Here we run through the local SEO checklist that will boost your business.
Did you know that 46% of all searches on Google are for local information including products and services?
In the digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for businesses to thrive. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) plays a significant role in helping small businesses gain visibility and attract potential customers in their target locations.
For SMEs, employing an effective local SEO strategy can make all the difference. In this article, we’ll explore the essential steps of a local SEO checklist, and how Growth by Design can help, empowering SMEs to reach their local audience and grow their business exponentially.
Your local SEO checklist: 1 – Understanding Local SEO
What is Local SEO?
Before diving into the checklist, it’s essential to understand what Local SEO is. Local SEO focuses on optimising a business’s online presence to rank higher in local search results. The primary goal is to increase visibility among local customers when they search for products or services offered by the business.
It may be that they are using a specific location within their search term, or ‘near me’, or it could be Google serving results based on their recorded location.
The importance of Local SEO for SMEs
For SMEs, local SEO is even more critical. It allows them to reach potential clients within their area who are actively searching for their service or product. This targeted approach ensures higher conversion rates and boosts the company’s reputation within the local community.
Your local SEO checklist: 2 – Claiming and optimising Google Business Profile listing
Claim your Google Business Profile listing (previously known as Google My Business)
The first step in the local SEO checklist is to claim and verify the listing. It’s a free tool that lets businesses manage how they appear on Google Search and Maps.
It’s important to make sure you have control of your Business Profile. It will be showing up in the search results regardless of whether you claim it or not – so it’s better if it’s accurate and working for you!
Complete and optimise your Profile
Ensure all the necessary information, such as your address, contact details, business hours, and website URL, is accurate and complete. Add appealing images of your business and the services you offer.
Crucially encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, as positive reviews enhance credibility.
Your local SEO checklist: 3 – Keyword research and optimisation
Identify local keywords
Conduct keyword research to identify relevant and location-specific keywords that potential customers might use when searching for your service or product in your area. Incorporate these keywords naturally into website content.
There is a free tool called Answer the Public that you can use as a starting point. You can speak to your customers and ask them about what they searched for, as well as look at what your competitors are targeting.
Unfortunately, this will only get you so far and there is a science behind identifying the right keywords for your business – such as their competitiveness, search volumes and questions / variations users search for.
Working with an agency who has access to more sophisticated tools (which are cost prohibitive for SMEs to access directly) means you will have a solid foundation to your local SEO strategy and you have a higher likelihood of success.
Optimise on-page content
Use the identified keywords strategically in page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and throughout the website’s content. However, avoid keyword stuffing (over-using the keyword), as it can negatively impact search rankings and annoy the humans reading it!
Your local SEO checklist: 4 – Local citations and business directories
Register in local business directories
Listing your SME in local business directories like Yelp, Yell.com, and Bing Places can significantly impact local SEO. Ensure that the business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all directories.
Get positive reviews and ratings
Positive reviews and ratings not only improve a business’s reputation but also influence search engine rankings. Encourage satisfied customers to leave feedback and address negative reviews professionally.
Your local SEO checklist: 5 – Mobile optimisation
In today’s mobile-driven world, having a mobile-friendly website is non-negotiable. A responsive design ensures that the website adapts seamlessly to various screen sizes, providing an optimal user experience.
This is established during the design and development phase of your website, but if it needs doing retrospectively, ensure you work with a professional website developer to make the necessary changes so your website doesn’t break!
Page speed optimisation
Mobile users demand fast-loading pages. Page speed optimisation is crucial for user satisfaction and search engine rankings. Here are some things you can do:
- Compress images. Image compression reduces image file sizes while maintaining quality.
- Leverage browser caching. This optimises website loading speed by instructing browsers to store certain resources, like images and scripts, for quicker retrieval during subsequent visits, improving user experience.
Your local SEO checklist: 6 – Local content creation
Create locally relevant content
Generating content tailored to the local audience can attract more local customers and improve search rankings. Blog posts, articles, and case studies discussing local events and projects are valuable for local SEO.
Include location-specific information
Mentioning the service areas, towns, and cities served by your business in the content can boost local search visibility. For example in your client testimonials and case studies, be sure to give the location and discuss any local considerations / factors.
Your local SEO checklist: 7 – Social media engagement
Leverage social media platforms
Maintain an active presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Engage with the local community, share valuable content, and respond promptly to customer inquiries.
Encourage social sharing
Encourage website visitors to share content on social media. If they found your article interesting, make it easy for them to share it.
Social signals play a role in local search rankings, and increased social sharing can expand your business’s online reach.
Local SEO is an indispensable tool for SMEs to thrive in their local markets.
This checklist provides you with the headlines of the different aspects that go into a successful local SEO strategy that will grow your business. As you can see – it is both an art and a science!
There are certainly elements of this you can take on yourself, but unless you have the skills in-house for the other elements, you will need to make a small investment in a professional to undertake them for you. That small investment will generate your business a return that makes it more than worthwhile!
You can improve your business’s online visibility, attract more local customers, and boost business growth significantly with local SEO.
How can Growth by Design help you?
Growth by Design, a small business marketing agency in Sussex, excels in local SEO strategies, using our expertise to assist SMEs in maximising their online presence.
We tailor solutions to meet each SME’s unique needs, identifying relevant keywords, optimising content, and claiming Google Business Profile listings. You can see the results for yourself from our client testimonials, that a solid local SEO strategy delivers meaningful business results!
Growth by Design’s expertise in local SEO empowers SMEs to thrive in their local markets, attracting more customers and experiencing exponential growth. Partnering with us unlocks the power of local SEO for SME success.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO focuses on optimising a business’s online presence to rank higher in local search results and reach potential customers within the business’s target location.
Why is Google Business Profile essential for local SEO?
Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business) is crucial because it allows businesses to manage how they appear on Google Search and Maps, making it easier for local customers to find them.
How can positive reviews impact local SEO?
Positive reviews improve a business’s reputation and influence search engine rankings, making it more likely for potential customers to choose that business over competitors.
Why is mobile optimisation important for local SEO?
Mobile optimisation is vital because an increasing number of users search for local businesses on mobile devices, and search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites.
How can social media engagement benefit local SEO?
Social media engagement can improve a business’s online visibility, build a stronger local community presence, and increase social signals that impact local search rankings.