Maybe you haven’t bothered in the past with your digital presence, or you don’t know how to do Local SEO. Or maybe what has worked for the last 10 years isn’t working anymore and you are not getting the results you had hoped.
Here we want to help you to get a better understand of how to do Local SEO, why you need local SEO, and how to decide if you are going to do your own SEO or outsource it to a Digital Marketing Company here in Coventry who will understand your business and the local community.
Before you start though you will need an optimised Website. Many companies will build you a beautiful looking and graphically fancy website, but it will be missing the key ingredients for allowing it to be ranked. It is like having a gorgeous decorated wedding cake, only to find that the inside is cardboard!!!
Below are 13 steps that, if followed will help to improve your ranking in search engines and how to do local SEO properly. It is important to know though that this does not happen overnight. You are competing with 100s if not 1000s of other company websites, so it takes time for the search engines to first find you and then rank you.
Step 1 – Local Listings
The most important listing today is your listing in Google My Business. You can also use Bing Place for Business and Yahoo Local as well. If you don’t know how to do Local SEO then you must start here.
These are pretty easy to set up, they just take some time. Just make sure that you fill in all the details to get the results you want. Make sure you use keywords that local people will search to find your business. Add photos and make sure that your listing is more attractive than others in your industry.
Step 2 – Local Reviews
One of the most important SEO contributors is the number of reviews you have obtained; this is most important for Google My Business where the number of reviews makes significant difference.
You need to start asking your customers to put a review on your listing whenever they are pleased with the service you provide. This will take a little time, but you can help by directing your customers to your Google listing. You are looking for plenty of 5-star ratings and hopefully no 1-stars!
Get into the habit of getting reviews added, but don’t overdo it. Google has a way of telling if you are trying to do unnatural growth and cheat the system. Get them coming in steadily and Google will love you and you are starting to master the art of how to do Local SEO.
Step 3 – Authority (Industry) Directories
If you are serving a specific industry, e.g. health industry, financial advisors etc. you may find there are specific listing sites or directories that cater for your type of business.
If you are not sure, Google it or look at where your competitors are being listed. Typically you can list for free, but some may charge a small amount, or you can upgrade to highlight your listing to potential clients.
Google will like your website if it is listed on a relevant industry directory, as it gives you more authority and relevance. You will get even more ‘street cred’ with Google if you are a member of an association or have certifications that give you authority.
Step 4 – Citations (Name, Address & Phone a.k.a. NAP)
The object here is to list your website on reputable local listing websites. Use this resource to find and submit to the best local citation sites in the UK. You need to use ones that Google trusts, so don’t just list anywhere. The majority offer a free listing but you can also ‘upgrade’ at a cost.
The main purpose is to get backlinks to your website, Google loves these, but not as much as reviews. A couple of the best ones to use are 118.com, 192.com, Yell.com (old Yellow Pages) and Yelp.com. There are hundreds of others too and it is important to learn the power of these citation sites as you learn how to do Local SEO.
If you do not have time to do this yourself, although it isn’t hard just time consuming, then you can get someone to do it for you. Fiverr.com is a great source and will not cost you much. However, you don’t want the citations to be added all in one go, maybe 10 – 20 a month.
If using someone from Fiverr.com make sure they are from the UK and really understand the purpose of adding Citations.
Step 5 – Separate Pages for Products and Services
For your major products and services it is important that you have a separate page for Google to send visitors too. If not, your website page becomes to generic and will miss traffic.
A good design principle is to have your key services (usually 3 – 6) detailed on your home page with each linking to its own separate page. Obviously, if you are an ecommerce site you do not have a separate page for each product you sell.
However, it is best to have a separate one for each category. E.g. if you sell tools, have a separate page for Drills, Handheld tools, Electric Saws etc.
Step 6 – Long Form Pages
Gone are the days of a few pictures on each page. Google expects to see detailed content to help the person visiting your page. Minimum number of words per page is 500, with a preference for over 1000 words on each page. See this article on why: Google prefers longer pages.
