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Businesses are looking for tried and proven ways to win more attention and generate leads and dominate their local market. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can play a vital role in the growth and success of many startups and SMEs. In this article, you will understand what local SEO is and the effective strategies that can help you optimise your website for local SEO.
WHAT IS LOCAL SEO?
Boosting your digital presence at a regional scale with local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can help your business connect with your local target audience and grow within a specific geographic area.
Now, let us define what local SEO is.
Local SEO is a specialised approach to SEO which focuses on enhancing your search engine ranking for location-specific queries. To make it sound simpler, your business gains better online visibility in local search engine results, especially for customers searching for products or services nearby.
ALSO READ: The 5 Most Common Local SEO Mistakes
All types of SEOs provide a boost to online visibility. But the primary difference lies in specific geographic and audience traffic.
For example, availing a local SEO in Singapore can help you target users who search for products or services in a particular geographic area. On the other hand, organic SEO focuses on improving your website’s overall visibility and search engine ranking for a broader audience without geographic limitations.
For the keyword optimisation aspect, local SEO emphasises location-specific keywords, for example, an” orthopaedic doctor near me” or “chemistry tutor in Tampines”. For organic SEO, we can use a broader range of relevant keywords without necessarily emphasising a location.
Local SEO & Organic SEO
|Local SEO||Organic SEO|
|Keywords||Emphasises location-specific keywords||Focuses on wide-range of generic keywords|
|Target Audience||Users searching for products or services near them||Users searching for products or services without geographic limits|
|On-page optimisation||Places high priority in providing location-specific information, such as NAP and Google Maps||Optimises website with generic keywords and user experience without focusing on location|
|Backlinks||Prioritises obtaining authoritative and reliable local sources||Seeks diverse backlinks from different sources that are not limited to local websites|
|Search results||Improved local search results and map listings||Improved visibility on general search results across different relevant keywords|
Approximately 97% of online search queries are for finding a local business or local service. That means most people use search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo! to look for a nearby store or establishment.
Now, with all these valuable insights, you might be asked how local SEO really works to provide you with the best result you intend for better local visibility.
IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL SEO
Every establishment needs to grow, similar to how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.
Huge local brands such as Charles & Keith, OSIM International and BreadTalk started from nothing. But now they dominate the local market that even spans overseas. Their presence in the digital landscape is so strong that now they dominate both the local market and overseas market in Asia.
These brands know how to implement effective strategies in their marketing campaign.They prioritised targeting the local market first before expanding outside Singapore. The success of most local brands that are now dominating Asia Pacific and beyond highlights the significance of targeting your local market initially.
Small businesses in Singapore can rely on local SEO strategies to improve their web presence based on proximity. Marketing on a local level is an ideal starting point for start-ups and small businesses. 99% of users searched online to find local businesses. 78% of users say they searched for local businesses online more than once a week.
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The more traffic goes into your site, the higher its visibility becomes since search engine bots or web crawlers read through websites to check the page and its content for relevancy. When people click on the website for various reasons, the action sends a signal to the bots to confirm its higher relevance for a particular keyword used for searching. Thus it increases the site’s ranking.
When you gain higher visibility, it then allows you to attract more targeted customers and boost sales in return. Earning traffic, converting leads into customers and boosting your brand reputation are one of the primary benefits of optimising your website. You can achieve all that with local SEO strategies. Continue reading, and you will uncover the essentials to know more about local SEO and its effective strategies you can implement. Continue reading, and you will uncover the essentials to know more about local SEO and its effective strategies you can implement.
HOW DOES LOCAL SEO WORK?
Local SEO utilises proximity-based optimisation to drive more leads and increase website traffic from targeted searchers, further allowing your business to appear on local searches. When a user searches for a business online (location included), the search engine will display results closest to the user. Creating and optimising your Google Business Profile and utilising local keywords are among the primary factors that help boost your online presence in a specific geographic location.
LEARN MORE: 4 Ranking Factors That Affect Local SEO
For instance, if you search for “Five Guys” + “Singapore” on Google, you will get the following results:
HOW TO OPTIMISE YOUR WEBSITE FOR LOCAL SEO?
