Almost 50% of all searches are looking for local information, and searches with terms like “near me” or “close by” have risen by a shocking 900% over the last few years. Clearly, Local SEO is something that businesses cannot afford to ignore, and yet - incredibly - over 50% of businesses have not even claimed their Google My Business listing.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to the process of optimising the web presence of your local business across Google and other search engines. This includes:
- The information that appears when someone searches for your brand name (e.g. “Costa Coffee”)
- Whether or not your business appears when someone searches for a non-branded service (e.g. “coffee shops near me”)
- Your web presence on other search engines (e.g. the contact information for your business that appears on “Yelp” or “Foursquare”)
- And more....
Local Search Engine Results Pages
More and more Google searches are ending with the user leaving the search results without clicking on any of the results. These are known as Zero Click Searches. In fact, in June 2019, these Zero Click Searches hit an all-time high. For the first time, the majority of Google searches (50.33%) ended without any clicks on organic or paid search results.
It’s estimated that 94% of all searches (US) occur on a Google property, making them “a clear monopoly in search.” When you factor in that the majority of searches now find what they’re looking for without even having to click on anything in the results, it becomes that the landscape of search engine optimisation is changing rapidly.
Instead of using Google to find the URLs of pages that might answer the searcher’s query, Google is now, more than ever, providing the information that the searcher needs. In a way, this means that you can start to think of the Local Search Results Pages (Local SERPS) as your business’s content. As Mike Blumenthal put it, “Google is your new home page” and “it is time to take control”.
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Google My Business
Your first port of call for taking control of your Local SEO is to claim and optimise your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google that enables business owners to customise the information that appears for their business in the Local SERPs.
Here’s an example listing that has been claimed and optimised. You can see that the following information is included:
- Their official business name, category, logo and description
- Information about their headquarters, founders, CEO and parent organisation
- An interesting trivia fact (from Wikipedia)
- Links to their official social media profiles
Even if you don’t claim your listing, Google will attempt to provide some of this information for your users. However, this means that you lose all control over the information provided.
For example, the links that appear for your social profiles may be incorrect. They may link to a Facebook page that includes your brand name, but one that isn’t officially run by you.
Similarly, Google may find and display out of date contact information, or pull some random, non-optimised copy from your website to display as your description.
These mistakes can even happen to a big brand, sometimes with unexpected results.
Local SEO Keyword Research
You can go about Local SEO Keyword Research in much the same way as you would go about standard SEO Keyword Research.
You can use Google Search Console to determine which queries people in different areas are currently using to access your site.
Similarly, you can use Google Keyword Planner alongside tools like Ubersuggest to find keyword opportunities.
The trick to making these tools useful for Local SEO specifically is to filter the results by standard local intent keywords, e.g. results containing:
- “Near me”
- “Near here”
- “In my area”
- “In London”
You could also filter by Mobile results, to get a better idea of searches made when people are out and about. However, this technique has decreased in effectiveness with the prevalence of people using their mobiles at home or at work
Local SEO Services
Improving your Local SEO can be difficult and time-consuming, especially when you’ve got a business to run! Luckily, Optiminder’s here to help. Whether it’s providing you with targeted local keyword research for your business, helping you claim and optimise your Google My Business listing, or devising and executing your entire Local SEO strategy, reach out today to find out which Local SEO Service is right for you.