If this sounds like hard work, then you can engage someone to write your contents. Upworks.com is a great place to start. HOWEVER, no one will know your business like yourself, so do consider writing the content.
If this is still a big ask, write the content then send it to a copywriter to rewrite in something that will be more appealing than your monologue. Don’t forget to check any documentation, brochures etc. that you already have and reuse as much as possible.
Make sure your content answer questions your potential client might have. Pay attention to what has happened in the past, verbal interchanges, emails you have answered or interview your salespeople and identify what questions they get most often (and what answers they give!)
Step 7 – On Page Optimisation
This just means setting up your pages in a way that Google will like. Much of this is done ‘behind the scenes’ in WordPress or whatever tool you (or your developers) are using to create your website. Many people think that this is the most important part of learning how to do Local SEO, but really it is only one small part of a whole set of activities.
Here is an overview (you need access to your website backend to be able to do this, or you need to specify to your developer that you want your website to be Search Engine Optimised when they hand it over to you):
- Identify a strong keyword that will dominate each page. For your local listing it is good to include your location e.g. Plumber, London SE 2.
- Create Metatags for each of your pages – the most important ones are the Page Title and the Meta Description.
- Add the keywords to the page’s URL i.e. the page address shown in WordPress (or equivalent).
- Add the keywords to the main heading, known as the H1 Heading. You need one of these for each page. The use of headings just breaks up the text
- Include the keywords in your text, particularly the first and last paragraphs. DO NOT over stuff your text so it is unnatural. Google will penalise you for this. They should not be more than 3% of the text at most. As a rule of thumb, 500 words = 10 – 15 times. Natural is the key.
- Use your keywords as a link to other internal or even external pages.
Step 8 – Backlinks
We have already talked about backlinks in Steps 3 and 4. You also want to get Backlinks from other reputable websites that reinforces the authenticity and relevance of the content in relation to what your website is about.
One of the best ways is to get your articles or information referred to by other website. This will definitely improve your ranking as this is something that Google looks for.
When we talk about reputable websites, we mean REAL websites and not ones set up to improve SEO only. What will rank you even higher for local search is when the links come from others in your area.
If you are struggling to get these backlinks, you can use Social Media accounts like, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Just adding your details and a link back to your website in the Profile pages will help.
Whilst you should not over do this, sending a testimonial to one of your suppliers and asking them link back to you will really help.
The absolute best link you can have is from Wikipedia, but this must be genuine and relevant.
Step 9 – Website Loading Speed and Security
Google has certainly broadcast two areas that are important to them. So when you are learning how to do Local SEO it is essential to pay attention to whatever you can glean from Google broadcasts and publications.
- Your website speed (Loadspeed), under 2 seconds is considered as the right speed.
- Your website has an SSL certificate. That means your website has Security. Https:// is essential, not just http://. You can get an https:// address by purchasing an SSL Certificate.
Your speed is determined mainly by your hosting, which needs to be SSD hosting. This is known as Solid State Drive which is a form of electronic storage and doesn’t have any moving parts. A bit like the new laptops that are on the market now. Not all Hosting is created equal and it is important that you understand the difference.
Step 10 – Responsive Design (Suitable for Mobiles)
The latest Statistics show that more than 50% of searches are made from a mobile device (phone or tablet) and 82% of local searches (near me) are from mobile phones. Websites that are not mobile responsive are therefore penalised by Google.
To ensure you can be found AND that your website looks great, it is important to upgrade your website to responsive design Having a mobile friendly version is essential, whether you upgrade your website or get an additional mobile friendly one.
Step 11 – Frequently added Content
One of the best ways to add content to your website is to create articles (or a blog) that can be shared on social media. These are known as ‘Posts’ in WordPress.
