Millions of customers use search engines every day to find the best local businesses and services in their area. If you’re primarily targeting a local audience, you can help increase your chances of being found by utilising local SEO tactics.

The main difference between organic and local search is that local search has a geographical component.  If a person searches for an industry + a location, the search engine will know to display results with a local intent.

Here’s how to improve your chances of ranking highly within local search.

Part 1: Google My Business

Google My Business is the core of every local SEO strategy. It contains all the information potential customers need to know about your business and presents it clearly to search engine users. When you optimise your listing properly, it will be easier for local customers to find you on the web.

Sign into Google and complete the basic details about your business, including address, phone number and website. You’ll then need to verify your business, which can be done by a phone call and a postcard to your address. Although this can take a couple of weeks, its purpose is to protect your business from copycats.

It’s super important to get your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) right and for them to stay consistent with the details you want your customers to use. When entering the business name and phone number, it should be accurate and consistent across the web.

When adding your website URL to your listing, it should be the home page of your main website for clarity. And for businesses with multiple locations, its best to set up a separate My Business page for each location to ensure you rank highly for the destinations you do business.

You will have the option to select a business category and this is of significance importance for local ranking factors. You should choose a category that specifically describes your business rather than a long list of semi-related categories that could end up negatively impacting your results.

And finally, you’re allowed three main photos on your page so make sure they showcase your business in the best possible way and align with your brand identity.

Part 2: On-Page SEO

With your Google My Business listing all set up, the next step is optimising your website for local SEO.

Start by mapping out the URL structure of your website. Your site structure should align with your products, services and areas of business and include geo-specific keywords so that it looks something like this:

http://domain.com/location/service1

http://domain.com/location/service2

Take a look at your page headlines (title tags) and header tags (H1, H2 and H3) – as these are essential for local SEO success and will help you rank organically. Ideally, you should include your location in as many of these places as possible without it looking spammy. For example, here is a way to get to sprinkle your geo-targeted keywords and phrases into the title and header tags.

Title Tag: 10 things to consider when choosing security guards in Yorkshire

H1 header: Why your corporate security in Yorkshire needs evaluating

H2 header: How to find the best security guards in Yorkshire

You should also set up images for local SEO by using keywords and locations in your image filenames, titles and alt text. Though be careful not to repeat the keyword too many times in the filename and/ or the alt tag text as this will hurt a page’s ranking for that keyword.

For further insight as to how best to optimise images, take a look here.

Part 3: Make Mobile Work

Recent research shows that more than 55% of local searches happen on a smartphone so if your site isn’t mobile responsive, your customers will go to your competitors. Google has also placed emphasis on being mobile responsive to ensure SEO success.

You don’t have to be concerned about the cost of redesigning your site for mobile as most CMS are responsive by default. Transferring your site to WordPress is an easy way to have a user-friendly, responsive and well optimised site with lots of plugins available to further help with local SEO domination.

Evaluating and improving your site for SEO purposes can be time consuming, which is why it’s often a good idea to outsource the process. WP Tech Support will carry out an initial SEO audit on your website and do the necessary work to improve your search visibility. We will then provide ongoing maintenance and support to ensure your WordPress site remains optimised and secure. Find out more about how we can help your business here.