Factors to Consider for Local SEO in 2018

Local SEO 15 Mar 2018

If we’re not used to the world of SEO, then it can be a confusing concept to grasp. There are so many terms that throw us off guard when trying to approach SEO that we can often be left more confused than we started.

Local SEO is a term that pops up frequently, but what does it really mean? Local SEO works much like conventional SEO, in that it supplies search engines with information, so it displays when the relevant search terms are entered, albeit with a focus on your local vicinity.

This approach is ideal for businesses who have a product or service to sell to its local community. As such, we need to ensure that we’re meeting all the requirements set out by search engines, so our business is being listed in the right way and is being discovered by customers who are looking to purchase what your business has to offer.

Google My Business

When it comes to local SEO, Google really does provide businesses with the tools they need. Although other SEO work will be required, your first port-of-call should be to ensure that you have an active business listing that contains the correct details.

While the setup of a My Business profile is relatively straightforward, it’s not’s something that business owners should rush through. Even the slightest error could make all the difference as to whether your business appears in local search results or not.

An example of this can be choosing the wrong category. Many may not know, but the category chosen can have an overall bearing on where your business appears when it comes to local search results, and those in the wrong category could be forgoing several new customers as a result.

The reason why this should be done as soon as possible is that the older a business listing is in My Business, the more authority it gains as time goes on, which only goes on to fuel your organic SEO endeavours.

Business owners should also look to verify their My Business profile as soon as possible, this can be done via My Business, and correspondence will be sent via a post that will instruct you how to verify the My Business profile.

As well as getting your recognised locally, a My Business listing can also offer an outlet for customers to leave reviews, which again helps propel your profile to the top of the listings.

Avoid Multiple Business Listings on the Same Directory

While there’s nothing wrong with listing our business on multiple directories (as long as they’re relevant,) business owners could run into problems if there are duplicate listings within the same directory. The worst-case scenario is that search engines simply ignore your business listings completely.

This is especially true for Google My Business. There can be times when business owners set up a business listing, only to forgot about it and create another one months later. As Google will use its own algorithm to dictate what businesses should be displayed in the local area, you will find that just like duplicate content, your information will be ignored in favour of a competitor.

So, while duplicate business listings may not seem to be too severe on the surface, it’s a sure bet that they will end up causing business problems when it comes to future SEO endeavours.

Citation Factors

Citations are basically online mentions of your business’s name, address, website and telephone number. While the concept is fairly straightforward, you’d be surprised at how much they can hinder a site if they’re not kept consistent across all platforms.

The building of citations is recommended, but it’s important to ensure that the information is correct and consistent across all platforms, as well as matching the information contained within your website.

While it can be tempting to build citations on as many platforms as possible, it’s vital that we’re only using trusted sites. More recognised directories such as Yell, Foursquare and Yelp are fine, as these sites will have good repute online, so will send the right signals to Google when it’s deciding where your site should show up in local search results.

However, there can be sites that are of lower quality and don’t always follow the rules put in place by Google. As such, these directories will be ignored, as well the businesses listed on it.

Other ideas for citations can include websites that operate in your geographical areas, such as local news and community websites.

If you do have citations that are hindering the site, then these need to be taken care of as soon as possible. While it can be a time-consuming process, it’s something that needs to be done in order to ensure your SEO goals are met. If you’re not sure of the best approach, then why not consider employing the services of professional. Sure, there will be a cost involved, but the ramifications of incorrect citations could end up causing issues when it comes to winning new clientele.

Keyword Research

When it comes to SEO, keyword research is something everyone is aware of, but not everyone is certain of how they should be used

While keywords are still a factor in Google’s search algorithm, the way in which they’re used can also affect ranking. For example, if you were to try a target an article for a specific keyword, and then try to enter that exact keyword several times within the article, you may find that Google looks upon the content as ‘spammy’ and disregard it.

The general rule of thumb is to carry out keyword research and then craft your content around it. While you should look to include relevant keywords, you also need to ensure that the article has context and is of high quality.

Even if we’ve carried out keyword research in the past, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels when it comes to our future SEO endeavours. Staying up to date with keyword research ensures we have a better idea of what potential customers are searching for.

Website Factors to Consider

As well as adhering to third-party platforms, we also need to ensure our website is working in the right way. All the alluring logos and fancy fonts in the world won’t win over customers who are having difficulty in navigating the site, especially if it optimised for mobile users.

The Importance of Mobile Optimisation

To understand the importance of your website being mobile-optimised, we must look at the figures of how people are using the Internet. While desktop access is still high, an astonishing 49.74 percent of web page views came from a mobile device.

Evidently, these figures can vary depending on where you’re located, but it stands to reason that if your website isn’t optimised for mobile use, then you could be missing out on new clientele.

Relevant Landing Pages

While citations are important, they’re not the only aspect of local SEO you need to consider. Google will also look to your site for more information on what your business does, so if the information isn’t there, it isn’t going to have much luck.

The information contained within your landing pages should be relevant topically and locally while making the use of keywords.

Just like having multiple My Business listings, having duplicate content on your site means that you’re not gaining the traction you need, even the duplicated content appears on site. Whether you’re looking to link to your website from external services or maintaining the content on your site, it’s vital that you ensure that there is no duplicated content.

URL Structures

The structure of the URLs contained within your site may not seem of the greatest importance in relation to local SEO, but when used in conjunction with everything else, they do serve a purpose. The topic of the page should be included within the slug, as should the area.

For URL structures to be effective, they should contain less than 60 characters and match the H1 tags whenever possible.

SSL Certificates

While an SSL certificate won’t propel you to the top of search engine results, it does play an important part in the ranking of your site. Sites have been required to have an SSL certificate since January 2016 and offer a customer an additional layer of security when carrying out a transaction on your website.

As well as making your customers more confidence that their transactions are safe, it also reassures search engines like Google that if a customer visits your site via the search engine, then its user’s details are safe. As such, a having an SSL certificate in place can yield more benefit than you’d first assume

Sweep Your Site for Pests

While it would be easy to assume that viruses and malware only ever affect computers, the truth is that hackers will look to obtain information from anywhere, including your website. While some signs show that there has been an attack, others may look to upload malware and sit back and obtain a slew of information, which could have detrimental effects on your business, as well as invading the privacy of customers.

Fortunately, you can check the condition of your website via the Google Site Checker tool. It can also be a good idea to check the website on Google Health, which can be done by clicking the ‘Health’ tab.

If you’re concerned that your website does contain malware, then its advisable to do a sweep of the website. There are various tools available online, but if you’re not sure how to contend with the issue. It can be advisable to enlist the services of a professional.