Posts, Blogs or Articles (whichever you wish to call them – I’m going to keep with the term Posts) are great for adding content containing keywords, especially long-tail keywords or phrases that your potential clients are likely to type in, or these days use voice (Siri, Alexa etc).
The content must be relevant to the subject of your website, be unique (gone are the days of downloading articles from specific websites) and above all engaging.
Posts used to be acceptable at about 400 – 500 words, but nowadays they will rank better if 2000+ words. Your Post should add value to anyone reading it and should provide helpful information in some form.
Posts can include reviews, interviews, tips, ‘How to’s’, guest bloggers and anything that is relevant and people are interested in. It is important to have a catchy title to stand out in the search engine.
What is important is to set up a regular schedule so both interested people AND Google can see that you are active and want to deliver meaningful help to searchers.
Although it is a strain, one to two posts a week are ideal as not many of your competitors will be doing this. You can outsource, but make sure the outsourcer researches the subject well and provides informative, well-written and keyword rich articles.
The quality of what you get will be directly proportional to how much you are willing to pay.
Step 12 – Video
Videos are king when it comes to knowing how to do Local SEO. Google even shows videos on its first page when it is relevant to the search being made. Not many local companies will be putting video on their site, so this is a great way to get ahead of your competition.
Videos do not have to be professional productions either. They can get across simple messages and until recently, it was suggested they should be under 3 minutes, preferably under 2 minutes.
However, a new wave of videos are emerging that, like articles, are much longer – around 10 minutes. These are ranking well as they are giving much more in-depth information.
I have also noticed that more and more bloggers are writing and videoing the same content, to give their subscribers multiple mediums to learn from them. Many are also taking the video file and turning it into either audio download files or podcasts. All of these can be posted on your website to add exciting and relevant content.
There are many options for producing videos, for example:
- Record a message on your iPhone and upload it
- Use the ‘How to’ or X steps (3 – 5 – 7) to provide authority
- Voice over a recorded PowerPoint presentation
- Create a cartoon or animated video using a product such as Easy Sketch Pro, Powtoon and many, many more.
- Video is only going to get bigger, according to SEO experts, so we all need to find a way to get over our fear of being in front of the camera.!!!
Step 13 – Social Media
An effective Social Media strategy can certainly help your website to rank through organic traffic. Social Media IS important for SEO, but not more so than the other items mentioned.
Social media makes SEO effective and also can be lucrative. However, it does not directly contribute to SEO. It is more the links that are shared by the various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest being the BIG Five) will drive traffic to websites, it is also, and probably more importantly, that they raise brand awareness considerably.
Although there is not a direct correlation, the more social media presence you have and the more activity you create, the more likely you are to have a higher ranking website due to number of visitors, active content, links etc.
How to do Local SEO is influenced by whether you are going to ‘do it yourself’, or get someone to do it for you. Although the fundamentals, as described above are the same. You can be successful with Local SEO if you have some idea what you are doing, even if you do not have many technical skill. That is why we have put together this ‘How to’ do Local SEO for you.
PinPoint Local can help you in two ways, either by providing you with an excellent and extensive ‘do it for you’ monthly SEO service or, for people with much smaller budgets, subscribe to PinPoint Solo for a more ‘do it yourself’ option, that still provides training and support.
Which ever route you take, you need to perform a level of SEO to be found, otherwise what is the point of having a web presence?
Follow each of the steps outlined above, preferably in the order they are listed, and you will definitely see results. Remember:
- Local listings, especially Google My Business
- Local reviews from your best customers
- Citations from reputable sites (NAP)
- Relevant industry directories
- On-page optimisation (backend)
- Separate pages for your categories of services
- Long form pages (500+ words)
- Website speed and security
- Mobile friendly responsive design
- Frequently added relevant and good quality content
- Video clips
- Social media
Contact Us for more information and advice on how we can help you to get more clients by being found by Search Engines.
The following diagram is courtesy of https://Picaweb.co.uk
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