When it comes to SEO, there are three main types of work to be done:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Local SEO
When most businesses start doing SEO, they start with On-Page SEO.
On-Page is about cleaning up how their web pages are presented to Search Engines so that web crawlers don’t make their own – sometimes weird – bot-type decisions on what their business is about.
With their On-Page SEO “done”, the next step many take is to dive into Off-Page SEO, with content marketing, social media and backlinks to up their profile. This helps Search Engines identify where they sit in their market, how they are connected and what other people think of them.
However, a surprising number often ignore the power of Local SEO – creating a local online profile that helps Search Engines understand their geography and their relevance to local prospects.
It’s a powerful marketing process for any ‘bricks and mortar’ business that has one or more operational sites – whether you’re a local hairdresser or an industrial equipment supplier.
Why does Local SEO matter?
Once upon a time, to get local exposure for your business you would have a Yellow Pages listing and then advertise in your local paper for local customers.
Today, an important way to reach customers near you is effective, up-to-date Local SEO.
Local SEO is still SEO – it needs keyword research, content, links, and on-page technical SEO. It’s “local” because it has a local focus.
Siri and Alexa (and friends)
Voice-based searches are on the rise, with people asking their home devices to “Find pizza near me” – so good Local SEO will get you found more.
Mobile usage and Local SEO
The growth of smartphones with limited screen space has boosted the impact of good local SEO. Mobile users want easier access and are often out actively shopping – so their potential to convert is much higher.
“60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the search results (e.g., “click to call” option).” Think with Google
COVID and Local SEO
COVID has had some “swings and roundabouts” effects on local SEO. During lockdown, suddenly a whole lot of people searching online wanted to know:
- “Who’s close to me?”
- “When are they open?”
PLUS: For a whole lot of businesses, their whole geography changed – offices closed, phone numbers changed. Not everyone has had the resources to do the Local SEO to make sure they stay found.
Local SEO is still SEO
Even if you don’t have a customer-facing retail business, local SEO can still build your rankings.
One of our clients is Sullair, a Hitachi Group Company. They sell air compressors and parts into manufacturing companies across Australia. So why would they do Local SEO?
Firstly, having all their locations around Australia increases their profile with Google as a real, trustworthy and reliable business.
Plus they get a lot of online traffic through Google maps as visitors and delivery people get directions to their sites. (Google doesn’t know the difference between a delivery and a customer – so it’s all traffic. And that’s good for their rankings.)
We recently did Local SEO for Sullair Melbourne, and within the span of three months:
- Total actions grew by 20.8% (this measures actions such as website visits, phone calls and direction requests)
- Website visits increased by 52%
- Phone calls increased by 23.3%
- There was a 36.7% increase in total search impressions for their Melbourne Google my Business
Those are good results by any measure of SEO – and especially for an industrial business with a specialist client base.
So what does Local SEO actually involve?
Some Local SEO techniques are fairly straight forward. For example:
- Getting on the map – with entries on Google Maps, Bing and Apple Maps.
- Establishing a Google My Business account so you can tell Google more about your business overall. This can be everything from other locations to search keywords.
- Listing on local and national business directories relevant to what you do (For example: buy-australia.com.au)
Others take a bit more technical skill, such as:
- Using Schema Markup on your web pages – a set of description standards created by Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- Including a Google Map on your Contact page
So you can make a start yourself, with help from the wealth of online guides – then work up to the technical bits over time. (Or maybe you could give us a call at MSD?)
Remember the basics of SEO
Make sure addresses, phone numbers and other contact details are consistent – everywhere.
Does every listing have up-to-date visuals – logos, favicons, colours, etc.? Is your look and feel consistent across device types?
List where it’s relevant for you to list – quality will outlast quantity.
Don’t try and game Google
In every generation of search engine changes, there have been “experts” willing to bet their client’s reputation on doing something underhand. (Once upon a time these were the people who did key-word loading using white text on a white background. Their clients paid the price down in lost rankings.)
Have you checked your Local SEO?
There are businesses that don’t need Local SEO – authors, online service providers and eCommerce shops. However, if you have a bricks and mortar business where customers, suppliers and service providers visit you, then it’s an investment worth making.