What is local SEO?
Great question; local SEO is an effective way to boost your online marketing and get your company out there and visible to consumers of your product or services. When a potential customer is searching for a product you have or a service you deliver, local SEO provides search results based on the location of the person searching.
For instance, if a potential customer searched “best dress shop near me,” it would return results from your local business guide, showing dress shops nearest to you. If you search for “red dress” it will return some excellent results for red dresses, but they might be in shops 100 miles away.
You can test this out yourself right now, but putting in a search on your preferred search engine. You could try something like “emergency plumber near me” and see what results in you get, and compare it to the kind of results you get if you search for “emergency plumber.” So, you can see the difference between the types of searches now.
- 1 What is local SEO?
- 1.1 Why is local SEO important?
- 1.2 Terminology you might see when learning about SEO
- 1.3 Can I do SEO myself?
- 1.4 How does local SEO work? And what needs to be done to make it work for you?
- 1.5 Titles and meta descriptions
- 1.6 Visibility on online directories and citations
- 1.7 Online customer reviews
- 1.8 Make use of structured data markup or Schema markup
- 1.9 How does the Google algorithm work?
- 1.10 How much does local SEO cost?
- 1.11 Rookie mistakes when you start an SEO campaign
- 1.12 What to do
The more of the right kind of information is out there about your business, the more likely you are to come up with one of these location-based searches online. So, you can see how relevant having the right kind of information about your business online is and why it is so important.
If you want your business to appear at the top of the list when someone in your local area does a search for your product, then this is the right way to go about it. Working hard to increase your visibility to the public is no easy undertaking, but you will reap serious rewards if you do it correctly.
There is no denying that achieving your dreams of becoming the top listing for your service in your area is hard, but making small changes to your content and online activity, and rethinking your strategy will start paying off in no time.
You will soon notice that you will get more visits to your site, and we all know what the more visits you get, the more likely you are to sell the product or service you are offering.
Why is local SEO important?
Pretty simple really; better local SEO equals more money! If you are a small business owner, you need to up your revenue as much as you can, and local SEO can help you achieve that! Having a proper SEO strategy increases your visibility online, and the more visible you are online, the more visits you will get to your site, the more visits you get to your site, the more product you sell and the more money you make.
So, don’t tell us SEO strategies aren’t important! Obviously, this is a really simplified explanation of exactly how it works, but the essence is that the more visits you get to your site, the more likely you are to make a sale. Just like the more people you encourage into through the door of your shop, the more products will get purchased.
Marketing SEO can be the difference between you making a sale or a competitor making that sale. So, get out there and make the most of the SEO services available to you and watch your online presence grow. You want to be in front of your competitors and beating them to it when it comes to internet marketing in your local area.
You can guarantee your competitors won’t be far behind you when it comes to local SEO, so don’t you dare let them beat you to it! All this online stuff might sound a bit unnecessary to you, particularly if you have never run your business online, or if you are new to it.
But being online and being online effectively is so important now, it isn’t simply enough to have a website. You need to make sure you are making the most of all your online opportunities when it comes to getting people to visit your site.
People aren’t going to know the URL of your site off by heart, so you have to make sure you are coming up in searches, and you are as visible as possible. You won’t be sniffing at it when you see the difference it has made to your business and the online presence of your business too, we promise!
Terminology you might see when learning about SEO
When you are learning about something new, the jargon surrounding that subject can be the most confusing thing! You can read a paragraph, and it makes absolutely no sense because it’s full of words and phrases which mean nothing to you.
So, we’ve tried to make life a little easier for you, by giving you a list of some of the terminology you might come across when learning about SEO. Each term has an explanation as to exactly what those words and phrases mean. You can refer to this as you go through, and remind yourself what everything means.
Sometimes terms like these are unavoidable, and they have to be used, so we thought we would include them all here before you really get started so you can give yourself a head start. Some of them you will probably already know, but we have got the basics here for any novices who are reading as well.
Search engine: the “SE” in your SEO. Search engines are used to find information on the web, like Google or Bing.
