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The complete guide to local SEO

Posted by Simon Collins
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We’ve got a quick question for you…

What if there was an easy way to optimise your website for local SEO?

You’d take it, right?

Well, while there are no silver bullets when it comes to SEO (or growing a business generally), today we’re going to cover some high-value processes that are sure to accelerate your SEO results.

But before we look at how to optimise for local SEO, let’s define our terms.

What is local SEO?

Here’s a definition of local SEO:

The steps taken to optimise the search engine rankings for a website that has local reach. For example, a website for an estate agency in Shoreditch, London.

Now we’re all on the same page, let’s look at how to optimise for local SEO.

Make the most of your homepage

Your homepage is the most important page on your website – that goes both for the user experience and for SEO optimisation.

To optimise it effectively for local SEO, you need to clearly define: what your business is, what it does, and where it is. This means that both the header tag and meta description need to clearly state this. For example, ‘Blue Ocean Estate Agency in Shoreditch, London’.

Break up your website intelligently

To help your webpage rank effectively, deconstruct your website into relevant, dedicated webpages for each part of your business. This means creating a different page for branch locations or the various products or services you offer.

This presents a clear business model to search engine. What’s more, it enables your business to rank for your different pages and corresponding key words.

So (going back to our example), if our estate agency in Shoreditch advertised homes to rent and homes for sale, they’d need different pages for each.

If they made the mistake of putting the ‘for rent’ and ‘for sale’ properties on the same page, it would confuse search engines. The website would struggle to rank for a term like ‘houses for rent in Shoreditch’, which obviously the business would love to rank for.

On-page SEO optimisation

Search engines, such as Google, look at many ranking factors to understand what each of your pages should rank for. So, you need to ensure you do the right tasks to optimise for on-page SEO.

The most important task is to optimise for the correct keywords. For example, you might want to optimise one page for ‘service X in location Y’.

For this on-page SEO optimisation, ensure you include your keyword in:

  • The URL – don’t make the URL too long and ensure the keyword is in there.
  • Headers – use H2 tags for headings and put the keyword in the first header on the page. And, put the keyword in the H1 title itself.
  • The page meta description – again, keep it short and to-the-point and include the keyword.
  • Your images – although image alt text must first and foremost be accessible for the visually impaired, try to include your keyword in each instance.
  • The copy – this includes using keyword synonyms on top of your dedicated keyword.
  • Proofread – resolve all typos and grammatical errors. Also, run the text through tools such as Hemingway App to improve readability.

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Optimising internal links

Next, you’ll need to optimise your internal links and ensure relevant webpages links to each other in the right way.

This is also known as the topic clusters model that search engines are increasingly favouring. This model encourages cohesive ‘spheres of knowledge’ over randomly placed webpages. At the centre of these clusters are ‘pillar pages’ – longform, ungated and keyword-optimised pages that takes a deep dive into a specific singular topic.

Ultimately, internal linking helps because it:

  • Establishes the correct information architecture
  • Builds an effective hierarchy
  • Distributes page authority and ranking power appropriately.

Claim and optimise your Google ‘my business’ page

This is an absolute must.

As you’d expect, Google takes pride in its own ideas. Therefore, Google’s ‘my business’ page contributes significantly to local business SEO.

When building you’re my business page, remember to add important keywords to the page – again, what the business does, and where it operates. For more on how to optimise this page, here’s a useful guide.

Get lots of (positive) reviews for your ‘my business’ page and other review sites

The more positive reviews you get, the higher up your business page will feature in (relevant) Google search queries.

In addition to Google reviews, it also good practice to get reviews on Yelp and Facebook, as this will further validate your business and help it rank higher.

However, it’s easier said than done. The question is: what’s the best way to get more (and better) reviews?

Here are some ideas:

  • Actively respond to reviews. Say kind words to positive reviews and try to resolve negative reviews. Yes, that means apologising if necessary!
  • Create a customer service culture. Maybe this is a wakeup call if you’re getting poor reviews. Take the opportunity to solve the problem and improve your service.
  • Ask satisfied clients for reviews. Whenever you deliver your product or service well, politely ask your customer to leave a quick review online if they think it’s appropriate. Afterall, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Get more external links

When external websites link to your website, you’ll receive a boost in domain authority, and you’ll move up the search rankings.

But, how do you get more of these links?

Here are three quick tips:

  • Put your business on as many websites with local directories as possible
  • Create amazing content that people love and link back to
  • Make content shareable so you get lots of links from social channels

For a more detailed look at building links, check out our blog on the mysterious (and highly effective) skyscraper method for link building.

Hungry for more SEO wisdom?

Sixty-one percent of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is a top priority.

Fortunately, following the advice in this article will accelerate your local SEO results. From getting great reviews to improving the structure of your website, these are clear processes and won’t break the bank or take months of effort to achieve.

But we’ve only dipped our toe into the exciting world of SEO - there are more ways to improve your website.

If you’d like a more detailed look at what it takes to dominate in the world of SEO, download our guide below.

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