You might be wondering whether local SEO is worth it – it is! Local business searches are becoming increasingly important in today’s digital world. This is because more searches begin with local search in the Google searches. With majority of all clicks going to the first result, it’s essential to rank at the top of Google . This would maximise the websites potential! This article will provide readers with 6 tips on how to level up their local business searches in 2021. This also include optimising for voice search, CTR, website speed and usability. The aim is to equip readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve success with their local business searches this year.
Understand the basics of SEO
Understanding the basics of SEO is important for local businesses to understand how local SEO works. It helps people find your website so you can get more customers. A rather simple idea, but one that continues to be misunderstood by business owners today.
SEO comprises of a few main parts:
- Technical SEO – Technical SEO refers to technical aspects of the website. It’s about improving aspects of the website and site architecture to ensure Google can crawl and index it correctly.
- On Page SEO – On Page SEO refers to the optimisation of everything “on a web page”. This includes image optimisation, content, title and meta tags. Keyword research also falls in here. Without proper keyword research, you won’t have content to optimise for.
- Off Page SEO – Off Page SEO includes blogging, link building and social media. It also can include content marketing strategies such as podcasting. It is also sometime called off-site SEO, which I feel is a more accurate name because everything happens off of your website.
- Local SEO – This revolves around optimising your website and Google Business Profile. You would want to optimise it specifically for you local area.
There are so many areas of SEO to cover but it’s not necessary for this post.
Make sure your website is crawlable and indexable by Google.
Making sure that your website is crawlable and indexable by Google is important when it comes to local business searches, or any kind of searches to be fair.
If your website isn’t indexed, then Google won’t be able to deliver your website in search results. This can damage your rankings, sometimes even completely wiping your website off Google. Also make sure that you are using the correct robots.txt file. This is so that Google knows exactly which pages you want them to crawl and index.
How to check your Robots file: type into Google your URL and then add /robots.txt and you should have your file. If it says “disallow” a specific service page or homepage etc you have problems! You will need to fix this first, otherwise there is no point in doing anything else.
Pick the correct keywords
Using the correct keywords on your web page is essential when it comes to local business searches. It is important to optimise your website with the right keyword combinations so that your website can be easily found in search engine results and have enough search volume to be worth ranking for. You should also include your keywords on relevant pages such as product or service pages and blog posts. This will help Google understand what kind of business services you are offering, which increases the chances of your website being found in search engine results.
With keywords – I like to keep it simple. For local businesses, I find it usually best to use “service + location/city” as the keyword e.g. SEO Cape Town.
Optimise your on-page content
Optimising your on-page content helps with your local business searches. On-page content includes the actual information on the page, the meta titles, descriptions and header tags (H-tags). It also involves all content such as text and images on the webpage. These should all be optimised to include the relevant keywords that you are targeting. This will help with search engine rankings as well as improve the user experience when they visit your website. Something we do differently is that we also focus on behavioral analysis of the consumer to identify what kinds of information they seek on the web page.
In addition to this, it is important to make sure that your on-page content is engaging and relevant. This will encourage people to stay on your website longer, which is beneficial for both the user experience and search engine rankings.
Using local structured data markup can have a great impact on your local business searches in 2023. Structured data allows you to provide Google with additional information about your website, such as business opening hours, ratings and reviews. This can help your website stand out in search engine results and increase the chances of people clicking on it.
It is important to note that structured data markup should be used with caution. If you include too much information in your markup it may look spammy and this could negatively affect your rankings. Google calls it “abusing structured data”.
Build high-quality backlinks
Another basic understanding of SEO is understanding how backlinks work and how to earn them. Building high-quality backlinks are essential when it comes to local business searches. Backlinks are links that point from other websites, back to your website. They act as a “vote” of confidence in the eyes of search engines and can have a positive impact on your rankings.
Make sure you focus on building high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative websites. These can be links from local publications, industry-related websites and even customer reviews on Google My Business or Facebook.
Create a good user experience by having a fast website
Having a fast website ensures a good user experience which is essential for local business searches. Slow loading times can cause visitors to leave your website, leading to a high bounce rate which could affect your rankings in search engine results.
There are several things you can do to improve the speed of your website such as using ultra-fast cloud hosting, optimising your images on your website and using caching plugins. You also want to make sure that your website is mobile friendly as this is a key factor when it comes to search engine rankings. Something to note though is that caching plugins can be problematic when updates come around and conflicts can break the site.
Create blog post content on your service and industry
Creating blog post content on your website can be a great way to help with local business searches. You can use your blog posts to highlight any recent news or developments of your services and your industry that are relevant to local customers. This helps you stay up-to-date on current trends and topics that may be searched for by potential customers.
When creating content, make sure it is of high quality and relevant to your local area. You also want to include targeted keywords throughout the content to help with search engine rankings. Another great way of creating content is writing about your area. Like “things to do in (your city)” or “Fun things to do in January in (your City)”. These talking points help google realise you are definitely in those areas.
Research relevant keywords and use them in your content
Researching and using relevant keywords in your content is an important part of local business searches in 2023. You want to make sure that you are using keywords that potential customers may be using when searching Google for local services like yours in their area.
