Understanding Local SEO And What is GMB?
With the majority of Google searches looking for local information, it’s important for small businesses to optimise their websites for local search.
There are many advantages to this, one of the top ones being that your business will be more likely to be seen on the top of search engine results pages.
Local SEO is a great way to connect with customers and drive more traffic to your business.
This guide will help you reach potential customers who are looking for services in your area.
You will learn to develop a marketing strategy that will target local search, which is growing faster than any other form of online advertising.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is Local SEO?
The goal of Local SEO is to improve the rank of a website in the search engine results pages (SERP) for relevant local keywords.
This will increase traffic to your website and ultimately convert more visitors into leads or sales.
Local search is one of the fastest-growing segments in the organic search industry.
It provides a valuable opportunity for small businesses to compete in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace.
Search engines look at social media pages, content, links, and citations to determine which local result is relevant.
When it comes to local SEO, there are a few things that you need to do for your business to be found by potential customers who live near you.
Steps to Optimising Local SEO
Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, and some experts believe that local results are being favoured over national ones.
Therefore, local businesses must optimise their site for this.
Optimisation includes adopting a mobile-friendly layout, having keyword-rich content, creating a Google My Business page, and more.
Here are some of the things you can do to perform local SEO optimisation:
Google My Business Optimisation
When it comes to local search optimisation, Google My Business is a hot topic.
Whenever a potential customer searches for a service in their area, the first thing they will see at the top of the search results is a business’ GMB (Google My Business) profile.
This is why it is crucial to ensure that your GMB is appropriately set up!
Here are some of the steps you can take to optimise your Google My Business:
- Set up and verify a GMB for your business
- Make sure you regularly post on your GMB
- Ask your customers to leave reviews
- Always respond to reviews, ensuring you include important keywords in your response. Make sure this is done naturally, though!
Depending on competition and how well-optimised your Google My Business Profile is, you might have a chance to rank at the top of the so-called “map pack”.
Having an optimised GMB with reviews, opening hours, and other information will also improve user experience, leading to more sales.
Share your Google My Business page on social media
When content is shared on social media, a positive signal is sent to Google, indicating that your content is valuable to users.
Therefore, make sure you share your GMB page on social media, along with any new post you will submit on your Googe My Business.
NAP is important
No, I am not saying you should have an afternoon snooze. Although, go ahead if you feel like you need it!
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number.
Whenever you add your business to a new directory such as Yelp, Manta, Cylex, and so on, you need to make sure that the NAP matches your GMB.
Having a consistent NAP throughout any website where you can add your business profile will increase your business authority.
NAP should be consistent even when you add your business address on your Facebook page, LinkedIn, and so on.
Audit your website and GMB
Another important aspect of Local SEO optimisation is regularly checking how things are progressing by auditing your Google My Business page, website, looking at competitors, etc.
You should do this as soon as you start your SEO optimisation so that you can track your progress from start to finish. Your local SEO audit may include:
- Check that all the information on your GMB is 100% correct and record its current SERP’s position for the main keyword you want to target, for example, “Plumber in London”.
- Verify that your site is crawlable and presents no errors in Google Search Console.
- Ensure your On-Page SEO has been done correctly. Review lesson three of this guide if necessary.
- Check how well is your competitor doing. Is there anything they are doing that is preventing you from outranking them? For example, they may have implemented better On-page SEO or have more backlinks pointing at their website.
Interlinking your website’s content can help boost the authority of your site.
For example, if you have a plumbing business, you could write five articles talking about subjects that can be easily interlinked.
Interlinking can also improve the user’s experience, resulting in the user reading several of your articles. This will send a signal to Google to say your content is relevant and interesting.
Make use of keywords in your content
Content is king, and as such, every blog post and page has the potential to bring traffic to your site. Both blog posts and pages can be used as a way of targeting geographic search phrases.
Search engine optimisation is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy.
When you write content, it’s important to include keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body.
This will help your content rank higher on SERPs and drive more traffic to your website.
Create location pages
A business with multiple physical locations should have a page dedicated to each area the company serves.
The page should include contact information, opening hours, locally relevant keywords, and so on.
Location pages are vital for brick and mortar stores as they help potential customers find your business by searching on the internet.
Try to make each page’s content as unique as possible. Duplicate content is a big no-no when it comes to SEO.
