Within this short guide I intend to highlight some of the core elements of a Local SEO strategy. Once all these are in place your site stands a much better chance of ranking well locally. Following this you can continue your SEO strategy to maintain your local rankings against your competitors.
Simply follow the tabs below through each step and feel free to get in touch if you need help ranking your site moving forwards or if you have any other Local SEO steps you’d like me to add.
Page Title Localisation – A sites page title is one of the easiest and most obvious ways that you can highlight to a search engine what your page is relevant to. By ensuring that the title is relevant to the page you are telling the search engine what you would like to be considered to rank for. If your site is looking to rank locally its important to include localisation into the title whist still keeping it within the recommended character limit. Take a look at the image below for an example of a localised page Title.
Locally Relevant Meta Description – Your Meta Description is your opportunity to sell the user the click to your site over a competitors. There are some great resources on writing the perfect Meta Description and the same best practices apply to a local project. It is important that you include your brand name, relevant page information, the targeted keyword and you local area of operation. A best practice example is below.
Schema Local Markup – Schema markup is a way of structuring your sites data in a such a way that it makes search engines better understand things like addresses and telephone numbers as well as things like product information and reviews. You can use tools to mark up your data or you can hard code the Schema code yourselves by using the templates on the schema.org website. Once this is in place you will be adding an additional layer of local relevancy to your site for search engines to better understand your location.
Addresses and Local Data – Ensuring that your local address is on every page of your site is a big part of your local SEO approach. It is most likely best suited in the footer of the pages and you can easily use the Schema markup in the section covered before. To localise your site you should also use Schema latitude and longitude and your local telephone number.
Localised Page Content – A sites content is more important than ever for search engines to understand what your pages are all about with Local SEO this is just as important. When you create the content for your sites pages, just with normal content creation you need to ensure that there is a natural mix of relevant content with references to your location and keywords. Ensure that the content is there for the user and only reference the location where it fits in naturally.
Top Level Domains and WMT’s – A top Level Domain or TLD is the part of your sites URL that denotes the country or state the site is based. If you are looking to rank well within the UK then a .co.uk TLD would serve you better in many cases than a .com or .net TLD. You could also set your geographic target area in Google Webmaster Tools. This will act as a manual indicator to Google as to which country you are specifically targeting. This is only needed if you have a TLD like .com or .net where you could be targeting anywhere in the world.
Local Business Profiles – A sites link profile is important no matter where you intend to target or what niche you want to target. It is important, like with all SEO that the links are as relevant and natural as possible. If you are looking to rank locally you should make sure that you complete the most relevant Local Profiles available to you. A few of these local profiles are;
- Google+ Local (A Great recent post about getting a listing verified can be found here)
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local/Infoserve
Embedded Maps – By embedding a map into your sites contact page (and other relevant pages) you will not only be offering your users an additional visual indicator of your location it will also help to further hint at your business location to Google. You can do this really easily by searching in the new Google maps interface and clicking the settings cog in the bottom right. Then just click ‘Share and embed map’ this will then give you the appropriate link and embed code to use.
Business Reviews – Having a profile on review sites has many benefits. Not only does it usually offer a link back to your site, it also add additional relevancy about your location to search engines. Reviews also offer your users an additional layer of credibility that your competitors may not have and your reviews can also be used as part of your sites review schema markup.
Whats Next For Your Site? – Having completed the elements of Local Search Optimisation I have mentioned in the previous tabs your site should stand in good stead to start ranking better locally. There are many more areas of SEO that also apply and its not as simple as just completing these steps and ranking well, you will also have to adhere to other areas of best practice too. If you’d like more information on Local SEO or have any elements to add to this post please feel free to get in touch.
Interested in getting more out of your website? Get in touch today!