Managing a local SEO campaign incorporates methods that are similar to organic SEO. However, keep in mind that it can be slightly confusing to distinguish local from organic SEO techniques.
LEARN MORE: SEO VS Local SEO: What’s The Difference?
Here are some of the ways to optimise your website for local SEO:
1. Use Google Business Profile
A free platform that you must use to optimise for local SEO is Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business (GMB). It is an online shop listing that businesses use for managing their online presence across Google. It enables your local customers to conduct a single search to find all the information they require about your company. It also enables customers to leave reviews and helps you understand the market in return.
Below is an image of how a Google Business Profile looks when someone searches for something on Google. At one glance, potential customers can learn everything they need to know about a business, which can help a business persuade when and where they should visit.
Here, you can engage with customers, discover their needs, and manage information about your business. Because of this, GBPis one of the most vital local SEO ranking factors that can help you improve your online presence.
You can claim a GBPlisting by creating a Business Profile on Google. Afterwards, request for verification. Once Google has approved your Business Profile, you can display additional information on your listing so that more people can discover your business on Google Search.
Here is a GIF showing what our Google Business Profile looks like when one of our potential clients searches for ‘OOm Singapore’ on Google. The additional details in this GIF represent the full-suite digital marketing services we provide to our customers.
2. Create Local Content
Content marketing will always be a key to improving search engine rankings, even for global search. When creating quality content, do not just focus on reaching a broad audience but also consider your niche and local customers. For local SEO, create contents that locals can relate to.
When writing blog posts, remember to conduct keyword research first that focuses on your niche targeting based on the search volume of the keywords. The keywords should be what the local audiences are searching for the most and related to your business.
Researching keywords with high search volume is also a vital component of content marketing. Once you have identified local keywords for your SEO strategy, insert them into your content seamlessly to make it seem natural and organic.
3. Submit A Press Release
Another effective local SEO strategy you have to do to help increase your web visibility is to submit press releases. Press releases are the official statement of a company that they send to news media about the latest happenings about them.
If your press release gets published on reputable websites with a high domain authority, your website will earn quality backlinks. People who read the news media or organisation will come across your press release, which will help nudge them to visit your website and look through the products or services that you offer.
The more high-quality backlinks you get, the higher your search engine rankings will be. That is why you should make sure to include keywords and links to your website when drafting press releases. Doing so will help direct the readers to one of your web pages.
Here are some examples of published press releases.
4. Add A Detailed Contact Page
Being detailed as much as possible on your contact page can also help you increase your local presence. A detailed contact page gives valuable context to search engines and your potential customers will be able to find and/or learn more about your business.
The screenshot below is an example of a detailed contact page.
5. Be Active On Social Media
Free, accessible, convenient—social media has everything you need to kickstart your campaign. Use multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, to target local customers and create quality content.
For local businesses, it is also vital to choose the right social media platform. Since local customers are your target audience, try to pick a networking site where they will most likely be active. Here’s a short overview of the social media platforms you can try out:
Facebook has it all: news feed, messenger app, marketing tools, and many more. Not to mention, it is free, so you can kickstart your marketing campaign on Facebook without costing a lot of money along the way.
You will have a better chance of finding your local customers on Facebook. Also, once you create a Facebook page, remember to display their reviews of your business. That way, you can engage with your local customers and find out aspects of your business that require improvement.
The popular image-sharing site lets you publish ads and videos for building your brand image. Plus, you can tag your business location on Instagram whenever you are posting photos and videos. Your audience can discover the whereabouts of business anytime.
TikTok is another social media that has been taking the world by storm, but its main focus is sharing videos that can now last for 10 minutes long. With this allotted duration, you can engage with your local customers and share anything that might capture the attention of your potential customers.
ALSO READ: A Beginner’s Guide To TikTok Marketing
Marketing your business on TikTok is an excellent idea since the platform works wonders to reach a new audience and gain more exposure. If your business’s target audience is Gen-Z or Millennials, then you should be on the platform that they are on.
