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SEO and local search - why it matters for small businesses

When most people look for a local business - whether that is an estate agent, solicitor, or restaurant - the internet is their first port of call. If you want your business to be the one they find, then local SEO should be a part of your marketing strategy

SEO and local search - why it matters for small businesses

The higher your ranking in search engine results the more potential customers will see your business information. This increased visibility should have a positive impact on both website and in-person visitors.

To improve your ranking in local search, there are a number of things you can do.

Claim your Google My Business page

One of the most essential things to do for local SEO is to have an actively managed Google My Business page. Make the listing as complete as possible with up to date photos, opening hours and contact details.

Although search engines can use infomation from around the web to generate results to local businesses, claiming your Google My Business page allows you to optimise the listings. The Google My Business '3 pack' often dominates search results, so it is worth paying attention to this.

Don't ignore directories

If you have your own business website with all your details, online directories may seem like a relic of the past. However, search engines use online directories to confirm the accuracy of the infomation that they display on the results page.

Having consistent infomation across the directories and your own site makes the search engine more confident in the details it shows on the results page, potentially making it display them higher up. Conflicting infomation, on the other hand, may have the opposite effect, so make sure that your infomation is consistent. If your business changes address or phone number, make sure this is reflected across all the online sources of infomation.

Fine-tune your title tags and meta-descriptions

Title tags are one of the most powerful SEO signals that you have control over. It could be the only thing the potential customer sees before they decide whether your site is what they're looking for or not.

Make sure your target keywords are in the title tag. This helps the page rank higher in the search engine results. However, don't just write for the search engine - remember that a human ultimately decides whether to click or not. Make your title compelling and unique to catch the attention of searchers. The same applies to the descriptions.

In addition, for local SEO it helps to include your location in the tags.

Get business reviews

Having positive customer reviews will be beneficial for both the search engine ranking and in attracting customers. Google, Facebook, and your own website are all good channels for this. Have a strategy for attracting customer feedback - you could send out an email, or have hand outs in your business location.

Not all of your reviews will be five stars. Responding well to negative reviews is just as important as having positive ones.

Have content

The bedrock for any SEO is website content, and local SEO is no different. Give customers a reason to come to your site. Create site content that is informative and helpful, using local knowledge. A blog on your business website talking about your company, local events, and local projects you've been involved in are all good opportunities for unique content which is keyword optimised for local search. Having links to other local business within your website content is also good for SEO as it strengthens your site authority. As ever though, these links need to be useful and relevant to have a positive benefit.

For more information and advice about SEO and Digital Marketing more generally, download our 'Top Ten Tips For Effective Digital Marketing' which includes actionable tips you can get started with right away.




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