5 ways to improve your local search ranking

Most small businesses are focused on a local demographic and want targeted relevant website traffic. Fortunately, there are some simple methods which can greatly enhance your local search engine ranking and start getting you the valuable visitors you need to grow your business.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation: in simple terms it just means how to make your website appear higher in search results.

Local SEO is all about specificity, once you have your service name and location clear you can begin with the following five steps.

1. Register on Google my business

Google currently has 86% of all search engine traffic meaning this is by the far most important channel for organic search. Therefore, every local business must register on Google: My Business and complete all the necessary steps including:

  • Add a unique description that’s formatted correctly and includes links
  • Choose the correct categories for your business
  • Upload as many quality photos as possible
  • Add a phone number
  • Add your business address – its critical that your business address is in the same consistent format across every channel: website, social media etc.
  • Upload a high-resolution profile image (company logo) and cover photo
  • Add your opening times/days (if relevant)
  • Get real reviews from customers (read on to find out more)

Having a complete listing will give you an advantage over competitors who don’t, when someone searches through Google maps your business can show up within the first few listings which will bring relevant targeted local traffic to your website.

2. Gather reviews from review sites

65% of people read reviews on a business and 88% use them prior to making a purchase decision. To get great reviews you need to remind your customers to leave them in the places that matter like Google maps, FreeIndex, Yell and Yelp. Local reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so you will want to spend some time acquiring them. A good start would be to reach out to any satisfied previous customers and see if they are interested in leaving a review. You could incentivize them through a discount etc.

3. Citations and links

Local business directories and citations are vital for strong local SEO performance. Google loves them! Sign up and register with all the local directories and ensure your profile is consistent and professional. If your business is a trade such as a plumber or mechanic, then be sure to register with sites like checkatrade this will provide a strong link and can be a great resource for customers to find you.

One of the most important steps in building multiple trustworthy links are through other local businesses in the area. Some ideas for building links include; job postings, sponsorships, relevant local content, local press coverage and sponsor or hosting local meet up groups.

4. Social media

Although social media seems global, most of our networks are still locally focused, with the core of your connections living close to you. Creating engaging content that people will share locally will encourage more people from the local area to connect with your social media profiles and find out about your products or services. This benefits your SEO as the search engines can identify that your website has a strong presence in local social media accounts.

5. On-site SEO

The back bone of your local SEO is in the design of your website, html tags, meta description and keyword optimised content which can all be tailored to your specific local audience. Make sure your website has this built in otherwise your missing out on one of the quickest and simplest ways to enhance your local SEO.

The bottom line is having a strong local SEO is one of the most important aspects for any small business and it can be achieved through the 5 steps. It's not an overnight solution and can take time but the reward is valuable interested traffic to your site.

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