In the early days of the internet, it was much simpler to navigate the web and the limited number of websites that were available at the time. However, now the internet has expanded, we have, for the most part, ditched all the ‘www.’ shenanigans and have turned our attention to search engines to help us find the most relevant website for our queries. 

At their simplest, search engines work by matching the phrase that you type into them to a list of websites which their algorithm has deduced will be the most helpful and relevant. Nowadays, Google and other search engines have hundreds of factors that they take into account when displaying sites on their search results. That’s where SEO comes in – understanding how search engines work and ensuring your site is as optimised as possible so search engines display you within search results.

But what about local SEO? In this article, I’ll take you through how local SEO works differently, why it is so important for businesses and how you can ensure your site is being found in these narrowed searches.

What is Local SEO?

Let’s consider that you’re looking to order a Chinese takeaway. Depending on where you are, Googling ‘chinese takeaways’ will bring up different results in its local search results. This makes sense as you are obviously going to want to order a chinese from a takeaway near you as opposed to 100 miles away. 

Although Local SEO has been around for years, it has only become important to businesses to understand and embrace it since the emergence of mobile search – especially businesses that offer local products or services. 

Local SEO strategies can be implemented to your wider marketing plan to help you reach a more targeted audience that are more likely to convert at earlier stages of the buying journey. This means your business is better positioned to promote your products and services.

Whats more, compared with traditional advertising methods, local SEO is relatively cheap to implement, with many techniques and tools being free to use. 

Local SEO Ranking Factors

A business’s local ranking is determined by a number of factors, split into two main categories – on-page signals and link signals. Below are 3 of what we consider to be the most significant and also the easiest to implement to your own site.

Ratings

How prominent and well-known a business is. Information including backlinks, reviews and positive ratings will impact a business’s local ranking. Being included in business directories and articles is also factored into local SEO ranking.

Location

How far a local business is from the user’s search location. If a specific location has been entered in a search term, Google will determine whether to display a website based on the distance from the location. If no location has been specified, the search engine will base its calculation on the information given about the users current location.

Relevance

How well a local listing matches the search term. Adding information to your website and Google my Business profile, including details about products and services, opening hours & contact details will help Google better understand your business and display your site to relevant searches. 

Why is it important?

At its most basic, local SEO helps your website stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive local market. It can help drive more traffic to both your site and physical store through online leads.

With the increase in mobile searches comes more demand for local searches with around 80% of consumers now using search engines for information about local businesses. 

The first step to improving your local SEO should be setting up a Google My Business profile. It is free and easy to configure this and once set up, your business will be registered on Google’s directory. Crucially, this allows users to view vital information at search result level. 

Local SEO also helps to drive users’ buying decisions. In a day and age where reviews and ratings are massive ranking factors for both search engines and users, the more detail you can offer users about your business, the more trustworthy you will appear.The Colewood SEO team are experts in creating local SEO strategies and helping businesses implement these into their larger marketing plan. For more information or to speak to one of your SEO team, get in touch with us via email or phone. All contact information is available on our website.

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