Hat Trick Blog

Our top local SEO tips

added on Thursday 31st March 2016 at 11:21am

Tagged: Advice, Content, Google, Search, SEO

Our top local SEO tips
Search is becoming local and you cannot afford for your company to get left behind. Search engines such as Google are trying harder than ever to show the user local, relevant results to their location. With more and more people using their mobile phones to browse the internet, it's now incredibly important to make sure your website and company is "local" and available to them.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO (also known as Search Engine Optimisation) is the idea and practice about boosting your business ranking for local search e.g. when people search for "plumbers in Grantham" or "electricians in Lincoln".

How can local SEO benefit my business?

It's incredibly important for people to find your business online. 99% of time people will probably find your website through search engines by searching for your exact business ("Mike's Mechanics") or locally ("Mechanic in Peterborough"). If you are not appearing in the search then you are missing out on business and customers.

Sounds good! How do I get started? Read the tips below;

Our top local SEO tips

  1. Make sure you are signed up to Google My Business, Bing Places and other directory websites
  2. Make sure your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) is the same and correct across different directory websites and business listing websites
  3. Add your address onto your website (if it isn't already)
  4. Add a Google Map on your website with a pin to your company / address
  5. Try to encourage users to add online reviews on trusted websites such as Google or Yelp
  6. Make sure your website is "mobile friendly" as many people will search while on their phones

Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a fairly new service that was originally part of the Google Plus social network. GMB allows you to manage your business on Google, you can control;
  • Company / Business name
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Opening times
  • Business category / type
  • Address / location
  • Add photos to pre-defined galleries such as Interior photos, Exterior photos, Product photos, Team photos and Additional photos
  • Add a 'Virtual Tour' (done by a professional)
Once you have filled out this information then this is the sort of "card" you can expect to see;

Hat Trick Media business card in Google local search

You can sign up to GMB here: https://www.google.com/business/

If you already have a Google account associated with a business then click "Sign In" or if you don't have a business account then click on "Get on Google". If you are not sure whether you have a business on Google then search for your company name and if you see a card it will normally have "Own this business?" if nobody owns that business listing. Here is an example;

GMB - Own this business?

You can then claim the business and you will be walked through a verification process which could be getting an automated call from Google with a PIN code or waiting for a postcard from Google with a PIN on it.

Google is not the only Search engine with business listings. Make sure you Sign up / into these services and your business information is up to date and everything is filled out;

Address Clean up - NAP

NAP, also know as Name, Address and Phone Number is an acronym you often hear when talking about local SEO. Having your NAP the same across websites and directories is very important. It is highly believed that Google and other search engines use certain directory sites as sources of trust so making sure your details are correct can benefit you in the search results (especially in local search).

How can I sort my NAP out?

An example of the 'A' in NAP (Address) is Mike's Mechanics, Funny Business Park, Long Road, Lincolnshire, NG31 331. This is a perfectly fine NAP. Some examples of how it could change and possible confuse people / search engines;
  • Mike's Mechanics, Funny Business Park, Lincolnshire, NG31 331
  • Mikes Mechanics, Funny Business Park, Long Road, Lincs, NG31 331
  • Mike's Mechanics, Funny Business Park, Long Rd, Lincolnshire, NG31 331

Moz Local

It can take a lot of time to search through different directory sites looking for incorrect versions of your NAP. Luckily there is a great service that allows you change your NAP in one place and have it automatically update lots of different websites / directory sites instantly. Check out Moz Local (https://moz.com/local) and see what score you get!

3. Add your address on Website

There is a very high chance that you already have your address and telephone number on your website but if you don't (for whatever reason) then get it on there! Make sure you follow the NAP best practices and have your full address in the correct order.

4. Add a Google Map onto your website

People are so used to seeing a Google map these it really makes sense to have one on your website. This helps users visually see where your company is but it also allows them to interact with your company via the Google Maps interface such as saving your location, sending it to their phone (if they are on a desktop or tablet), reviewing you or sharing your company. These are all benefits to you for little investment.

5. Online Reviews

Getting reviews isn't always easy but it can pay off by building a great online reputation, helping with search ranking and earning new customers trust. Here are just a few services that your customers can use to leave a review about your business;

Why use a third party service?

It's great to show customer praise and reviews on your website (we encourage that!) but when it comes to online reviews - people can be well .. funny about it. Using a third party means that the reviews are more genuine. After all, you control what goes on your website. You may be concerned that people could leave bad reviews maliciously but there is normally a way to have them removed if they are fake or you could reply to them showing other people what actions you have taken to rectify the issue.

6. Mobile Friendly Website

We've blogged before about mobile friendly websites and I'm sure you know how passionate we are about that subject. When we talk local we think of business and services close by, this can affect desktop and mobile searches. If you are walking down the street and are looking for something specific then you can easily whip out your phone and search for it. Having a mobile friendly website ensures that these people "on the move" get a better experience when visiting your website and Google (plus other search engines) are ultimately saying that if you have a mobile friendly website then it will give you a boost in the search result rankings.

Bonus: Targeting specific areas and services

You might have searched for a local service, clicked on a result that looks good and soon realized that the company is actually based miles away. What you'll find is that these companies have a page set up for a specific service in a specific area. You can easily create these pages but they must be relevant, high quality and informative. You have to drop the salesy talk and focus on the location. You can see that we are testing a page here about website design in Boston.

Need an easy-to-use system that will allow you to update your website quickly and effortlessly? Maybe you need a brand new website or fancy some of our other services? Get in touch via phone (01476 576 839) or email (thrive@hattrickmedia.co.uk) and we will be more than happy to help.