The lowdown on local search engine optimisation (going localo down in AcaGooglo)

Before we get going

Greetings tech-heads, welcome to the whacky world of local search engine optimisation. ‘Cos as we all know, you can never have too much HTML-asticity in your life.

BTW, if you’re not particularly techtacular, then be warned, there will be some jargon, but we’ll make sure we bust it for you as we go.

What is local SEO?

Some things are vital for survival: Oxygen, laughter, bicycle clips, donuts… and for any business with a website, you’re also gonna need SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and for the sake of this post, specifically local SEO.

In a busy online world of 1billion+ websites (and another 150+ new ones created every minute), you need all the help you can get to make sure yours is found. Local search is one of your little helpers.

‘SEO specialist in Brighton’, ‘creative agency in Brighton and Hove’ (see what we did there). People are narrowing there searches down by adding ‘near me’, ‘in Sussex’, ‘in my area’ and all that kind of long-tail jiggery-pokery. So’s you know, long-tail refers to long, ultra-specific search phrases, like ‘find me a design agency within 5 miles of Brighton seafront headed up by a handsome young man with a hint of golden russet in his luxurious beard’.

If your business is connected to a geographical location, local SEO is exactly what you need to kick the competition right where it hurts – and we’re not talking ‘South East England’. So let’s find out a little more about how Google works, when it comes to local SEO. This way, people.

Two tales of local SEO

A local SEO strategy gives you the chance to show a bit of leg in both organic local search (the blue links listed on Google’s results page) and in the map that you often see at the top of a search page (otherwise known as a ‘local map’ or ‘map pack’).

To make life nice and tricky, organic local SEO and the local map features use different algorithms to work out the best-match results. If you’re SEO savvy, you can list in both – double the exposure, double the online calories. If you don’t know your APIs from your CSSs, gizzabell and we can chat it through like normal human beings.

How does Google rank local search results?

Oh, Google, you mysterious little devil, you. You’re quite the secret squirrel when it comes to ranking for organic searches, aintcha. But for your pointers on local SEO, we salute you.

Here are some of the bits ‘n’ bobs Google’s algorithmologists look for:

Relevance: How well your business and web page content match whatever people are searching for.

Distance: How far you are from the location used in the search.

Prominence: How well-known Google thinks your business is.

Citations: Your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Having correct, consistent citations wherever your business is listed online is vital (go check that Yell listing pronto).

Backlinks: Links from other websites to yours. This is huge!

Customer reviews: Ratings, like on Trustpilot or Google Reviews, that help others make informed decisions (give us 5 stars and we’ll love you forever).

Keywords: Location-specific phrases to generate relevant geographic results, like ‘dollop creative agency in Brighton’.

Domain authority: A score that determines how likely your website will show for any given subject, location or industry. Check yours here.

Localised content: Web content created or translated for a particular country, region or language of your target audience.

Behaviour signals: Click-through rates and other marketing data used by Google to analyse your website’s popularity.

Anything else I should know about local SEO?

The list never ends, and it keeps changing. It’s a proper pain, but if you’re the kind of digital oddbod who likes pulling 0s and 1s apart (like us), it’s absolutely fascinating. Centroids, Geotagging, Title tags, Check-ins, Hyperlocalisation, Meta descriptions, Landing pages, Google My Business categories, Place labels… we could keep this up all night.

If you’ve got better things to do and you still think Algorithm is a dancer, pick up the blower 01273 458568 or drop us a line at hello@dollopcreative.co.uk. Let’s get your business sucking up all the local traffic (and beyond).

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