Search Engine Optimisation, Content Marketing and everything else in between – it can all be seriously useful for getting new customers to your website, but what happens when your business can only help people locally? Getting thousands of hits from other countries is going to be of no real use to you. So how do you promote your website locally on Google?
This is a question I often come across from businesses I help and it isn’t the easiest thing to tackle – but it can be done.
Here’s a list of some of the best tried and tested tactics for ranking locally
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip One:
Featuring Local Keywords on Your Website
The first thing to consider with any online strategy is where you want to focus.
What is your aim? What do you want to rank well in Google for?
When it comes to ranking well locally, it’s vital that you consider the keywords you’re using on your website.
If you aren’t sure what keywords are – firstly I’d recommended signing up to the POP Content email list and reading through the quick start traffic guide. It gives you some of the basics in terminology that you’ll probably need to know to get the most out of guides like these.
Don’t be put off – it’ll only take a few minutes to read and will seriously help you make strides in your understanding of online marketing.
Secondly – when I talk about ‘keywords’ it’s simply a term used for search terms; a ‘keyword’ might actually be made up of multiple words. Weird, I know, I didn’t make it up though, it’s an industry term. Whenever you type in a set of words into Google, that could be counted as a ‘keyword’ (e.g. “how to replace a tyre” could be a keyword). And it’s really important before you embark on trying to rank well in Google, that you decide exactly what you’re hoping to rank well for.
Now, when it comes to ranking locally, it’s going to be crucial that you feature local keywords on your website.
If you’re trying to rank well for ‘App Developer Dundee’, for example, it’s important that you mention that exact phrase on your website; probably on a number of different pages, but especially the home page if it’s your main focus keyword.
Google has grown even smarter (as it always does!) so you can also gain benefits by mentioning different geographically relevant keywords around your website.
For example, your business might be in a small village, set within a larger town and within a larger governing district. For POP Content, this might mean mentioning words such as ‘Dundee’ but also ‘Dundee City’, ‘Angus’ and even ‘Scotland’ in our content. It simply makes it easier for Google to figure out where your business is. Plus, it allows different types of local searchers to find you, no matter which geographical area they choose to type into Google.
Don’t fall into the trap of ‘keyword stuffing’, however and overloading your website with that one phrase in too many places. Google wants to know what your website is about, but it is also wise to ‘unnatural’ content and your SEO efforts can be damaged by overdoing it.
A great way to keep your keyword content ‘natural’ is to simply write an article as naturally as possible, then as you edit it, add the term in wherever it will sound completely natural. You can also use an awesome service like Yoast if you have WordPress (it monitors your content as your write it and let’s you know if you’ve gone overkill on your keywords. And it’s free!)
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Two:
Get Into More & Better Directories
Directories are a great place for your website to appear online; as you’ll know if you follow this blog, backlinks are extremely important when it comes to ranking well in search engines.
While directories may not always give you a big link boost, it’s highly beneficial for local SEO to make sure you’re listed in some good ones.
So which directories should you be in?
Other than just simply making sure you’re in the big ones, such as Yellow Pages or Google+ (see more on the next tip), you can usually get a good indication of whether it’s worth getting into a directory by finding out the ‘Domain Authority’ of the particular website.
Domain Authority is simply a measure that many search engines use to indicate how important & trustworthy the website is, and therefore how much they will trust backlinks from that particular website. The higher the domain authority, the more important a link is from that website.
You want good authority links to your website; so getting into a local online directory can do wonders for your local SEO.
Here’s a simple method for finding a good directory that has a good DA:
- Download Moz’s free ‘MozBar’
- Once installed, Google your location + ‘directory’ (e.g. Dundee directory)
- Open some directories in your neighbourhood and check the ‘DA’ number
- If it’s about 20+, it’s probably worth applying to join the directory. If they’re asking for payment to join, I’d aim for 50 or more to make sure it’s worth it, depending on the cost.
Once you’ve entered all the good directories in your area, it’s a good idea to start looking at your listing on the most important one – Google+.
