Beginners Guide To Local Search Marketing & Local SEO

Local search marketing or local SEO as it’s commonly known is a must-have marketing strategy for any local business.

76% of people who conduct a local search on their phone visit a business within 24 hours (source).

So…if your business isn’t showing up on search engines like Google then you’re missing out on a big chunk of potential customers.

In this local search guide I’ll show you:

  • How to appear on Google Maps
  • Optimising your GMB
  • Local Search domination
 
Let’s get started
local search marketing on Google

What Is Local Search Marketing?

Local search marketing or Local SEO as it’s commonly known is a type of digital marketing that focuses on promoting a business’s products and services to local customers in a local area including cities, towns and suburbs.

Local SEO is getting your business to appear on Google maps, the local map pack and local organic listings (the 10 blue listings you see on Google search).

Why Local SEO Matters

4 out of 5 consumers say that they use local search to track down relevant information. That means that if you’re not optimised for local search, you’re missing out on up to 80% of your leads.

Their are several types of businesses that can benefit from local SEO to reach their customers:

  • Businesses that have a physical location (shopfront, store) in a local area.
  • Businesses that don’t have a physical store but serve a local area, for example, a trade business
  • Businesses that run a franchise or multi-location business that serves multiple local areas across different suburbs and cities.

Developing your own local SEO strategy is easier than you might think.

To help you optimise for local SEO search, we’ve put together this quick and easy guide that will get you moving in the right direction.

1. Master Google my Business

First and foremost, Google my Business is at the heart of most local search strategies.

That’s because Google feels way more confident advising clients to go to websites that it can verify. If you can design and implement a solid Google My Business page, then you’re more likely to accomplish all of your local search marketing goals.

Here’s a handy checklist for optimising your Google My Business profile:

  1. Correct business name
  2. Correct address
  3. Correct phone number
  4. Correct website address
  5. Opening times are listed
  6. Correct business categories selected
  7. Business profile short name is filled out
  8. Images & Video’s of business added

2. Get Customer Reviews

Ok so you’ve set up and filled out your Google My Business profile?

Great!

Now you can start working on making your business stand out from your competitors.

According to BrightLocal’s survey from 2017, 85% of customers believe in online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

And let’s face it, whenever you’re looking to buy something online, how often do you look at the reviews from other customers before you make a purchase of your own? These days, we’re more reliant on 5-star ratings and glowing reviews than ever before.

If you really want to make the most of your reviews, set yourself a goal of trying to score at least 1-2 new reviews each month. Then thank anyone who gives you feedback – even if it’s negative.

Once you have your reviews and testimonials, find a way to showcase them on your website. You can even use review schema markup to boost your chances of your reviews showing on your Google listings too.

Keep Your Website Updated

Nobody likes a slow loading website or one that’s hard to navigate and neither do your customers.

Here are some simple website improvement questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your website load fast?
  • Does your website look good on a mobile phone?
  • Is it easy to navigate around your website and find all the services you offer?
  • Is it easy for customers to contact you?

If you answered no or are unsure about any of the above questions then it might be time to look at updating your website.

And in terms of local SEO improvements, think about how you can implement specific technical changes to improve your site’s local search visibility. For example, improving your internal linking structure helps your online rankings by making it easier for Google to search through and categorise your content.

Additionally, optimising your URL, title tags, meta descriptions and content with the right high-volume keywords can make a massive difference to how easy you are to find online. Other ways to update your local search marketing on the back-end include:

  •  Adding location pages to your website: Add specific pages that are optimised for certain locations to your website. This will help you to rank for cities and towns, rather than just one large space.
  • Optimise User experience (UX): Make sure that your customers get a good experience when they come to your website. That means investing in simple navigation and fast loading speeds.
  •  Invest in security: Make sure that your clients feel comfortable when they come to your website with local certifications from experts on your page, and an SSL certificate.
Local website architecture example
An example of how to structure your local website following Local SEO best practices

Create Local Content

Google is getting smarter.

