When it comes to your business’s website? Not all traffic is created equal.
In fact, all the traffic in the world won’t help your business grow if it isn’t the right kind of traffic.
So what kind of traffic does your business need?
Let me introduce you to local searchers.
Local searchers are users who search using local, location-based phrases and keywords. Keywords that have been shown to indicate a high purchasing and commercial intent in those that use them.
Increasing your visibility within local search results, then, can be a lucrative source of traffic for your business. But the question remains: how do you do this?
We’re glad you asked!
Today we’re exploring the 5 easy steps your business can take to quickly boost visibility within those all important local search engine results. Guiding local searchers to your business and inviting them to make an enquiry or purchase.
Ready to get started? Then read on!
1Create Your Local Google My Business Account
Where better to kickstart your business’s journey to increased local search visibility than the internet’s search engine of choice?
With Google My Business, we’ll be doing just that.
So what is Google My Business, exactly?
Good question! Let’s take a closer look:
Google’s My Business is the search engine giant’s one-stop-shop directory for businesses. More specifically? For local businesses.
It combines the best of both Google+ and the now-retired Google Places. While adding a few extras into the mix. Including:
- A Google+ Profile.
- A Google My Business Listing.
- Places your business on Google Maps.
- Gives customers the ability to review your business.
‘That’s all well and good’ you might say, ‘but isn’t this just another directory site?’
But that’s where you’re wrong!
Unsurprisingly, Google is pretty fond of its My Business service. In fact, Google likes it that much it now displays My Business listings first in local searches.
That’s right, first!
With the potential for visibility like this? It’s clear your business needs a My Business listing.
Here’s how to create yours!
- Open Google My Business
- Click ‘Get On Google’.
- Enter your business name and address into the search bar.
- Google will now check if your business has an existing listing. As this is your first time? This shouldn’t return any results, so click ‘I’ve correctly entered the name and address’.
- From here, enter your business’s details, including:
- Business Name
- Street Address
- Postal Code
- Main Business Phone
- If you run your business from home, or you don’t have a physical store location, check the ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location’ box.
By doing so, you’ll be able to tell Google My Business what areas your business services or operates within.
- Check that all information is correct, and click ‘Continue’.
- Check the ‘I am authorised to manage this business and I agree to the Terms of Service’ box and click ‘Continue’.
- Google will now ask you to verify that you’re the business owner, and that you live/operate at the given address. Google does this via an activation code. Click ‘Mail Me My Code’.
- Enter a contact name for the verification code, and click ‘Send Postcard’.
- Google will now run down to the local post office and send you your code.
In the meantime? Your business will be listed as ‘Unverified’, which limits the information you can add or edit until you’ve received your code.Tip: Verification codes are good for 30 days from send date, so avoid throwing it in the pile of unopened mail once it arrives!
- Once you receive your code, log in to your Google My Business account and click ‘Enter Code’ on the blue banner at the top of the screen and follow the prompts.
Verification complete? Congratulations!
Your profile is this close to going into battle for your business and its local search visibility.
But first? Read on for our tips on making the most of your Google My Business profile.
Optimising Your Google My Business Profile
Creating your Google My Business profile is only the first step!
Now it’s time to pack it full of relevant information that will help take your business to the top. Information that will tell Google and users alike that your business is the local business they’re looking for.
To do this? You should:
We know that the lengthier the content the better. So get descriptive!
Write a lengthy, unique description for your business that highlights what your business does. More important still? Ensure this description is optimised for localised search phrases and local keywords.
As you do so? Take the opportunity to sprinkle your description with links to your website’s pages where possible.
Tip: It’s important that this description is unique. Google frowns on duplicate content!
Category & Opening Hours
Ensure your business is visible to the right searchers by selecting categories that fit what your business does, the services it offers, and the products it sells.
If relevant, also add your opening hours so people know when they can contact you or visit your store.
Images and videos provide visual interest for users. Breaking up walls of text and enticing them to click. So get in there and add some promotional media to your profile! Media that showcases your business, your team, or your products & services.
Call Me Maybe?
Increasing your visibility within local searches won’t do you any good if users can’t contact you. So make like that hit song and invite users to get in touch by adding a local phone number to your listing.
Address The Issue
A local business profile without an address is like a great joke without a punchline: useless!
And when adding your address? Ensure this is consistent with the one listed on your website, as well as other local directory listings.
Tip: See the section on ‘NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)’ below for more information on why it’s important your Name, Address and Phone Number remain consistent across all sites.
