If you’re a local business and you make face-to-face contact with your customers, ranking on search engines for local customers is extremely important. Searchers abroad won’t be as beneficial to your business as local customers, making ranking for the right audience and within the right geographical area your main goal.
If you meet your customers directly, one of the most crucial aspects of SEO you should be focusing on is Local Search.
What is Local Search Engine Optimisation?
Local search engine optimisation are the measures you take for your website to rank and be found in local search results, and for local audiences, as opposed to ranking for a global audience.
It encompasses multiple methods where the content, HTML code and other aspects of SEO are done in a way that localises the ranking of the webpage, making search engines prioritise ranking your website for a local audience. When webpages are optimised this way, searchers looking for local business by using terms such as “nearby” or “near me” in their search will be served by these local businesses.
Why is local search SEO important?
As a local business, it’s unlikely that your outreach extends beyond your local community, town or city. As a result, all of your marketing effort, including your SEO, should be specific to your local area.
Local search allows you to be specific with who you rank for, and focus on searchers within your geographical area.
According to Think With Google, 50% of all searchers who conducted local searches visited a local business within the same day, and 18% of local mobile searchers end up converting within the same day. In total, 78% of all local searches made on mobile devices eventually result in an offline purchase.
The data clearly shows that there’s a lot of business to be made through local searches, and if you don’t optimise your content for local searches, you could be losing a lot of potential conversions as a local business.
To make sure you don’t miss out on all that local searches have to offer, follow these steps to optimise your website’s local SEO.
How to Optimise Your Website For Local Search
1. Make Sure Your Business Listings Are Consistent
Information relating to your business and specific to your location – such as your company name, address, email address, contact number, and even your working hours – appear on more than just your website. Different search engines within the search ecosystem list this information in their directories, and they’re frequently served to local searchers. These directories include Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and other platforms.
Updating your website with the correct information is not enough. If the information on your website contradicts what is on your business listing on other directories, search engines will deem it less trustworthy, and rank it lower.
To get as many local customers as possible, make sure your business information on all local search directories is up to date and consistent with what you have on your website.
2. Pay Attention to Your Ratings and Reviews Online
Local communities are more likely to develop “hive minds” than international or global markets. When optimising for local search, your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. Consumers consider what other customers say about your business before making a purchase, and this is especially true for local businesses.
To make sure you’re winning customers and ranking on search engines, make sure the service you’re providing is excellent and worthy of a 5-star rating. Use a tool such as SEMrush to manage your online ratings and reviews. Whenever you spot a negative review, make sure you respond to it as courteously and positively as possible – even bad reviews can work in your favour if you give the customer the assistance they need!
3. Optimise Your Website for Mobile
According to Bright Local, 1 in 3 mobile device users conduct a local search just before arriving physically at a business. Optimising your website for mobile is especially important for local customers because mobile users conduct searches for a quick way to find the nearest business that offers the services they need.
To make sure you’re ranking for local mobile searchers, your website has to be optimised for use on mobile devices. Make sure your pages load quickly on mobile, and that your website design is dynamic and responsive when viewed in the dimensions of mobile screens. Additionally, to rank on mobile SERP indexes, your sitemap has to be as easy to navigate through on mobile devices as it is on a desktop.
Use site assessment tools to make sure your website is mobile friendly, and if not, dive into the backend with your web developer to make it as mobile-friendly as possible.
As a local business, it’s important you know who your customers are and what they’re looking for in order to help them find it. Optimise your website with your local customers in mind, and design the rest of your SEO strategy around it. Chances are your business is exactly what they’re looking for, but they’ll never get to try all that you have to offer if they never get to hear of you!