Looking local? How to use SEO to ensure your company tops local search results
Think that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and using keywords only applies to the big boys? Think again. The key to success in business starts with being the most popular and sought-after company in your field in the local area, surely? After that you can branch out further afield.
However, the importance of being known in the local community has sadly been oft-overlooked by small and medium sized companies. Perhaps some feel resigned to the feeling that Google searches will only show well-established companies with big names.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Indeed, with a well-planned approach to SEO, you could dominate your local search results in 2017. The way that SEO is changing, coupled with the fact that local business is becoming more cut-throat and competitive than ever, means that being the top dog is crucial. With most people taking to the internet to find local services, can you really afford to be anywhere but the top?
A strong title will go a long way
Being the strongest player in the local scene requires following Google’s recommendations, and SEO is based on being what Google wants you to be. With this in mind, it is important to consider your title and other HTML elements. A strong title will be between 50 and 60 characters long, so think carefully about how you word it. Every character counts, so only include information that is relevant.
Meanwhile, a META description can offer further information, so consider what you want this to include for maximum impact. The title and META description can work as adverts for your site when a user is browsing on Google search results, so don’t underestimate their importance!
Creativity and uniqueness are key here, but you need to strike a balance between being different and including words that will appear in common searches. After all, if nobody is searching for your keywords, you won’t be found.
Online directories are an essential tool
Being highly ranked on Google is great achievement and ought to be your target. But it is also important to look beyond Google alone, and start to consider where else customers look for local services online.
Directories hold plenty of information and are very often one of the first places people look, making it all the more important that you are listed properly on the likes of Yelp. Get as much information as possible posted; pages that are bare and lack basic details come across as unprofessional and are avoided more often than not.
It is crucial to ensure that all your listings in various online directories are identical and have the same information. Spelling mistakes or erroneously inputted details will cause huge problems when Google tried to put everything together, and could see you drop down the rankings massively.
Engage and seek ratings
One sure-fire way of getting people to devote their loyalty towards your company and not local competitors is by engaging directly with them.
Every comment or query is an opportunity to build and solidify your clientele, so take it seriously. When someone has taken the time to post or send something, apart from obvious trolling, a response will be greatly appreciated.
If you have a social media page, which you ought to if you want to make a splash in the local scene, then you already have a platform to provide thought-provoking and interesting questions and statements to generate engagement. This can then lead on to another important facet; being reviewed and rated.
In addition to feedback and engagement, you ought to look into generating positive ratings. Doing so gives customers an instant idea of how highly thought of you are, and can prevent them from scrolling past you. If you have four or five stars, or an approval rating of above eight, it can set a customer’s mind at ease.
Focus on your Facebook Business page primarily, as a solid rating on there is likely to be viewed by a wider audience. As SearchEngineLand notes, many Facebook users take to the social media giant to get an idea of what their friends think of a particular business, as well as get a feel for how satisfied current customers are. It is a huge opportunity to build up a clientele.
Elsewhere, getting some positive feedback on your Google Business page carries the benefit of showing up when people Google search you. Before they have even clicked on your site, they will be able to see how highly thought of you are, and will be less inclined to scroll right past you.
With a strong combination of these factors, you will soon see your company shoot up Google’s rankings and become the top dog in your local area!