7 ways to appear in more local searches

While SEO, or search engine optimisation, might sound like just another techy acronym, it’s vital step if you want to grow your business online. It refers to search engine optimisation, which, simply put, are the steps you can take to help improve how high up results relating to your business appear in search engines (let’s be honest, this mostly just means Google).

Local SEO refers to optimisation techniques that boost rankings for searches relating to a brands’ local area (“café in Alexandria”, for example), and it’s especially important for small businesses.

Here are seven things you can do to help bolster your local search engine rankings.

1.      Claim your Google My Business page

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page. This is where you give Google vital information about your business, such as your address, contact number, business category, opening hours, and photos. It’s crucial to keep this updated, as it gives your brand context, and will increase the chances that your name pops up whenever someone Googles terms relating to your business and area.

2.      Make sure your contact details are up to date

Double check that all your contact information (address, phone number, email, opening hours, and any other relevant information) is current and appears on every page of your website, or any other site where you have a business presence, such as Facebook.

3.      Focus on local link building

Google and other search engines rank businesses based on prominence, which refers to how well known you are. Aim to develop relationships with other businesses in your area who would be willing to link back to your website from theirs, and vice versa, to build up your online network.

Sharing mutually beneficial deals (for example: a free coffee from the local café whenever someone gets their hair cut at your salon, and a discount on café food to your customers) is a great opportunity to build relationships, and backlinks to your website, which are gold for local SEO.

4.      Use keywords wisely

If you’re a business owner who services multiple areas, be sure to include all your service areas on your website to help your website rank for those location terms. Google’s Keyword Planner tool is also useful for seeing which keywords relating to your business are most popular within your region. Including keywords in your content can bolster your local search rankings as well, but make sure only to include them where they fit naturally, as Google will penalise for unsightly keyword stuffing.

5.      Get a directory listing

Google (and other search engines) will also rank your business based on local search citations, which refer to mentions of your business on other websites. Having a comprehensive directory listing with all your vital business info, such as on Yellow Pages, will give you even more local SEO juice.

6.      Encourage customer reviews

Online reviews are worth their weight in gold, not just for boosting your business reputation but also your local search ranking. Websites or businesses with genuine customer reviews are typically ranked higher in local search results than those without, so be sure to encourage your customers to put in a good word online.

7.      Utilise social media

One of the most important factors for ranking highly in local search results is building up your business online. Focusing your efforts on social media platforms that work well for your audience will help with prominence, link building, local citations, and growing your overall online presence.

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