Most business owners know that they ‘need SEO’, but they don’t really know what SEO is and, moreover, don’t know that there is a difference between organic SEO and local SEO.
What is Organic SEO?
Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice of taking relevant action to optimise the chances of a website receiving more organic, free, traffic from search engines, such as Google and Bing.
Actions taken include those that can be made on your website (on-page) such as writing highly engaging content that serves the intention of the user, and those that can be taken off your website (off-page) such as obtaining links from highly other relevant, highly trusted, high authority websites.
What is Local SEO?
The intention of local SEO is to be found in a relevant set of listings in the ‘map pack’ of Google when a user is searching for your business type. The user doesn’t even have to enter the name of the area that they’re searching for, to find you, if they’re in the location that you are based. For instance, someone in Southampton looking for a local roofer would only need to search for ‘roofers’, ‘roofers near me’ or another similar search term and they will be served with a list of local roofers in Southampton. The key with local SEO is to get into, what is called, the 3-pack of local listings, which is a list of the top 3 local search results for roofers. There are more than 3 spots available, but only the top 3 will be shown in the map pack.
With Local SEO, the trick is to get as many citations of your business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) on the web as possible. This can be with or without a link to your website, however, the important aspect is to ensure that your NAP citations are exactly the same as the information that is listed on Google.
Why is local SEO important for small businesses?
Local SEO is vital for small businesses that operate within a district, rather than nationally or internationally because it is a relatively inexpensive way to be seen on page 1 of Google by people who are specifically searching for local businesses that can solve their problem.
46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information and a HUGE 88% of people that click on a local search result call that business within 24 hours, which means that the intent of those people is incredibly high.
If you are able to get your business in the 3-pack, you’ll find that your queries from online searches will skyrocket.
How can I improve my local SEO?
There are three main actions to take when you are trying to improve your local SEO:
- Make sure your listing on GMB (Google My Business) is perfect, with the correct Name, Address, and Phone Number showing – along with filling out as much information as possible on the listing.
- Submit your business details in as many relevant business directories as possible. If you’re a UK based business and only operate within the UK, it wouldn’t be very helpful to have a citation from a directory that is based in and serves a completely different country.
- Make sure that the details you’ve submitted are consistent with your GMB listing
Why does my business not show up on Google maps search?
There are a number of reasons why your business isn’t showing up in the Google maps search results. The first reason is simply that there hasn’t been a GMB listing created for your business. You can create this listing yourself, or you can appoint someone to do this for you.
If your business is listed in Google maps, but you didn’t create it, it’s likely that Google received the information from another source. You can claim the business yourself, by searching for your business name and, in the business listing, you should see a link saying ‘own this business?’. You can click this and claim the business as your own.
One other reason that your GMB listing isn’t showing up could be that the listing being suspended by Google, in which case, you can find out my by going into your GMB dashboard.
Does Google charge to be on page 1 of Google?
Ranking organically on Google is free, however, the SEO landscape is both hugely competitive and constantly changing, so it is advisable to concentrate heavily on your SEO by using Hike’s SEO helper or hire a digital marketer to create, implement and enhance your SEO strategy.
Author bio: Paul Lees is the owner of Pleasedigital Marketing, an SEO agency based in the UK.