The Ultimate Guide to Local SEO
Think you need to spend loads of money on Google Ad words to get business from Google? Think again – Google wants to send you business and is making it even easier for local businesses to be found through sound local SEO practices. That means even small businesses can afford to raise up the search ranks in your local community by using good SEO local search tactics.
SEO doesn’t have to be a mystery – and it should always be transparent. Here are some simple ways that you can help to boost your business visibility on Google in a handy infographic. If you’d like to speak to us about how we can help you to make these changes – either as a one-off assignment or as ongoing management – drop us an email.
Mastering Local SEO
Step One: Optimise Your Google My Business Page
So many businesses don’t even bother to claim their business page on Google – or if they do, they don’t take the time to fill the information in thoroughly and correctly. Don’t let this be you! Here’s how you can optimise your business page:
- Fill out your page completely, including business hours and high-quality images
- Attach your My Business Page to your business domain email.
- Make sure your profile is 100% complete.
- Check that your listing on Google+ is also up-to-date.
- Ensure your business listing is verified.
Step Two: Optimise Your Website & Landing Pages
This might get a bit more technical but it’s worth the time and money to have it done correctly. Here’s what you need to do to optimise your website and landing pages:
- Set up your Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics (make sure your website is indexed!)
- Ensure that you have the correct Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) and it matches the information on your My Business Page. This information should ideally appear in the footer of every page as text.
- Change title tags and meta descriptions to include local keywords, like neighbourhood and postcode. This can be done with a plugin like Yoast or Squirrly.
- Optimise page headers with location-specific keywords (use only one H1 header!).
- Compress images and use location-specific alt-tags.
- Create service-specific pages for each service that you offer eg Yoga Classes in Clapham, Pilates Classes in Clapham…
- Include at least 1,000 words on each of your pages – this may seem like a lot but Google definitely prefers more content than less.
- Film local videos (1-2 minutes) and post them on your site and YouTube. YouTube has higher SEO value than other video sharing sites at this time – so even if you are on another platform it’s worth creating a YouTube profile too.
- If you have one physical location the homepage should be a hub of information – multiple locations should be presented across separate optimised pages.
- Create landing page content with local keywords and testimonials from local residents or businesses.
- Include business hours on your landing pages.
- Focus on mobile responsive design and fast website speed.
- Build backlinks to your pages.
- Create a blog to produce relevant content that can be shared on social media.
- Embed Google Maps on your homepage with a marker at your address.
Step Three: Building Citations
Think of this like building bridges to your doorstep – the more places your site is listed (with in-bound links to your site) the more ways people can find you. It really is that simple – but it does take work.
- Add current citations for incorrect or inaccurate Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) listings.
- Verify your business in top directories including Bing Places, Yelp, Yell.com, Yahoo, Linkedin etc.
- Target directories specific to your industry then any that are hyper-local.
- Encourage reviews on Google+, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor and industry specific platforms.
- Add links to your review pages on your website and landing pages.
- Ask happy clients to post reviews on their preferred platform.
Step Four: Ranking Factors
There are positive factors that will help boost your online presence – and there are negative ones that will penalise your visibility. Here’s some to be aware of:
Positive Factors for Local SEO
- Backlinks to Google My Business Pages
- Keyword usage and variation within content
- Longer word counts on location-based pages.
- Verified Google My Business Page, with reviews and photos.
- Social signals – branding and engagement on social media
Negative Factors for Local SEO
- Incorrect business categories on listings
- Maleware present on your website
- Absence of crawlable NAP on website
- Generally negative reviews
- Keyword stuffing on Google My Business description.
Why Local SEO is important to the Wellness Industry
Recently Google announced it was partnering up with MindBody Online to launch Reserve with Google in three cities in the US (New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles). This service will allow clients to book into classes directly from Google – making it even more important for you to be Google friendly. We predict it won’t be long till this service hits the UK and many of the yoga studios, Pilates studios and wellness centres that use MindBody Online will be directly effected by this service.
The good news is that anything that makes it easier for your clients to book in for classes is always a good thing. And if your local SEO is sound you should be in a good position to be found by new clients as well as your loyal regulars. The bad news is that it’s going to take even more work to get clients to click over to your website – but more on that another day!
We hope this has been helpful – if you have any questions or would like to talk to us about our local SEO services then please get in touch today! We’d love to hear from you.