Search engines will penalise your site for having the same information on two or more pages, and this can lead to a decreased ranking or complete removal from search engine results.
Be locally relevant
Google has come a long way since its early days of search.
Now, Google can understand intent and context in order to answer questions or provide users with content they are looking for more efficiently.
If you’re a small business owner, there’s no easier way to get the word out about your company than creating and publishing informative local content.
You can use your blog to promote local news or write about local attractions.
For example, if you own a restaurant, you could write an article about the most important attractions in your area.
At the end of the article, you could invite readers to come and visit your restaurant and offer them a 10% discount.
Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
Mobile search has taken over significantly in the past few years. Studies show that around 50% of all web traffic is from mobile devices.
With this in mind, it’s important to optimise your site for smartphone and tablet usage so visitors can access what they need even when they are not in front of their PC.
Build relevant backlinks
Getting inbound links can help you boost your local SEO.
Google sees each link as a vote to your website, and this, in turn, increases your site’s authority.
You could build relevant links by reaching out to websites related to your niche or by building relationships with similar businesses around your area.
For example, if you own a plumbing company in London, you could contact electrical companies in the area and ask them to exchange backlinks.
Or you could contact another plumbing company in a completely different area.
This way, you will not have to compete against each other.
Be active in your local community
Being active in your local community, such as volunteering for non-profits, sponsoring an event, and so on, can really help your business’ image.
You will have a better chance at featuring on local media, which will, in turn, result in backlinks for your website.
You could even gain some valuable .edu backlinks by volunteering in local schools. These links can pass a lot of juice to your website and will give your site a boost in SERP.
Tools You Should Use for Local Search Engine Optimisation
There are a variety of valuable tools you can use to improve rankings in local search engines, and businesses need to use the right tools. Here are the ones I recommend:
Whitespark Local Citation Finder
Local citations are references to your business, usually in the form of a list, with links to your website and social media profiles.
A local citation includes the company’s name, address, phone number, and website address and is generally found on a directory listing or on a map that features local businesses.
Whitespark Local Citation Finder is a tool for finding and claiming citation opportunities and helps business owners increase their online reputation. The tool allows you to:
- Find all existing citations for your business
- Find unclaimed citations that you can claim
- Track how many new, unclaimed citations Whitespark finds for you on a monthly basis
- Create new citations
Screaming Frog is an SEO spider tool that crawls the website, looks into HTML code and generates reports on various aspects of web pages.
The tool helps with on-page optimisation and provides insights into the page’s design and layout.
You can also use screaming Frog to identify duplicate content, redirects, robots.txt exclusion, look for broken links or any other specific element on the site.
The reports generated by Screaming Frog are exportable in CSV format and can be sorted by columns, so they are easier to read.
Moz Local is a tool that helps businesses verify their listings on Facebook and Google. The tool also enables you to distribute your business listing to a variety of other directories.
Moreover, Moz Local assists you in ensuring that the four major data aggregators do not continue to send out incorrect data to local business directories.
Ahrefs is a web-based tool that helps improve content’s rankings, evaluate backlinks and monitor their progress, study site data such as keyword densities and keyword ranking positions, and detect important pages on the website that you may want to enhance.
Buzzstream is a tool used to find influencers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram relevant to your brand or product.
Buzzstream crawls the web and identifies influencers based on keywords you provide.
For example, if I told Buzzstream that I’m promoting a company that offers leashes for dogs, it would scour the internet and compile a list of dog lovers who might be interested in the product: veterinarians, pet store owners, dog walkers, dog trainers, pet sitters, writers who have written about pets in the past… you get the idea.
BrightLocal is a complete SEO tool suite created primarily for the marketing needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
It can assist you in generating and monitoring reviews on local websites, analyse your local search results, and identify and analyse competitors in your area.
The importance of local SEO and Google My Business can’t be overstated.
If you want to generate more leads for your business, you must invest time in developing a solid strategy that integrates both techniques.
Many businesses miss out on potential clients because they continue to rely on word of mouth or billboards and have yet to explore current marketing strategies.
Don’t be one of them, and be sure you fully embrace Local SEO and GMB’s potential!
More lessons in this guide
About Scott Latham
For over 15 years, I have been building and implementing WordPress web design and SEO, having worked with some of the largest companies across a range of industries to see their business growth to the next level.
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