Local search engine optimisation has become more and more difficult as the years go by.
More businesses are recognising the huge benefits of being found online and how having a well-optimised website can create a lead generating machine.
With Google providing limited visibility for local businesses on page 1 of their search engine, competition for this visibility has become fierce.
Digital marketing especially SEO has become of paramount importance to the online success of a local business.
So, what are the core local search ranking factors you should be utilising?
You need to claim or create a Google My Business profile as this is the profile that appears in the map listing.
It will need to be well-optimised to increase the likelihood of your profile showing in the top map positions.
If you want to be found for particular search terms then make sure you have selected the right business categories.
Within your Google My Business account, you can change/add categories for your profile.
For the best results, be sure to use as few categories as possible and make sure they are highly accurate. This helps improve your relevance signals in Google.
Adding photos of your practice including internal and external images, team images and treatment images all add credibility to your business. Not only this but Google also prefer showing business listings that have been fully optimised.
Creating profiles on online directories is important as Google look at online directories to help validate your Google My Business listing.
Many of these online directories provide an opportunity to build a backlink to your website as well to improve its authority.
Your online reputation can make or break your business.
The majority of people will assess the online reputation of businesses in their local area when carrying out research. If your business profiles on review sites have too many negative reviews or no reviews at all, it may deter people from contacting your practice.
According to Google, “high-quality, positive reviews [on your Google My Business profile] from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
The use of keywords in reviews will also signal to Google the business’ relevance to these keywords.
A business’ responses to reviews also contribute to local SEO especially responses to negative reviews. If you have negative reviews on your profiles which you have not responded to this will negatively impact your local SEO.
Social signals influence your SEO.
It is important for all businesses to have a social media presence.
Claiming your social media profiles on several platforms and posting regularly on them increases the possibility that people will engage with your posts. It is this engagement that provides social signals to Google.
There’s a long list of on page and off page activities that help optimise a website, however, the main activities are: