There are a lot of blog posts all around the web that focuses on improving your national SEO, national and even international rankings, but there is very little help out there for companies who are looking to improve their local SEO.
This is going to focus on companies who rely on local business, rather than national customers so I am looking at restaurants, takeaways, and other small local businesses.
Here are some tips you can use, for no to little cost, to improve your local rankings.
Google My Business
Google My Business is Google’s own database of local companies that anyone who runs or operates on behalf of a business can add to, completely for free! This is Google’s favorite way of obtaining information about local businesses who are near to a user’s search location.
Whilst there are other factors Google use to determine local rankings, this is Google’s number 1 factor. We’ll touch on some of the other factors later.
For example, if you run a sandwich shop in Derby, United Kingdom and a user who is in Derby searches for a sandwich shop, if your business has a thoroughly completed Google My Business listing, they are going to rank a lot higher than a company that does not have a Google My Business listing at all!
Name, Address, Postcode Data (NAP Data)
One of the biggest factors Google use to determine where your company ranks locally is its name, address and postcode data. Google can crawl millions and millions of web pages faster than, most of the time, we can blink!
This means if there are errors across the web where your name, address and postcode differ from each other, Google will sense that something is wrong with elements of that data and rank you lower.
With all that being said, it is imperative you make sure your NAP data is consistent across the web. There are tools you can use to do this and my favourite, by far, is BrightLocal.
BrightLocal is a piece of online software that will automatically scan Google’s favorite directories and other websites and bring your NAP data into a neat report for you.
You can then go through this report, website by website, and ensure that your NAP data is consistent across all sites. Yes, this is a time-consuming process, but oftentimes you will find it has a spectacular effect on your local rankings.
A lot of marketers will tell you that backlinks don’t matter anymore, and it is all about good content to get your website to rank. This is simply not the case, at all! And backlinks matter even more when it comes to local SEO!
If you spend your time acquiring backlinks from other local websites, such as IT companies or local blogs, Google will see that as a very good ranking factor to establish a company’s local search ranking! So, it is imperative that you spend time collating these links, from local companies!
There are many ways to do this, sponsoring local events is a great way, however, can occur some costs that some companies may want to avoid! Guest posting is another great option, but you need to ensure that you are acquiring local links to gain the full effect!
So, these are just some of the things you can do to improve your website’s local rankings using different local SEO techniques.