Local SEO Checklist 2018: SEO Small Business Tips!

The way people search is constantly changing. Now more than ever, local search terms are growing in popularity.

Local SEO has a lot in common with traditional SEO services, but unlike these more conventional practices, local SEO specifically targets local customers.

If your business doesn’t show up when someone performs a local search on Google, that’s a missed opportunity. Your competitors are taking potential customers — and money — from your pocket.

Fortunately, you can fix that problem with local SEO services. Yes, it may take some time. Like traditional SEO, local SEO is about long-term rather than short-term gains. But it’s worth the effort to ensure you’re connected to high-converting searchers in your area.

Interested in attracting more local customers? Let’s get started with a local SEO checklist to give you that much needed rankings boost.

What is local SEO?

Before we begin our checklist, it’s worth offering a more detailed definition of local SEO.

In the simplest terms, the goal of local SEO is to provide results for people based on their location.

Studies suggest that around 80-85% of consumer engagement with brands now happens through local search, local listings, or local landing pages. This is largely due to the rise of smartphones and voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and Siri.

For example, if I perform a search on my smartphone for ‘best Italian restaurant in London,’ Google will provide me with the following results:

SEO for local business in search results
Local SEO in SERPs

The good news is that with some work on optimisation, your business will be visible in local search too!

“OK Google, how do I optimise my website using Local SEO?” No need to search for this one, because we have the answer right here.

1. Setup Google My Business Listings

The first step on our local SEO checklist is claiming your Google My Business listing.

You will need information to hand about your business, including opening hours, address and contact details, as well as optimised images. Consistency is key here, so keep your NAP (name, address, phone) listings the same across all online communications.

Try to offer people as much information as possible regarding your business, as an accurate and informative listing is a huge trust factor which will give you an edge over competitors. Here are some snippets to include:

– Business-related photos/videos
– Contact information
– Business description
– Verified email address
– Reviews and star ratings
– Business location on map

Google My Business listing

When it comes to targeting local listings and directories, there’s no need to stop at Google My Business.

Yes, GMB is probably the most important form of local citation (i.e. any online reference to the name, address, and phone number of a local business). But every local citation you build is another step towards ranking success.

2. Google Reviews

Don’t be shy to ask your customers for positive Google reviews. These are a huge trust factor and will give new customers confidence when visiting your website for the first time.

Did you know that last year alone 74% of customers consulted reviews before making an essential purchase online? It just goes to show that reviews can have a huge impact on conversion optimisation.

One way of encouraging interaction and making it easier for customers to leave reviews is by integrating Google reviews into your website.
However, don’t just ask your friends and family to leave reviews. It will almost always be flagged up by Google and have a negative impact on rankings.

3. Create Location Specific Landing Pages

If you are a business looking to rank highly in multiple locations, then you’ll likely have a series of targeted location pages. This is a solid local strategy to ensure you are found by customers in these specific locations — job well done, right?

Well, not exactly. Unfortunately, these pages are not always set up correctly. All too often, they include poorly crafted content that consists of only a few sentences per page. This is frowned upon by Google.

All pages on your website must have value, and landing pages are no exception. If your page has thin, low-level content, such as a few sentences loaded with keywords and spam content, then you are in trouble.

Most importantly, you should optimise content with local terms related to your industry. For example, Bigfoot Digital currently rank on page one for ‘SEO London’ despite being based in Barnsley. This has allowed us to grow our customer profile, as well as demonstrating our ability to conduct successful local SEO services.

Aside from this, content must always answer the question of a searcher. If you are providing a service for someone in that area, ensure that your content is relevant to that user. Otherwise, why should Google bother ranking your business for that service?

4. Schema Markup

Schema markup gives businesses all kinds of options to improve the appearance of a site’s listing on search engine results pages (otherwise known as SERPs!).

In short, this involves adding a rich snippet of HTML to your website that inserts additional detail underneath your search results.

It’s the difference between this Google listing, which is optimised for schema markup:

Schema markup google listing

And this one, which isn’t:

google search results for a recipe

We know which result we prefer — do you? You’re far more likely to get clicks through to your site if you include things like an image or star rating to increase trust and visual appeal. This makes schema markup a vital part of our local SEO checklist, because it allows you to add extra detail about your targeted locations.

In a landscape where competition for clicks is at an all-time high, this could be the difference between generating sales and losing out to your rivals.

5. On-Page Local SEO

When optimising local SEO pages on your website, it’s vital to use location keywords in your content and metadata. Try to include your full address (in a consistent format) as well as city and neighbourhood names in your URL, page title, and headers.

Embedding a Google map on your contact page will further boost your rankings, as it gives you more relevance for that location.

These techniques are key to Google connecting your business with searchers in your area.

6. Hire a Local SEO Company

Looking for high-quality local SEO services? Well, you are in the right place.

We’re a number one ranking digital agency, so we know a thing or two about local SEO.

Our clients enjoy the same great results. Don’t believe us? Our client testimonials tell you everything you need to know.

Using Local SEO for Ranking Success

If you have reached this point in our local SEO checklist, then we can assume you’re interested in boosting your local rankings.

At Bigfoot Digital, we specialise in achieving ranking success for local SEO.

If you’re running a local business and would like more tips to help improve your online presence, then we’d love to hear from you.

Call 01226 720 755, or email enquiries@bigfootdigital.co.uk.