Whether you’re offering plumbing, electrical, gas fitting or some other services that can be bracketed as ‘tradies services’, you will still want your site/service listings to rank at the top of SERPs. But since you are a local business, you must rank on local SERP results. You can’t afford losing out on your local customers just because your business and its location don’t come up in their local searches.
This is why you need local SEO.
According, to a Local Media Tracking Study conducted by Burke, 76% of survey respondents said they search for local businesses online. This is a massive amount of potential customers that you might lose, if your business presence doesn’t turn up on their radar.
Since, local SEO brings local visibility to your business, let’s see how you can leverage its immense potential.
- Onsite Information Is Critical
- Focus on Business Listings
- Local SEO specific Content
- User Reviews
- Social Media
Before you get started on many of the off-site activities that constitute local SEO, you need to take a close hard look at your website. Your website needs to be locally optimized, if it needs to appear at the top of local SERPs. Making sure that your business name, address and phone number is on every page of your website is a critical step in local SEO optimization. Also, ensure that your page titles include keywords that can identify not only your business and its services, but also its location. Remember the primary job of local SEO is to align your services with a location. This means even your Meta descriptions should help searching engines identify your location.
Many tradies have some fantastic content up on their site that is interesting, readable and very engaging. But, in spite of writing some amazing website copy, such content really doesn’t help their SEO efforts; this is because there is very little mention of their neighborhood in the content. For e.g. if you’re a plumbing services provider in Sydney, located in Bronte, you need to mention this location/neighborhood, the famous landmarks around it, quite specifically in your website content. This will help you improve the search visibility of your local business.
Your local SEO will receive a boost if you list your business on all local websites (third party sources) that are relevant in terms of the services you’re offering. But it’s not just enough to create business listings; you must maintain the consistency of these listings across all directories/websites. The information and its format must be similar across each one. This ensures Google and other search engines can make better sense of them. Making sure your listings are complete and include all information that allows search engines to understand your business better, helps it rank better on search engine results.
Some of the leading local listing websites include Yelp Australia, Google Australia, TrueLocal, Yellow Pages Australia, Hotfrog, and AussieWeb amongst various others. Claim your listing and add as much information about your business as possible. Photos, videos, website URL etc. will help boost the credibility of your listing.
This is absolutely crucial if you want to score with local SEO. Think about the kind of content that your local customers might be searching.
Posts on your blog along the lines of ‘Top 5 _____ services in ____ (location) can be a good idea; topics like ‘Top Ten Electrical Problems (if you are offering electrical services) that are prevalent in Sydney Homes (if you are providing services to homeowners in Sydney)’ help you focus on a particular location and still create valuable content.
Think what target customers in your area need, the problems they’re suffering from and how your services can provide a solution for that problem. Come across as somebody who really wants to make a difference with his/her services in a particular area. Make sure you let people know, that the reason why you’ve opened shop in a particular area, is because you’ve roots in the area (if that’s the case) and you love the neighborhood. This improves trust, engagement, relevance and can establish a personal connect with the audience.
Apart from listings, it is the amount of reviews that your business/online presence is able to generate that increases the visibility of your business. So encourage customers to leave reviews of your business. This can be done by sending an email after completing a job or by calling them up. But whatever you do, do not offer an incentive to user to give a review.
Yes, give them a list of review sites where they can share their reviews but all major search players frown upon businesses who give their customers an incentive to write a favorable review or generally come up with fake reviews. You will do well to remember that false reviews, when identified (and they will be identified) sooner rather than later, won’t just bring down your visibility in search, but also your credibility. The latter will be more difficult to resurrect as compared to your search rankings.
The key to a successful local SEO strategy is how well you are able to leverage the power of social media. Create social media profiles for your local businesses and actively engage with your target audience on Facebook, Google+ and Foursquare etc. Keep sharing your content with fans and followers, interact with them on topics related to your services, build relationships and make sure you keep increasing your engagement with them. The more your engagement, the better it is for your visibility.
If you really want to tap into the immense power of local SEO for improving brand awareness, reputation and influence of your business, focus on quality rather than quantity. For e.g. when you’re choosing business listings, make sure you choose the high authority ones – the ones that review a listing before publishing it. Quality is everything in SEO and subscribing to the highest standards of SEO quality is what improves your business reputation. If you don’t focus on quality, you’ll be left managing a tattered reputation.