12 Feb Best practices: SEO for local business
When potential customers are looking for a product or service similar to what your local business sells, they’re going online to find it. According to Google, local searches lead 50% of all searches. SEO for local business can make a company stand out of competitors and attract more customers.
We all know that the local business owners are usually busy with their own work and have no clue about what’s going on in the SEO world. That is why we listed the best practices related to SEO for local business.
1. Mobile optimisation influences SEO ranking and it`s crucial for local businesses
As we know consumers have been using more and more devices to search online and mobile-friendly are one of the most important of Google`s ranking factors it`s crucial for local businesses to optimise the website.
At Media Shark, we have come across many local businesses that lost a major chunk of their business due to the mobile update from Google and they had no idea what caused their rankings to drop suddenly. So we explored the businesses that are located in the Gold Coast, searching by the following keywords:
- Gold Coast Podiatrists
- Gold Coast personal trainers
- Gold Coast accountants
- Gold Coast Lawyers
- Gold Coast financial advisers
- Gold Coast bookkeepers
- Gold Coastphysiotherapy
- Gold Coastchiropractor
- Gold Coast acupuncture
We took the first 30 results for the above keywords and analysed if the desktop-only sites were ranking as well as the mobile-friendly ones. We built a script that made use of the pagespeed API from Google and saved the data into a database. Then we ran the database through Weka (a data mining software) to find out if there were correlations between the rankings and mobile-friendliness. Although the findings appear to have no major effect on the rankings of the websites we analyzed. They are indeed missing the mobile traffic which is growing exponentially.
A recent article published by Google shows interesting facts about the purchase journey in Australia and we would like to highlight one that caught our attention at Media Shark:
Mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me” have grown by over 200% in the last two years (for example, “stores open near me right now” and “pharmacy open near me right now”).
As mobile traffic is growing continuously, having a mobile-friendly website and providing a great user experience are crucial to higher Google rankings. Curious to know how is your website is performing in mobile devices? Take a look at this Google tool.
2. Claim or update your Google My Business account
Google My Business is the most important business listing of all. After all, they make the rules! Should be the first place to list your business. Remember Google reviews will be the most viewed. It is the most important local ranking factors for “snack pack” and organic results. You can claim an account, if your business is already listed, or create a new one. To make sure that you select the most appropriate category, take a look at your competitors and check what they selected.
Also, consider doing the same thing at Bing Places and Apple Maps.
3. Optimize Local Online Directories and citations
Another factor important for SEO for local business is the online directories and citations. Providing your potential customer’s right information about your business, like name, address and phone, across local online directories is a great way to improve your SEO tactics. Be sure your brand is found easily online is well seen by users and, consequently for Google too. To help you with this optimisation, we share below the list of the best online directories for Gold Coast businesses.
- Hot Frog – One of our favourite local business directories, you can add images, links, keywords & much more info for free. Option for a paid version.
- TrueLocal – This website will give you complete access to your listing & helps you build a quality brand.
- ComeonAussie – Will give you a quality listing and a great follow backlink opportunity
- Yelp – Possibly the best directory & local business listing website, it won’t give you a follow link but a completely free quality listing. The more reviews you can get for your listing the better
- VieSearch – Not the best quality profile panel in the free version, However, you will get a good quality follow link on this listing.
- Super Pages – Well-designed directory listing site – Has to make our top 10.
- Start local – Powerful backend listing profile – We love that you can add anything for free
Note: It is a wise idea to search for your local directories, and find ones that are of high value. Take The Gold Coast, for example, you have to search for these terms in Google, Gold Coast business directory, free directory listing and so on. Also, remember to include in your list some relevant industry‐specific citations too.
4. Use Reviews to help your SEO strategy
A well established Local business normally have a loyalty network of customers and the main source of new clients come from word-of-mouth. This offline buzz can (and should) be part of the local SEO strategy. Using reviews on the website, on Google My Business and on social media would help Google to identify you as a local business. You can reward customers with a gift card or a special discount when they give you an online review, for example. Make sure the testimonials on your website use local keywords and you reply comments using your keywords too. Take a look at a reply example that you can use.
“Hi, @customer name! We appreciate your comment/review/feedback on our [service/ product] in [suburb or city venue]. We value your comment/review/feedback and look forward to working with you again. Thanks, @yourcompany team.”
5. Publish local content
Another great SEO practice is to keep your website updated, publishing content that would be interesting to your target audience. In terms of local SEO, we strongly recommend blogging regularly about topics about your region. It will tell Google that your website is actively maintained and, also, would help you to attract links. Here are some suggestions of topics that you can write about to help your local SEO practice.
- – Local “best of”: make a blog post about the best restaurants, bars, breweries, attractions, things to do, etc. in the area that you are located. If you are a nutritionist located in the Gold Coast, for example, you can list the best street or organic markets in the city.
- – Local calendars: list a local calendar, with the most notable events across numerous categories related to your industry occurring in the next few months.
Important note about content: always consider quality over quantity. You want to provide the best content possible to your audience, so they can spend time on your page and interact (by commenting or sharing) with it. Consequently, it will help you to rank better locally.
Things to remember
- A mobile-friendly website is key for ranking locally
- Claim Google My Business will help you to appear on searches
- Citations are important factors for local ranking
- Reviews: you can make the best of word-of-mouth offline on your local SEO strategy
- An updated website with content about your location is a great practice to shows Google that you are a local business
There are much more other aspects to implement in your local SEO strategy but we summarised here the main ones.
If you want to dominate the local search in your industry, find out more about partnering with Media Shark for your next SEO campaign, contact us today.