You may or may not have heard of local SEO so today I hope to enlighten you. Local SEO is the process of optimising your website based on location to ensure your website ranks higher within local search and when optimised correctly, the results can be great for your business!

There are more smartphones in the world than people (would you believe it!?) and with users continually connected to the net, local SEO has grown to become very important for business success. Econsultancy have recently reported it’s only set to advance further over the next few years with better user connectability whilst on-the-go so let’s find out more about it and how you could grow your business.

When someone mentions the Internet, I automatically think of Google - it has taken over! Continually improving every day, Google is looking to gain a greater understanding of what a user is looking for and is adapting the results it displays to make local search a leading result. So, the next time you visit Google looking for the best restaurant, you may well see local results alongside ads and organic listings.

Benefits of optimising for local search

Local search has great potential for promoting your business - we predict this to be the one to watch in 2015!

Which businesses should optimise for local search

Wondering if local search is right for your business? If your business has a physical location(s), and if your potential customers and clients are located locally, then you should be jumping on the local search wagon!

Local search optimisation checklist

  • After hearing the benefits and who should use local search, you will probably be wondering how to optimise your website to ensure you feature! Here’s what you have to do:
  • Creating a Google My Business account (formerly Google Places) is the first step in climbing high on local search. But it doesn’t end there! You must make sure all your information is correct - most importantly, the contact number and the address of your physical location.
  • To make sure your profile is fully effective, it should be completed in full which includes linking your Google My Business account with your website where you may require some implementation help from your handy tech team!
  • With the intelligence that is Google, it can gain a clear understanding of the products and services offered and is in a better position to display your business in search results for relevant areas.
  • When your Google My Business account is raring to go, you must link it to your Google+ Local page which can include reviews from your customers, images, videos and comments. Google+ Local results dominate SERPs so it’s an excellent place for your business information to appear!
  • To feature here, there are a few steps you have to take - utilise keywords in the business information and title; associate your business with the most relevant category; add all relevant information in a consistent format; encourage customers to leave reviews and ensure separate listings are created for each of the physical locations. In doing so, the nearest physical location will be presented when a user searches locally providing greater opportunities to increase rankings.
  • Finally, when it comes down to site level, basic on-page SEO can benefit local search too. This includes adding the location to the title tag, referencing the location in the page content, including the name of the city in the alt text of images and possibly in the URL for Google to pick up and consider relevant to the local search query according to Search Engine Land.

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Local SEO is similar to any other in the sense that mistakes are made. We understand, and so, here are our top mistakes to avoid to guide you on your way to local search success:
  • You must implement Google My Business and ensure this is linked to Google+ Local - this is key to success.
  • Don’t list a virtual address as these can be shared by a number of businesses - how will your customer know who they are purchasing from!? Also, note, that is you don’t have a physical location, local search is not relevant to your business.
  • After all the discussion about Google, it’s clear you have to keep these guys happy! Site speed is one of the main components for a great user experience so be mindful not to neglect this as you will be ranked down.
  • Be social, add your social icons and links to your website - our friends at Google HQ like this too!

With everything in mind, optimising for local search is of key importance and should be implemented as part of your marketing plans alongside on-page and off-page SEO and your online ads.