Local SEO tips
Location-based searching contains 4 main technologies: georeferencing; geotags; GPS; and an internet connection. Today other signals are also used to enhance this data, for example, Yelp or other localised web application services, least not forgetting, social media profile information, such as, Google Plus location data, for instance.
To begin a localised campaign a blended approach is required. Google Places, for instance, are key to helping you rank locally yet Google Places are, strictly speaking, not going to help your traditional SEO ranking because social media is not used, so far, for search algorithm rankings.
Localised SEO became stronger with Google’s Venice update. Together with Hummingbird, Google now has the capacity to regularly construct a universal SERP and, in particular, localised SEO results.
A thorough 2003 case study analysed localised search engines with global search engines and found that global search engines were more effective and sophisticated than specialist, localised search engines. Search engine market share is much higher on global search engines than it is on localised search engines, therefore, focusing your localised SEO campaign on large search engines is key to gaining the largest audience.
In 2000 half of the UK population had a mobile phone now that stands at 94%. Mobile search is different to desktop search because we generally search for broader keywords and we use 2 types of keywords: explicit and implicit. So a mobile search for [restaurant] is an implicit search because it does not state a location. Therefore local SEO is mostly based on implicit keyword intent. With the increase of devices also comes an increase in mobile web search: 16% to 25% of all Google searches are now on mobile meaning that more and more people are carrying out implicit searches. Local SEO is also more important than ever before.
Name, address and telephone (NAP) numbers are key to local SEO. These should be reflected, rather like your digital brand, on, for example, social media accounts. On your site you should include your NAP details on the footer of each webpage too. This is now noted on search engine’s 3D indexes.
Another localised SEO tip is to review your structured data rather than simply focus on your NAP details, above. Think about your UX as you do this. Maps, text, photographs all help to shape up your contact page and structured data.
Reviews, trust and authority also help localised ranking. Reviews are an effective tactic to increase the click-through rate of your site, as well as, boost your trust and authority. Search engines particularly favour popular, voted, sites because it shows a reliable source of information.
Localised information is not, however, anything new. 50 years’ ago for instance businesses used local information to determine the location of their new store or relocation. Local services are always valuable and, arguably, help you to obtain an added layer of research to your target audience data: Market research is key to localised SEO campaigns.
Ranking locally using SEO
- Review your Google Analytic data and use this data to make a localised SEO conclusion. This will narrow down your locations and make a local SEO campaign realistic. Target larger cities, initially, and think of strategic ways to implement the information above.
- Take a blended approach. Use NAP, structured data, social media, hyperlinks and think devices for your localised SEO campaign.
- Target, primarily, global search engines because localised search engines are a very small percentage of the total market share and global search engines are better at ranking localised web sites.
Smith, A.G. (2003) Think local, search global? Comparing search engines for searching geographically specific information. Online Information Review. 27(2) pp. 102 — 109