There are lots of business owners who dream of growing their small local business into a worldwide giant with outlets in all the major cities around the globe. Whilst this is not really a realistic option for most SMEs, every business has to start somewhere even if that somewhere is a bit of space for a home office in the dining room.
Obtaining a high quality website is usually an important step for the business as this is the start of its online presence. It can feel like the start of globalisation for the business owner even though in reality, most of their turnover comes from local custom. It is important to remember that actually that local trade is very important so making sure that anyone looking for the goods you sell or the services you offer are easily found by those searching in your area.
Always make sure that your business website is listed in directories such as Google Places, Yell and so on. Any directory that offers a map is going to be useful because when the searcher clicks on the results, a map will be shown and they will be able to find your premises. These days, many people do searches using their mobile phones so they can easily navigate to your business using the map. So if you own a pet supplies shop and someone is looking for a dog bowl, they can type in ‘buy dog bowl in Townsville’, your business should appear in the listings complete with directions.
Targeting local keywords will really help with local trade, so having your chosen keywords alongside the name of the town or region is key to success. People will often type in local keywords when they are searching for particular goods or services in their local area. So, the pet supplies business will have many products and services on offer which could be being searched for by potential customers. Terms such as cat treats Townsville, Bloggs Pet Supplies Townsville, flea treatments Townsville and so on could very easily rank highly in the search engines which in turn means an increase in local trade.
So, taking into account the type of business, it is possible for Bloggs Pet Supplies to become a global player but it is more likely that it will remain a small or medium sized business with 1 or more stores in the region. It may grow to the point where it is nationwide however, as most of its clientele are going to be local customers, it would be prudent to target marketing efforts on the local area rather than going global. It is up to the business and its advisors to decide whether going global is going to be beneficial and whether it is even going to be worth the investment to try.
Search engines have been working hard on fine-tuning their algorithms to provide high quality search results based on location.
Google is the best covered in the industry, with its Pigeon update launching in July 2014 and rolling out to UK, Canada and Australia in December. Use the links if you want to learn more about the update.
It’s one thing to know that local search is important and can affect your SERPs presence but it’s another entirely to know how to ‘do’ local SEO effectively.
Having spent some time researching, then actually implementing most of the core local SEO tactics for a few websites, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the top 10 things you can and should be doing, in order of priority (please note – my priority order, I’m not claiming it as a definitive best practice statement).
You’ll notice that this blog is geared towards organisations with local offices/stores, rather than pureplay online stores servicing a local area.
This is because a significant chunk of local search is people looking for places near to them, whether that’s to buy products or enjoy local services, and many of the effective online SEO tactics are focused on physical stores.
The search engines have also invested in tools to allow you to set-up local business listings to improve search visibility for stores.
Here’s my top 10…..
1. Create a unique landing page for each store
A unique store page can be optimised to provide content that is relevant to local customers and targeted at local keyword searches.
Start by thinking about your customers; what information are they likely to need for your store? A good store page should include:
- Address and phone number (in a standardised NAP format).
- Additional contact details e.g. email, contact form, social media icons.
- Map and directions (embedding a Google Map is a popular option).
- Opening times.
- High quality photos of the store.
- Store services provided.
- Calendar of events (if relevant).
- In-store promotions and offers.
From a pure SEO point of view, each page needs an optimised:
- URL e.g. /stores/store-name rather than just a numerical store code like /stores/1234
- Page title
- Meta description
- Schema.org markup
- Canonical tag (in case there are any filters that could generated duplicate content)
Please note this list isn’t exhaustive as there are lots of SEO considerations but the above is the minimum to cater for. Below is a good example from Selfridges, although the meta data could be better optimised e.g. the H1 for each store page is ‘Our Stores’ which has no reference to location.
2. Add a business listing for each store
You can add your business to Google and Bing free of charge using the simple online set-up forms. Make sure you verify each listing, a small but important detail.
It’s advisable to create a business Google and Microsoft account to do this rather than creating the listing from a personal account. This is especially important for Google when you start linking other Google properties like Google+ pages and YouTube channels.
It’s important to add optimised content for the store listing, so think carefully about the business name, category and description.
You want the business page to be found for relevant searches but you also want the business listing to appeal to potential customers.
The advantage of a verified business listing is greater SERPs dominance for brand searches, which can increase CTR. Below is an example of a startup I helped to build out its local SEO, showing Google results for a brand search.
You’ll notice the reviews showing in the knowledge graph area, see 4. below for more info on the benefits. This is really important for SMEs where the business isn’t established
Click the link to continue reading: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66574-10-essentials-for-local-seo-success/