Do you run a local business? Would you like to get more visitors to your website or physical location from Google?
Of course you do!
The key is to make sure your website shows up when your potential customers are searching for services related to your business on Google.
In this blog post, we’ll teach you simple steps to improve traffic to your website using simple and effective search engine optimisation techniques that any business owner can implement.
These techniques are particularly aimed at people searching for local information – otherwise known as local SEO.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engine results pages in order to drive up the quality and quantity of visitors to the site.
In other words, SEO is important because otherwise no-one would be able to find your website. Studies show that the top 3 organic results get 75% of all the clicks. That means if your website is not among the top results for your customer’s search query, the chances of your customers finding your website through Google are increasingly slim.
Why is local SEO important?
Ranking well for competitive keywords can be very difficult. However, you don’t necessarily need to outrank all the big players in your industry to win at SEO.
You see, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. In other words, they use search keywords with additional geographic terms such as:
- Used cars for sale in Helsinki
- Hair salon Turku
- 24 hour locksmith near me
This is where local SEO comes in…
Let’s look at the numbers:
- About 89% of people search for a local business on their smartphone at least once a week.
- 88% of consumers who perform a local search on their smartphone visit or call or a store within 24 hours.
- 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
- Source: HubSpot
In other words, if your website isn’t optimised for local SEO, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity.
“46% of all Google searches are local. If you don’t have a solid local SEO strategy, you are missing an opportunity every time someone searches for your products and services online.” – Neil Patel
Local SEO uses the exact same principles as organic SEO, but with more emphasis on the geographical component. In other words, the aim is to achieve high rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant local searches.
If you’re a restaurant in Tampere, there is no point ranking in Espoo’s local search results. You want customers who are searching in Tampere to find you.
Map listings get approximately 33% of the clicks for Google search queries
Therefore if you want to increase the number of visitors (either to your website or your store), it is highly critical to make sure your local SEO is in order.
So let’s talk about how you can get there!
Google My Business
A powerful and free tool that could help you and literally put your business on one of the most useful digital online maps is Google My Business. The advantages of Google my business are countless: your business will appear as a pin in Google maps, and most importantly, will be listed when users search for relevant businesses near your location. In addition, it allows you to list your services, events, promotions, opening hours and other information relevant to your customers.
Step by step guide to setting up and optimising your Google My Business listing:
The absolute first thing you’ll want to do is to create or claim your business listing if you haven’t done so already. If you’re not sure whether you already have a GMB listing, follow these steps:
- Head over to Google search and type the name of your business in the search bar. If your business is already listed, you should see a map along with your business information on the right hand side of the search results page.
- If you don’t see this, it means your business isn’t listed, and you’ll need to add it. However, sometimes listings are based on user-generated information, which means your business may already appear here even if you didn’t add it yourself. In that case, look out for a link that says Claim this listing. You’ll then want to click on that link to claim ownership of your business listing.
- If your business isn’t already listed, head over to google.com/business to create one.
- You will need a Google account to go ahead with the setup. If you don’t already have one, you can go to the Google Account creation page to set that up.
- Click Sign in and then follow the instructions to fill in your business name and address. You will also be asked for some additional information, such as whether you deliver goods or services to your customers – read the information carefully and tick if appropriate.
- Then, fill in your business category. Adding the correct category is important, as it will improve your search visibility on Google. Click next, and then add your phone number and website URL.
- Almost there! As a last step, Google will want to verify your listing by sending you a postcard containing a verification code. Type in the contact person’s name and then click Mail. The postcard should arrive within 2-3 weeks.
- Once you’ve received your postcard, just follow the simple instructions on the back to log into Google My Business and type in the verification code when prompted.
Now that you’ve created or taken ownership of your listing, it’s time to optimise it to help your future customers find you.
Google My Business dashboard
- Head over to your Google My Business dashboard. Click Info on the left hand navigation bar, and go over the information to make sure everything is filled in. If necessary, add any missing information, such as your opening hours and services to make your listing as complete as possible.
Fill in your opening hours, services etc. on the Info page
- Pay special attention to your company name, address and phone number (also known as NAP). It’s very important that the NAP information is formatted exactly the same way in all the places where your business is listed online, including your GMB listing and your website. Many local SEO experts believe that Google cross-references the NAP when searching for information about your business, so it is super important that the data is kept as consistent as possible.
NAP (name, address, phone number) is critical for local SEO
- Next, add photos or videos to your listing. According to Google, listings with photos get 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks to their website. So definitely add as many photos as possible, and ideally a video or two also!
- Head over to the Posts tab to start taking advantage of opportunities to promote your business on Google for free. The Google Posts feature allows you to publish relevant events, offers and promotions directly to Google search and Maps. The main idea of Posts is to help your business connect with your customers searching in the local area. For example, a restaurant might promote 25% off burgers all week or a Ladies Night every Wednesday. Note that posts expire after 7 days, so you’ll need to keep refreshing the content often.
- Finally, create a strategy to encourage customers to leave reviews in order to build trust and increase your listing’s weighting in Google’s eyes. According to a survey by ReviewTrackers, 64% of consumers say they are likely to check Google review before visiting a business, and 21% agree that Google reviews are one of the most influential factors when searching for a local business. Make it easy for your customers to review you by including a review link (see below) in your monthly newsletter for example. You could also include this link when you send an invoice or on your social media.
Generate a link for customers to leave a review:
- Search for your business on Google, and click on the reviews section in your listing.
- Click Write a review
- Copy the link from the address bar and share with your customers.
Remember, you’ll want your real customers to leave you genuine reviews under their own Google accounts. Don’t be too pushy when asking for reviews and never pay for fake reviews.
How do I know if my website needs local SEO?
Contact us to get a free, impartial audit of your website’s SEO.