Local SEO is a tactic that is often overlooked by start-ups and SMEs, even though it can be an incredibly effective tool for increasing visibility to searchers making a ‘near me’ or other relevant local search query.
Google says that just less than half of searches have a ‘local intent’. This means that there is vast potential here for brands to use local SEO to appeal to searchers in a specific location.
Prioritise business listing management
One of the first things you should do is create a business listing profile that can be distributed to any authoritative directory such as Google, Bing or Amazon. This is something that is very affordable even for small businesses, and it can deliver a notable boost to search rankings. Whether you outsource management to an agency or tackle this in-house, business listings are a crucial part of local SEO.
Update Google My Business
Google My Business is an extension of business listings and arguably even more important as it is directly linked to local search. Google My Business has been particularly useful since the pandemic as it has allowed companies to communicate opening hours and service availability to users directly in SERPs. You can optimise your listing by uploading several quality pictures and including a few Q&As.
Ask for reviews
Local searchers want feedback from other people, and the quality and quantity of these reviews can contribute to your rankings in Google’s search space. You can either hire an agency to implement a review management system or do it yourself by asking for them directly after a sale or following the download of an app.
Add business details on key pages
On-page SEO can also boost local search opportunities. Adding the name, address and contact details for your business on key pages will greatly assist local searchers who navigate to your website and want to validate your location. When the information matches the business data in a Google My Business listing, a visitor will know that the content within is relevant and accurate.
You can also make your contact details a more visible and eye-catching part of your pages if your target audience is likely to need a phone number or address right away.
Add FAQ schema
Google recently limited the use of FAQ structured data markup due to the repetitiveness of Q&A formats across multiple pages on sites, but you should have at least a single instance of FAQ schema. This code will inform search engines that content is present and marked up correctly, which will make it eligible for rich snippets in search results.
You will need a FAQ page to cover important Q&As related to a specific topic. This could be about a product or return policy. FAQ schema will then allow some of these answers to be served directly in search. It will generate interest organically and provide information that searchers are looking for. This is a technical change, but a web developer should be able to add it quite easily.