Most businesses that have even the smallest internet presence realise the importance of Search Engine Optimisation in order to attract customers and clients to their website rather than that of a competitor. SEO is the key factor in getting any website ranked and displayed on (hopefully) the first page of the major search engines such as Google or Yahoo but most people are under the illusion that all such searches will give priority to larger companies in the bigger cities whereas this is simply not the case.
Even the smallest of businesses, a washing machine repairman or gardening handyman, can use the power of the internet to direct traffic to their business by using local SEO to give themselves an edge on the competition and increase their customer base. But what is it exactly and how can local SEO help your business?
Simple Local Search Optimisation For A Business
You are not out for world domination or to be the next Richard Branson but you want to increase business and, consequently, profits for a small concern in one or two specific areas of the country. So how do you attract more business and what can you do about it with your available marketing resources?
- Location, Location, Location. Most people searching for a specific business, product or service will confine their search to the town, suburb or locality that is most convenient for them. It’s only common sense that if you live in Leeds and are looking for a house painter, you don’t want one that is based in New York. A search on the internet for a suitable painter would include the location “Leeds” and this is the first crucial factor in using local SEO. It should be clear to the prospective client or customer exactly where your business is based and which areas of the country you cover. If operating a bricks and mortar business, it should be made perfectly clear to the customer exactly where you are located and a map and precise directions are almost mandatory. There should be absolutely no confusion or ambiguity about the exact location of your business as customers will quickly lose interest and move on to a more informative website.
- Use Local Keywords. Without going overboard, it is no harm to mention your location several times on your site. If you are based in Leeds, this fact should be mentioned several times to increase traffic to your website when the term “Leeds” is used in a search. It is very easy to get caught in the trap of using your business name, the service provided and your location too many times but a few times each is fine and always use them in a natural and readable manner so it doesn’t sound stilted or as if you are trying too hard to attract business. If there are local well-known buildings or monuments nearby, use these as well as some people may search for how close a business is to a local landmark.
- Local Details. Another tool that will attract potential customers to your business is to emphasise local specialities or services that are unique to your location. Everything, of course, depends on the business you are in but if it’s food then highlight local delicacies or if in the travel game then mention the fantastic scenery or amenities in the area. Make sure, however, that whatever you include is relevant to your customers’ needs and don’t merely pad out your site for the sake of it.
- Clear Information. Regardless of your location or how big or small a business you run, all customers will want the necessary information at their fingertips without the need for checking another site or making a phone call. The name and address (precise address) are vital and should be clearly visible, as should any relevant phone numbers, email addresses, opening hours and any information that will make your prospective customer’s life easier. Costs of services, hourly rates, price lists and guides should always be displayed clearly using legible fonts and colours and kept scrupulously up to date.
Simple is Best
Put yourself in the customer’s position when deciding what should and shouldn’t be included to improve your local SEO rankings. Imagine you are searching in your area for the product or service you provide. What words or phrases would you use to search the internet to find what you are looking for? Chances are, these are the same as real customers would also use so incorporate them into your website. Keep it simple yet include any and all relevant information while emphasising your location as this is your main advantage over the competition in the surrounding area.
To paraphrase Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street”: “Simple is Good, Simple Works”.
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