One of your main objectives as a business is to target as many consumers as possible and to help achieve maximum awareness of your products and services, which in turn will bring about more opportunities.
Businesses offering goods and services within a local community or a wider defined geographical region should be ensuring that there has been sufficient attention given to ensuring prominence in relevant local search results, to help ensure maximum visibility online.
Local search optimisation offers opportunities which SMEs simply cannot afford to ignore.
With entirely new generations of customers growing up fast and defaulting to research techniques that look to utilise the convenience offered by mobile phones in helping them search for and discover what is around the local area (particularly when visiting new places / areas), can your business / website really afford not to be featured amongst other relevant online listings?
With Google mobile (and desktop) search results favouring the ‘Local Map Pack’ for an increasing number of geographic based keywords since late 2016, you really ought to know by now whether or not targeting and optimising your website or Google Business Profile for these search engine results pages should be forming part of your digital strategy!
Is your business missing out on local customers?
With Google slowly rolling out their mobile first index, it is now absolutely critical that your website is optimised for a solid mobile experience. Recent changes to the way Google indexes and returns results will prioritise mobile local search and, therefore, if you don’t have a mobile responsive website you will likely struggle for visibility amongst customers searching for you locally.
More local searches are being conducted via mobile devices but it is important to understand that most local searches are done with a high intent to convert. For example, if you are exploring the city of Leeds, and are searching for ‘best restaurants in Leeds’, then there is a good chance you’re preparing to visit one. Similarly, one could argue that searching for ‘Locksmith in Huddersfield’ is charged with far greater intent than someone simply searching for ‘Locksmith’.
There are statistics widely shared online which suggest that somewhere in the region “88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours” – So, ask yourself that question again; Is your business prominent enough in local mobile search results?!
How to ensure your search optimisation efforts have a local focus?
1. Ensure your website is responsive and mobile friendly
People who do a local search using a mobile device are often looking for instant gratification which means they have an immediate need and, as is often is the case these days, they will expect an immediate answer! Don’t force people to work too hard for answers to the questions they’re searching for. Be the local business that offers useful content laid out concisely, ensuring that potential local customers become actual customers! First impressions count and ensuring these first impressions include great user experiences is a solid foundation on top of which you can further optimise for mobile.
For example, we’ve helped our client, Howarth’s Garage, to optimise their Google My Business listing (which supports Google Maps and Google+ search results) so that now, whenever anybody searches for ‘Car Mechanic in Mirfield’, or similar phrases with this location tagged onto the end, Howarth’s Garage has a consistently visible presence backed up by an excellent user experience!
2. Organic search engine optimisation with a local focus
Organic search engine optimisation involves many different tactics which are deployed to help a website or individual webpage rank high for specific search queries. One of the fundamental building blocks of any organic SEO campaign is ensuring high levels of relevance between your website and the search phrases which you want your website to be listed in the results pages for.
For example, a typical car mechanics website should try to ensure that it is relevant to any number of the differing phrases people might enter into Google (other search engines are available!) when attempting to find a supplier.
Including instances of phrases including (but not limited to); Garage, Mechanic, Car Repairs, Car Breakdown, Auto Repairs, Car Servicing, Car Tyres etc. within their website content will ensure that it has a strong chance of appearing prominently in the listings. To help with deciding on which phrases to use within your web copy while attempting to increase your relevance, we strongly recommend seeking out synonyms of your products or services, using keyword research tools or even looking closely at Google’s auto-suggest / recommended alternative searches – these can all be great ways to learn more about how your potential customers are looking for you.
The single most useful bit of advice we can offer for companies attempting to optimise for a phrase including a location (e.g. ‘mechanic in Mirfield’) is to ensure your full address is included throughout your website and, where your business has multiple physical locations, try to include a unique page for each outlet – supported of course by a Google My Business listing!
Targeting your local area is the first step towards maximising opportunities for your business.
Contact Ascensor today to discuss how our SEO services and strategies can help your business yield the best returns from local search results.