For many businesses, big and small, gaining high local rankings is critical to driving quality traffic to their site.
Over the past couple of years, Google has refined the local SEO ranking algorithm. And while like many aspects of search engine optimisation, gaining quality local web traffic requires a holistic approach, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of gaining local search traffic.
Google’s ‘Pigeon Update’ was to provide more relevant local search results, whilst also adhering to the more traditional ranking signals, it was an entirely new algorithm that was first released on the 24th of July, 2014. If you would like to find out more about the Pigeon Update, please read our blog post on the importance of Local SEO.
We have considerable experience in helping businesses of all sizes with local search, whether they are small single site businesses or large national organisations with multiple sites across the UK, they are now benefiting from improved local search.
If you are looking to improve your local search, we have compiled a list of some key things you should do if you are looking to improve your local search visibility.
- Your profile is complete and up to date: Google ‘prefers’ businesses with complete and accurate information, as it makes it easier to match with the right searches.
This means filling in all possible fields in Google My Business, including:
- Phone number
- Opening hours (keep updated during holiday periods)
- Business category
Consistency is key: Your details should be consistent between Google Places, your website and Google+ Local. This might seem like a simple thing but sometimes people forget when they move location, there are often multiple places where their details are listed so always ensure you update your details.
Your profile is optimised: Where possible, you should include a product or service-based keyword.
You have completed the verification process: You must ensure you have completed the verification process for your listing. A health warning: this can be very frustrating when verifying multiple locations. You have been warned.
Engage and manage reviews: Google rewards those who are active in using their tools to improve the user’s experience. You should manage and respond to reviews in a proactive manner. Furthermore, high-quality and positive reviews from your customers will improve your position as well. From a user’s perspective, how many of us now use “customer reviews” as a key decision factor when buying services and products - we highly recommend you encourage reviews and feedback.
Bring your profile to life: Where possible, you should include accurate and appealing pictures on your profile. These could include the typical selection of logos and pictures of the office/shop/van. You can also include virtual tours on your Google Business Profile and you can upload/embed video to your Local G+ page.
Home page / landing page: The search ranking of your local business also depends a lot on your custom landing page or home page.
- Having a quick page load time
- Having high-authority inbound links pointing to the home page or landing page
- Having a number of online citations found on local websites and with a good percentage of user interactions on these citations
- Using location-based keywords in the title, description, heading tags and alt text attributes
Improving your local search results can be time consuming and technical if you do not have a good foundation to start from. If you would like to understand more about local search or any other aspect of digital marketing, give us a call at Innovation Visual.