Local businesses are increasingly aware that Search Engine Optimisation is the best long-term plan to help them climb to the top of organic search engine results. But if you’re an SME that’s not tweaking your optimisation tactics to capture local web traffic, you’re missing out.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to become the online talk of the town in your business sector.
Grab Google goodies
Signing up with Google My Business gives you a free local business listing and ensures you’re plugged into the Google Search and Google Maps network. So it provides a solid foundation on which to build a strong local presence. Websites with great optimisation can then fight their way into Google’s local three packs — the top three firms that pop up on the results page when customers look for neighbourhood firms. And there’s evidence that Google is prioritising local sites that mention the specific search terms used.
So becoming more prominent definitely depends on efficient keyword placement.
When your digital content is primed for SEO , search engines will recognise that your business is relevant to a customer’s query — so careful use of the most popular keywords is crucial. This applies across all your digital channels, including social media. Customers might include ‘near me’ phrases to sift their local search results or type in the specific town or city they’re searching for. But if they search for things like food or services Google can automatically provide relevant results centred in their neighbourhood.
It’s also worth getting listed on local search engines like Yelp and Foursquare to cover all bases, and the best way to do this will be with the help of a company that specializes in local SEO services. The quality of your title and meta-descriptions tags is still important — if these contain localised keywords you’re onto a winner. Linking can also turn you into a local legend — ensuring that your internal and external links are high-quality will increase your authority. Once your content’s optimised it can be tracked precisely on a range of analytics programmes and keywords can be tweaked regularly so they remain effective.
Excellent optimisation allows you to make the most of your social media presence so that customers are gently coaxed along the path through greater engagement to making a purchase. So SEO works in a holistic manner that ties together every strand of your online marketing — a lively social media post can link to an informative page on your blog that might then lead to lucrative conversions.
Social is one of the best ways of building a vibrant online community of local brand advocates and it’s a conversation, not a cul-de-sac — listening to the way customers chat on sites like Facebook can help you tweak content on your website and elsewhere.
And a glowing customer review on social media is an influential seal of approval that can make you the go-to brand in your town. General optimisation tactics are always useful for establishing a presence in search engine results but once you go local you can capture your niche market — letting you pick the online battles you’re most likely to win.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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