Most small businesses don’t need to compete in search results on a national scale, with very generic search terms such as “car insurance” or “furniture”, small businesses would get much better results, and a much bigger ROI, if they targeted their actual audience, which is most commonly, the audience in their surrounding area.

For example, John, the local plumber, has a small brochure style website and wants to rank better in search engine results. He would spend a small fortune, and not really get anywhere if he were to go after the search term “plumber”, or “local plumber”. However, if he were to go after the much more targeted keywords of “plumber in townname”, he would spend much less, and get faster, and much better results, as he is only competing with other websites targeting those keywords, within a particular town, as opposed the rest of the country.

Below are 5 of the many methods we use to optimise a website for local search results.

1. Keyword Optimisation

Your website is what portrays you online, so it is important to ensure that it is getting the right message across, to both the user and the search engines, making sure your content has the correct keyword usage will do this.

The Domain Name – At the very least, this should have your business name in it, if you do only work locally, then having the area in there would be even better.

Page Titles – Make sure that each page has your business name, locations covered, and the service that you offer.

Meta Tags and Descriptions – These are still used in SEO, so making sure the content is relevant is very important

Content – Mention your area in your content, mention areas you have worked in, or can work in, you could even have a page dedicated to your local area, talking about things that people can do, link to the areas website etc. It will just reinforce the fact that you are from that area to search engines.

2. Contact Information

It is essential that you not only put your contact information on the home page and contact us page, but on all the web pages you have. The most common place is the footer, ensuring this information is on each and every page, will benefit you a great deal. By contact information, we mean business name, address and telephone numbers

3. Local Listings

This ranges from the free local directory websites, to review based sites such as Free Index. Having as many of these, pointing back to your website, and with all your business information on will only reassure the search engines that your website is relevant for a particular set of services, for a particular area.

It is important to ensure these are also kept up to date, make sure there are some photos in the listing, with information, preferably different for each site, about your company, its location and what it does.

4. Reviews

Promote them, ask your customers to go online and leave a review for you, if you have done a good job for them, and they are happy, they won’t have a problem spending 10 minutes online telling other people about it. Whether it is sending you an email for you to upload to a ‘Testimonials’ page on your website, or on websites as previously mentioned, like Free Index, Google local listing reviews, and any other that you may be on.

Once you start getting reviews, reply to them, good or bad, it is important that when new potential customers are looking at these review websites, that they can see your are an active user, and you take pride in your work. But don’t get into a slagging match with anyone over bad reviews, it happens, a lot more people are going to go online to bad mouth a company than to praise them, so leave a polite message with your side of the story, and leave it at that. If it is particularly offensive, or incorrect, or even fake, most listing websites will have a way to report these, and with enough evidence, they will be removed.

5. Social Media

You’ve heard of them all, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; they are not just for youngsters telling the world what sandwich they have just had. They are perfect for small companies to make a good name for themselves in the local area, keep your pages regularly updates, new photos, blog posts, general statuses, get friends and family to share, and it is surprising how it will spread from there. You will probably also get an increase of enquiries through this outlet, we find a lot of people prefer sending a quick message online than to phone someone, so make sure you keep check of these.

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