the optics of such a decision will not work in your favour. Your competitors will likely have filled in their profiles. As a result, leaving yours blank is akin to having an empty brick-and-mortar shop amid a parade of beautifully decorated storefronts.

Join other local directories

A Google My Business profile is essential, but do not sleep on other online directories. Whisper it quietly, but some people do not even surf the web using Google, preferring Bing (you’ll need a Bing Places for Business profile in this instance) or DuckDuckGo. To cater for such audiences, ensure your business is listed in every possible resource.

Examples of other directories include:

Concerning these, refer back to point 1. Ensure that your listing is correct and accurate on all these profiles. A well-meaning but ultimately misguided citizen may have created an entry for your business and made some critical errors.

Use local keywords in your content

The use of keywords is SEO 101, but there is a particular art to local SEO. For example, if your business is based in London, there will be no shortage of rivals that also namecheck the city. You’ll need to be a little more specific. Describe your location in terms of major local landmarks to stand apart from the crowd.

You should also keep an eye on local news, incorporating this into your content marketing. If something arises in the area that you operate, especially a public interest story, piggyback on the spike in interest that this will generate. This way, when people search for updates on the latest news, they’ll be confronted with your business page.

Be mobile-friendly – including utilising voice search

Making your web presence as mobile-friendly as possible is sound advice at the best of times. Mobile internet browsing now exceeds desktop searching, and the built-in GPS systems found on mobile phones makes them ideal for local SEO.

Pick up your smartphone and tablet right and now punch the words “dry cleaners” into Google. If you have activated location services, even the paid advertisements will be for businesses in your vicinity. The listings below will also be local. It could be your company that benefits from this regional bias.

Another thing to note about mobile-based searching for local businesses is the rise of voice commands. A whopping 58% of people find local businesses through a vocal speaker, such as Siri. If a user asks, “Siri, where is my closest dry cleaner?” you’ll want to ensure that your business places prominently on the results page.

Ask for reviews

No matter how you may feel about them, online reviews for your business are hugely important. Many people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends. You’ll need to maintain a stellar online reputation.

Global websites like Trustpilot will help with this, but an SME should also ask regular customers for a Google review. Some may need to be incentivised, but most happy clients will cheerfully agree to leave a review if you provide an excellent service. The more reviews your business attracts, the higher it will rank on the first page of Google.

The best reviews will always come from local influencers. If you can find somebody with a sizable local following prepared to discuss your business online in glowing terms, you’ll receive a substantial local SEO boost. Resist any temptation to cut corners and purchase Google reviews, though. Google are wise to such tricks, and this tactic can backfire dramatically.