How to optimise your Business locally using SEO
Google launched an algorithm change which changed the way the search engine now assesses how to present local search engine results.
Google code named this algorithm change Google Pigeon update.
So it’s more important than ever to make sure that you place an emphasis, on your local search engine optimisation campaigns, if you are a small business.
Most small businesses want to encourage sales and custom from a small geographic area, so this might be the form of Seo that you need to concentrate on.
You can optimise your website locally by obtaining local links, citations and create content marketing for specific region or market.
Local Back Links
The first area we are going to start with in terms of local seo, is that you could potentially “reach out” to local news sites or high quality local websites to see if they would be interested in featuring an article about your business. This is so you could potentially obtain in return for your effort a Back Link.
If you are unsure about what outreaching means, then this is simply finding high quality and relevant websites, to see if you can write an article for them, and you then get a back link in return.
Remember the normal rules apply to link building, in that these links need to be high quality and from a reputable website. Remember that Google, has a Penguin update, which looks at your back link profile, if it is low quality your website could slip down the rankings. For more about the Penguin update click here.
Citations are the other form of increasing your visibility locally, these look for what we call in Seo as a “NAP format”. The Nap format is Name, Address, Phone number of the business cited across the internet that exactly matches up with what your website is displaying. So imagine now local directory sites, you are looking to get your business details from these across the web, matching up back to what is listed on your website.
If you would like to know more about Local Search Engine Optimisation SEO, why not read about it here. Local Seo.
Local Citations and Mentions
Do remember that conflicting business citations can cause confusion to the search engines, and may cause your website to be less visible in a local area.
It is therefore very important to get your citations correct, and make sure that they are all matching up exactly and pointing towards where you currently do business.
To do this you need to make sure that your business address name and phone number across the net is written in a consistent way, and that no old address or business information is on the internet. For example, you may have changed company phone number a few times in the time you have been in business, you therefore need to make sure that you amend your business directory information.
If it is incorrect the nap details, then contact the company’s listing the information, and try to get that information amended and updated asap, so that you are sending clear signals about where your business is.
Remember that the NAP details need to be exactly the same, that is there can be no variation otherwise the search engines may feel that the information is totally different. In this case they might not have the confidence to display your business in the local search results.
You have to be exact, even spaces within phone numbers will count as a difference, even if the phone number may read the same it needs to be precisely the same, as what is listed on your website.
Local Business Reviews
It is also important to encourage reviews locally for your business.
You could encourage reviews by putting a flyer/ leaflet or comment in your product or service range some how that prompts customers to leave their reviews on a review website for example.
Reviews can increase the confidence that your business is located in the specific geographic region, through mentions of that area within the review.
For example, if you run a plumbing company in Cardiff, a lot of mentions to this effect in reviews can help build confidence that your business is located in a certain area by the search engines.
They also can increase the confidence placed in your company by people putting positive comments about your business online. Which may encourage sales overtime and visits to your website, because you are viewed as more of a trustworthy business because of these positive reviews.
Content Marketing for Local Search Engine Optimisation | SEO
You could use content marketing to help the search engines decipher where your geographic location is for your business.
That is naturally within your content marketing work naturally comment on the areas where you carry out business.
It is very important not to “keyword stuff” a load of areas within the content marketing work, as this is not natural, and could attract a penalty towards your site and the Google Panda updates.
You therefore need to create content marketing, which advertises your business or product range in a natural way, where applicable mentions a business location.
Do not try and cram in as many locations as you can, as again this will look spammy.
How to leverage more traffic using Google My Business
Google My Business is a very important feature of Google, that most small businesses should be taking advantage of if possible. Google My Business.
This is basically a way of registering your business with Google, so that it has the potential to show up in the local business results.
You can register your business details on Google My Business and then wait for a postcard to be sent with a pin code, so you can activate that listing to your business address.
You then may show up in the Google Local Business results, and you may therefore increase local traffic to your business.
You can help increase your chances of appearing in the Google Local Business results by optimising your website locally, through the ways that have been mentioned above also.
Although there are no guarantees that you will be displayed within the Google My Business results, what you will be doing is increasing the confidence with the search engines that you are actually physically located at that location, increasing your local search engine signals of trust you are where you say you are.
How to use Content Marketing to encourage traffic from a certain area.
As previously mentioned Content Marketing is a very important part of encouraging the search engines to have confidence that you are located where you say you are.
What you must take into consideration is that many businesses will try and optimise their website for as wide an area as they can.
This is so they can partake in potentially spammy activities by mentioning geographic locations over and over again on a website, in their content marketing work. This is in order so that they appear within a wide geographic area through the search results .For example, a firm on the outskirts of London, may keep repeating different locations in London, to try and appear, for them areas in the search results, this is a out dated method of SEO, and should be avoided. You need to instead, write naturally, and only mention areas when you would naturally, like you were speaking to somebody.
Google will be wise to “keyword stuffing” area names and pickup spammy use of mentions of geographic areas within Content marketing through its Google Panda update.
What you should do is try to participate in local events or presentations instead and get these mentioned on the web, this will again increase the search engines confidence that you are within a physical location. This is because you may be mentioned on news websites locally or an organisations website that have taken part in the event also within a certain area. So offline marketing, in todays age often becomes online, as what your business does in terms of events for example can be mentioned online. The more back-links, and mentions that are high in quality the better.
With that said you could also within your content marketing naturally write about geographic areas, where you do business in. For example, say you are a wedding planner you could mention your recent work, in your blog posts for example, this will allow you to naturally write about where you do business. This can help increase your ranking positions locally, when you write naturally about locations you have worked in. For example, you may carry out work in Cardiff, or bristol and possibly Bath, you can then mention these places in the social web and in your content marketing efforts.
For example you may be a scaffolding company in Bristol for example, you may wish to showcase recent projects you carried out within the area and the surrounding areas such as Bath for example. So you could write a series of news articles, on your site, showing your work, explaining how you carried out the work and mention this on your twitter account for example. This will help in your efforts to optimise your business locally.
“By doing this and naturally writing about where you carried out your business services too, you will be naturally writing about keywords that are relevant to your business area, while combining these with geographic locations”.
With that said you have to do this carefully so not to attract the attention of the Panda update because by keyword stuffing, you could open the possibility of being penalised if you carry out content marketing the wrong way!
If you would like to know more about how Local Seo works, and what Local Seo signals are, why not read about Local Seo on Search Engine Land: Local Seo