Achieving high visibility in Google is a difficult task for even the most well-established companies, so how do smaller start-ups and SMEs take on their competitors and set their site up for the same success?
Local SEO is a great option for businesses which typically service a town, city, county or region and want to advertise their offerings to a particular market. SEO Positive has carried out hundreds of local SEO campaigns for clients opting for this much more affordable option. To complement our latest whitepaper, titled ‘A Guide To Local Search Optimisation 2012’, we’ve put together a short tutorial detailing the crucial factors you need to consider when setting up your localised optimisation campaign, regardless of your niche, industry and current reach on the web.
Research your most lucrative keywords – and localise them. Though localised search terms typically generate less queries on a monthly basis, you’ll generally find that there are still a lot of users searching for services in a particular area. For example, if a homeowner in Bristol is looking for a nearby kitchen installation company, they’re likely to refine their search by typing in ‘kitchen installations Bristol’ or something similar. Check out your options by using the Google Keyword Tool.
Tweak your onsite copy and meta data to reflect your localised search phrases. Once you’ve decided on your keywords, make sure you adjust your site content and meta titles, keywords and descriptions to reflect them.
Look at your competitors’ efforts. Take a good look at your rivals’ presence within the search engines, especially if they’re known to have carried out SEO work in the past. Have they set up local listings? If you type in localised search terms, do they appear at the top of the rankings? Keeping an eye on what other businesses are doing will inspire you to apply some of their own successful techniques to your own campaign.
Set up a local listing with Google and all the other major search engines. You can also monitor its performance using Google Analytics – simply set up a new profile within your current Analytics account to track how many people are finding your page via your local listing. It doesn’t take long to create a personalised local profile and in most cases you’ll be able to set it up for free. Bear in mind, though, that you may need to verify your account, especially with platforms such as Google.
Get your customers to leave you reviews – positive OR negative. Once you’ve set up a profile, you can ask your customers (old and new) to leave feedback on your products or services. You can’t control the comments you receive, so you’re likely to come across some negative or neutral posts, but remember that it’s how you respond to criticism or complaints that will prove your worth to your potential customers.
Make use of geo tags where possible. These handy little pieces of code are used to assign precise coordinates to each web page, meaning that it will be easier for the user to find your company if you’re based well within their preferred area.
Carry out some research into the best local and nationwide directories and set up a profile within each. Check out our whitepaper for a list of some of the most used directories. Adding profiles to these kinds of sites will help establish your presence and, in some cases, will generate valuable backlinks that will be sure to boost your local SEO campaign.
Set up individual pages on your site for each region you want to target. This is a popular technique used by business owners who are able to service a broader area. If you have the time, money and/or resources, create separate pages for each town, city or county you work within and optimise each with tailor-made meta data and onsite copy. You can then concentrate on building highly localised links to each page to develop a stronger SEO campaign which will generate much better exposure.
As you’d expect, there are many other different techniques you can use to maximise your chances of ranking for localised search terms. Contact us if you’d like more information on any of the points raised in this tutorial or would like us to take a look at your local SEO efforts.