Local rankings play a crucial role in small business marketing. The good news is, you don’t have to be an expert to wrap your head around the basics.
To help you get started, here is a brief guide on how to set your website up to rank for local searches.
Step 1: Create specific pages for your local area
This one might sound obvious, but it’s something people often get wrong. When starting out in local SEO, you should keep your targeted suburbs local – around 3-4 surrounding suburbs.
Once you’ve nailed down your targets, your next step is to create a page on your website that is 100% dedicated to your service - click here for a good example of a local plumbing business.
After you’ve published this page, it’s time to create a few new suburb-specific pages. These pages should be subfolders, which means they should come after the main service page in the URL (e.g. /plumber/suburb/).
For each page, write around 400-500 words of original web copy that talks up your business and the service you provide in the area. Not much of a writer? Don’t worry – you don’t need to be the next Hemingway to write a page of local copy. Click here to see a solid example of how suburb page copy should be structured. Remember, don’t just copy local information from Wikipedia!
Step 2: Always optimise your title tags
Without optimised title tags, you’re really doing your business a disservice. Put simply, a title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Displayed as a headline in search engine results pages, a title tag should be a short and accurate description of a page’s content.
To help search engines better understand what a page is about, as well as boost its ranking, it’s crucial to optimise title tags. But how do you write a good one? Here are a few tips:
- Keep your titles under 60 characters (TIP: Use this tool by SEOmofo)
- Don’t overstuff it with keywords and make sure it reads well (TIP: check out your competition and take inspiration from their titles)
- Put your important keywords first (TIP: Google will bold the searched keywords so they will stand out more)
- Give every page a unique and original title (TIP: Helps Google to know your page content is unique and valuable)
- Write with your audience in mind (TIP: If people relate to your content they will be more likely to contact you)
If your website is on the WordPress CMS (which around 25% of all sites are) I highly recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin as it makes the task very simple.
Step 3: Get included in local directories and groups
Even with optimised title tags and SEO copywriting, it’s still important to get your business listed in local online directories and groups. A few major online directories in Australia include Yellow Pages, TrueLocal, Flying Solo, PureLocal, and LocalSearch. You can find more by conducting a simple Google search – e.g. ‘local directories in Australia’.
When you’re filling in your business details, it’s important to ensure the information is correct and consistent across directories. Make sure there aren’t discrepancies in the spelling, abbreviations, contact information, addresses, or other important details. You should also double-check you’ve listed your business in the proper category with the relevant keywords built in.
Google and other search engines constantly scan third-party sites to build a stronger understanding of the local web and your business. If they pick up on mistakes or inaccuracies, they may not display the right information, or worse, choose not to show your business at all!
Step 4: Own and care for your GMB page
Creating a GMB (Google My Business) listing is a great way to boost your local exposure. Essentially, GMB is a free tool from Google that helps business owners manage and improve their online presence across the search engine – including its range of utilities such as Local Search, Knowledge Graph, and Maps.
As with most SEO-related marketing strategies, it’s important to properly optimise your GMB listing. You can do this by:
- Filling in the correct details of your business
- Updating your information when needed
- Regularly adding new images
- Tracking your efforts by analysing your data
- Taking advantage of Google’s ‘Post’ feature
- Adding in an appointment URL
- Encouraging users to leave reviews (and responding to them)
- Creating a 360 degrees virtual tour (if you have a shopfront)
Get seen (and stay seen)
For small businesses, local SEO can be the difference between making a profit and falling behind. Your most relevant forms of traffic will likely come from local search – so it pays to improve your marketing efforts in this area. To give your business the boost it needs, just follow these simple steps.
About the author:
Nick Brogden is a digital growth marketer at Web Profits. He has years of experience in the digital space and is a tech junkie. He excels at creating multi-channel growth strategies and is always happy to provide advice. Connect with me on LinkedIn.