The skinny on local SEO and why you need it

Sep 30, 2014 by
The skinny on local SEO and why you need it

If you’ve already pumped thousands of pounds into a search engine optimisation campaign that’s only delivered limited results, you should think twice before pulling the plug. There are tactics that you or your agency may yet have missed, including local SEO.

Local timeTurning to local SEO

If you are confused and wondering what the difference is between local and more generic or international SEO, here’s a bare bones explanation:

Local terms target keywords that relate to a specific area, city, or community. International keywords, on the other hand, are more generic in nature. For example, ‘electronics supplier’ would be an international term. The local equivalent could be something akin to ‘electronics supplier in Cambridge’. Whilst local has been a component of Google’s search product for some years, there is an increasing amount of focus on it, and local businesses can benefit more and more.

Boost conversion rates

While ranking for non-geographic terms will get you much more traffic, it’s likely that conversion rates will be lower – this will definitely be true if you only serve a local area. If people want to go to a physical shop or avoid overseas shipping, it’s likely that they will put location-specific terms into their search queries. So while local SEO may only have an upper limit of hits which are inferior, the increased conversion rates mean that you will actually end up getting more customers through the door.

Lower competition

Not only that, local keywords tend to be less competitive. The reason for this is that you’ll only be doing battle against businesses in your local area. It will be much easier to get into the top ten of Google – it’s possible that you won’t even have any competition whatsoever for certain keywords. How’s that for ROI for your SEO campaign?

Local business signals = positive recognition from Google

Green light

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Google+ is now a core part of your local SEO strategy, and you should seriously start thinking about the platform as more than Facebook’s less popular little brother. It’s now being tied into local signals, meaning you can entrench your brand and help your site rank.

Marketing expert Eric Enge offers some sage advice:

“Building your reputation across many platforms and getting lots of different types of social proof signals is the heart of online marketing these days.”

These are just some of the perks that localising your Google+ profile can bring your website:

  • Maps that clearly display the location of your business, giving potential customers easy access to where you are. This also includes your phone number and address clearly stated.
  • Have any reviews through Google+? Enter a nifty star rating that tells your potential customers just how good you are.
  • Photographs of your premises can be displayed directly on the Google results pages.

Don’t stand still

Google is an ever-changing beast and while it requires us to stay on our toes, you don’t have to treat the experience as if walking through a minefield. Google has given us clear indications of what it wants. For many queries (not all!) real businesses that serve local communities are favoured over invisible online entities.

Of course, there are many exceptions, so as always, there is no one best practice or magic formula that will work for all businesses all the time. The key is to look at all the possibilities and create a strategy that works well for you. So even if local SEO turns out not to be the cornerstone of a new campaign, it may well be worth being part of the mix.

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