What is Local SEO and why is it so important in 2023?
How many times have you written ‘near me’ into a browser? A hairdresser in your neighbourhood. A late-night supermarket round the corner. Or even an SEO agency down the street. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local content.
If you’re not optimising your website to be found for local searches, you could be missing out on a huge number of potential clients. As experts in local SEO in Melbourne, we help many businesses reach clients and customers in their area. If you’re not investing in local SEO, your business won’t be reaching its full potential.
But what exactly is local SEO? How does it differ from other forms of SEO? And how can your business really benefit?
In this in-depth guide, we’re going to take you through the key factors of local SEO so that you can understand exactly what it is and how it will impact your business.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is optimising your website to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) for location-based terms for customers. Local SEO works best for businesses with a physical presence, be that offices, stores, or buildings.
By improving your local SEO, you’ll be able to appear in searches specifically relating to your business and location. You’ll be able to connect with potential customers in your area who will be more likely to hire your services.
How Does Local SEO Differ From Standard SEO?
They’re not really two separate things. For many companies, local SEO should be a part of their overall SEO strategy to help their business grow online. It’s a great way to get more organic traffic to your site from customers in your area. Search engines look for content that includes local terms, reviews, social media and business addresses to determine where a business is and whether it should be placed higher up on the SERPs.
What Does Local SEO in Melbourne Look Like – Google Map Pack
Whenever you type in ‘best pizzeria’ in your area into Google, the first results are often in the form of a Google Map Pack. This is what many businesses should be aiming for when it comes to local SEO.
The Google Map Pack presents three or more possibilities on a map. They’re the search results that the Google algorithm decides are the most relevant to the searcher based on a location.
People will also be able to see useful information presented in an accessible way. The Google Map Pack provides the business’s physical location, website, address, opening hours, photos, prices and customer reviews.
OK, so how can you make your business appear in the Map Pack?
How To Make Sure Your Local SEO Strategy Is Successful
There are three main things you need to keep in mind when it comes to local SEO and you need to be optimising for all three.
The location of your business should be clear and consistent online across multiple platforms. If you’re a large company that supplies or delivers to a large area, make sure the area is clearly listed too.
Quality is all about your services and your website. Do you have a well-designed website that has a good internal structure and that’s secure? Do users move around your website, engage with your content and buy your services? If not, it’s best to hire a content agency to help you gain quality leads first. Google looks at the statistics around your website to decide whether you’re worthy of such an acclaimed spot on the Map Pack.
Relevance means you’re appearing in results for terms that people are actually searching for.
Here are eight ways to optimise your website so that location, quality and relevance are all a priority.
#1 Local Keyword Research
Keyword research is fundamental to every good SEO strategy, so it shouldn’t surprise you that it’s essential for local SEO too. Your website needs to be appearing for search terms that people in your area are really typing into a search engine.
When you work with an experienced content marketing agency, they’ll be able to use the latest software to create a list of the best keywords for your customers and area. They’ll then be able to naturally incorporate these into your website so that you can rank for them. An SEO and content marketing agency will also be able to advise on areas you should target to attract potential new customers and carry out competitor research.
#2 Optimise for Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most important things you can do in terms of local SEO. It’s also something that many businesses don’t take the time to invest in. This automatically leaves them at a disadvantage when it comes to appearing in searches. Google particularly likes companies that use GMB because it’s an easy way for it to share its own content.
You’ll first need to create and verify your GMB page. You’ll then need to fill it out with as much relevant and as attractive information as possible. Remember, your GMB page is a way for you to show your local services and present your company.
Information you need to include is:
- Company name and category
- Address, website, phone number
- Opening hours
- Posts (including services)
It’s important you regularly update the information on your GMB page. Google likes relevant information that users find useful. So, update new services, posts, and opening hours around holidays to minimise negative reviews. Whilst we’re on reviews, make sure you reply to them too. This helps verify your business which is an important part of the Google algorithm. It might be useful to have a content marketing calendar to keep on top of updates.