Search engine rankings: the position a site appears in when something is searched in a search engine. The higher your search ranking is, the closer you will appear to the top, and the better your website ranking is, the more clicks you will get!
Search marketing: previously called search engine marketing, this phrase refers to gaining traffic to your site from both paid and unpaid listings.
Long tail keywords: three or four-word phrases which are specific to what you are selling. These are the kind of phrases your potential buyers may use when they are close to buying a product.
Local SEO: people are often looking for a local business when they are looking to buy or looking for information about a product. If you come up in a local search, this helps your business stand out from other local businesses.
SEMrush: is a tool which can be used to help find keywords which will be profitable for your business, but it will cost you!
Organic traffic: this is what most businesses are trying to increase. Organic traffic refers to visitors who come to your site from a search engine.
Organic search: the listings that come up when someone enters a list of related words into a search engine, rather than advertisements. For instance, you will get different results if you type in “red dress” and “red strapless floor length dress.” The better your organic SEO is, the higher your ranking will be on the results page.
Paid search: if you search for your “red strapless floor length dress” you will see that advertisements offering what you are looking for will come up at the top of your search engine. This is a paid search, and the company often pays each time one of the ads is clicked on. This is referred to as PPC or pay per click.
Inbound links: this is a link coming from another website to your website. So, if someone has a link to your site on their blog, this is an inbound link. On the flipside, an outbound link is from your site to someone else’s website.
Duplicate content: as the name suggests, this is when content appears in more than one place on the internet. Duplicate content can have a detrimental impact on your ranking, as the search engine can’t decide which is more relevant.
Sitemap: this is a list of pages on a website. These can be structured listings which tell search engines about the structure of your site content and make it easier for them to look at your site.
Off-page SEO: this is where you optimise your brand away from your site. This can be through things like reviews and comments, as people like to form an opinion about a product or a company away from the company site.
Link building: is creating links from other sites to your own. The more links to your site you have out there, the more success you will have with your site. Link building strategies can be challenging to implement and are often considered to be the most difficult part of SEO. Working hard on getting links to your site on other local business sites will help with local SEO link building and an increased number of visits to your site.
SERPs: SERP stands for search engine results page. This is the page you see when you type in a search in a search engine and then hit the enter key. It’s the list of web pages you see, in rank order, with the highest ranking based on your search term, showing up first.
Schema: Schema helps you provide information to search engines. By giving them this information, it helps provide the best search results. Schema markup is something you add to your HTML to improve the way your website page is displayed. It enhances the relevant parts of the snippet displayed below the page title, so the person searching will see words highlighted in bold.
Title: the “name” of your website. For example, “Red Dresses Sydney | Occasion-wear.”
Meta description: the descriptive text which shows up in the title of your website when your page is returned on a search.
White hat SEO: also referred to as ethical SEO, this is all about following search engine policies and rules. If you are keeping your content relevant and organic, you will be considered to be using White Hat practices.
Can I do SEO myself?
Of course, you can do it yourself! Once you know all the basics, you will be able to have a really great crack at this yourself, without having to pay someone else to do this for you. Of course, you can pay someone to provide you search engine optimization services, but if you are on a budget, or you just want to keep it “in-house,” there’s no reason at all either you or someone in your company can’t do this.
Before you start going mad and editing all your content to up your visibility on search engine results, make sure you make the most of all the free SEO tools available to you. There are loads of sites out there you can use to have a look at your current ranking, the keywords and phrases you could be using, and lots of helpful hints and tips to help you through.
A quick search on Google will throw up tonnes of free sites you can take advantage off, and they are well worth a look.
If you don’t have time to do this yourself, there is no shame in paying someone to do it for you! Working out whether it’s worth your time is essential, and there are loads of options when it comes to employing someone to help you with this. But, if you want to give it a go without any help, just know there is a load of support out there on the web waiting for you.
How does local SEO work? And what needs to be done to make it work for you?
