Did you know, 46% of all Google searches are local? Yet so many businesses don't optimise their local businesses to capture this search, meaning their brand, products or services aren't visible to much of their key demographic.

Up to 56% of local retailers haven't even claimed their Google My Business listing, which really should be a very early step in building an online local presence.

 If you're out of the loop, a Google My Business page is a local listing that allows search engine users to see all of your business information as well as allowing you to appear in specific industry searches near the searcher. For example, if you own a mot garage, the searcher won't have to specifically search for your brand name, just ‘mot garage near me'. If 56% of businesses haven't even claimed their GMB listing, they're at an immediately huge disadvantage when trying to develop and improve a local digital presence.

But while claiming your Google My Business listing is a good starting point, there's plenty more to understand and implement to have successful local SEO. Understanding what local SEO actually is, is key to understanding what you can do to improve it.

So, what is Local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the process of implanting digital SEO strategies to improve your online visibility and organic traffic to your website. You can target results within searches that take place on Google and other search engines.

Often, a business is up against so many competitors on a national level that its incredibly difficult to even make a scratch within that large of a marketplace without a hugely significant budget. For example, chances are you're wasting your time trying to generate organic traffic from just being an "Mot garage" nationally. You're much more likely to see great organic results targeting "Mot garage + a specific location". Ranking within their local area is a much more realistic target, and a target worth chasing as your leads will already be more qualified due to being local.

First, make sure that your website is optimized for mobile visitors, as a huge 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.

Next, make sure all your contact information, addresses and website links are all up to date on any local listings you might appear on, including your own website. The last thing you want is generating organic traffic to your site just for them not to be able to contact you. This means no matter where a potential customer might stumble upon your business, they have immediate access to your services or prodct.

Let's say that you run that local MOT Garage as we've already delved into this example - it's called "Service Station Essex".

You would want to target generating results on searches like:

A local search such as "MOT garage near me";

A specific branded search like "Service Station Essex";

Various questions that your online information can answer such as "what time does Service Station Essex close?" and "how long will it take to walk to Service Station Essex?"; "Book an MOT at Service Station Essex".

But these aren't traditional queries, because Google displays this information in card-like results in the SERPs.

For most businesses, the primary keywords to target will be quite obvious. Let's say that you're a plumber in Romford-how do you think people will search for your services? They'll probably go to Google and type something like:

"MOT in Essex";

"Car servicing in Romford";

"mot garage in Romford"

Focus your time on implementing these type of queries into your pages to maximise your visibility locally.

On-Page SEO

Finally. After you've completed your keyword research, it's time to implement it into your site and begin to see the results! Many "traditional" on-page SEO practices apply here, like:

  • Keyword in H1
  • Keyword in title tag
  • Keyword in URL
Follow this handy guide and you'll be well on your way to having a much bigger visibility within local search! Still can't quite get your head around it or don't have the time? A specialist SEO agency such as MR SEO in Essex can discuss your site and develop a bespoke local SEO plan.