Central to your business’ success is the ease with which local people can find your business online. A key way of doing this is through local search engine optimisation (SEO) — so if you are a local business owner with a website, read on.
If someone searches for your company name — for example, ‘Design Flow Studio’ — the chances are your website will come up high in the search results if your business name is unique. However, if someone searches ‘Web Design Welwyn Garden City’, then you are competing against all the other businesses that offer the same service in the area. That is where local SEO comes in, for it increases the likelihood that internet users will come across your business when they search for YOUR SERVICE + THEIR LOCATION.
There are a number of steps you can take to improve the local SEO of your local business website, to ensure that when people search for your category of business, your website ranks highly in search engines such as Google.
1. Optimised fast loading pages
For search engines such as Google to rank your website, it first needs to crawl it. Factors search engines take into account are how quickly your website loads, and how easily it can read the core content of that page. This means if your page loads quickly and there is minimal functional mark-up code, the search engine can search the main content far easier. Semantic coding, correct use of heading tags, and optimised images can all help with this.
2. Responsive mobile design
Google now says it will prioritise mobile-friendly websites — websites that have responsive content layout which adapts for small smartphone and tablet devices. For a web designer, this can be easy to implement for an existing website, so make sure your website is mobile-responsive.
3. Quality content
Search engines read text content, so having a good amount of text on each page helps search engines see the relevancy of what your business or service is offering. The more you can write about your service, the more a search engine can see your relevance.
4. Optimised ‘Google My Business’ page
Having a ‘Google My Business’ page is free and quick to set up. All you need is a Google profile, so if you already use Gmail, then you are ready to create your ‘Google My Business’ page listing. It is important to complete your ‘Google My Business’ page listing fully and optimise any images you add to it. These details will again will help Google see the relevance for your business and service area. If you have a service area rather than a fixed business premises, such as a plumbing business, your ‘Google My Business’ page can also help you set up your service area.
5. Meta tags and Schema
Meta tags and Schema are hidden pieces of code purely for search engines to understand your website’s content and context. Meta tags say what your webpage is about, any keywords, and its title. Schema extends that by showing search engines where you have key information on your page about your business, such as your business address and opening hours. Because of this, it is important you pick the right Schema for your business category.
Citations list your business on other key websites, such as Yell, Facebook and LinkedIn. These are additional profiles of your company which reinforce to search engines that your business is genuine.
Reviews have two purposes: they show your business is reputable to both search engines and prospective clients.
It’s a good idea to ask clients to add reviews on Google, Facebook, Yell, and any other industry review websites, such as Trust A Trader, as these all feed into your Google search result.
Backlinks appear on other websites and point back to your business website. There are many ways you can build up your backlinks: you can use local online forums, post tips and ideas to nextdoor.co.uk, tweet, write a useful local press article helping people to understand your profession, or add your business to local directories.. The more genuine backlinks you have, the more popular and credible your business will appear.
9. Fresh content
Search engines love websites that have fresh content. This does not mean, however, that you have to blog twice a week. Fresh content can include posting new events on your website; giving quarterly updates on your industry; posting what’s new with your business or team; new food menus; new client case studies, or write-ups and photos of completed projects.
10. Missing page redirects and XML sitemap
While XML sitemaps help search engines crawl your website, it is important that any pages which have been removed, or have had their links changed, have been redirected to the page that now replaces it. This is so the SEO that was built up on the former page transfers over to the new page, and so that site visitors have a smooth navigation around your website. If a search crawler or visitor reaches a missing page, your search engine ranking can be harmed, and your visitor will be stopped in their tracks and may leave your site altogether.
Beyond local SEO
Local SEO is the core foundation that will bring you more website traffic. However, it is equally important to have a compelling website design, clear processes and call-to-actions on your website that will convert visitors into paying clients. You can discover more on this at https://designflowstudio.com/local-seo
If you would like support or guidance in implementing any of these local SEO steps, or if you would like to know what improvements could be made to your website to boost visitor conversion, please contact Mike on 07764 767322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.