All you need to know about Local SEO

4 min read
Watb Team
A selection of colourful shop fronts

Disclaimer: this post will use the word ‘local’ A LOT…there, we just did.

Local SEO is super important, especially if you’re a small business or you market for them and want to grow local customer bases. Being able to concentrate SEO on a more focused area means that you can throw all of your SEO clout behind attracting local customers, instead of casting that metaphorical net out far and wide and not catching as many leads.

95% of mobile users are searching for local information and because they’ve already decided they’re going to keep things close by and not travel too far, it’s absolutely essential that your business is ranked highly for related search terms. Customers want instant answers to their important questions i.e ‘where can I get pizza?’

Google’s 2014 Pigeon update was rolled out to give users better and more relevant search results to their local queries. If you type in ‘best pizza’ (let’s face it, why wouldn’t you), Google will come back to you with a list of results that are all nearby. It does this by having a quick look at your IP address and cross referencing it with businesses that are optimised for local search queries. But it isn’t as simple as that.

Usually customers will include local search terms anyway, so it makes it even easier for local businesses to capitalise on this. The increase in mobile usage means it’s even more vital that your website is mobile-ready, so when people search locally, you’ll have a better chance of conversion online or offline. Also, look into your online reviews and work towards getting more, 90% of consumers look at reviews before they buy.

Meta title tags, Meta description tags, URLs or domains and HTML tags can all help pull people to your site and keep them there. But one of the biggest and simplest ways to start off your Local SEO adventure is to claim your business listings on Google and Bing, you can do this on Google Places. It doesn’t really make sense for anyone else to have them anyway but make sure you do.

Google Meta Title and Descriptions

Basically, this will mean that you actually show up on Google Maps when people search and your information will pop up too, which is pretty useful. It actually means that’s there’s 29% increase in the chances that customers will visit your site when all your info’s there. And when your info is up to date, there’s more chance of you getting on Google’s Local Pack, which gives businesses more exposure. You want to be part of Google’s Local Pack because you’re fabulous. Here is a quick guide on how to setup Google local for your business, if you haven’t already done so.

Google Local Search

Content, content, content. Everybody loves content and don’t you just know it. Creating killer content that is catered for the local area can really help with Local SEO efforts. Look at local events, stream a behind-the-scenes Facebook Live Video for your business or write blog posts that mention local issues. This is your chance to get creative. If you create content that local people will care about then this can help you to build up a presence and attract customers.

Right, let’s get something out of the way…this next bit will mention Pokémon Go. We’ll promise not to mention Pikachu too much. What does the success of Pokémon Go actually teach us about the importance of Local SEO? This one’s a bit of fun but could have real long-lasting implications. Pokémon Go has been a phenomenon and it used augmented reality to allow gamers to turn their world into a Pokémon infested landscape.

Make sure your business premises’ geocoordinates are on point because Pokémon Go is going to allow sponsored locations, so you could become a Pokémon Gym. Why would you want that, I hear you ask? Well, gamers might come to your business if they’re incentivised by a Pikachu or two. Basically, the point is that augmented reality is going to be huge and Pokémon Go is one of the first games to show how your business can be a virtual space too. Branded in-game locations and content can help you to attract customers.

So, hopefully that’s given you a quick jist of why Local SEO is important, but if you want to have a chat about it with us more then get in touch!

Local SEO is super important, especially if you’re a small business or you market for them and want to grow local customer bases. Being able to concentrate SEO on a more focused area means that you can throw all of your SEO clout behind attracting local customers.

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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