I am Timur, a SEO specialist at Clickthrough Limited and your host for today! The topic we are going to cover in this episode is local SEO basics. This podcast and everything in it can be useful for SEO beginners, small business owners, or anyone who is keen on search engine optimisation. So, let’s get started!
First of all, let me define local SEO for those of you who are confused about it. General SEO involves learning how to optimise your website to rank better in search engines. But, we are talking about the NZ wide search here, regardless of region (e.g. Auckland, Wellington).
Local SEO targets local searches
But, what if you want to target specific audiences located in your area? Well, that’s what local SEO is. It is the way to optimise your website to rank better in your particular region. It consists of things such as Google My Business optimisation, adding your website to Google maps, working on local backlink profiles, publishing press releases, and lots of other things.
The main goal of local optimisation is helping your potential customers to find your physical store or to call you as a local service provider, if that’s what you need. And, if you don’t sell your products or services from an offline store, you still may want to target people in your area anyway.
For instance, let’s say you deliver goods throughout Auckland or Wellington only. If that’s the case, you want to make sure that those people who live in Auckland or Wellington will be able to find you easily using Google.
It’s more than optimising your website for local terms
The important thing to remember is that local SEO is not only about pure website optimisation. A proper local SEO strategy includes all kinds of local promotional channels. Your goal is to cover as many of your local channels as possible.
You can reach that audience via radio, podcasts, brochures, events, billboards, and anything you can think of in your particular area – considering your line of work, obviously.
Events can be very useful too, did you know? Let me give you some example. Let’s say you added a small event for your customers which can be pretty much anything from simple training to a seminar or anything else. Most likely, people will see that event in the Google event bar above the search results every time they Google for any event in their area.
For example when someone searches something like “events in Auckland tomorrow”, “what to do in Auckland tomorrow” or “where to go tomorrow” they can see your event in their Google search straight away, and that’s how you just got a potential customer. Isn’t that easy?
It also shows Google that your business is useful for people, not only well optimised for the Google bot. Google is not only about keywords and backlinks anymore. To rank well, you need to show that your business actually benefits people’s needs.
To do that, you need to use a comprehensive approach. Google has got pretty good at gathering all the information from the net and putting it together to get a complete picture of your business.
Another great idea is to start a podcast that covers your business topic and answers the most common customer questions in your niche. Ideally, you would target your geographical area.
A YouTube channel for your business is an excellent idea as well. Try to diversify your online and offline presence as much as you can.
You probably think that all this sounds too obvious, but you are going to be surprised by how many SEO specialists and business owners alike don’t consider those things in their local SEO strategy. I just want to make sure you are considering absolutely everything. Yes, it will take some time to set up podcasts, YouTube channels, and the like, but trust me, you won’t regret it!
It builds trust
While these avenues offer SEO benefits, there is more than that on offer. You are also going to build customer trust. People tend to think better about the company if they see it has a YouTube or podcast channel. It also tells them that you are qualified in your niche, even if that’s not true or is stretching the truth just a little bit!
Obviously, there are some things you need to optimise on your website as well. The first thing you want to do in terms of local SEO is adding your real physical address on your website. By address, I mean postcode, street, city, country and even map. Also a local phone number. I would even recommend adding your name, which can be beneficial if you have social media profiles which will confirm your location one more time for Google. Also, make sure your social media profiles are optimised in terms of your address.
The next step is to fill out a Google My Business profile and make sure your titles, descriptions, and content have got the name of your city, country, or region in them. You need to show Google the direct relation to a particular region of your business.
I can’t even tell how many businesses here in New Zealand have their Google My Business profile half or fully empty. The one great thing you can do with your local profile is use offers, events, posts and, my personal favourite, products or services. These are going to be visible every time users see your local profile.
Previously, the products / services field was available only for mobile search, but recently it became visible for desktop users as well. To get that local profile panel close to the top of the search results, you are going to have to verify your physical address, which you can do via phone call, mail letter, SMS or some other ways that Google will show you in your Google My Business profile.
Don’t forget citations
Now, let’s talk about citations a little bit. You need to get a high-quality backlink profile and target local websites as much as you can.
Events also can be very useful here because it’s so easy to get a great link from the event websites by submitting your event there. And don’t pay too much attention to whether those links do-follow or not. Our goal here is not Page Rank growth but to increase our local search visibility.
Press releases will work well too. Find your local news websites and use them for publishing your news or announcements. Scoop.co.nz is a great website to check out as well. The trick is to strike a happy balance. Don’t do press releases too often and try to use them naturally. And the important thing to remember here is that it’s quality over quantity!
Well, I think that would be all for today. I hope it was useful. Thank you for listening us, it has been a pleasure!