Another social media where you should be active in WhatsApp. Given that 98% of Singaporeans use WhatsApp as their main messaging application, the more you need to take advantage of WhatsApp for Business to promote your niche.
READ MORE: 5 Features On WhatsApp For Business
If done successfully, you can expect your potential local customers to enquire with you about your products or services. You can also input your business details such as location, opening hours and website URL on your WhatsApp For Business profile. This way, not only can they approach you for enquiries, they will also be able to visit your website via WhatsApp.
6. Ensure Consistent Business Details Across Digital Channels
Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are crucial to your local SEO since they can influence your local ranking. It needs to be 100% correct and consistent on your website, business directories, local directories, GMB profile and any place online that mentions your business. Otherwise, it can lead to missed opportunities for potential customers to find your business. They also need to spend additional time and effort to verify your business details, which can be frustrating.
There are plenty of citation tools and services to use to analyse your NAP, such as Loganix, WhiteSpark, Nexunom, and BrightLocal are a few examples you should check.
An easy way to check and verify your NAP is by Googling your address, and phone numbers, checking other listings online for your business NAP, or using the tools we mention for quicker checks. Checking and updating your NAP for consistency can be a pain since you need to go through countless published citations. Thus, using tools can come in handy.
7. Earn Positive Reviews
Part of optimising your local SEO strategy and ensuring business growth is to get positive reviews from clients. Surveys confirm that 95% of customers read online reviews, while 58% are willing to pay more for products with positive reviews.
Reviews provide validation to potential customers and can influence search rankings since search engines, like Google, look for factors that demonstrate trustworthiness and relevance to users. Additionally, reviews can provide additional citations, which serve as signals to search engines, enhancing your visibility.
8. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
With many users using their mobile devices to perform searches, it is best practice to make your website mobile-optimised. Mobile-friendly sites were a high priority for mobile searches, so businesses are leaping to make their sites adaptable for mobile devices. In fact, 60.67% of all web traffic came from mobile phones.
When you have a mobile-friendly site, you are increasing the potential chance to connect with the target market. As a result, local SEO services and strategies incorporate mobile SEO to ensure functionality and better user experience for mobile users.
If you are not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s tool for testing a website’s mobile-friendliness.
9. Use Schema Markup
If you are exploring SEO strategies, you might come across schema markups or structured data, which are vocabularies embedded into your website’s codes.
Implementing schema markup can make a difference since it makes it easier for search engines to read the necessary information about your business. However, it can be intimidating if you do not have any knowledge about developing a website.
In reality, it is much simpler than you think.
What these codes do is tell the search engine where to look for specific information. One way to gain knowledge about schema markup codings is by using Schema’s online resource. You can find different schema markups to use, but it will depend on what information matters to your target customers. Some popular markups include your business’s address, aggregated reviews and opening hours.
You can also use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper for an easier way to add structured data markup to a web page. They even have a step-by-step guide you can find here.
10. Optimise Your Metadata
Metadata is a significant factor when making a first impression on a potential visitor. Not only that, but it also helps a search engine understand better the content and geographic focus of your web pages. Metadata includes your site’s title tags, header tags, meta descriptions and image alt tags, which all convey information about your website.
Now, let us look at what each does and why they matter.
Title tags carry the title of a webpage. It is where you can incorporate location-specific keywords to help search engines determine the geographical relevance of a webpage.
Meta description includes local keywords and information about the webpage, whether it is a service page, contact us or about us page. A well-crafted meta description can encourage users to click through to your site, which is beneficial to your local SEO strategy.
Header tags, such as H1, H2, H3, etc., were used to help provide an organised structure to your content for readability and accessibility for users and search engines.
Image alt texts
Image alt texts also help search engines know the relevance of the images to local searches, which improves the visibility of image search results by weaving in location-specific keywords.
There are many SEO and SEM tactics available for your digital marketing effort. Most digital marketing techniques will always remain effective, and local SEO is one of them.