Be Brand Aware
Add a high-resolution cover photo, profile picture or avatar to your profile.
Why? Because first impressions matter! And given your profile’s cover photo is the first thing users see? This can have a lasting impact.
Reviews play a major role in your My Business listing’s position within local searches.
It also provides potential customers with the reassurance that your business is not only reliable, but a reputable leader within your industry!
Tip: Read on for our ideas on how to encourage local reviews for your business later in this article!
2Wield Your Location Like A Local SEO Weapon
When it comes to your business’ location, this is no time to be humble. In fact, you should be shouting it from the rooftops to anyone who will listen!
Because while you know your business is located in Auckland, Tauranga or Wellington, unless this is clearly displayed on your website, you’ll be keeping everyone else in the dark.
Search engines and users aren’t mind readers!
The easiest way to remedy this?
Wield your location like a local SEO weapon!
By doing so? You’ll make your location clearly visible to searchers and search engines alike!
So when it comes to your location, look to include this in:
Page Title Tags
Add your country, city or region to the titles of relevant pages. More specifically? Product or service pages that local searchers are looking for.
If you offer those products or services within a specific region? Tell them about it!
- Example Company NZ | Example Products For NZ Families | Free NZ Shipping
- Example Company Auckland | Your Local Auckland Service Specialists
META Descriptions allow you to quickly describe what it is you do, what you offer, and most importantly? Where you offer it.
With the extra room here, be even more specific, listing a number of lucrative locations if possible!
- Example Company NZ sells Example Products for New Zealand families. With free shipping to Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington.
- Example Company Auckland Service Specialists, providing leading services to the North Shore and surrounding areas for over 10 years.
Maximise your use of locations in your headings. By doing so, you’ll send a clearer message about where you’re located.
- Auckland Example Services
- North Shore Example Services
- Specialised Services For Tauranga & The Bay Of Plenty
Clearly-written, SEO optimised URLs make it easier for users to determine if a page they see in search engine results is what they’re looking for, and whether they should click.
With a location in your URLs? Local users will have no hesitation.
It pays to utilise keywords throughout your content. And location-based keywords are no different. These help to further strengthen the message your website sends to users and search engines: yes, my business is here!
- Welcome to Example Business! Our team of specialists have been servicing the greater Auckland region for over 10 years. With a history of working with clients the length and breadth of New Zealand’s sprawling metropolis including the North Shore, Parnell and Remuera.
Image Filenames & ALT Tags
Image filenames and ALT tags? They’re fairly trivial, right?
The more location-based signals you can send to search engines, the better!
So when naming and uploading your images? Include location-based keywords wherever logical.
3Be Aware Of NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
NAP? Isn’t that the thing we do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?
No no no, not that kind of NAP!
In the SEO world? NAP refers to Name, Address and Phone Number. A crucial trio that can have a lasting impact on your visibility within local search engine results.
And here’s why:
Your business’ NAP helps to send a consistent message to search engines about where your business is located. Boosting the confidence of these search engines that yes, your business resides at this address.
And with this confidence in your business? Your visibility within local search results improves.
But only if done right.
You see, search engines are notoriously picky beasts. One minor difference in your NAP across sites and Google may deem these entries as relating to entirely different businesses!
In turn? The benefits your business stands to gain from these external listings is lessened.
To maximise the use of your NAP, then? Consistency is key.
So when it comes to your NAP, you should:
Maintain consistency by ensuring your Name, Address and Phone Number are the same across all sites. Including any business directory listings or other external sources.
Use A Schema Markup For Your NAP
A schema markup is the easiest way to ensure your NAP is effectively communicated in a way that search engines can understand.
And doing so couldn’t be easier!
Simply replace the bold sections in the code below with your own details.
Paste this code into a portion of your site that is repeated on each page, such as a sidebar or footer.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<p itemprop=”name”>COMPANY NAME</p>
<p itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<p itemprop=”streetAddress”>ADDRESS LINE 1</p>
<p itemprop=”telephone”>PHONE NUMBER</p>
<meta itemprop=”latitude” content=”LATITUDE” />
<meta itemprop=”longitude” content=”LONGITUDE” />
4Obtain Local Reviews
Local reviews are far more than just a pat on the back for your business.
In fact, they have a direct impact on your business’s position within local search engine results.
And we’re talking about more than just your Google My Business listings here. Obtaining reviews from your customers past and present via specialised services like Yelp and Trip Advisor can all help to further boost your business’s online visibility.