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Three:
Build a Better Google+ Business Page
Google+ for business is incredibly important if you want to promote your website locally on Google.
Google used to have two separate areas for Google+ (it’s social network site) and Google Local (where you see map listings appearing in a normal Google search or in a search on Google Maps). Now they’ve combined, it gives you the chance to make your listing a lot more detailed; including full business descriptions, profile and cover photos, opening times, business categories, reviews and of course – web links.
I recommend filling out your listing with as much detail as you can.
The truth is, Google is getting smarter and recognising local terms more and more. So if someone searches for ‘Plumber Dundee’ for example, you’ll notice the top results are Google+ Business results (usually around 3 results appear). It’s simply because Google has learned that people are looking for local services when they search particular combinations of terms that include an geographical area name.
Google likes to give it’s users the best information it can – fast.
If you can help to answer a Google users query within the local listing and avoid them having to read down into the normal organic listings, it’s only a good thing in Google’s view. Being more helpful than a different search result will cause you to be rewarded by being ranked higher. Making your Google+ Business page more detailed than your competitors, with more photos and a Moz recommended 400+ word description, Google is more likely to push you to the top of those local listings simply for being more helpful to it’s users.
The other thing that can seriously help boost your ranking for your Google+ Business page?
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Four:
Work on Getting More Reviews on Google+
Some directory sites ban you from asking your customers for reviews – but Google actively encourages it!
Reviews give people evidence of how good your business is and they make any directory more useful (as long as they’re genuine!). The more good reviews you can get on your Google+ page, the more likely your business listing is likely to rank well. If you have 5 or more, you’ll even get little orange stars in your listing which encourages more clicks to your website. If you get a lot of poor reviews, it can of course go the other way and your business may disappear into the ether as they say – so I’d only work on this once you’re happy with your product or service!
Here are some methods you can use to encourage reviews:
- Email customers after they receive their product or service and simply remind them Google+ reviews are really helpful (or maybe even incentivise them with a coupon off their next purchase)
- Add a quick reminder to your email signature
- Remind users on your website that they can check out and leave reviews on your Google+ page
- Remind users on your social media channels that they can check out and leave reviews on your Google+ page
- Send customers the direct link to your Google+ review window
- Leave other businesses you work with reviews and let them know; they’ll be more likely to reciprocate
- Address any bad reviews with courtesy; you don’t want to scare off potential reviewers by making them think you’ll be aggressive!
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Five:
List Your Local Phone Number
Google is getting smarter; and listing a local phone number (rather than an 0800 or mobile number) is now an indication Google will take to note your business location.
It knows the local area phone numbers so it will give you a slight boost in their rankings locally if you have a local listed phone number on your website and directory listings. This is also true if you have multiple locations; make sure you have a local telephone number for each one.
If you’re struggling to get a business phone line, or you want just one line to be answered no matter where your customers are calling from, you can use an internet phone service to buy a local area code phone number. Basically it’s a service you can run through your normal landline or mobile phone, but it will be an ‘internet phone line’ that uses a unique local area phone number. Using this service you can choose your own phone number, along with local area code and run it through one line.
There’s many different local geographical phone services out there, simply shop around and see which you think suits your business best!
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Six:
Write More Useful, Relevant Local Blog Posts
Like any content marketing, better content will drive better traffic to your website.
So when you’re trying to attract more customers from your local area, a great idea is to write more relevant blog posts that include local issues.
If you get more links and shares from local news websites, it’s another indication to Google that your business is from that area – which is a big thumbs up.
Of course, you don’t want to overload your blog with only local news – you might start to rank well for the area term (like when someone simply searches ‘UK’ or ‘Dundee’ on it’s own), but what you want is to rank for your area linked with your services (e.g. Content marketing consultant Dundee).
Find a happy medium with your local focused articles if you can; or even sponsor a few local events and write about both your services and the local area.
Another great tip is to write some ‘best of’ pieces about local services in your area unrelated to your own; let other businesses know you’ve featured them and they’ll help to promote your local article and hopefully not only give you a local link boost for SEO, but also drive some local traffic your way – win win!
