Local SEO in 2019: What to do and what to avoid

By Mason Holt

As we try to get to grips with the complexities of Google’s algorithm, it is becoming apparent that local SEO plays a bigger part that initial insights would suggest. It’s constant updates mean that SEO is constantly evolving to become more accurate. Because of this, local SEO is now big news for smaller, local businesses. For those who aren’t sure of where to start when it comes to local SEO, here is a handy guide for 2019 that will help:

Do:

Target long tail keywords

It has been proven that long tail keywords are often more beneficial for search engine ranking, particularly for smaller businesses. This is because they can target more niche areas. For example, a vegan bakery shop in Shoreditch would have a better chance of ranking for the ‘best vegan cakes in Shoreditch’ than ‘vegan bakery London.’ It has been reported that long tail keyword searches make up more than 70% of all Google searches.

Evaluate keywords before using them

It is important that you don’t just pluck a keyword out of thin air. You can actually measure your keywords’ metrics before committing to a keyword. Check whether it is a good fit for your site by using easy online tools. It will give you information such as keyword difficulty, the search volume, return rate and average click, then base your decision on your findings.

Create a Google My Business page

Google My Business has quickly become a sweet spot for local SEO. It is essentially a tool that allows you to adhere to Google’s needs by giving them vital information about your business. It will appear on the right hand side of a screen as a sidebar anytime a user searches for your company, It presents reviews, location, phone number, and address.

Build a sitemap

A search engine needs to index all the pages on your website in order to display it in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). To aid this process, you need to create a sitemap that lists every page on your website. This makes it much easier for search engines to crawl, meaning it is also easier to index each page.

Optimize images

When we think of local SEO, it is important to remember that most localized searches begin on a mobile device. This is because people are often in the area looking for information while on-the-go. Images can slow your site down, which is detrimental for mobile users that require immediate information. Be sure to compress your images before you upload them to combat this. You should always remember to include alt text, file name and ensure that it is relevant to the page.

Citations

A citation is a complete or partial reference to your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Most citations will allow you to include your website URL. Google uses them when evaluating the online authority of your business. Unlike links though, citation don’t need to be linked to your business’s website in order for you to be credited for them.

For a citation to help with your SEO strategy, it is important that it exactly matches the NAP on your website and on your Google My Business page. Along with links, citations are a primary factor that Google uses when deciding on which order to rank businesses in their local search results.

Link building

There is no such thing a local SEO campaign without link building. Not only should link building be a crucial aspect of your SEO checklist, but the ability to generate powerful and relevant link is what makes SEO firms stand out.

Link building, when done correctly, is extremely advantageous. Not only does it build connections that lead to higher rankings in major search engines, but it also makes the internet a more navigable system. It is important to note that due to Google’s continued evolution and progress, link building as an SEO strategy is becoming increasingly dependent on quality over quantity. Relevancy impresses Google and makes sense to the end user.

Don’t:

Use Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is when a website overuses a particular keyword or phrase. You may think that by including the keyword in every available space that you are fully optimizing your content. However, you’re often doing more harm than good. Google will pick up on the overuse of a keyword and may penalize a site because of this, meaning your website will not rank as well.

Have inconsistent NAP online

When you are filling in local directories, it is crucial that you keep the information uniform across each site. Inconsistency in your NAP information on various sites can hinder your ranking and web reputation as google will deem your address, and therefore your business as false. To prevent this from happening, ensure that there is one single template that includes all the correct information to be displayed.

Chase irrelevant backlinks

In many cases, backlinks are a good strategy for SEO, but too many links from other websites can begin to look suspicious. Furthermore, when you’re featured on other websites, make sure that it is relevant to your site.

 

Links for relevant websites help search engines figure out what your site is about, which helps you rank for that topic. For example, if you’re looking to rank highly for a Manchester Solicitors, then links from websites about Manchester and solicitors are great for your site.

Forget to link internally

It is extremely important to remember to internally link when you are uploading content. This assists with information architecture and your website’s hierarchy that distributes page authority and ranking power among pages.

Using local SEO in 2019

In a nutshell, local SEO is becoming a key tool for local and small businesses. Its primary use is to drive local traffic to your site, where you are likely to have a higher chance of conversion. These tips require constant upkeep and maintenance so it is important to keep reviewing them.

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Mason Holt is an experienced freelance writer. With a range of knowledge in the business and marketing sector, he is an avid researcher and writer in the field. Having worked with a number of different businesses, Mason is now a freelancer who is looking to specialize in this niche going forward.

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