Local Search for small business – it’s not that complicated!

So, you’re a small business located in a town or city and you can only service customers within a certain area from your base for whatever reason.

Based on that statement, no matter what service you offer or product you sell, you have to think a bit differently about getting your website out to the right people in the relevant places.

Suppose you are living in Lancaster and you needed pop out to buy a pint of milk, would you go to Preston for it? Probably not; you want to shop local for cost and convenience, right?

If you are a local business then you need to make sure that your website speaks to local customers and prospects, and you need to show the benefits of how good your product but also how local and convenient it is. This is where optimising your site for local search comes in.

We often find that our customers overthink the simplicity of local search. Many agencies offering SEO advice dress up SEO (Search) in some mystic cloak! Forget that; search and optimisation of a local website is common sense, a bit of hard work and not much more than that. So, here are our top tips for making sure that you can get your business noticed locally.

1. Invest in great content that explains what you do, where you are and how to reach you.

  • Make sure that your content is spot on, and detailed enough for Google to pick it up (at least 300 words about what you do on each of your product / service pages should do the trick).
  • Google works in such a way that it can only rank your site based on what you show it, so the better your content, the more likely the site is to be picked up and put at the top of the Search Pages for relevant searches.
  • So, if you are selling guitars, bananas and banjos, make sure that you have a detailed page about each of those separate things so that Google can pick up the detail about each of your products. Google indexes pages, not whole websites – be aware of this.
  • Cramming all your content onto one page will cost you in the long run because Google won’t be able to pick out specific things about what it is that you are doing.
  • Refer to your location within the copy on your website
  • Make sure that your contact details are clearly featured on both your header and footer.

2. Research and buy a great domain name that reflects your products or service. Domain name selection is worth thinking about carefully because it can make a real difference to whether or not you get found. Here’s an example.

  • Your company is called ‘Smiths’ and you are based in Lancaster. You sell milk from your van and via a retail unit.
  • So, your domain names should be along the lines of www.hampsonsmilk.co.uk or www.lancastermilk.co.uk or www.milkshoplancaster.co.uk.  Get the picture?
  • Names that you shouldn’t go for might be www.hampsonsoflancaster.co.uk or www.hampsons.co.uk or www.hampsonsshop.co.uk
  • Why not? Well, the second set of names don’t say what you do. They may promote your brand name but by using these types of addresses you are relying more on page content, SEO investment and brand recognition, making Google’s job harder. There is a bit of a debate when it comes to using exact match domain names, but in our experience, when working with small local businesses, we think that this approach for local search works really well.

3. Consider using the Yoast Local Plug in if you have a WordPress Website. We have worked with YOAST for years (see more at www.yoast.com) and we think that their products are cost effective, easy to use and easy to update. We are YOAST Certified meaning that we know how to use it to optimise WordPress websites properly so if you want to discuss this option then give us a ring and we can talk it through with you.