What is local SEO and why is it important to Bristol-based businesses?
In recent years, local SEO has been more important for Bristol businesses. Currently, 46% of all Google searches are users looking for local information, and if your business isn’t sufficiently optimised for local searches, you could be missing out on potential business in your area.
What’s difficult for many small businesses to understand is the difference between traditional SEO and local SEO. Having spent marketing budgets on ensuring their websites and other online tools are search engine optimised over the past couple of years, they now need to do more to optimise their online content for local SEO purposes.
So, what is local SEO, and why is it important for Bristol businesses?
What is local SEO?
Local SEO – search engine optimisation – uses various marketing tactics to improve online visibility in user search queries in the business’s local area, i.e. the physical stores. Using local SEO methods, small businesses can improve organic traffic generated by local user searches in their areas.
Search engines, of which Google is the biggest, rely on local online content to return the most relevant results for users. Their bots crawl websites, social media pages, links, citations and other content to gather information local to the user’s search area.
Using local SEO practices, Bristol businesses can position their products/services in a prominent position, expanding the potential of local customers finding them online.
Why is local SEO important for small businesses?
A recent survey by Red Egg Marketing revealed that 82% of consumers would rather find a local business than use a well-known chain.
With user search terms becoming more localised, such as ‘near me’ and ‘where to buy’, it’s now far more important for small businesses to ensure their online content is geared towards a local audience.
Search engine bots search the internet for content that matches a user’s search term, so any SEO activity must focus more on your local area to increase your online visibility. This means a better opportunity for your business to become more discoverable in search queries. The main benefits of local SEO include:
Increased search engine visibility
More local foot traffic through the door
Targeted organic web traffic
Improved mobile searchability
Increased local reach
Building trust and better local brand reputation
More competitive locally, leading to more sales
Better lead generation and conversion
So, what do you need to do to optimise your online content for local SEO and gain more local business?
Implementing local SEO best practices
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1. Google Business Profile
The top best practice is having a Google Business Profile (GBP). It is the one local SEO strategy that can impact local small businesses the most, and it’s free. Google’s bots look for verified content, which a comprehensive Google Business Profile will provide. There are five essential tasks to making your profile work for your business:
Create and verify your Google Business Profile page. Add as much information about your company as possible, including opening hours, products/services, office location(s), contact and website details, then verify those details
Use the Google posts option within your profile
Encourage your customers to share their reviews about your business online via your profile page
Respond to each review, adding your location, to build authenticity
Add blogs and social media posts to your profile
2. Internal Link Building
Link building for local businesses is crucial for SERPs as Google uses links, and citations, as a ranking factor. Internal links have a two-fold benefit; not only do they tell Google your company is a trustworthy, credible source for the user, but it also significantly helps with website navigation, as well as distributing page authority and rankings from other web pages. Citations are another plus factor; if your business is listed on more than one online directory, is cited on other websites and in social media posts, your business could feature in Google’s 3-Pack - a list of the top three local businesses that are prominently displayed in the search engine results pages.
3. Targeted content
High-quality online content is a major ranking factor for search engines, but to have a better chance of reaching your local audience, create content that targets them directly. For example, ensure your content focuses on your local community and your industry rather than gearing it towards the search engine. Getting involved in local community activities or sponsoring a local event is a great way to do this. This allows you to build brand awareness, promote your business and boost local SEO as you can incorporate it into your local online content.
4. Include location pages on your website
Location is the key to making local SEO work for your business. By adding location pages to your website, you are providing Google with all the necessary local information, like your address, contact details, business name and testimonials, it needs to rank your business higher. Also, add a Google Map to the website and don’t forget to have an About us page that gives more details about your brand.
5. Optimise URL and meta descriptions
Every piece of online content relating to your business will have an impact on SERPs. Therefore, make sure that your URLs, meta data, title tags, social posts, blog posts and other content is geo-targeted, i.e. it includes your location.
Local SEO best practices are as important as ever, particularly as more people look to shop locally, online and physically. If you haven’t maximised your local SEO activity yet, now is the time to do so.
It’seeze is your local Bristol web design company that specialises in creating affordable web design for start-ups and small businesses. With expert local support and a range of website design packages, we build high-quality, easy-to-manage, yet engaging websites optimised for local searches.
Call us today and discover how your website can work harder for your business.
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