If the benefits of a solid visibility on the Internet are no longer to be proven, one can nevertheless wonder about the interest of improving its local SEO. The numbers provide a clear answer to this question: 46% of all searches on Google are local and 86% of consumers use the web to locate a business. And when you know that the average conversion rate following a local search is 78%, you end up being convinced of the importance of optimizing your local SEO …
1. Create a Google My Business listing
Concentrating more than 90% of searches carried out in England, Google is a key player which provides simple and free tools to be present in its results. The creation of a Google My Business listing will allow you to appear more precisely in the results of Google Maps as well as in those enriched by its organic search, you know this column which appears to the right of certain searches.
To create a listing, simply go to Google My Business and sign in with your account. Then you will have to enter the name of your company, its category and its address, because Google will send you a code by post in order to verify the veracity of the information entered. Once this code has been received, go back to your account to validate it and then start optimizing the referencing of your Google My Business listing to boost its results.
2. Obtain positive reviews regularly
Reviews on the Internet are like recommendations between friends, they allow little-known brands to be known and reassure prospects about the quality of the products or services offered. So, systematically encourage your customers to leave their review on Google as well as on your business pages on social networks. Beyond the benefits in terms of image and notoriety, these regular posts of opinions will show Google that your company is active and that it deserves to be highlighted in its results.
But internet reviews can be a double-edged sword when they are negative. If this should happen to you, then systematically respond to these negative reviews. Be courteous and try to understand why. This will allow you to improve the functioning of your business, but also to detect false opinions or those relating to unfair competition, both absolutely illegal. In these cases, as well as those where the reviews are offensive, contact Google to arrange for their removal.
3. Local SEO and social networks
Creating pages dedicated to your brand on social networks will allow you to come into direct contact with Internet users and maintain a special relationship with them. But search engines, like Google or Bing, also take this social presence into account to rank their search results. We will then speak of “citation” which will reinforce all your efforts to improve your local SEO.
Depending on your positioning, select the most relevant social networks. For example, in a B2B market Linkedin will be more beneficial than Pinterest or Instagram. On the other hand, creating a Facebook page is essential for all businesses. Once your networks have been chosen and the pages created, systematically add a link to your website and your postal details when possible. Of course, do not forget to describe in a few words what you are offering.
4. Be present on beneficial directories
Have you heard that you should no longer add your site to directories to get better SEO? Yet isn’t Google My Business a business directory? We must therefore choose these directories with care so that the results are there.
In the first place, avoid directories like Yellow Pages which will do you nothing and could rank before your site in the search results. There are others to avoid, like Sortlist, and to identify them you just have to look on their site if the links on a business page are “dofollow”. If they are all “nofollow” then go your way.
In addition, make sure that the sites where you register yours are on the same theme as that of your brand. This theme can be business or geographic. Imagine for example that you want to improve the local SEO of your publishing company in Charente. In this case, the sites listing publishing houses will be interesting as well as those listing companies in Charente.
5. Improve the SEO structure of the website
While your site structure and strategy both factor in 2021 SEO goals, you should also optimize for local SEO. To do this, remember to work on your URLs to insert the locality on which you want to be present. Then include that localization in your main title (H1) as well as in some of the other Hn tags on your page while being careful not to over-optimize it.
It is also important to include this location in your metatitle and your meta description. The first will have an SEO weight that will allow you to be better referenced locally and the second will make this term appear in bold, which will improve your click-through rate. Of course, do not forget to quote your geographic reference in your content. Whether in the body of the text or in the Alt tags of your images, these mentions will be beneficial to you.
6. NAP: name, address, telephone
Among other local SEO criteria, Google uses the NAP which means Name, Address, Phone or in French Name, Address, Telephone. These three elements must therefore be clearly indicated on your website. You can make them appear in the footer of your pages, but must also, and essential, quote them on your contact page. To this information, you can then add others such as your opening hours, the URL of your site or links to your social networks.
In addition, make sure that this NAP is homogeneous on all the sites where it is mentioned. Whether it’s on your website, your Google My Business listing or your professional social media pages, it must always be the same.
7. Optimize the internal network for local referencing
On the Internet, links are like small streets that lead to major arteries (and often Rome at the end). Thus, the more the number of links towards a page will be high, the more Google will consider it to be important. To optimize your local SEO, you have to work on your internal networking and create many links to your page (s) optimized on a geographic criterion.
If the volume of links is important, the quality of these is just as important. So, be sure to optimize your link anchors to show the local element there. If we take the example of a publishing house in Charente, the anchor link to the page concerned could be “Maison edition Charente”. However, it should not be “Learn more” or “Click here”.
8. Make sure the site is mobile friendly
Now, many visits are made from a smartphone or sometimes a tablet. Mobile uses have been growing steadily for many years now and this statistic is radically amplified when it comes to local research. This is why it is essential to ensure that you have a site compatible with navigation from a mobile device.
To do this, there are different technologies such as Responsive, Adaptive or Mobile First (which has the same name as a Google ranking criterion). Turnkey plugins are also available such as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) or PWA (Progressive Web App). The choice of one or the other will depend on the budget you will have to devote to it as well as your technical skills.
But if mobile compatibility is an imperative for local SEO, user experience (UX) more generally will be taken into account from this year by Google in its ranking criteria. This is another point of attention to keep in mind during your local SEO optimization work.
9. Obtain thematic and optimized backlinks
Backlinks are those external links that are on other sites and point to yours. Google will consider that the more you get, the more popular you are and therefore that your site deserves to be on the first page of its search results. But while the quantity of backlinks matters, so does the quality of them.
In terms of local SEO, the geographical criterion will play an essential role in your ranking. Thus, the objective for you is to obtain links on sites which show this same geographical criterion on theirs. If we take the example of the publishing house in Charente, the interesting links for local referencing will come from:
- Department of Charente;
- Towns located in Charente: Angoulême, Cognac, Jarnac…;
- New Aquitaine region.
Of course, so that this local strategy does not harm the “business” referencing of the site concerned, it is necessary to filter these inbound link opportunities by sectorial theme. In the end, it will therefore be preferable to keep only local backlinks from sites in the same industry as that for which they are intended.
10. Get ahead with voice search
Voice search is increasingly important with the appearance of assistants such as Siri at Apple, Alexa at Amazon and that of Google simply called “Assistant”. Now, two out of five searches are carried out via these assistants and this percentage is growing every year. Because it is the progress of artificial intelligence that makes these tools more functional and their results more convincing.
Since voice search represents the future, it must therefore be taken into account in your local SEO optimization strategy. To do this, include in your pages titles in the form of a question showing the geographical criterion you are targeting, such as: “How to find a publishing house in Charente?” “. In the paragraph immediately following this question, provide a synthetic answer, in 60 words maximum. You can then develop your answer in the following paragraphs.