So, let’s get down to business. You want to know how to do SEO for local business? Well, then you’ve come to the right place, that’s for sure! If the top question on your mind is “how to do local SEO?”, We can assure you, you aren’t the only ones. Here are a few top tips on getting started with SEO techniques. These tips tell you what is important to know and why it is important to execute these things properly.
Titles and meta descriptions
This is what shows up when your business is searched for. The title of your site and the short description beneath the title. There is a limit to how many characters are displayed, so you need to make sure you are fitting everything, and it’s visible to your potential customers.
This text needs to be unique and descriptive, and it needs to encourage someone to make the visit to your site. Getting this right is a bit of an art so it might take you a few attempts before you are pleased with it.
Take a look at what other business are doing, and you will soon be able to pick out the good from the bad. If you aren’t sure how many characters you can fit in, or what it will look like, there are emulators out there which you can use for free. This will give you an idea of what will be displayed when your site comes up in a search.
As you are targeting local customers, you will want to town or city your business is in and the area it serves. Make sure you are using your top targeted keywords as early on in the description as you can. For example, “Red dresses in Sydney, beautiful dresses for all occasions” rather than “Looking for a dress for an occasion? Red dresses in Sydney…”.
If your description isn’t right, you will slip down the rankings. If your description looks messy and the rest of the description has been cut off because you went over the character count, this might stop someone clicking on your site. Your potential customer may visit a competitors site as it looks more professional, and you don’t want that!
Visibility on online directories and citations
It’s so important to make sure your business is set up on local business directories, as this will increase your visibility no end. Making sure your business is on Yelp (which is the online version of The Yellow Pages), and Google My Business will help to make your business more visible online to potential customers. Ensure you add your website to Google Directory as this is so visible to potential customers when they look you up online.
Google is so widely used, it is worth taking advantage of all the services they offer you. Check with your local newspapers for information about local business directories and where you should be adding your information. You can also Google local business directories yourself; if you use the search term of “Sydney business directory” it will throw up all the business directories in that area.
It’s important to be aware that customers leave reviews on these sites, and good reviews on local business review sites will help you out big time. People love being able to see that someone else has received a good service from a business on a local listing. The more good reviews you have, the more likely people are to trust your business and buy from you.
Making sure your business name, address and phone number are available on citation data aggregators is top of the list as well. Essentially all you are doing is putting your information on third-party sites by hand. Mostly all you need to do is visit the site, create an account and add your business information. This will ensure your information is out there to be accessed and it’s really important to make sure your information is consistent.
Online customer reviews
As we briefly mentioned before, online reviews are important. Reviews can be the difference between custom and no custom. People are really starting to trust online reviews, and they are also getting more comfortable with leaving reviews as well.
This, therefore, means, that customers are more comfortable with leaving bad reviews as well. You can ask your customers to leave reviews, and you will find that more and more of them are willing to leave a review of their experience. This could be on your very own website or places like TripAdvisor or Trust Pilot.
It’s also important to make sure you respond to the reviews online. Saying thank you for an excellent review and making an apology if someone had a bad experience and trying to rectify it, goes a long way. Often, it’s the way you try to rectify a problem which makes a big difference. A customer may have had a bad experience, but if you work hard to solve their problem and provide them with a better experience, you can still come out of it with a good review.
It’s good to focus on getting reviews on your Google My Business page and your Facebook page. This is often where you are most visible, and people are most happy to leave a review for you. Your Google My Business page is especially important as these reviews are shown when your business is turned up in a search.
Make use of structured data markup or Schema markup
Wondering how to use schema markup for local SEO? This can be added to the code which sits on your website, and it helps provide information to search engines about your site. It can give business information about the products you offer, the services you offer and reviews you have been given.
Not all businesses are using this option though so it could help you stand out from the crowd if you start using it effectively. Google wants you to use this as it helps them determine what your site is offering and what the content is about.
The thought of coding might be terrifying for some of you, and that’s completely understandable. This might be something you employ someone else to do because it can be a bit tricky and it’s easy to get wrong if you don’t know what you are doing.
