Whether your business is making its first steps into the digital world, or looking to beat competitors in the area, Local SEO is a must in 2022.
Diving into the world of Digital Marketing with your business can be intimidating.
With more, higher quality competitors all over the country, it can seem an impossible task to cut through the noise, and find your business’s place online.
This is where Local SEO can help you.
Especially for those who offer services locally, being able to attract local customers is imperative; much more so than trying to cover the national or worldwide market, with the risk of overreaching and not achieving the goals you set for your campaign. But how is Local SEO going to help you?
There is no arguing that the digital world influences transactions in today’s economy. Deloitte’s study shows that 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores is in some way influenced by the digital world.
Local SEO is a major player – especially considering the majority of local searches are made on mobile devices. Google states that 76% of local searches result in a visit to a business within a day; that number grows to 88% within a week, with 28% of all searches for nearby businesses resulting in a purchase.
In other words, if you offer services locally, your business must have a clear online presence in your local area. Whether this is your first step into the digital world, or a new focus for an established business, Local SEO simply cannot be ignored in 2022. Let’s talk about 10 things you should keep in mind to be ahead of your competitors in the area.
1. Keep in mind Google Local Search ranking criteria
While the Organic Search criteria can sometimes be mystified, Google is very clear about what is considered when ranking Local Search results. These 3, seemingly simple principles can be improved with both traditional Technical SEO and bespoke Local SEO techniques.
As with any other search, Google will be attempting to show users results that are relevant to their query. This can be linked to the content of your website, products and services offered, keyword optimisation, and other Technical SEO principles.
Using varying degrees of accuracy, Google will show users businesses that are closer to them. It should be noted that closer businesses will not always rank better, as Relevance and Prominence will also be considered,
This term generally refers to how popular your business is with users. Google will attempt to value your online and offline popularity through a number of factors, such as Backlinks, Social Media Presence, Reviews and Citations – for example, on online directories.
2. Have a great Google My Business Profile
An overwhelming majority of the public uses Google Search to find out more information about local businesses. Rio SEO found that as many as 83% of consumers use the search engine for this purpose, with a similar percentage expecting an accurate and up-to-date Google My Business profile.
In most local searches, this will be the user’s first touchpoint with your business, so a good profile, with the right primary and secondary categorisation, is a must-have.
Always include accurate contact information, reviews, pictures and posts.
An inaccurate or incomplete profile can massively hurt your business, and confuse potential customers.
3. Have a mobile-friendly website
With 61% of all Google searches being made on mobile devices, the necessity to optimise the user experience for smartphones and tablets is inevitable.
As Google uses mobile devices’ location to determine which results are more relevant to the user, you should also consider how Local SEO can help you convert mobile users quickly.
For example, if a user was to look for a Law Firm in a specific area, they will be presented with a few businesses’ information and a clear Call To Action with a phone call button, right in the search results. That’s only one touch from a local search to a potential customer on the phone, and 60% of mobile users have contacted a business this way.
Getting your Firm to the top of the local businesses’ list means more visibility and, therefore, better and quicker conversions.
4. Make sure NAP+W is consistent across platforms
NAP+W is an acronym that stands for “Name, Address, Phone Number & Website”.
These 4 pieces of information are vital to your Local SEO performance, therefore it is imperative these are accurate and updated.
Google will not only prioritise complete NAP+W sets, but also consistency. Having the same information about your business listed in your Google My Business account, online listings, website, social media etcetera will help Google build trust in that information, and, consequently, your business.
5. E-A-T & Local Content
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. While it was always thought to be a factor in website ranking, Google published information about its guidelines and their importance in a Core Update Blog back in 2019.
Google uses these concepts to gauge the quality of content, while also considering the source of it based on a number of factors.
Good quality content from an expert and authoritative source can help Google trust your website, both from an informational and transactional standpoint.
You should consider your content’s relevance in the local area of the users you’re targeting, too. It is likely more important for your business to assert local authority, rather than attempting to fight for relevance with a virtually infinite audience. This means a reader is more likely going to be looking for your services locally.
If, for example, your Recruitment Agency operates in Manchester, you should be posting about “Jobs in Manchester”, while making sure your content is high quality, authoritative and trustworthy.
6. Start Social Business Profiles
With Social Media becoming an ever-growing force in the Digital Business world, it’s no surprise that having active and informational Social Business Profiles can help you grow.
Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are a great place to share updates with your audience, and the information on these profiles helps Google build trust in your business and what it does. Aligning your Socials and Search information also lets Google verify your NAP+W.
7. Implement Structured Data
Structured Data, also known as Schema, is a type of script that can be implemented in any page on your website. It provides valuable information to the user – such as contact information, price range etc., but also confirms pieces of information to Google, boosting your business’s Trustworthiness.
Many types of Schema exist, and each provides a different type of data: from simple contact information, to events, to FAQs and information about a person. You can read about the different types of Schemas available and how to build Structured Data on the schema.org website.
8. Optimise for Voice Search
Nearly 50% of users are currently using Voice Search to find out about products online.
Your campaign should account for the way users search using screenless or voice-first devices, with words such as “How”, “What” and “Best” being the most common in queries.
Voice Search queries also tend to employ long tail keywords more often, as they are usually much more conversational in tone, and commonly include questions and terms such as “Nearby” or “Open Now”. You can account for these differences by implementing snippets and Structured Data, optimising for common questions, and making sure your Google My Business profile and other online directory listings are accurate and up-to-date,
9. Be responsive to your reviews
There’s no denying that good and descriptive reviews can help your business stand out locally. Rio SEO found that 75% of local users felt that reviews displayed on a business’s website were likely to influence their decision, and 51% felt more trust in a local business when they saw them responding to reviews.
Managing your reviews can be vital to the way your business is perceived, both by potential customers and Google. Consistently high ratings, keyword rich and informational reviews – which can include location, products or prices – can all help your profile climb up the ranking and get you more customers.
10. Don’t neglect your technical SEO
While all of these principles can help you cut through the noise of local businesses, don’t forget about your Technical, On-site SEO.
Your website should be secure, easily crawlable, fast-loading. These concepts will still apply to everything on your business’s website.
Regardless of whether a focus shift to Local SEO is being implemented, Google will still rank your website based on Organic Search principles.
If your business is offering products and services locally, you cannot afford not to follow basic Local SEO principles. Competition can be less fierce, customers will be more qualified and conversions can happen in seconds, given you have optimised your business’s online presence.
Your competitors may already be using all of these systems on top of traditional SEO and PPC campaigns, so make sure your business’s name is as high up the local businesses list as possible – with all the right information -, ready for your next customer.