5 Tips to Boost Local SEO Rankings Your Business

With more and more people relying on online search to find products and services to make their life easier, maintaining a strong digital presence for your local business is a definite advantage to help you maximise your potential. Beyond just having a nice-looking website - or a website at all - it's vital that you look after the most important aspects of your online business profile to ensure you are reaching as many potential customers as possible. This guide will take you through 5 tips to ensure you have all the bases covered for your local SEO.

5 Tips to Boost Local SEO Rankings Your Business

5 Best Local SEO Tips to Boost Your Business

Think about this. Every single one of your top competitors also has a presence online, so looking for ways to make your business more visible to your target customers and clients is crucial to your overall success. One of the best ways to do this is through local search engine optimisation, or SEO for short. There is a LOT that goes into SEO, and there are literally hundreds of factors that search engines use to determine which pages to display in search results. However, there are several fundamental things that all business owners should be aware of, and these things can make a big difference to your online visibility.

Top Local SEO Tips to Grow Your Business

Local SEO differs slightly from "regular SEO" in that local SEO focuses on strategies and best practices designed to help businesses rank better in search results in the specific geographic areas they serve or cater to. For example, if you're operating a day spa in Mornington, you would want your business to be visible to anyone looking for day spas or spa retreats in and around the Mornington area, as opposed to say people searching in Hawthorn or Richmond for example.

There are many different techniques you can implement to optimise your website for local searches. Below are some of the best local SEO tips you can start with to give your local business a boost.

1. Creating specific content pages.

Many people think that optimising your website for search engines is about driving as much traffic as possible to the home page, in the hope that visitors will eventually find their way to the information they were looking for. In fact, SEO has more to do with targeting specific pages on your website, so you can present accurate and precise information for your visitors without them having to navigate the rest of your site.

Here's an ever bigger secret. Not every single page on your website even needs to be optimised for search at all! Focus on the specific pages of your site that direct visitors to your products and services, or pages that demonstrate your ability to service the suburb or geographic area that your visitors are looking for. This is especially important for service-based businesses.

Location Pages

Create pages that are specifically about the major areas you service. For example, you could have a page specifically for people searching for 'day spa mornington' or a 'spa treatments mornington peninsula'. Include details about each location, with an emphasis on why each spot is an ideal destination for your particular service. Link these pages to your service pages, and make the written content unique for each page. Google knows when you are being lazy and just duplicating content across multiple pages, so don't try and cheat the system. Come up with ways to talk about your services using variations and adjustments for each individual location page you create.

Main Product or Service Pages

These pages should provide details about your products and services and should be more formal and direct in tone. Outline what you offer, what your edge is over the competition, how much you sell your products or services for, and how clients can pay or purchase. It's also important to include a strong call to action on your product and service pages, so your potential customers know exactly how to engage you and make a purchase. Try and avoid passive language when creating call to actions. Use specific, deliberate words to instruct the user on how to buy from you. For example, rather than saying 'contact us for a quote' say something like 'request a free quote' or 'get a call back'.

Assuming that your business offers more than one product or service, then you should ensure that you have individual pages created for each of them. Too many businesses get lazy and include all of their services on a single page with short bullet points or very little detail about the specific product or service they provide. Again, the opportunity to stand out above your competition is to create those individual pages and provide a good amount of content around each of them. Make sure to describe the product or service in detail, explain the benefits or advantages if the visitor purchased this from you, and explain how much it costs (even if it's just a guide or estimate). Try and anticipate the questions that you expect customers might have about your offering and answer those questions on the individual pages.

If all of the above sounds like a lot of work, it is. But that's the point. If you want to stand out and rank above your online competitors, these are absolutely the things they are doing to be found online, so you should expect to do the same. (or pay someone else to do it.)

Informative Content or Blog Posts

These pieces of content should provide more in-depth explanations about topics related to your industry or service. For example, you could write about why stretch marks form, how they could affect individuals, and how certain types of treatment are utilised to minimise them. Or, if your business is selling beer and wine online, talk about the latest trends emerging in the market, or consider writing a guide on pairing food and wine. This may not directly encourage people to buy from you, but it does build trust, authority, and knowledge about your business and your brand.

Blog posts are generally longer than service or location page contents, and while they target readers looking for information rather than services, they are essential pieces to build stronger, more relevant internal links to your service and location pages and are aimed at demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and authority to search engines. Although it might be tempting to post blog articles that are actually disguised as sales pages, try as best you can to avoid that. Trust and authority are important factors when publishing blog content, and your intention should primarily be on informing and educating your audience about your industry, rather than directly encouraging them to buy from you. Of course, you should include a call to action or link to a relevant product or service page within the blog post where its appropriate, but avoid 'click baiting' people into reading your blog for selfish reasons.