That means that content creators can finally focus on writing for people rather than search engines.

However, it’s essential to make sure that you’re writing about the right things.

Although general topics will be fine for reaching a wider crowd, it can sometimes be more important to hone your website and write about local events and your local industry instead. Concentrating on a local audience, with events and helpful tips that are relevant to your business, is a great way to support your local search marketing and it will help improve your local SEO.

For instance, if you’re a local florist, you could write about an upcoming flower show in your area or some of the best plants that grow in the kind of soil that’s local to your town.

You could even attend relevant events and use videos to showcase your interactions with collaborating brands.

Optimise for Voice Search

Voice search has been growing rapidly in popularity over recent years.

Although all aspects of SEO are set to be affected by voice search, it’s local SEO that stands to encounter the biggest impact. That’s because most customers are likely to use voice search and assistants to find things that are “nearby.”

How often have you asked Alexa to find you the best pizza place “near you,” or a “local” accountant to help with your taxes, for instance?

As a business owner, you’ll need to concentrate on optimising your site for more long-tail keywords if you want to master voice searches. Think about how you can make your content as conversational as possible and include plenty of questions and answers in your posts.

Make your answers clear and concise enough, and you could even appear in featured snippets on Google:

35.1% of people click on featured snippets

Optimise for Mobile

A study from 2018 found that the shift from desktop searching to mobile is coming a lot faster than we originally expected. Ultimately, more people are searching from mobile than ever before.

What’s more, because people often search on mobile when they’re on the move, it’s increasingly like that your customers will be looking for you on their mobile when they’re nearby.

To optimise for mobile as part of your local search marketing strategy:

  • Ensure that your website loads quickly on all screens
  • Use bigger fonts that are easily readable
  • Use images and copy sparingly, leaving plenty of white space on the screen
  • Pick an intuitive user interface with simple navigation
  • Avoid any weighty plugins or widgets that have the potential to crash or slow your website down

Get Your Website Listed On Local Directories

Learning to optimise your listing for Google My Business is only one component of local SEO. You’ll also need to think about how you can get more people mentioning your business online. Remember, Google now takes mentions into account, as well as backlinks, when determining website authority.

Start by setting up your NAP – that’s your Name, Address, and Phone Number

This needs to be included on your website as a crawlable piece of HTML data. Don’t just use NAP within an image – as that will be harder for Google to find.

Once you’ve got your NAP on your website, connect with local directories and other groups around the web to keep sending people back to your website. Consistency is key here. Make sure that your citations remain complete and consistent on every website that you connect with.

The last thing you want to do is give Google a bunch of contradicting information. If the search engines can’t figure out what’s accurate for your business, then your SEO is sure to suffer.

Build your Inbound Link Profile

Finally, we’ve already mentioned that it’s essential to have internal links on your website to help Google crawl your pages. However, you need to consider your inbound links too. These are the links that highlight your relevance and authority in a certain industry.

You can get inbound links through guest blogs, sponsorships, and partnerships.

When completing your local SEO checklist, start with your personal network, connecting with people in your circle, and asking them whether you can get a link from their website in exchange for an interview or a guest post.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start reaching out to websites with authority in your industry. Remember, you need to make sure that you’re only getting backlinks from sites with an excellent reputation on Google. Backlinks are all about quality, not just quantity.

Follow the instructions provided for guest blogs on any site you choose to interact with and make sure you’re delivering value. This will drive more customers to your website, as well as improving your local search marketing traffic.

Local Search is More Important than Ever

In a world of voice search and mobility, local search is more valuable today than it’s ever been.

If you haven’t invested in local search marketing yet, then you could be missing out on endless opportunities to build your presence in the current market and earn more customers too.

The tips above will help you to start your local search efforts on the right foot. However, it’s important to remember that search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Be sure to track your results from every campaign, and make sure that you update and enhance your search strategy whenever you can. This will help you to avoid any dangerous mistakes.

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