Are you looking to get above your competitors? Want to know what it takes to get great local results? Then this Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) guide is for you. Here we will take you through the basics of local SEO and give you the knowledge and the tools to help your business succeed.
1. Google My Business Page
First stop on local SEO success is the setup of a Google My Business listing. If you want to get to the first page of Google then this could be the key. The steps below show how to setup your business listing and take a step closer to the first page. So make sure you’re sitting comfortably and you won’t be distracted, and let’s get started.
Finding Your Business
Do a search on https://plus.google.com, search for your business and click on the most relevant listing to your business. This is important to get right. If you sell cheeses you don’t want to be listed as a computer software specialist!
Before you can start optimising your Google My Business listing you will need to claim and verify your page. To claim the listing you can do a search on Google maps and when you click on the business listing there should be an option to “Claim this business” as shown below:
Once you’ve claimed your business you will then be taken through the claiming process. There are normally a couple of ways to verify a business and these include an automated phone call to your business number or a verification code sent by postcard. However, be aware the postcard method can take a couple of days.
Don’t worry – if there are not listings for your business you will easily be able to add your own listing.
Fill in all of the information in the Google My Business listing making sure everything is correct. Some key areas include:
Let People Know When You Are Open
54% of searches on Google mobile about businesses are from people looking for opening hours. This might sound like an obvious one but remember to put your business hours in so people know when your business is open. Opening times should match what is on your website, so if your website is not up to date also make sure this is updated.
Sell Your Business
Now is the time to really sell your business. The description field needs to be readable and unique content that tells people about your business. Ideally this should be between 150 and 300 words in length. TOP TIP: Use hyperlinks to link to relevant pages on your site from your description, this will help people quickly find what they are looking for and go straight where they want to go. E.g. SEO services.
Make Your Listing Pretty
We all love a good photo (no not that one of the cat in the tie) so make sure you upload the best photos possible for your business. The ones that affect how your Google listing will appear in the search results are: Profile photo, Logo photo and Cover photo. Good quality images are key.
Once you have added all of the information about your business your local SEO listing should be 100% complete and accurate. So is it now time to: sit back, relax and wait for new customers to get in touch? Well, no not quite, there are still a few more things that will help to give you the competitive edge so grab a brew and prepare for the next step.
2. Website Improvements
Now that your Google My Business listing is setup and verified it’s time to make sure that your website is optimised to help you succeed:
Business Contact Details
As with the Google My Business listing you need to make sure that the basic information on your website about your business is correct, if you can’t change this you may need to speak with your website designer to do this for you.
Help people to trust your company by listing reviews and testimonials on your website. Important: these reviews need to be genuine! A good way of helping with this is to add social profiles or to link to external review sites where the reviews have been posted.
3. Business Citations
And at last you’ve arrived at the final step – business citations. Ensuring that your business citations are correct is a key part of making your website visible on local searches. The information about your business needs to be consistent and accurate across the main data aggregators and key partners in the UK.
There are a few things that could still play havoc with your local SEO listing. Although easy to overlook you need to pay attention to:
- Incorrect business name, address or phone number
- Duplicate listings
- Closed business locations or offices
Some of the key UK websites to check are: thomsonlocal, scoot, touchlocal, Central Index, The Mirror, bing and so on.
Once you have checked the data aggregators above you can start the final and thus exciting task – building new citations for your business.
Creating New Citations
You may only care about Google for your search engine listings but there are other opportunities for you to sew your seeds and build valuable back links. Take a look at the top national directories and gradually work your way through local directories.
Depending on your business sector there may also be a chance to list yourself on industry specific directories. These are great to get a relevant citation for your business.
Now you’ve successfully followed this local SEO guide it will begin to help your business on its journey to the first page of the search engines.
If you have any other local SEO tips why not let us know in the comments below?