Local SEO can be an effective way to market your brand, products or services to users in your business areas. With a different algorithm to traditional SEO, results are based on relevance, prominence and proximity.
Let’s use an example of a hotel brand for this article to help put it all into context. You could have one hotel or several properties across the UK, but how can you target and optimise your hotel website in these areas for local SEO effectively?
The two major factors that affect local SEO are hard to control – your business’s physical address and a users’ proximity to your physical address when searching online. However there are other ways to improve your search result rankings using local SEO. We’ve rounded up 9 simple steps to follow to increase your chances of getting found by users in your area…
1. Link signals
With inbound link signals (those directing to your website from other websites) the more links from local businesses you have, the better. It doesn’t matter about the quality of the website or how good the design is – as long as they’re local.
Outbound link signals (links from your website to others) are just as valuable as inbound, but if they’re linked to credible pages it can help improve your ranking. To avoid penalisation from Google, ensure any webpage has less than 30 links on it – including in the header and footer.
2. Content signals
Did you know the average person scrolls 3,000 feet of content per day? Therefore there’s no need to hide away content on a webpage, as long as your website is mobile-friendly and provides a positive user experience. Write copy as if you were talking to someone who knows nothing about your business and consider how best to structure your content using featured snippets and content mark-up.
Have a good mix of blog topics with both sales and relevant local content – this is beneficial for local SEO. For example, local content ideas for a hotel could include interviews with staff or hospitality industry figures, covering nearby events or exploring interesting local places of interest in more detail – just to name a few!
3. Google My Business
Setting up a Google My Business page for your business is great for local SEO as it helps you to claim a physical location and rank higher in local searches. There are several ways you can use Google My Business to help with local SEO, from using the Q&A section to inspire blog topic ideas to encouraging clients to leave reviews.
4. Website signals
Although Google’s algorithm is always changing, there is currently no limit on the number of keywords you can include on a webpage. However, the copy needs to make sense and read naturally to improve a user’s experience. It should be just long and concise enough to answer a user’s question or provide a solution. It’s also important every page on your website is optimised for search with a focus keyword. Using Google My Business, you can embed the interactive map to verify your business’s location and help build trust with Google.
5. Review signals
With a Google My Business profile, you can copy the ‘write a review’ URL and share with clients encouraging them to leave your hotel a review online to help with ranking. Also, using a variety of review websites is beneficial such as both popular review sites like Yell or TrustPilot, along with local review or community websites.
6. Social signals
To allow your business to effectively and consistently post engaging content, it’s a good idea to focus on 3 social platforms, with a mix of 80% content and 20% sales posts to help with local SEO. Facebook offers a ‘Business Locations’ feature, allowing users to add multiple business locations, build a local presence and help people nearby find you.
7. External location signals
There are plenty of opportunities online for your business to be referenced by other websites. Consider contacting local influencers to come and review your hotel, industry listing websites (such as Booking.com) or other directories. What about pairing up with another local business for a guest blog? Wherever your business or website is cited, ensure the spelling is correct as Google can penalise for inconsistencies.
8. Mobile signals
Is your website mobile-friendly and responsive? Google looks to see if a website is mobile-friendly and can lower a ranking on a SERP if it’s not. Consider ways you can prepare your website for mobile searches, such as allowing one-click call options or locational check-ins on Facebook or other social platforms. The future looks to be mobile-first rather than desktop, so it’s important your website is ready.
Local search is personalised to a user – with Google listing what it thinks will be the most relevant results to the user first. It does this by looking at previous search history (days not weeks!), cookies and other known information about the searcher. Different locations and devices can throw up different results with no two people receiving the same identical search results anymore. Therefore it’s important to focus on writing relevant content to your industry and avoid trying to fool or spam Google in anyway.
It’s a good idea to test different local SEO tactics as you implement them as different industries can throw up different results. Don’t listen to everything you hear as best practice can change quickly.
If you’d like a hand optimising your website or social channels for local SEO, get in touch with Rawww. We’d be happy to help.