SEO for Local Businesses - How to Optimise for Local Search in Torbay
If you are a local business in Torbay, selling to customers in the Torquay, Newton Abbot, Paignton or Brixham areas, you'll need to optimise your website and social media for local searches. With more people than ever now using their mobile devices and the internet to look up information on local businesses, it is really important that you are easily found in the search results.
The statistics are mind-boggling; a massive 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day1. Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit the store within one day2, over 30% of mobile searches are related to a location2 and 78% of mobile location-based searches lead to offline purchases.
Some Local SEO stats for you:
of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017
of all mobile location-based searches lead to offline purchases
of mobile users who searched for a business visited within 24 hours
So how do you go about optimising your website and brand for local searches?
It’s important that people can find the correct information about your business, no matter where you are located. Every business generally has multiple online assets which they can utilise:
- social media platforms
- YouTube channel
- consumer review sites
That's a number of huge opportunities for increasing your brand recognition, creating buyer awareness and loyalty and improving your rankings in the local search results.
However, you need to go about local search engine optimisation carefully. The old adage
any publicity is good publicity is no longer the case in 2018 with the monumental growth of the internet and social media. Anything you post on the internet can now stick around forever, and there has been a sharp rise in the number of negative posts and marketing mistakes which go viral.
Firstly, you need to understand what local SEO actually is. General SEO is the process of improving rankings in organic (non-paid) search results for your chosen keywords, whereas local SEO is targeting your efforts on promoting your business to customers in your local area. Local SEO requires a lot more effort, however the results are well worth it if you have a shop or store.
You need to start with what is probably your biggest online asset – your website.
Your website needs to be easy to navigate, mobile friendly and most importantly, your contact information needs to be easy to find. A common mistake is to put all your business information on just on one page of your website, such as the home page or contact us page. For local SEO, you need your business contact details to be on every page of your site, preferably in the header or footer. The details need to be identical for each page, although other pages such as the contact page can have more detailed information.
A common mistake is to put all your business information on just on one page of your website, such as the home page or contact us page.Your contact page should also include an embedded Google map, and it’s a good idea to add your contact details to any structured data on your site as well. If you can, put your opening hours and directions of how to get to your business, including local landmarks where possible, as Google can use these as a reference.
You need these basics on each page of your website:
- Name of your business (as text not an image)
- Full address of your business, including postcode
- Telephone number
- Email Address or Contact Information
If you have more than one location in your local area, you will need to create location specific pages for these, for all the different branches of your business.
You need to make sure you create a sitemap as well and submit this to Google and the other search engines.
The number of voice queries increased 3,400% between 2008 and 20172. With users asking Google, Alexa, Siri and Cortana for help on an almost daily basis, voice search is becoming more important to SEO year-on-year.
Customers are asking more local-based questions, such as
where is the nearest supermarket,
pizza near me or
what time does the Co-op shut and the search engines are tailoring their responses around local results. It is really important that your website and online platforms answer any questions users might have like this about your business. Take a moment to think of any questions users may have about your business or products, and make sure they can easily access the answer on your website and social media.
The local pack as it is known, is the map of local businesses related to keywords which a user has searched for. You want to be featured in this local pack to have any real impact. For example, if you search
electrician Torquay in Google, you will find a map underneath the paid ads, with the top 3 local electricians close to you. Each listing features the company name, reviews with stars (if you have any), address, telephone number, opening hours, and most importantly, a button to click to get to your website and a directions button which takes you to Google maps.
In order to get listed on Google Maps, you’ll need a Google MyBusiness listing (see below). It is really important that your business information is correct on maps, otherwise you will have many unhappy customers driving around looking for your business in the wrong place.
If you have multiple locations for the same business, make sure that these are all under one listing to ensure consistency. Many mobile users will use Google Maps for directions to your business, but remember to make sure that your opening hours are correct on Google, as they may arrive and find out you are closed! This is especially important for bank holidays and seasonal opening times.
You know that box that appears for some businesses when you search for them on Google? That box is called the Knowledge Graph and it is probably the most sought-after local SEO tool, particularly for mobile searches.
