SEO aims to increase a business’ visibility to a targeted audience, but local SEO takes targeting even further. By focusing on customers and prospects in a specific area, local SEO can drive traffic to websites and physical establishments, which, in turn, makes it possible for a business to gain an edge against local competitors.
Accountants can benefits greatly from local SEO, especially when coupled with a good social media marketing strategy.
Why Local SEO?
An effective local campaign requires a combination of geo-targeted optimisation and content marketing, business listings, backlinks, and user-generated reviews. The benefits of optimising for these areas though are:
1. The battle for real estate on the search engine results page (SERPs); Local businesses will rank in the maps section of a Google search, and often, will even rank higher than organic results.
2. You gain all the benefits of organic SEO. That is, the same methods used to rank for organic listings are also used for local listings, with a few changes. The citations and links become more locally targeted.
3. Higher success rate and faster results when you combine marketing tactics. By combining local SEO, organic SEO and Google Ads, you will stop competing with the other accountants in your area and start to dominate the market.
Managing Business Listings and Social Pages
One aspect of local search is maintaining brand consistency across all online properties, and this includes listing websites. By claiming, verifying and managing your business listings on the services listed below, you will cover the basics that most businesses should, but often don’t, have.
Google’s Business Guidelines change quite often, it is, therefore, crucial that you make sure that the information on the business pages are correct and change as the business changes. Your campaigns may also benefit from social media marketing, which keeps your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts up to date.
Optimising Websites for Local Audiences
Local SEO uses the same elements as traditional SEO does, but it requires a few specifically targeted elements as well.
Contact Information and Business Hours
This is the information search engines, listings or directories, and customers often look for when they first visit local business websites. A business’ operating hours and contact information, which includes its physical address and phone number, should be displayed on every page of your website.
Hyper Local Keywords
Keywords and phrases containing the business’ location should appear in title tags, meta descriptions, and content. Simply targeting a city or state may not be enough to drive local leads. Going hyper local by targeting specific suburbs within your city can help get more customers through your doors. To find out more about keywords, read our article about Keyword Research.
Targeting Local Markets With Content
Content marketing for local campaigns requires the same amount of creativity and quality for any other SEO campaign, but there needs to be a stronger emphasis on calls to action, influence marketing, and topics relevant to the business’ location.
Feature Local Topics
Create content based on what is relevant to your business and your location. Writing about local trends or even area specific laws that are relevant to your industry is always a good way to establish your authority as an information resource.
Creating Brand Advocates
Don’t just sell or announce your services, encourage customer loyalty and create brand advocates by establishing rapport with your customer base. These customers who love your brand can promote it through word of mouth by sharing content on social media.
Establishing Business Identity
Use Schema Markup to make sure your website’s local content is correctly identified by search engines. These can include:
- Local Business Information (Phone, Address, Business Name, Opening Hours).
- Map Schemas.
- Images and Logo Schemas.
Building Quality Citations
Quality backlinks are an important aspect of any SEO campaign, but citations are even more important for local SEO. Citations are brand mentions made by customers or other businesses on third-party websites. These brand mentions are key ranking factors in local search.
Some of the most important and effective types of citations:
Social or Blog Content:
Encouraging brand advocates and local influencers to talk about you in their blogs and social media accounts is a good way to acquire citations.
Business Listings and Reviews:
Listings in business directories, local networks, and review sites in themselves are citations. Managing these listings and getting more customers to post positive reviews of your business can add more citations.
Guest Posts and Magazine Publications:
Getting other people to write about your business in an online magazine or publishing your own articles and press releases can increase your exposure and establish your brand as a leading authority in your niche.
Managing Customer Reviews
Your local listings and social accounts need to have unique content that goes beyond your business description, operating hours and contact details. The best way to get this type of content is through customer reviews. Integrating links into your social media pages and business listings in your website, publishig press releases about your new listings and engaging customers through online content can also get them to share their thoughts. The best way to encourage positive reviews from your customers is by providing great services.
With mobile becoming an important tool for search users each day, and voice search just around the corner, it is imperative that local businesses adopt a local SEO strategy that will allow them to leverage their business presence to where their customers are. It’s not a matter of simply increasing traffic to your site, it’s about staying geographically relevant to your target audience and not losing out to your competitors.
Want to be found locally, but don't know where to go from here?
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