Local SEO – The Basics to Get You Started

Local SEO

Are you struggling to get found on Google? Are you pulling your hair out wondering why your website is ranking in the depths of page 10 – or not even there at all? Don’t worry. Here are some things to do to help your website get found.

Let’s get started with local SEO!

1.What’s it all about?

First things first. Your website’s home page is going to be the most likely first page that Google will index and potentially show in the search results (indexing just means that Google has found it and added it to its big database). So your home page has to have some content on it that will actually tell the search engines what it is you sell or do. It needs to have the search terms that somebody might search for – so called keywords. Google is actually quite sophisticated now and is using AI to determine what words mean and how they relate to each other and what is actually a searchers intent. So in the old days, people shoved loads of keywords into a page and it worked to get the page ranking for that term. It doesn’t work like that now. In fact, doing that will make your website spammy and it probably won’t rank.

So now that you know what you have to say on your home page content, the next thing is to make sure your Meta tags are providing the right signals too.

2. Meta tags are essential.

Most Content Management Systems (CMS) will offer some way to update these important tags. So whether it is WordPress, Weebly, Wix or Squarespace etc., you will be able to update these important areas. The worst mistake it to leave them blank or with the word “Home” in it. That will tell Google nothing about your home page.

Your Title tag should be between 50-60 characters and should explain what your website sells or does. This resource  has a lot of information about Meta Title tags.

Similarly, Meta descriptions should be crafted well. These aren’t used for ranking but they are important in getting people to click through to your website from the search results. Again, this resource explains it well.

 

3. Get it verified with Google

Add your website to Google Webmaster tools.  This will help speed up Google indexing your website and can alert you to any problems it finds. Open an account with your email address.

local SEO basics

 

Google provides a number of ways to verify that you actually own your website.

local SEO verify with Google

 

Once you have verified your website, you can relax as now Google knows about your website. However, it is a good idea to submit a sitemap so Google can find your most important pages. It’s also helpful to “inspect” one of your URLS to see if Google knows about it. Sounds complicated but it isn’t and you can’t do much wrong at this level.

4. Google My Business page.

This one is essential. Have you opened one? It is vitally important that you do so for local SEO. It will enable your business to feature on Google Maps. It’s easy to complete. Make sure you fill it all out as much as possible.

Google my Business page local SEO

5. Get Listing!

For local SEO, adding your website to the main directories such as Yelp, Yell, Thomson Local, Freeindex is very important. There are plenty more directories but by adding your website to the main ones you are providing Google with a way to check your authenticity. It’s also a good idea to open up some social profiles for your business too. Don’t forget to add your website link to these!

 

6. Increase your local presence

Get other businesses to link to you in order to get your presence known locally and to provide a back link to your website. If you are in a business network group, ask to get your website onto their main network hub. Ask other local businesses if they can add your website link. Do you sponsor anything locally? Like a football team or rugby team? Ask them to add you to their website as a favour.

These will all help your website stand a better chance of getting found locally. As an SEO agency we specialise in local SEO and there are lots of tweaks that you can do to feature higher. But these pointers above will definitely help you get on track. Good luck!

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Caroline Phillips

Caroline Phillips is the owner of Alba SEO Services which offers quality SEO services to SME's. Established since 2013, Alba SEO has a track record of success. You can follow Alba SEO on