Finally, it can be seriously shareworthy content if you write ‘list posts’ about very local things; for example, you could write something like “24 sayings only Dundonians understand” or “14 places in Dundee only locals know about”. This kind of content is the kind of thing that can be fairly simple to crack out, but can get viral in the local area – which is great if it’s featured on your website!
Shared content not only gets you more recognition on social media – it gives you an SEO boost too – so this ones a great tactic if you have the time to work on a few local articles.
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Seven:
Keep Your Listings Consistent
A consistent ‘NAP’ can really help boost your local rankings. Your ‘NAP’ is your name, address and phone number. Keeping these consistent throughout different directories and on your own website has been proven to boost your local rankings.
Google likes to give it’s users clear and valid information – so multiple slight variations can confuse it and make it unsure of which information is correct. Go back and review your directory entries and listed NAPs on your website and try to make them all as consistent as possible.
If you don’t have time to run through them on your own, Moz Local can help you keep your NAP’s consistent – check it out here.
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Eight:
Get into ‘Best of’ and Review Posts
If you can get into some local ‘best of’ posts about your business services in your local area, it can be a huge boost for your local reputations and for local SEO.
Simply search a term such as ‘best marketing consultant UK’ (obviously you would change the service and location to match your business), then get in touch with the writer of the article to ask if they wouldn’t mind considering your service as an addition to the list. If the article is from a competitor agency I may approach with caution – but if they’re open to adding you, it’s always worth asking!
Getting into a best of or a review post of services like yours can not only boost the number of customers seeing your brand locally, but it can also boost your traffic and SEO – especially if they link to your website.
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Nine:
Write a Local Guide
Writing a local guide, especially if you are in a hospitality or travel business, can seriously help you promote your website locally on Google.
Not only does it give you the opportunity to mention relevant local keywords frequently without your content reading strangely, but it also can be really helpful and shareable information if you work hard on making it quality, useful stuff.
Check out what your competitors have done and take it up a notch; you could even add a pdf download version as an incentive for people to join a email list!
If you’re not in a business where it makes sense to give a local guide, you can always write up a guide on how to get to your offices from different locations, mentioning things Google maps and sat navs might leave out such as where the busiest roads are that you might want to avoid or where clients might enjoy stopping for a great lunch or coffee on their way.
Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Ten:
Get More Local Links
You may already know just how important links are in boosting your search engine rankings. Well, just like any good content marketing strategy, search engine optimisation can’t be ignored; and the same goes for when you’re trying to promote your website locally on Google.
Getting local links should be a huge priority when you’re trying to rank well for local search terms.
Here’s some effective tactics you can use to gain more quality local backlinks:
- Write local reviews or testimonials for your local suppliers & request a link back for featuring your review on their website
- Get involved with your local business authorities and offer to be interviewed for any PR work/offer a service review
- Use tip 2 and make sure you enter as many good local directories as possible (ensuring your NAP is consistent)
- Follow your local newspaper journalists on Twitter and reach out to them if they need help on a story you have information on. You can simply use twitter search to search for the newspaper name and usually a whole load of journalists will pop up. Add them to a separate private list and check daily to keep it separate from your current twitter feed.
- Sponsor local events. If you have a bit of cash behind you, sponsoring a local event could be a great way to not only get your brand in front of new people in your area, but also gain you some great links from local websites.
- Check your local councils/governing bodies for advertising or PR opportunities. For example, Dundee City Council is currently offering advertising opportunities; with a domain authority of 96, a good link from someone like that could be seriously valuable!
I hope that guide offered some insight and inspired you to promote your website locally on Google. It can certainly be done; just keep at it and you will succeed!
If I can offer any personal help to your business, simply contact POP Content here and ask for Amy – I’ll gladly help you in any way I can. If you have any other tips & tricks you’ve used to promote your website locally on Google – I’d love to add them here! Please just comment below and let me know.
Hope this blog was super helpful – let me know if you’ve used any of these tips to help your business succeed online!