You can use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to help you come up with relevant keywords to target. Try and focus on long-tail keywords for blog post content and shorter-tail keywords for location landing pages.
This was briefly mentioned under the “use the correct keywords section”. It is so important to get this correct, it needs to be said again.
How to choose these keywords:
- Pick keywords with a high search volume and low keyword difficulty.
- Research the search results to see who you can beat.
- Remember that blog posts should be long-tail keywords and location landing pages short-tail.
Utilise local listings to increase visibility
Utilising local listings to increase visibility for local business searches is essential for 2023 and beyond. You want to make sure that you are listed in Google My Business, Bing Places and other relevant directories like Yellow Pages or even Facebook in order to benefit from this.
You should also make sure your business information on these sites is up-to-date and accurate. This includes details such as opening hours, addresses and contact information. These details are called NAP – standing for Name, Address and Phone number. Google looks at these details across all your citations to ensure the company is real. Bright local has researched this in detail. This will help potential customers find your business more easily and can also impact your search engine rankings.
Optimise for voice search by using natural language phrases
While voice search may be a foreign concept for South Africans, it certainly is gaining momentum. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and it is essential to make sure your website is optimised for this.
To do this, you should focus on natural language phrases rather than keyword-heavy content. The way to think about voice search is by actually using your voice. For example, when typing into a computer you may use “SEO service” or “SEO cape town”. When using voice search it may be something along the lines of “SEO services for local businesses in cape town”. It is much longer but also more specific.
You will notice this when testing it out. One way we like to do this is to tell someone to search for something and then voice-record it. It can be an eye-opener in how people search for things.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Almost a vast majority of local searches are done via mobile phone. Why? Because after searching for the company, you can hit call or directions and drive straight there. You also have access to office hours and many more pieces of info at your disposal such as contact details and phone numbers.
Because of this if your website is not mobile-friendly, it will lose out on potential customers. Not only will their experience be poor but also Google may penalise you for this by dropping their rankings. Make sure to check the responsiveness of your site and make sure all elements are optimised for mobile devices. I honestly don’t understand why mobile-friendly websites are a selling feature these days. We aren’t in the 1800s anymore – it has to be mobile friendly and most themes already are.
You can use tools such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to help you identify issues and make sure your website is optimised properly. There are other methods but the Google tools are the easiest.
Monitor analytics to track progress and make adjustments as needed
SEO, whether local SEO or not – is a long game. You should always be tracking and monitoring your progress and making adjustments as needed. You may think you have written the perfect article or blog post but in reality, it may not be performing as well as you thought.
Analytics are essential when tracking how people interact with your website and can help you make decisions on where to focus your attention and energy. Google Analytics is a great tool to use, they provide a wealth of information on how people interact with your website and can be used to make informed decisions.
The easiest ways to track the progress of your site:
- Use Google Analytics or a similar tool to track your analytics.
- Use Google search console to also track the website and ensure nothing is going wrong.
- Track rankings in an SEO tool like SEMRush.
- Use a heatmap tool to see how people are interacting on your website and where improvements can be made.
- Lastly, and specific to local SEO – you could use a tool like Bright Local or White Spark to get local-specific SEO information for your Google Business Profile.
These are just a few tips on how to level up local business searches in 2021, enabling you to reach more potential customers and drive more traffic to your site. By following these steps, you’re well on the way to maximising the potential of local business searches. Good luck! If you require help with your SEO, consider our SEO services in order to get a better understanding of what we do and how we help businesses.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimising a website for local search results. How do they do this? By targeting specific locations with keywords and content that match what people are searching for. This includes improving online visibility in local search results in the Google Maps section.
How do I track my progress?
To track your progress, I like to just watch the search results. Certain SEO tools also have a position tracker. Tools like Google Analytics or a similar tool to track the analytics of the website.
Google Search Console to also useful keep an eye on any potential issues that may arise. Search Console may give you notifications of crawl errors penalties you have gotten.
Additionally, you could use SEMRush or Bright Local to help improve your progress.
What is the best way to optimise for voice search?
To optimise your website for voice search, you should focus on “natural language”. For example, using conversational words they would use when speaking. Additionally, make sure your content is well structured. It should have clear headings, rich snippets and other elements on the website. This will help Google understand what your page is about.
You can also record yourself asking questions out loud to help get a better understanding of how people are searching via voice. By following these tips, you’ll be well on the way to success in optimising your website for voice search.
What are some other tips to level up local business searches?
Other than optimising for voice search and improving user experience, there are several other things you can do to increase your visibility in local searches. Make sure to add quality content regularly, as Google rewards sites that post new, relevant content frequently. Additionally, utilise local directories such as Yelp or Yellow Pages to help boost your rankings further – just make sure all the information is up-to-date and accurate. You should also consider geotargeting your website so that it appears higher in search results specific to a certain area or region. Finally, don’t forget about link building – use backlinks from relevant sites across the web to build your authority and improve search engine rankings.
Well, there you have it. A bunch of local SEO tips you can use to improve your local SEO rankings and get more business.