With so many facets of online marketing to choose from, it can be hard to know whether to use local organic or paid methods to bring search engine traffic to your website.
Ultimately the importance of local SEO depends on the size and type of your business, but it’s hard to dispute that it has a huge role to play in most optimisation campaigns. If your service people and business that are local to you, then the latest Google updates make it easier to show up on the results pages.
Searches that contain place names (such as “Printed Clothing in Bristol”) now receive more attention than they did before, and with the right optimisation, you can take advantage of some very relevant traffic.
Venice Update- a move towards universal results
The Google update codenamed ‘Venice’ was rolled out back in March and targeted local search results, meaning a big impact on all business owners. Unlike previous Google updates, Venice made local search results more prominent. Presuming users are allowing Google access to their location, the Venice update serves up the results it deems most relevant to their query and where they are.
Prior to this update, searches that did not involve place names (such as “printed clothing”) would return a page full of traditional organic results. Post-Venice searches now often return a first page dominated by Google Plus Local listings or with the websites of businesses local to the user. What this ultimately means is that, mean a Google search is performed, the user will receive results based on their location rather than general results about the industry in question.
So what can you do to rank better locally?
In this annual compilation of the opinions of the leading minds of Local SEO, David Mihm set out what are currently accepted to be the major dos and don’ts of ranking well in the local results
The five most important factors based on this survey are:
1.Having a physical address in citu of search;
2.Proper category associations;
3.Proximity of address to centroid (the central point of a city);
4.Domain authority of website, and
5.Quantity of structured citations (Internet Yellow Pages, data aggregators)
While these points may seem fairly self-explanatory, points 1 and 3 have the potential to cause problems if they’re not considered before embarking on a Local SEO campaign. For example, a business that provides services across all of Scotland but is based in the Outer Hebrides will need a well-structured local SEO campaign to also rank well in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In this instance, the company website will need to have references to the areas served, either on their contract page or on unique, keyword rich pages devoted to each separate area, and they will also need to arrange some kind of representation in each of the other locations and put a Google Plus Local listing in each one.
Potential pitfalls in local SEO
In the same article, the most important negative ranking factors were also collated and the two most common mistakes were multiple listings and inconsistencies in the name, address and postcode (NAP) across the internet. Duplicate business listings are a problem as they can result in Google overlooking both entries entirely when retrieving localised results.
To avoid this, ensure that your business only has one listing, and that all the information contained on it is correct and mirrored on your website. When verifying a local page, Google seeks to corroborate the submitted contact information by crawling external websites to determine both the validity and importance of a page. Inconsistent citations across the web confuse the Google spiders and will be detrimental to a local SEO campaign.
Make sure there is a consistent message across the internet and that Google can easily see you are a genuine business at a specific address, as that’s what they are trying to find out.