There is a common misconception that to rank locally in search engine results, all you need to do is add your location to your keywords within your content. However, this is very far from the truth and a great deal of background work and research needs to be undertaken if your business is to rank highly in local searches.
In this blog, we explore the steps you need to take to ensure improved local rankings. And, while each of these steps is possible on your own, it is the most time and cost-efficient, and more likely to be productive, if you work with local SEO services to achieve your goals.
The first thing to understand when it comes to local SEO adverts is that they are different from other SEO campaigns and your approach needs to reflect this difference. Because of this, it is important not only to get it right the first time, but also to stay on top of the changes so that your hard work does not become obsolete. This is where working with local SEO services is invaluable.
Google My Business Page
One of the first steps you need to take to improve your local search results is to claim your ‘Google My Business Page’. This is relatively easy to do, but it is important to add all the relevant information to your listing. You must include a unique, long, correctly formatted description that includes links. You must also choose the categories that are correct for your business and upload photos; ideally professional quality photos that showcase your brand messaging, and not generic stock photos.
Contact information is crucially important and should include a local phone number and your business address. It is vital that this address is consistent with the one shown on your other platforms and printed materials. The same should also apply to your opening and closing times if these are relevant. While you have all this information on hand, an SEO company can focus on using the right information, creating the correct formatting and ensuring that profile images are high-resolution, which will paint your business in a positive light and help your business rank on Google. All this needs to be achieved before you even begin to look at keywords.
Once you have dealt with this, you are ready to move onto the next important steps in improving your local rankings. This step involves local reviews. Any SEO company you approach should understand the importance of customer reviews, but only the best really understand the importance of local reviews and the impact they have on local search engine rankings. These reviews need to go beyond Google and include reviews on pages such as Yelp – which is used by Apple maps to find businesses.
Other local directories are just as important to your overall local ranking. You can begin by getting in touch with existing customers and asking them to post reviews of their experiences. Don’t forget you can also add instructions on your website on how to leave a review, but remember you cannot ask for good reviews, as all reviews must be genuine. This stage can be extremely time-consuming and is certainly best left to your SEO experts. Only once you reach this stage are you ready to start looking at your on-page local SEO features.
The right keywords
At this stage, you are ready to look at keywords and more specifically keywords that include keywords relevant to your location. Fitting these naturally into your content is one of the skills that local SEO services should have. If they make your content awkward to read, then they are of limited use in improving your local SEO rankings. This is just one of the reasons why it is important to choose your SEO specialist with care.