Lets start by explaining what SEO is all about.
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation and is the practice of using various techniques. To gain organic search rankings and natural traffic for websites.
Yes it really is that simple the core of all SEO. Is to improve websites visibility on search engines like google and Bing to gain more visitors.
How about local SEO
Local SEO is a way of improving your search engine position for local search terms. For instance when a customer searches for SEO on google they would get global or national results. Now if they searched for SEO Cannock they would get results for SEO company’s in the Cannock area.
Makes sense right?
Does Your Business Need Local SEO Cannock?
If your business offers its services and products to customers within your local area the answer is yes!
More people than ever before are using the internet to search for local businesses. Statistics show that in 2016 89% of UK households had internet access. And 82% of adults used the internet at some point every single day and that number is rising year on year.
The interesting thing is what people are using the internet for. According to oFcom apart from sending and receiving emails, searches for information on goods and services. Are the most common daily internet activity and over 40% percent of those searches made from a mobile are of local intent.
Based on statistics local businesses can increase there revenues by using local SEO to help market there business in 2017. The number of local searches are increasing every year. So can your business really afford to be missing out on all those potential customers.
Highest Ranking Local SEO Cannock Factors
We have created a list of the signals that search engines use to rank local websites. In order of the highest to the lowest.
We will also explain the techniques used by the local SEO industry. To improve each of the ranking signals, that will ultimately prove key to improving your websites overall local search position on Google and Bing.
1. On-Page Signals
On-page signals are considered the most important ranking factor for local SEO. The good thing about on-page SEO is that your in control after all it’s your website and ultimately it’s you that chooses what goes where, Get these signals right and search engines are more likely to rank your website highly.
NAP (name, address and phone number) Must be consistently accurate throughout your website eg. Contact page, Footer and blog posts.
Meta descriptions and Title descriptions both should be well written and contain local keywords for example SEO Cannock and also your services and brand name.
Header Tags make sure that any content contains the correct header tags try to include local keywords eg. SEO Cannock for h1, h2 and h3 tags if your content was targeting SEO Cannock.
Image Alt tags make sure that you use alt tags for all images eg. if you have a page targeting a certain town your image alt tags should include the town name and a keyword.
Page Content make sure that any content includes your targeted keyword and the town or city you would like to rank for. eg this page is targeting SEO Cannock so i have included the keywords in the content. But dont go crazy only use the keywords a few times as google will see the content as spammy. If you use WordPress for your website a plugin like Yoast SEO is great for. Making sure you’ve got enough content for the amount of keyword you are trying to rank for.
Review Schema markup there are many different types of schema. But for me the review schema can really make your website stand out in search results. If your website receives any reviews and you have the correct markup. Google and bing may include the amount of reviews and stars in the search results.
Map Embedding a map on your website is perfect for helping your customers find your exact location. If you choose to embed a map on your website check that the map has the correct marker for your location.
Rated as the second highest ranking factor for local SEO. Backlinks are still a major part of all SEO campaigns but when your trying to improve your local rankings. There some things the need doing differently think quality and think local.
Try to obtain natural back links from local high authority websites for instance a local newspaper, chamber of commerce or even a popular local blog.
If you manage to achieve even just a few back links from good local sources it could have a massive impact on your search rankings.
You should also try to use local keywords in your anchor text. For example if i managed to obtain a back link for this page. I would want the text of the clickable link to be for SEO Cannock rather than just my websites URL.
3. Google My Business
Local businesses should all have a google my business page not only is it great for your websites local SEO. It’s also another great source of traffic and also provides important information for any searchers such as reviews, your location and contact details.
To make the most of your Google my business listing you need to make sure that you have optimised your listing by providing accurate nap information. The listing description needs to be long and well written and contain keywords and links.
Update your opening times and Choose the correct category’s for your business. Try to choose as few as possible that best describe your overall business. Add as many good quality images to your listing as possible also include a nice cover photo and profile image.
There are also ways of improving the position of your Google my business listing in the local map pack. The key signals that google uses to help rank your listing are the number of citations, Local reviews and listing optimisation signals.
4. Citations & NAP Signals
We already covered how important it is to have consistent NAP across the whole of your website. But it’s also important that your NAP is consistently exactly the same across the whole of the web.
For example if you create a directory listing on Yell. You must make sure that your name, address and phone match exactly the same as your websites NAP.
Citations are online mention of your businesses NAP Information. They are usually found on business directories, but you can also receive citations on blogs, online newspapers and local websites. Which are very effective at improving your local search rankings.
All of our local SEO campaigns include citation building we will submit your website to all of the big online directories. And create a steady flow of new citations each month. If you are thinking of doing local SEO for yourself there are sites like moz local, whitespark and bright local. That can be really handy and cost effective for building and managing your own citations so there worth checking out.
5. Page Speed & Behaviour signals
Page speed is a fairly new search ranking factor but not one that should be ignored. Improving your websites loading times also helps improve your user experience and conversion rate.
According to surveys nearly half of all web users expect a website to load in under 2 seconds and if the website doesn’t load in under 3 seconds they are likely to look elsewhere. On top top of that the average speed for websites ranked 1st and 2nd in search results is under 2 seconds. Even more evidence that page speed really does effect search rankings.
So if your website is running slow you need to get it sorted as it could be hurting your business. All of our plans include speed optimisation of your website so that it loads as fast as possible.
If you don’t have a plan with us but want to have a go yourself take a look at our SEO blog as I’ve written a great article on page speed.
Behaviour signals are used by google and bing to track what visitors are actually doing once they’ve clicked on your website. They can track if a user clicked on your website and clicked straight off which is bad for SEO. Or if they clicked through to other pages on your website and stayed there long enough to actually read anything which is good for SEO.
A few ways of improving these signals are by having a website that looks great, loads fast and has a good flow of great content that encourages visitors to keep coming back to your website.
6. Review Signals
Reviews are great and there are many sites that you can utilise to help build your review profiles which customers can see in search results. More customers are reading reviews online than ever before take a look at graph below from bright local.
To improve your search rankings Google and Bing are likely to look more favourably at websites that have a higher number of reviews. They will also look more favourably at websites that have reviews from multiple channels such as Google Maps, Bing places, Yell, Yelp and Facebook.
So while its good to build a high number of reviews on lets say Google maps its also important for SEO to gain reviews elsewhere as it looks more natural to search engines.
What is personalization for local SEO?
Years ago when search engines first started out. Everyone that made a search saw the exact same search results. Which was not so good for local SEO.
These days things have moved on for the good and now search results depend on a few different personalised factors. For instance which country the search is made from.
If someone in america made a search for pants they would get results for trousers. If the same search was made from the UK they would be more to likely see results for underwear.
Another factor is locality for example if a search was made from within Cannock for SEO they would see results for SEO company’s in Cannock. If the same search was made from Walsall for SEO Walsall they would get results for SEO company’s in Walsall.
Other factors that have an effect on every search that is made. Include your personal browsing history and your online social connections.
8. Social signals
For now social signals are still the least effective local SEO ranking factor although we should expect this to change in the future.
Remember that google, Bing and social media sites like Facebook and twitter are all in competition with each other for users to use there platform. So for these ranking factors to become even more important. Algorithms will all have to somehow work together for this to happen.
Even though your websites social media reputation may not have a massive effect on your search rankings don’t overlook them. As they are all part of the huge landscape of local SEO and could be the difference between staying in second and gaining 1st place on Google.