As the title suggests, this is SEO with the added twist of ‘local.’ That could seem like a throw-away remark demoting the importance of dealing with ‘local’ as its own thing. Not at all. The reality is, local SEO does rely heavily on the same fundamentals as ‘regular’ SEO, but it also has some very specific nuances that demand individual attention.
Before we dive-in further, here’s what we mean by local SEO, in terms of what we are trying to optimise for (in the main) where Google rankings are concerned:
Local pack in main search results
This is Google’s business directory. In their own words, “Google My Business complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and presence on Google. The information you provide about your business can appear on Google Search, Maps, and Google+.” Barracuda can help you set this up and get it right first time – especially important if you have multiple locations.
NAP is your business name, address and phone number. Simple. What isn’t so simple is making sure all the business directories out there on the interweb are giving the same NAP details for your business as your website and Google My Business profile are (an issue that is compounded with multiple business locations). Why? Because Google still uses this information as a strong local ranking signal, and having consistency means better rankings for your business. But which directories should you prioritise? What are the primary NAP data sources that Google uses? What happens when I move premises? And what do I do about duplicate listings? Barracuda is here to help you answer these questions and help you with the processes involved.
We talk a lot about content and content strategy over here. The difference with local content is (you guessed it), it needs to be locally orientated and tailored to the precise location(s) in question. That can become tricky if we’re talking about a great many different locations for one business. How should you go about it and what should it look like, both from a search engine point of view (for rankings) and user point of view (for conversions)? Barracuda can formulate a scalable strategy that satisfies both… and implement it for you.
Reviews, reviews, reviews. Eugh. Spamable, open to trolls, time-consuming to manage, difficult to acquire. Enough already. Sadly, burying your head in the sand is not an approach you can afford to take. If you get this right, you can erect serious barriers to entry for your competition via major increases in user trust (conversions), and search engine rankings (it’s a ranking signal). So, what should your review-generation strategy be? How should you manage the process? And which review aggregator should you use? Barracuda can help you navigate through these somewhat opaque waters.
With ranking signals like ‘proximity to searcher’ coming to the fore, ‘mobile’ is front and centre of an effective local SEO strategy. In addition, Google will be switching to a ‘mobile first’ version of their index of the internet (whereas it is currently based on indexing desktop versions of web pages). This is clearly a wider SEO issue that extends beyond local SEO, but frames the importance of mobile. With more and more users accessing websites via mobile devices, are you offering an optimised mobile experience that encourages conversion and footfall? Are you poised to take advantage of mobile ranking signals that will benefit your local SEO? No? Well, Barracuda can help you with that, both from a consultancy point of view and a web development point of view. Let’s get it sorted.
A fundamental area of cross-over between local and ‘regular’ SEO, is good-old on-site technical consultancy. Not dead. More important than ever. Need to get it right. All the things that matter for on-site SEO matter for local SEO: crawlability, indexation, keyword targeting, site-speed (particularly important for mobile – see section above), website architecture, schematic mark-up on things like your NAP details, and more. This is one of the founding disciplines that Barracuda is built on. Find out more here.
This is another fundamental ‘regular’ SEO building block that crosses over as a critical, and probably the largest, ranking factor for local SEO. Yes, we need to get the other areas ticked-off and done right, but this is what’s really going to move the ranking needle (particularly in a competitive search environment). At its core, Google still processes website rankings based on a type of democracy, which translates as external websites that say you’re good at what you do. Yes, there are a lot of other things going on in Google’s algorithms for rankings, but this is still at the centre of it all. To rank well, you need other websites to agree you’re an authority in your area of expertise and publish editorial on their website to that effect. The added nuance for local SEO is, you also need to build ‘local’ authority. This is another core discipline for Barracuda and you can find out more here.
The eagle-eyed will notice that this is not ‘SEO,’ but it is an important tactic to consider for any business trying to promote itself in local search. Ads are being served in local packs within the main search results, and on the maps they link through to. Increasing your exposure to users by occupying ad spaces alongside organic results in local search, will increase brand awareness and click-through. Not a tactic to be overlooked. Barracuda’s paid team are ready to assist.
Aye? What? Here’s what it is: digitally stitched together photographs of the inside of your business premises so users can take a virtual tour before they pay you a visit. Not a local SEO ranking factor, but it will enrich your branded search result in Google, build trust with the user, and help with driving conversions and footfall. Barracuda is Google certified for carrying out this work for you. Find out more here.