Getting to grips with local SEO
Local SEO, the art of attracting local consumers to your business and one of the best ways to increase your sales, especially if you have a physical location. Did you know that today a consumer is more likely to buy from you if you meet just two criteria:
- You’re reasonably priced
- You can get their purchase to them quickly
Ignoring point 1, the easiest way to get a purchase from point a to point b is if the consumer lives locally to your business. If you’re lucky enough to be in this situation the delivery options available to you for a fast, hassle-free delivery service are much greater, including local delivery by your team and collection from your store.
Is there a demand for local e-commerce?
So we’ve established that localised e-commerce could help you increase your delivery speed, but is there truly a demand for local e-commerce? Aren’t people just as likely to shop nationally or even internationally? You may be surprised to know that consumers in the UK are much more likely to “shop local” compared with our European counterparts. Only 45% of British consumers have reported buying products internationally over the last 12 months. The only European country with a lower percentage is Germany at 37%. Experts believe the trend of shopping locally has been driven by the CV-19 pandemic, demand for lower delivery costs and with Brexit the fear of import fees and duties.
Taking advantage of the local e-commerce trend
So where should you start when it comes to capitalising on the growing UK trend of shopping locally? One of the easiest ways is with local search engine optimisation, which you can complete yourself or with the help of a digital agency such as Actuate.
Local SEO checklist
1. Register for Google My Business
More than just a business directory, Google My Business gives you access to a suite of features all designed to push local business to you thanks to search giant Google. You’re able to create a business profile which can appear in ‘position zero’ for localised search on Google, you can collect reviews and feedback, and you can also post news and offers directly to the first page of Google’s search results. The power of Google My Business really shouldn’t be underestimated.
2. Prepare your site for local SEO
To prepare your site for localised searches, you’re going to need to reference your location in strategic areas around your website. From page title and META tags to in-body headings and general paragraphs, it’s important to remember your geographical location when you’re writing your web copy.
3. Consider a localised domain name
More for startups and unestablished sites, choosing a localised domain name can instantly help to connect local consumers with your business. For instance, for those in the UK, consider a .co.uk or .uk domain name. Narrowing this further Wales has .wales and .cymru, Scotland has .scot, and Ireland has the .ie domain. Believe it or not, this can be taken even further if you live in a large city like London, with the domain .london available to register. All of these options can help you resonate with the local community and are search signals to Google about the audience your website is targeting.
4. Find local business directories
Business directories litter the internet with many unworthy of the time and effort to create a listing; there are, however, exceptions to every rule. Take the time to search for directories local to your geographic area, so, for instance, here at Actuate, we would search for terms including:
- Chester Link Directory
- Cheshire Link Directory
Add the resulting links to a simple spreadsheet, one per row. Once you have a list of possible local directories, use a tool such as Moz’s Link Explorer to check the domain authority of each link. Simply create an account on Moz, and search for each domain using their Link Explorer tool, finally making a note of the Domain Authority score in your spreadsheet. Anything over 50 is considered good, and a score of 60+ is considered excellent. Take the time to manually submit your website to these sites and ignore the rest… simple! Much like using a localised domain, these links will provide Google with strong ranking signals about the target area of your site.
5. Build up your reviews
Referencing point 1 above, we mentioned that Google My Business gives you the ability to collect reviews for your business listing. Talk to your best customers and see if they are willing to write a genuine and honest review for your company on Google to help you attract more clicks to your website. The process will take just a few minutes, but the rewards once you gather several reviews can be hugely beneficial.
The number of people who are looking to shop locally in the UK is on the increase and competing locally is a lot easier than competition nationally or internationally for sales. Fly the flag for the #ShopLocal movement and increase your sales and exposure at the same time. Look out for part 2 of our Getting to grips with local SEO series in the months to come, where we’ll include even more local SEO tips.