If you aren’t sure about this, we would suggest you get someone in the know to help you out with this. If you get this wrong, it isn’t going to benefit your business, and you will have wasted a lot of time and money.
How does the Google algorithm work?
You may have heard of the Google search ranking algorithm. Google ranks its search results differently to other search engines, and it’s the most popular search engine. It uses an algorithm called PageRank which gives each page a score of relevancy. The algorithm is a bit of a company secret, but we know a few bits about it which can help you out when it comes to search ranking factors:
- Keywords: PageRank looks at how often keywords appear on a webpage and where they appear on that webpage
- History: if your page has been around for a while, it will get a better ranking. More value is placed on pages with history
- Web page links: if there are lots of links from other sites to your site, Google will deem your website to be more relevant
This gives you an idea of what you need to do with local SEO techniques to get yourself up there with the best. It gives half an answer to the question “how to get my business higher on Google,” but there is still plenty more to be done. When it comes to Google, local search results are there to be had, but you need to put the effort in to generate them.
How much does local SEO cost?
An excellent question, and a hard one to answer at that. It will of course, completely depend on the kind of work you need doing, how long it is going to take and what your budget is. The trouble is that SEO marketing is an ongoing thing, it’s not just a one-off payment to meet all your web marketing needs.
There will always be new techniques and things which need to be updated. But, the smaller your business, the smaller the cost. As your business grows, you’ll find yourself spending more on it, as you will have more content on your site.
There are a few things which will determine how much SEO packages will cost:
- Where you are at – so whether you have any SEO going on, or none at all
- Where you want to be – this could be an increase in sales or an increase in site visits
- How fast you want to do it – do you want to get the ball rolling ASAP or do you have a bit more time in which to get everything up to speed?
With this information and agency can work out how much the overall process will be costing you. By looking at competitor websites you can gauge what needs to be done to get your site up to their level, and the cost to get you there.
You also need to consider the quality of the SEO tools you are being provided with. If you are being offered services for $30 a month; this is way too low and way too good to be true. If you are employing a service at this rate, you aren’t going to gain much from it and the whole thing will be pretty ineffective and won’t be bolstering your digital marketing campaign. Plus, if they aren’t doing things right, it reflects badly on your company, and that can be very detrimental, and you will be in a worse place than when you started.
Having taken a look at a few surveys, it looks like a lot of small businesses are spending under $650 a month on SEO. This isn’t going to be specific to your business or your area, but it might help give you an idea of what’s a good deal, and what isn’t.
When you are looking for an agency to help you with this, make sure you shop around and don’t just go with the first one you find. Make sure you get quotes from a few different places and compare what you are getting with your money. One quote might be a lot cheaper than another, but are you getting the same level of service and are you going to get the same outcome from your marketing campaign?
Rookie mistakes when you start an SEO campaign
Making sure your content is organic sounding, and there isn’t full of obvious search engine optimization is so important. So often you read content online, and it is choc full of keywords and phrases, and the content doesn’t make sense anymore.
You should never be including keywords and phrases to the detriment of your content. Your audience will be savvy to content which is obviously stuffed full of search engine optimization; SEO should be discreet and well placed within all your content. Nothing should scream “SEO!!” at you when you are reading a post on a company blog or some info on a product page.
Using the keywords you think are right, rather than the ones search engines want you to use. Make sure you do your research before deciding on keywords and remember that long tail search terms are often better than single words.
Spinning other people’s content doesn’t work anymore, you need to make sure your content is 100% original. If you are copying work from elsewhere your site will be downgraded.
Not taking advantage of links from other sites to yours is a risk! Make sure you go for quality, not quantity, as links from a reputable site can get you way more visits than 10 links from rarely visited sites.
What to do
Whether you decide to do the SEO for your business yourself, or you pay for someone else to do it, SEO is a must. You cannot afford to miss the train on this one, or your competitors will soon be racing ahead of you.
There is a lot of help out there for you, so you aren’t alone in this. You can use the Google Search console (previously known as Google webmaster tools) as an aid, and there are tonnes of helpful blog posts and content which will help point you in the right direction.