Why You Need to Win the Local Search War and How

You saw in our recent blog the 6 SEO tactics you need to employ to boost your online presence and sales. But ranking well in Local Search is vital for smaller businesses and those with a geographical client base, yet the associated ranking factors differ greatly from those of national search. Local Search is a different concept many experienced SEO professionals still find tricky to navigate.

Depending on your industry, the local search war can be a hotly fought contest between yourself and your closest competitors. To help you take the advantage, we’ve stripped back the process and outlined the key factors for local SEO success.

Patterson Digital Marketing recommends SEO AND Local Search, where applicable, to its clients to maximise their online presence and sales.

Create location-specific content

You need to start by creating some high-quality content that’s specific to the locations that you serve. Whether you’re a law firm in Auckland city or a heat pump vendor in West Auckland, developing service pages that explicitly refer to the geographical areas you cover is going to increase the likelihood of users in that area finding your site.

We begin by doing some keyword research around your industry, identifying exactly what users are searching for within your chosen sector. From there, we write separate pages for each service that are uniquely tailored to the areas you’re targeting.

Optimise page titles and meta tags

The importance of page titles and meta descriptions in the grand scheme of SEO is widely disputed, however they certainly have their place in local search campaigns. Both are displayed in SERPs, so if well-written they can actively encourage user engagement and enhance CTRs.

Consider keeping your business title and primary keywords at the beginning, followed by relevant geographical keywords. That way, when a user searches for ‘freight forwarder Auckland’, they can be sure, right from the search results page, that your business can cater to their needs.

Encourage reviews and testimonials

Online reviews are of course encouraged in any context, while regular feedback from consumers in and around the same area can go far in boosting local search efforts. Consider it this way – if your florist consistently gets positive reviews from people in North Shore, you have a better chance of being recommended the next time somebody in that area searches for your services.

84% of searchers admit to trusting online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations. Some businesses pass on printed flyers or leaflets that direct people to a review page, while there’s also the option of keeping things simple and emailing clients directly to ask for feedback or using our proven form. However you go about it, building a digital catalogue of reviews and testimonials from local customers can have a huge impact on sales.

Establish a strong database of citations

Listing your business on relevant directories is likely to already feature on your digital to-do list. Where many businesses falter is with keeping each citation consistent. This involves not only listing your site on as many platforms as possible, but regularly reviewing existing listings to ensure all information is correct and up to date.

Citations not only tell search engines more about where your business is located and the range of services you offer, but establish your site as part of a local community. Feature on trusted websites and directories with high DAs and you’ll go even further in proving to Google that your business is the real deal.

Set up your Google My Business profile

Google’s My Business is an invaluable resource for local organizations, as it gives you more control over your presence in local search results. It allows you to ensure your listing includes all relevant business information and makes it more likely that you’ll rank well for relevant search queries in your area.

If you already have a listing, we will regularly revisit it and check the information is up to date. Refreshing the associated images is also recommended, as clear, high-resolution photographs can benefit both ranking potential and user experience.

Ensure your site is fully optimised for mobile

It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of mobile optimization for SEO. When it comes to local search however, it perhaps becomes even more crucial. A staggering 89% of smartphone users conduct local searches once a week or more, proving just how influential mobile search can be.

From opening hours to directions, it’s vital that key information about your business is easily accessible on mobile devices. With an estimated 50% of mobile searchers visiting stores within the same day, it’s a quick and easy SEO tactic that could have a real-world impact on profits.

Implement schema markup

This step essentially refers to making sure all of the information you list on site is logically structured. In short, it’s a sequence of simple codes that gives search engine crawlers a better chance of locating and processing your key business data.

Rich snippets, feature snippets and Google Knowledge Graphs are all easier to come by when schema markup is implemented efficiently to ensure your site reaches its local search potential through using schema markup.

So creating local content, encouraging customer reviews, listing on relevant directories including Google My Business profile and fully optimising mobile SEO will lead to many more website visitors and sales.

We’ve proven this with improved Local Rankings and sales for our clients. So call us now on (027) 489 5009 or email chris@pattersondigitalmarketing.com and we’ll boost your Local Search and sales.

Chris Kirkham