Search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial for local businesses looking to appear prominently for key terms. It can help them to compete and create a foothold in their area that they would struggle to achieve purely through word of mouth alone. The practice can provide great benefits and help to boost enquiries, potentially unlocking additional business and sales.
If you do want to introduce an optimisation strategy there are a number of fundamental details you need to get right. Simply doing these things will put you on the right path. Perhaps even more importantly if you don’t do them you could hold yourself back. Here is a local SEO checklist of the basics you need to do as part of your strategy.
The very first thing you need to do is ensure that the name, address and phone number (collectively known as your NAP) are consistent. Wherever your business has a presence, whether it is your website or a directory, you should ensure every detail is correct and the same as on other sites. Incorrect details send prospective customers to the wrong place and result in all kinds of bad feelings. Such a simple oversight could cause big harm to your business so you should put every effort into checking details on sites and making sure they are correct.
This code is very important to the performance of your website as it will reveal more useful information for search engines to display to users including the location, opening hours and even a schedule of events. Schema Markup is designed to help users and has become very crucial to local SEO but it is still under-utilised. There are tools available now to generate the code for you automatically so you don’t need to constantly update it by hand so you should definitely be using it.
Utilising Your Profiles
Google My Business and Facebook Places profiles allow you to tell prospective customers more about your business and convince them to check you out. They are very useful and can extend your presence beyond your website. The information you put on them (remember the NAP?) needs to be accurate, particularly with Google My Business because it will affect where you are displayed on Maps.
A review can make or break a business depending on the tone and content. Consumers will always be more likely to work with businesses with good reviews because they expect them to offer great services. You should be monitoring the reviews you receive on various sites, including any directories you appear on, Google and Facebook Places. This will give you the chance to answer to bad ones to explain your position and thank people for good reviews. It always looks better if you are active and engaging with your audience.
Improving Your Website
Your website is a representation of your business and should grab the attention of visitors and make them want to deal with you. Alongside a great responsive design and quality content you’ll also need to ensure you can get the site found on search engines. To do this you need to do a number of SEO basics, including writing a fantastic optimised title tag and meta description, using a clean URL, using analytics and setting up the correct redirects. You can find a great list at localseochecklist.org to help you.
If you would like any additional advice or guidance please contact us. We are committed to helping clients create the perfect optimisation strategy.