The Knowledge Graph box typically contains your business contact information, as well as photos, reviews, social media links and opening hours. You can also add daily or weekly posts or special offers to your box using Google MyBusiness.
Optimising your Google MyBusiness listing is very important, as Google uses that information to populate your listings on Google search, Google+ and Google maps. You’ll also want to get reviews on GMB as much as possible, as Google uses these to populate your Knowledge Graph box and give you stars in the search results. Search engine results with stars are far more likely to be clicked by users than those without stars, so getting good quality reviews from local customers of your business should be a top priority.
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations1
People now read 7 reviews on average before they gain trust in your business1.
The idea here is to gain strong brand recognition and assurance, so that Google and your customers see you as an authoritative figure within your industry. You need to gain the trust of potential customers, so the more recognised your brand is and the more places they can gain information about your business, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Local Citations & Links
Which is where local citations and local links come in. You need to get listed on Yelp, Thomson and other online directories (especially any local ones!) to boost your local SEO. Have a look on Google for your business listing and see if there any outdated entries (for example if you have moved premises), and get them fixed, as duplicate or incorrect information could be seriously damaging to your local SEO efforts.
Citations are mentions of your business contact information across the internet. The more places that customers can find information about your business, the more they will trust you, particularly if these places are related to your industry. You need to be the name that people think of when they think of a product you sell or service you are offering in their local area. Try to get links from other local businesses related to yours, on trade directories and forums. However, you need to be aware that
spammy links are not worth anything. It is the high quality of the links, not the quantity, that you are aiming for.
It is a good idea to set up a Google Alert for your business so that you can be informed when anyone posts online using your business name, address or website.
You might be tempted to invest in some paid advertising for your local business. Although paid ads are useful in some circumstances, and in small amounts, Google penalises sites for using paid advertising (PPC) to gain traffic. Organic results are always better, as
80% of users scroll past the paid ads on a search engine2
Everyone wants to get to the top of the rankings on the search engines, and with the invention of the featured snippet, it is now possible to rank in position 0, even if your website does not feature in the number 1 spot. Featured snippets are small sections of information taken from your website, which normally include a picture. They appear first before any other content.
Just as with your website, you need to make sure that your contact information is correct and identical on all of your social media accounts. Social content ranks well on search engines, so any local citations you can get on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Instagram or other social media platform are well worth it. Use reviews and comments about your business to your advantage, if someone comments on Facebook that they like the look of your product and you are based in Torquay High Street, say that in your post!
Hi Jade, thanks very much for your comment, we’re glad you love the dress! If you’d like to come and try it on, feel free to come and see us at our shop at 25d High Street, Torquay, next to M&Co.
Make sure you also link all your social media accounts with your Google MyBusiness accounts, Bing account and most importantly your website, especially on the structured data.
Encourage people to visit your website by regularly posting relevant and interesting content, some of which can link back to your website.
Don’t try to sell people things all the time - always make sure your content is engaging and useful to the user.If you’d like to know more about how social media can impact your business, read our blog post social media for business.
Business to Business (B2B)
Just because you are offering B2B products, it doesn’t make local SEO any less lucrative. B2B SEO, like B2C, is all about gaining trust in your brand. You can gain trust in your business through reviews, business directories and industry magazines and websites. Get featured in the news, guest post on blogs related to your industry or host an event in your local area to gain recognition and authority.
By working through all of the above points, you will be on the road to success with local SEO. However, there are no short-term fixes, and you’ll always need to work at it to make sure you stay where you want to be in the search engine rankings.
We can help you optimise your website for local search in TorbayWith our silver and gold fixed price SEO packages, we offer blog and article content writing, which can be tailored to your business in Torbay and optimised for local SEO in your industry. The gold package also include GoogleMyBusiness assistance, so we can help you optimise your listing for local SEO, as well as 10 hours of social media management, so we can create location-based content and share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ accounts. If you would like more information about our SEO packages and how we can help your business in Torbay, please contact us.