46% of all Google searches are local, but 56% of local merchants are not listed on Google My Business. If local search doesn’t give you visibility and customers, we can help solve this problem for you with our local SEO tutorial.
So first, what is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your company’s online presence to attract more customers from relevant local searches. For example, if you are looking for the best SEO agencies in London, you will find a box at the top of the search results with a local listing on Google Maps called the Snack Pack. And below will be your regular organic search results. It’s important to rank highly in snack packs because they make up 33% of all clicks on the search engine results page. However, ranking in organic search results is just as important as it attracts 40% of clicks.
So in this article we will focus on local SEO on Google Search Engine.
Let’s find out how local SEO works using an example. Suppose you own a SEO agency in London. But nobody knows about your agency because on google search they can find other agencies like yours. Now let’s start by looking at what all local businesses should start with, that is to make sure that your website is mobile friendly. According to a survey by Bright Local, 61% of mobile users are more likely to connect to a local business if they have a mobile website. You can use Google’s mobile testing tool to determine whether your website is suitable for mobile phones or not.
Lets get down to real work:
1. List Your Business On Google My Business
Start by claiming and optimizing your listing on Google my business. This is indeed the most important step towards getting the most out of your local SEO. Just go to google.com/business and log in to your Google account. First fill in your NAP which is name, address and phone number. If you have a multi-location business or have purchased a franchise, you can enter a company name and see a list of companies that are already on the Google database.
It is important to note that your company name is not meant to be used to fill in any keywords. So you don’t have to write something like “London’s SEO Agency – London Best SEO Agency“. It won’t help you rank.
Then you have to enter your address. Now that you own a SEO Agency, you’ll definitively have a physical location. However, if you are an independent contractor as a freelancer or an in-house consultant, you can enter your home address, just select “I deliver goods and services to my customers” and then hide your address because this is not a store. Once your business shows up on Google search, it only shows the city and state where you work.
2. Pin Your Business On Google Maps
The next step in your local SEO process is pining your business on Google Maps. Google makes it easy to pinpoint your business location on a map, but before you do. Take a closer look at the map so you know exactly where your business is located. Just drag and click next once you’re done. Don’t choose a multiple category as recommended by Google to list all of your products and services. Then write a description and select the most suitable from the drop-down menu.
3. Enter Phone Number & Address
This step is optional, but we recommend that you add both. Once done, you will need to confirm your website, which can be done by phone or email. All you have to do is follow Google’s directions and your My Business listing will be up and running in no time.
There are a few things to do before you continue. You can click the information menu on the sidebar. You can then click the pencil icon to edit other parts of your list. For example, you can add more relevant categories. You have to set working hours, custom urls for important pages, a description of your business and a photo of your location.
But there are some other things you need to do specifically for local SEO. This change now varies depending on whether you have a single location or multiple locations.
So we’ll cover both.
The first thing you should do is optimize your homepage. Generally speaking, most single location businesses will need to optimize the homepage around their prime location. As an SEO agency based in London, we will likely focus on keywords like “SEO Agency London” rather than just “SEO agencies”.
Here are a few thighs you can do to optimise your homepage:
First, add the NAP information, which is the name, address and telephone number. In fact, you can add this to the footer of your entire website if you work from one place. And it’s very important that your name, address, and phone number exactly match, or resemble as much as possible, what you submit to Google My Business.
You can also add testimonials or feedback of your business here and use Schema markup. Schema markup is code that you add to your website to improve the way search engines read and display your pages in search engine results. You can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to bypass the complex coding clutter. Just select the data type and in this case the local business will be selected. Then enter the URL of the page you want to bookmark and press the “Start Tagging” button. Then just click on the element you want to highlight.
If you’re a multi-location business, there’s no more way to optimize your homepage around your prime location. And by multi-locations, we don’t mean multiple physical stores 10 miles apart, but larger businesses like hotels or rental cars where they may have hundreds or even thousands of locations. Instead of homepage, you’ll want to work on your local landing page by entering main elements like location NAP, business hours, and add some related keywords targeting that location.
The next step is to create local citations. And citations are online mention of your business. There are two main types of citations. They are structured and unstructured.
Structured citations are references that contain your NAP information and are usually presented in a structured visual manner. This includes places like business directories and social profiles.
Unstructured citations is a reference to your business that doesn’t follow a structure. So this could be on a blog post, a preferred provider page or another website. Creating citations is very important.
According to a 2017 Moz study, citation signals are one of the top local ranking factors. This applies to both Google Snack Pack results and regular organic search results. This is likely due to the consistent availability of NAP information across the internet, confirming that Google has the correct data on the My Business list. On the other hand, inconsistent NAP information can confuse or mislead Google and potential customers.
Now you have two more things: First, you need to make sure that your existing citations are correct and consistent. Second, you need to make a more relevant citations.
To tackle the first part, you need to check the citation. In most cases, some of your citations would be wrong and / or incomplete. And you can do a quick search using Moz’s local search tool. Just enter your business name and choose one of the auto select options from the best results. From here, you’ll see grouping of full, incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate citations, which you can then fix manually. After you finish the audit, you’ll want to create more citations.
Generally speaking, the more websites that point to a domain, the more likely it is that it is a legitimate place to create your own citations.
With this citations looking method, it should be enough to keep you busy for a while. But you can’t stop there because you still need to build quality editorial links. According to a 2017 Moz study, link signals are the most important ranking factor for local organic results. For local snack packs, links are the second most important factor. Instead of focusing on the overall relationship building lesson, we’ll leave you with two tried and tested tactics that work.
The first is to create and promote useful resources. In this case, it will be an ideal local resource based on your market niche. So here are some ideas, create the “best” local guides or content that your target audience will want. For example, you can create content like local SEO guides where you can include our own services. You can also create content for people looking for the best local SEO services.
The second tactic is guest blogs. While guest posts are usually linked to your website, you can see this as an opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert. This is very important for people in the service industry. People want to hire professionals they can trust and who know they will do a good job. And often they are willing to pay a fortune to ensure that the job is done right the first time. You can also search for local blogs that accept guest posts by searching Google for this query. So, if you look at the search results for “London write about us”, you’ll see some very relevant local websites looking for authors.
Final step is to take care of you current activities. Even if you’ve set up Google My Business and made a number of citations, you want to document them all well.
Many things change in business. This could be a move to a new location, a change in your phone number, or even a change in your company name. In this case, you need to update all your citations. The first thing you need to do is make sure your Google My Business account remains active. There are 3 main routine tasks that you need to do.
The first is to be consistent in responding to customer and customer reviews. This includes both positive and negative comments.
You should look for inaccurate changes to your Google My Business listing. Anyone can click Suggest an edit in your My Business listing. Sometimes Google will accept these suggestions without notifying you or the business owner. In fact, scammers have even exchanged phone numbers with official companies for a quick paycheck. So your job is to make sure that your listing is up to date and accurate at all times.
Lastly, use Google Post to your customers informed and engaged. Google Posts is a microblogging platform in Google My Business. All these updates are visible in the knowledge panel and can be accessed with a single mouse click. This gives you the opportunity to get more exposure to your listing, connect with your target audience, and ultimately increase conversions. You can create a Google Post from Google My Business by going to the Post menu, clicking write you post, then adding an image and up to 300 word text. This is a great way to share promotional offers or teasers for your blog posts. You can also choose a call to action from a list of preset options to increase clicks. We recommend all local businesses to play around with this feature and stay active with Google Post.
If you’re searching for an affordable SEO agencies in London, look no further than ToprungSeo. My company offers hundreds of tools and tips to help you get started with SEO.