At iformat, we’re big believers in the power of local SEO, especially for small businesses. Find out why local SEO matters, and how you can improve your chances of local leads finding your business with these three tactics.
A good ranking in local searches can help even one-person businesses grow and generate better quality leads. It ensures previous and potential customers in your area can easily find your business in the online marketplace.
A good local SEO strategy is one of the most effective ways you can grow your business. But why does ranking in suburbs and near you matter? And how do we start?
Why local SEO matters
Simply put, it’s because for many businesses, the bulk of their customers are local.
If you’re a tradie, most calls will come from people who live nearby and need help fast. If you’re a restaurant, most customers will be locals - most people don’t want to travel for 45 minutes to get to dinner.
In the SEO space, search engines like Google give priority to local results.
Search for something like “Thai food” and Google will do its best to find you restaurants that are nearby, based on your current location. That’s why results can change from when you Googled it at work in the city to when you did the same search from home in Brighton.
So, we’ve established that local SEO is important. Now, onto the reason you’re here: how can you improve your local SEO results?
Tip #1: Register on Google My Business
Step 1 in any SEO strategy is setting your business up on Google My Business.
Why does this matter? It’s simple: a business listing tells Google that your website that your site is for a business, and should be treated as such.
Think of it as Google’s answer to Yellow Pages. Search for a specific business and if it’s on GMB, a box will appear on the right side with contact details, opening hours, reviews, and other helpful info.
Search for a service or product and you’ll get a box with local business that fit the bill.
In order to rank in local business searches, you’ll need to create a listing for your business on Google My Business.
- It tells Google where you operate - this helps Google figure out which areas (and therefore which searches) your business should be presented
- It literally puts you on the map - Google helps people find your business on Maps
- It helps customers get in touch - the listing includes your business’ address, contact information and opening hours and reviews
If you want to improve your local SEO, a My Business listing is a crucial first step. It’s not enough to simply have one - you’ll need to ensure you’ve provided all the necessary information.
Tip #2: choose keywords strategically
In addition to targeting keywords related to your services, it’s also a good idea to target specific areas too. Creating compelling content optimised for your local area can be extremely effective in getting your site found locally.
First, list valuable and common keywords related to you, as well as the areas you work in.
For example, if you’re a mechanic based in Dandenong, you might want to chase terms like “car repair in Dandenong”.
It’s also a good idea to pick long tail keywords that contain three or more words, like “interior designer Armadale”.
Long tail keywords are more effective than short ones for conversions, as they downstream your leads to the more qualified ones. Someone searching for “accountant for new small business” is more likely to be much further along in the purchase cycle than someone searching for “accountant”.
Not to mention, since long tail keywords are more specific, there’s less competition for an audience that is more invested in seeking your services - it’s a win-win!
All of this starts with research - you’ll need to figure out where your customers are coming from, and what searches they’re performing.
Your goal is to choose keywords that relate to your services, your local area and most importantly, the language your customers are using.
Tip #3: good reviews = good local SEO
We’ve talked about reviews before - if you missed that article, you can click here to bring yourself up-to-date.
All caught up? Good, because we’re about to talk about how reviews impact local SEO!
In addition to persuading customers to give you a shot, reviews also improve your performance for local searches. Google Reviews are especially important - for most businesses, they’re not the only player in their area. Google needs a way to figure out which local business is the best result.
Looking for ways to encourage reviews? Here are a couple of tips you might be able to use yourself:
- Ask politely - approach customers and ask them if they were happy with your service, to consider leaving a positive review
- Make it easy for them - send them a link that takes them directly to your Google My Business listing (or any other review site)
Whatever you do however, don’t fake them - Google is smart enough to distinguish genuine reviews from fake ones put up by sock-puppet accounts!
Improve local SEO to attract local customers
Climbing to the top of your local search results isn’t easy. Search engine optimisation is an ongoing process that requires a lot of work. As a business owner, you won’t always have the time to DIY it.
That’s where we come in. iformat specialises in helping businesses like yours dominate their local areas. Using tailored strategies that keep your goals in mind, we help you raise your profile online.