#3 Technical SEO
This really helps to improve the quality of your website – which is one of the key points of a successful local SEO strategy. Simply put, Google likes to promote the websites that it thinks are performing the best. They need to load quickly and be secure and well-designed so that they’re user-friendly. A good website will also be mobile-responsive as Google puts a high level of importance on mobile users.
You need to use your keywords in your website content, meta tags and posts to indicate to Google that you’re relevant to local searches. It’s a good idea to work with an agency that provides local SEO services in Melbourne so that you know you’re covered from every angle. Long term website maintenance is also a great way to make sure your website is working correctly and that you can address any minor issues before they become major ones.
#4 Set Up Your NAP to Ensure Better Local SEO
Your NAP is your name, address and phone number. This should be presented on your website as crawlable HTML text that Google can use to confirm your business does really exist. Put your NAP on your footer and include it on a Contact Us page too.
It’s also essential to think about your NAP citations. Google can crawl other websites to ensure that your NAP is consistent (which it needs to be). Depending on your business, you need to make sure websites such as Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Bing all have your accurate and consistent NAP.
Make sure you update them when you move office or when opening hours change. Google won’t like it if one isn’t up to date, it will start to question if your business really does exist where you’ve listed it. Don’t misspell, abbreviate or miss out any crucial information as it could be detrimental to your local SEO too.
#5 Add Location Pages and Google Maps
Does your company have more than one physical location? If it does, it’s a good idea to have multiple location pages on your website. Not only does this help with user experience (they can find out all the relevant information they need for a particular store/office) but it also provides Google with your multiple NAPs.
If you only have one location, make sure to include as much information as you can on your About Us page too. You could even add Google Maps to it to make it more specific and easy for customers.
#6 Create Content That Appeals to Local Customers
It’s important that this doesn’t become too spammy, but creating content that’s specific to your industry and local area can be a great way to appeal to local customers and rank higher. Have you been nominated for a local award? Or taken part in an industry event in your city? This can be a great way to include local SEO keywords that are relevant to your customers and industry. It also shows authority and proves to google where you’re operating.
The potential traffic might be less than if you were to write something more universally catchy, but it’s a great way to become the expert in your area for the services you provide.
#7 Get Public Support Through Reviews
Google loves positive reviews as it shows you’re a reputable business providing people with real and quality services or products. Positive reviews that mention a specific area are particularly valuable when it comes to local SEO.
As well as boosting your likelihood of ranking highly, good reviews mean more people will click on your business’s website. Think about it, if you’re looking for the best pizzeria in your area, are you going to book a table at the one with 5 stars from 200 people? Or one that has 3 stars from 20?
And Google isn’t the only place that matters. Depending on your specific company and industry, it would be good to have positive reviews on Facebook, Trustpilot, TripAdvisor or other rating sites.
#8 Use Social Media
Most companies nowadays need to have some form of social media. Not only is it a great way of connecting with others in your industry and customers, but it can also be a great tool for local SEO. Use local hashtags as well as partnering with other businesses in your area to promote your company. Many social media sites, such as Facebook, are great places to get good NAP citations, connect with people, promote your services, get backlinks and get positive reviews – which, we know by now, are important for local SEO.
Ready to Find Out More About Local SEO Services in Melbourne?
At Elevate Websites, we have years of experience helping businesses across Melbourne improve their local SEO so that they become prominent names in their industry in the city. We have a team of dedicated SEO experts that work closely with content writers to make sure the content you’re presenting online is the best it can be – in terms of readability, information and SEO.
We also provide website maintenance services, ensuring your website is secure and running smoothly. When you partner with us, we cover location, quality and relevance so you know your local SEO strategy is as strong as it can be. Contact the team at Elevate Websites to see how we can help boost your local SEO in Melbourne.
Calem Koek is a web designer and owner of leading Melbourne-based digital marketing agency Elevate Websites. He has been helping businesses in Melbourne and across Australia scale their business online through quality website design and world class SEO services.