Looking for some ideas? Check out our companion guide to Auckland SEO for actionable steps you can take to convince customers to leave that all-important review!
5Build Local Backlinks
When it comes to Local SEO? Link building is an often overlooked component of achieving long-lasting local search result visibility.
But unlike the rough-and-tumble of going toe-to-toe with international sites and big-name businesses, local link building is less reliant on high profile sites.
Instead? It’s far more dependent on relevancy.
- Is the website local?
- Do they operate within your industry or niche?
- Do they speak to a similar audience as you?
How do you build links on sites like this, exactly? Read on to find out!
List Your Business With Local Business Directories
It’s time to face facts: no one reads the Yellow Pages anymore.
So with the stalwart of local business directories relegated to a life as a door stop, where should you be promoting your local business?
Online, of course!
There is now a vast array of online business directories that service potential future customers in your area.
Better still? They’re entirely free to use!
With these listings, you’ll place your business within a greater number of online channels. Boosting your visibility, establishing local links back to your website, and increasing the number of external sites that list your NAP.
To start? Try these local New Zealand business directories
Tip: Looking for online business directories in your country? Carry out some Google searches using these phrases to find them:
- site:.com.au + business directory
- site:.co.uk + business directory
- site:.co.nz + business listing
- site:.co.nz + business profile
Write For Local Blogs
Guest Posting is one of the most effective ways of building your personal brand and promoting your business online.
This process is even more effective when carried out locally. Giving you the opportunity to put yourself, and your business, in front of that all important local audience.
In doing so, you’ll build your reputation, increase your visibility, and establish crucial local links back to your website.
Finding these guest posting opportunities? It’s easy!
- Open Google.co.nz
- Enter one of the following search strings into the search box
- For a country:
- site:.co.nz + [KEYWORD] + Guest Post
- site:.co.nz + [KEYWORD] + Write For Us
- For a city or region:
- site:.co.nz + [KEYWORD] + Auckland
- site:.co.nz + [KEYWORD] + Tauranga
- For a country:
- Compile a list of sites that:
- Have accepted guest posts in the past, or look like they may be interested in a guest contribution.
- Are of a high quality. No spam sites full of links!
- Have a high PR & DA rating, though this is less important when building local links.
- Active comments sections and social media accounts.
- Have accepted guest posts in the past, or look like they may be interested in a guest contribution.
- Pitch your post, get it written and submit it!
- Celebrate the fact you’re one step closer to Local SEO domination.
Even More Local Link Building Opportunities
Looking to build more links to further boost your visibility within local search engine results? Then try these!
Grab The Headlines
Editorial backlinks are some of the most lucrative links for any website to obtain. Doubly so for Local SEO when they come from local online news outlets and publications!
‘Why?’, you might ask?
Let me elaborate:
- Local online news outlets serve content to the exact audience you want to reach.
- They’re often high authority. Meaning they’re reputable, trusted by Google and carry a high PR & DA rating. All signals that these are quality sites. The exact sites you want links from!
So, how do you obtain backlinks from these sites? Give these ideas a go:
- Reach out to local press or news outlets and line up an interview or column.
Launching a new product range? Opening a new store? Giving back to the community? These are all great reasons why the press may be interested in covering you. So put your best foot forward, and see what comes of it!
- Sign up to press request services
Services like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), or Twitter hashtags like #JournoRequest and #PRRequest offers a direct line of communication between
- Reporters looking for experts’ thoughts an opinions for their stories
- Experts – like you! – within a given field that can provide this knowledge.
Through these services, the reporter will get their story written and published, and in turn you’ll get your name – as well as a link to your website – on a high-authority website and out there for all to see.
Create A Killer Local Resource
Practical, lengthy content that provides value is one of the most effective forms of marketing – and link building – for any business.
And it works just as well for your local business, too!
The difference here? You should be aiming to create a killer resource with a local twist.
Do you operate a tourism business in Auckland? Create a go-to list of the top 33 places to visit on a trip to Auckland!
Run a restaurant? How about the best places to eat in Tauranga?!
By creating a go-to resource you’ll be able to market your content, engage in things like broken link building and establish a wealth of natural, organic links that can take your business to the top.
Now Give It A Go! Use These Local SEO Strategies To Boost Your Business!
From listing your business with local directories, through to creating killer local content, with these strategies to call on? There’s no reason why your business can’t dominate local search engine results.
In doing so? You’ll be placing your business in front of those all-important local searchers in next to no time. Enabling you to harness the true potential that these lucrative online channels offer your business.