I’ve been asked to present at a local business meeting so I thought some useful tips on local SEO techniques would go down well.  Here’s a copy of my slide deck and notes.

Why does local SEO matter?

  • Local SEO (search engine optimisation) is about providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.  (There are factors such as your Google settings and IP location that can influence this).  The massive growth in the use of mobile devices has made local SEO more relevant than ever.  If a user is on a mobile device, the results returned will be based on their location at the time of search.
    If your business or service talks about a physical location, Local SEO techniques are absolutely necessary to help you rank in the search engines.

An example of a local search results

  • This example was from my Google account on a PC. I didn’t put in a location but it served me local results. Your business can show up in the organic results and the map pack

5 elements of local SEO you need to master

There are many factors that influence local search results. Based on MOZ local search engine ranking factors, I have focused on 5 key factors.

1. Tell Google

  • You’ll need to create a Google account, if you haven’t already, and claim your Google My Business page for your business.  Fill it in as much as possible with images and content and you’ll need to verify you are the owner, usually through a postcard or phone call to make sure you exist at the location you say you do.  Visit http://www.google.com/business/ for more information.

2. Citations

  • The second most important thing is to get your citations in order.   A citation is any mention online of your business name and address and phone number (NAP) all on the same page, in the same format as your local listing on Google. It’s really important to make sure that your local citations match your local listing as closely as possible so the search engines can cross reference and make sure everything lines up. For example don’t abbreviate in one and not the other (St. vs Street).  For more information on citations and a template to log all your listings, read my blog on getting your local business listed

3. Your site content

  • If you want Google to know that you are a local business with a local address, make these details available on every page of your site – putting them in your footer is an easy way to achieve this. Always make sure that these details are identical to the ones you provide in your Google Business profile.
  • Do as much as you can with the page content and across your site to promote the fact that you service that location.  As well as all the obvious SEO techniques of urls, titles, meta descriptions all reflecting that location, other tips are:
    Add customer testimonials and case studies indicating the location of the work you did in the target area.
    Add photos and videos geotagged with the target location to your site.

4. Links

  • Internal links.  For example, you could link to a blog post you wrote about a job you did in your “target” area.
  • Outbound links.  You could link to the town’s website, to the site of a charity you support in the town, or to a blog post that someone else wrote that’s relevant to the town and to your services.
  • And of course get local links back to your site – use your network. The quality of the link is less important when you are focusing on local

5. Reviews

  • The more the merrier and it goes without saying that you are looking for quality reviews (but you need to be prepared to accept all reviews, good or bad).  The most important thing (based on current best practices) is to encourage reviews on your Google My Business page.  It may be you use other review sites or put reviews directly on your website but these won’t have as much influence on your page ranking as views left directly on your Google business page.  See my article on how to get good online reviews.