2 - Create or claim your Google Business Profile.

Writing content and optimising it for keywords can take a lot of time, and you don't necessarily see any results straight away. The best way to get some initial wins for your business is to sign up and set up a listing with your Google Business Profile (which used to be called Google My Business, before they changed the name)

Google Business Profile adds your business to Google Maps and can be used to display your business information for relevant local service search results. Clients who see your business listing may click through to it even as you work to get your website pages ranked for the same search terms. As Google continues to update its algorithm, and refine its 'search smarts', more focus is being put on what google refers to as "search intent" which basically means they are trying to determine what users are actually looking for when they enter a search term. For example, if Google determines that because someone entered the term 'polished concrete floors', the user is likely looking for a service-based business that can provide polished concrete flooring. In that case, Google will present the local businesses closest to where the user is, and also display a list of map results to show you the businesses you might want to contact for your polished flooring needs.

When Google determines that a users "search intent" was more aimed at providing information, they generally won't display map results or local businesses but instead will serve articles, blogs, guides, etc on the topic being searched for. What this all means is that if you are a business who serves a specific area, you should absolutely ensure that you have a Google Business Profile all set up and configured to help advertise your services.

For best results, it's very important that you make sure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent and all written in the exact same way you display them on your website. This is a signal to Google that you are a real and trustworthy business, and relevant to your location. The same goes for any directory sites or listings that you sign up for as well. These are called 'citation listings' and they also help fuel your Google profile authority.

3 - Ask for Google customer reviews.

Because your competitors have also set up their Google Business Profile listings, you have to put in some effort to get your listing higher up in the results to stand out. Other than completing the basics such as adding accurate and consistent business details (name, address, phone number, adding a banner, adding a logo, and uploading some photos of your business premises), it also helps to have some reviews on your listing page. Google is more likely to give you more visibility if your listing has legitimate positive reviews from real customers. Positive Google reviews actually go a very long way to providing trust and authority on your profile, so it's important to continuously encourage your customers to leave some kind words for you.

If you operate your business in person, consider handing a tablet to happy and satisfied customers and clients while they're at your establishment and asking them to log in to their Google accounts to leave a review on your listing, or present a QR code at the counter asking for a 5 star review.

If your business transacts differently, you should establish a process to follow up with your customers and ask them to leave you a positive review. You might feel like you are nagging your clients, but Google reviews are like a form of currency and you shouldn't feel bad about asking for feedback to help grow your online reputation.

4 - Get listed in other local directories.

Other than your Google Business Profile, there are hundreds of other local directories you could get your business listed in. Aside from providing additional visibility to your business from an alternative platform, these directories also provide valuable backlinks to your main website, which is an essential component of SEO. This means that as many places that you can get your name and website on, the better your overall online presence will be. Consider joining local business directories or websites that service your immediate area. For example, businesses that are operating in Hawthorn or Camberwell in the inner east of Melbourne should join the Love Local Life directory. It's free, gives you an extra link back to your website and anyone browsing that particular directory may just find you in what they are looking for.

Just like your Google Business Profile, you need to make sure your name, address, and phone number details are identical to what you have on your site and everywhere else. Also, depending on where you're getting listed, directory listings work best with well-written, original business and service descriptions.

There are several tools available that can help build local citations, such as Whitespark and Bright Local, as these services typically choose only high-quality, reputable directories and will give you a nudge if they pick up any issues with inconsistent business details. Essentially, the more places you can get your name out there and showcase your business, the better your business will be.

5 - Optimise your website for mobile users.

It's a well-known fact by now that at least half of all online searches are done on mobile phones and tablets while people are out and about. For this reason, Google and other search engines now actually give preferential treatment to websites that display correctly and perform best on mobile devices. Having a website that behaves on mobile (we call it 'responsive') is a major factor in ranking well on Google. If you haven't done so yet, please update your website or hire a web developer to create a website that plays nicely with mobile phones. If you are operating a service business with a poor website, you are losing out.

Running a business is certainly no easy task, and ensuring continued growth and profitability is even harder. For many business owners, investing in digital services, SEO and content is seen as a major expense and isn't justified, but as you can see just from the 5 points above, implementing even the most basic of local SEO strategies and best practices are sure to give your business a good boost and stand out from lazy competitors. So hop to it!