Local SEO – A Beginners Guide
Google Maps is fast becoming best platform for small businesses to improve their online visibility and to increase visitors & sales from both their website and business premises.
Google Maps Ten Pack
There are various tactics being used by SEO experts to help clients improve rankings in Google Maps here are some of the more basic ones which meet best practice guidelines.
On Site Optimisation
If you have the option of owning a more localised top level domain name (TLD) eg .co.uk over .com and make sure where possible that your domain is hosted in your own country where the business is being run.
URLs Where possible include the location, Product and service keywords in the website URLs
Firstly it is suggested to make sure your website has a contact page that includes all company information name, address, telephone, email, it is advised to give full details here and if possible to add these contact details to the footer of every page of your website and to use HTML.
Hcard Microformatting the contact information on each page of your website will encourage the search engines to pull that information forward, this can also be done for specific product information.
Add your city name into the title tag on your homepage, this helps.
Creating the Listing
Submit your Business to Google Local Business Centre.
Most importantly place your company in the correct listing category (LBL), there are options to create specific ones and options to choose more than one. This is applicable to other Business listings a company may have, they should be reviewed and corrected.
- Include location in your local listing title if possible.
- Include product/service and location in local listing description.
- Make sure that the correct and full business address is used. The Postcode and proximity to the centre of the city is no longer as relevant as it once was.
- Telephone numbers should be local area numbers not 0800.
Photos, Coupons & Video
Adding a photo, coupons & video to your company profile in Google Maps may not increase your ranking results in the Google Map listing but it can help with the click through rate.
Links & Link Text
The number of inbound links to your website will increase your ranking in Google Maps even more so if they are links from local companies.
If inbound links use the company location this is seen as more important for Google Maps, next is product and service and least of all address information in the link text, but probably an easier option to have the address close to the link.
Customer reviews given to your business in Google Maps are believed to be a slight factor in ranking higher in Google Maps. The higher the star rating the more important it is perceived to be.
Other Local Directories to Consider for UK Businesses
When creating your listing in the following local directories, creating accounts that use the exact same business contact information across all directories is of greatest importance and can affect your ranking from one business directory to another.
Advantages of Ranking in the 10-Pack
Businesses ranking well in the 10-pack can reasonably expect a potentially tremendous increase in traffic because broad searches now display them in natural search.
Virtually every mobile application uses local data from search engines or data providers. If you are not properly listed, or are not listed at all, then you will be invisible to the growing mobile search arena revolutionised by Apples iPhone.