The rules of the game with search engine optimisation is changing at an unprecedented rate. Google which is the world’s most popular search engine and a major focus for SEO practices have in recent times updated their algorithm based on specific metrics that give preferences to those websites who implement the best practices. This means that if you want your website or business to have a higher ranking on search engine result pages, you need to work with Google by implementing their rules to appease the algorithm and get those results.
In other words, the days of generalizing your SEO techniques are fast becoming a thing of the past as it does not adhere to the rules of play and is devoid of any strong foundations whatsoever.
There are some excellent SEO practices you could implement into your digital marketing strategy especially if you want to gain visibility in local search and top rankings in your locale. Within Auckland SEO sphere these practices are mostly centered on creating a robust organic foundation, building prominence and optimising your Google business page.
Local SEO practices can give your business the boost it desperately needs because you are taking proper steps to tap into an audience that is in close proximity to your establishment.
Below are some of the basics you should know concerning local rankings on Google’s search engine result pages before we proceed to tips in making the best use of Google’s platform.
A study showed that over 40% of searches on Google are carried out with the use of localised terms while over 70% of users that carry out this localised searches visit a store or business in close reach to them based on their ranking on the result pages
When a user carries out a localised Google search, the results displayed on Google’s result pages will be based on three categories which include map packs, directories and then organic results, with each having its own significance which will be briefly discussed below;
Map packs also referred to as snack packs are the first list in Google’s local results page category, it is the first list that a user will see. In terms of numbers, snack packs have been reported to account for 33% of clicks on search result pages, and with Google recently downsizing the number of businesses listed on the map packs from 7 to 3, getting listed has become very competitive. The list of possible options provided to a user and featured on google’s map pack is not strictly based on which option is in close proximity to the user’s location but also based on that option which has implemented all the broad and relevant SEO components into their digital marketing strategy. By broad SEO components, I am referring to the generation of rich content, integration of quality backlinks etc.
After Map packs, the next category on Google’s local search result pages are directories. An online directory basically features a profile on individual businesses with details on their reviews, ratings, contact information, proximity to the user, etc. Directories also have a role to play in influencing users because it is the second list displayed on the result pages and acts as some sort of suggestive guide based on their assessment and rankings of other businesses, companies and websites.
Organic Search Results
This category is responsible for generating over 40% of clicks from users thereby making your spot on the organic search results list to be crucial in driving traffic into your website. To accomplish this feat, you need to implement tried and tested methods in generating relevant content, quality backlinks, and related keywords to help you in boosting traffic to your website from organic searches.
Below are some guidelines on local SEO best techniques;
1. Ensure that your Website is Mobile-Friendly
A study revealed that over 60% of users are most likely to make contact with local businesses that have a mobile-friendly website. With this mind-blowing revelation, you need to take advantage of its immense potential and ensure your website is compatible and can be accessed on multiple devices. You can always test how mobile-friendly your website is by using various testing software and applications.
2. Optimise your Google My Business Page
Google My Business allows you to create a page that is dedicated mainly to what your company is about and how your company can help a user. Your Google My Business page kind of reaffirms your presence and existence to Google’s algorithm which directs interested users your way. When updating your business page with the necessary information from your company name, location, work hours and contact information it is a great idea to only use specific key terms in a smart manner.
3. Researching relevant keywords
The proper use of relevant keywords obtained from in-depth research for service in locations (SIL’s). For example, if you are a digital marketing service provider in Auckland, New Zealand, your keywords should be related to terms like SEO Agency in Auckland, 24/7 SEO Agency in Auckland, 24Hours SEO agency in Auckland, Digital marketing agency in Auckland.
The keywords should contain direct and also synonymous variations of related terms users are most likely to input when carrying out a local google search. A smart idea when carrying out your research would be to use the keywords that your competitors are already ranking for. One way to go about this is to take advantage of online applications that can provide you with a comprehensive list of the best performing keywords your competitors have used in generating their own content.
4. On-Site SEO
The most common on-page search engine optimisation techniques are to include your keywords into your H1 tag, input your keywords into your title tag, use your keywords in a specific page URL and also use short URLs. When it comes down to local SEO practices you need to also focus on two key practices which include optimising your homepage to your primary location and optimise your local landing pages if your local business has multiple locations. These contain some bit of technicalities to it, so you may need the help of an on-page SEO expert.
5. Build and update all your online citations
Citations are online mentions of your business. There are basically two types of citations, which includes;
– Structured Citations: which are online mentions of your business in a structured format. Structured citations usually appear on online directories or social media profiles. Structured citations usual contain a brief outline containing your business name, address and phone number (NAPs)
– Unstructured Citations: which are online mentions of your business that is not in a structured or well-defined manner and they usually appear on other websites, blog posts and vendor pages.
Because of how crucial your online citation is to your business reputation and growth you need to conduct a citation audit regularly to ensure that all the information relating to your business is correct and consistent. It does not stop there, you need to also build more citations by reaching out to specific and authentic websites or online directories related to your niche.
6. Build Backlinks
You need to have quality links to pages that provide your web page visitors with enriched helpful content such as DIYs or Guides related to your services rather than just bombard them with sales offers and reviews. One way to build backlinks is by guest blogging for other local blogs in order to present yourself to their reader base as an expert in your industry who truly knows what customers need. This act allows you to share your insights and opinions while at the same time building links back to your web site from other well-established platforms.
7. Manage all your strategies
As much as you have implemented a dozen local SEO practices, you have to constantly keep a watchful eye to ensure that everything is just right. This then requires you to be consistent, accurate, careful and regularly update all relevant information when the need calls for it.