August of 2015 saw Google make its most impactful change to the way local search results function.
The main shift was from Google showing 7 results when searching for local premises or businesses to showing only 3 (7-pack to 3-pack), the idea being a more user-friendly feel. In reality the shift was probably to minimise the difference between mobile and desktop searches. As well as this specific numbers of roads for addresses were removed, while clicking on the 3-pack now leads to the opening of a 10-pack with more detail. Opening hours are now included and user reviews are more prominent among other changes. All of this is vital to consider as you strive for greater techniques, plans and practices for your SEO strategy. Plans that take a longer term view and focus primarily on consumer experience are certain to come out favourably, but here are some key SEO tips to help you along the way.
- Ensure that the Information On Your Website is Optimized for Local Users
It is vital to remember that your website reflects your business and is so valuable in marketing it, when organized effectively. Remember, ranking highly is all about the minutiae.
- Use a domain name appropriate to your business sector and your location. For instance, more or less everyone can recognise where this cutlery company is from and it plays on the city of Sheffield’s nickname nicely. steelcitycutlery.com
- Make sure that the name, address and contact details of your business is present on every page of your site.
- Share information about the local area to encourage symbiosis with other local businesses. You will also highlight what the area has to offer, perhaps making the difference between a curious customer making the journey or not.
- Magnificent Maps
It is not enough just to have a bland address on each page, you should make sure that on at least one, relevant page you have a fully browsable map for users to see where your premises are. In addition to this you should make sure that your opening times are clear and accessible, phone numbers are clickable and your social media sites are there for all to see.
- User Reviews and Links to Popular Review Sites
Consumer opinion and brand loyalty has never been more about peer reviews than it is today. This is never truer than on a local scale. Who visits a town with the idea of going to lunch without a check on TripAdvisor these days to see if there’s a good Thai restaurant or a nice pub? If you have been wise enough to welcome positive feedback from valued customers then don’t be shy about sharing it and if you feature on a site like TripAdvisor and the reviews are generally positive, make the most of it.
- Use and Optimise Inbound Links
It is no secret that inbound links represent one of the most significant parts of SEO optimization. They are a huge part of Google’s page ranking system which in turn dramatically impacts on your position in search results. Basically, inbound links are links to your page from other local businesses or websites. To gain inbound links it can be a good idea to get involved with community events, donate prizes or money to charities in the area, write blog articles linking in local businesses and most importantly develop strong relationships with other business leaders in the area.
While there are, of course, many other things you can do to positively impact on your local search results status, these 4 tips are easy to implement and represent the best possible start.