I’ve already blogged about the fact that 46% of Google searches have a local element, i.e. almost half of people using Google are looking for a local supplier. So if geography and location is an important part of your target market, then your website content needs to reflect this. Here are 5 simple tips to make sure you can be found by your nearest prospective customers.
1. Define your location
Is yours a single location, bricks-and-mortar business or home-based service? Or can your customers come from anywhere, even overseas? If it’s the former then your online content needs to reflect this. If it’s the latter then local content is not so vital but it’s still advisable to make your location clear.
2. Make it obvious to your site visitors where you are and/or which areas you serve
Make sure you have an About Us page and Contact Us page. The About Us page should clearly state where you’re located and/or the areas you serve. The Contact Us page should list all your locations (including your head office) with postal addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Add a Google Map so people can instantly visualise where you are. If you work from home and don’t habitually have customers visit you there then the town and postcode area is fine BUT you should still list your contact phone numbers and email address.
3. Register with Google My Business and Google +
Registering with Google My Business takes a few minutes to do but is well worth it as far as page rankings go - and its free. Google can only take instructions from the business owner so you’ll need to go through a verification process but after that you just need to enter a few basic details about your business and your location, validate a very basic website (just copy and paste the key details from your main website for convenience) and whenever someone is searching Google maps for your business they will see it pinned and named. Similarly, setting up a Google+ profile takes almost no time but adding the "G+" icon and link alongside your other social media icons on your site will help boost your page rankings.
4. Optimise images, text, titles and metatags
Although not directly impacting search results, a well-worded title and description will emphasise your local presence, for example:-
Google can’t read images (yet) so it’s vital to tag them with an appropriate and relevant description. To help with local searches make sure you use localised keywords in your tags (e.g. “coffee shop in Watford”, rather than just “coffee shop”). Use localised keywords in static text as well but remember that these no longer need to be exact keywords as Google now uses semantics. This means that Google will infer what someone is looking for from their search rather than trying to find and exact match. So, taking the above example a step further, rather than shoe-horn the keywords “coffee shop in Watford” into as many places as possible, you could talk about other things to do in Watford apart from drink coffee!
5. Make sure your content is original
I cannot emphasise this enough and it’s worth repeating. Google likes original content and this applies to local as well as generic subject matter. If you only ever copy and paste from someone else’s website this is hurting your search results. Add in lots of original elements of local interest, including quality links (i.e. that go to verified websites), images, videos, etc. This does not mean repeatedly stuffing localised keywords into as many places as possible (Google can spot this a mile off and will penalise you for it). You can happily write about local news and events as well as how conveniently your business is located to meet local needs and still meet SEO criteria without making it sound forced or unnatural. And the better the quality, the better your search results will be.
If you need support in making your website stand out in local searches then contact me today for an initial, no-obligation chat.