Local SEO strategies worked out by SEO experts in Australia or for that matter anywhere in the world are always fluid and in a state of flux. Approaches and plans are changed continuously year on year to keep in tune with the latest algorithms given by major search engines. 2018 has been no exception and the year till now has seen a few tactics that have dominated the local SEO scenario.
What is local SEO
Local SEO is Local Search Engine Optimisation. As in SEO which is more generic, local SEO is the process of ranking businesses and what they have to offer to the local people when they are looking for it. It will make your website stand out in local SERPs above your competitors, thus drawing in more traffic and increasing lead generation and conversions. Additionally, potential customers use local search to find out top businesses in a definite location. By improving online presence in local search, you will be catering to this segment of the population in a specific area.
The need for local SEO
But first, why does your business need a proper local SEO plan? It is because without following definite local SEO plans, your business will not be able to take advantage of the increased online demand to sell products or services. Most buyers research online for products before arriving at a purchase decision today. This is more so after the exponential growth of smart phone usage. If your business does not rank high enough on the results pages of major search engines, you will be missing out on business opportunities. Hence, in the modern business environment, it is essential to have a robust online presence and visibility. This is what a good local SEO strategy will help you achieve.
Dominant Local SEO strategies in 2018
The main point now is – how do you optimise your strategy to get on top of local search results. Here are some techniques that are being followed in 2018 to help your website rank higher than your competitors.
- Title and Meta Description – Title and Meta descriptions tags are the HTML elements that help to describe your content in the SERPs. It is a form of a preview of your content. Even though the number of visible characters is limited, Google has increased the width of the main search results page to 600px now. Hence in 2018, you get more space to write longer titles and descriptions. This is beneficial to increase business exposure on SERPs. However, too long titles and Meta tags will get truncated in the search results. You should, therefore, put your keywords at the beginning of the title and descriptions.
With many websites vying for competition, you have to put titles and descriptions that will catch the attention of the visitor immediately and lead to a low click-through-rate (CTR). Most critically for local searches, the name of the city that you are operating in should be prominently mentioned.
- Improved local SEO through Online Directories – In a survey by Google, it was found that almost eighty per cent of consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Hence, if you have not claimed your business online, you are missing out on searches from this segment. It is critical therefore that as a local business, you should list your business on top online search directories like Yelp. Add your business name, address and phone (NAP) correctly and ensure that they are the same in every directory. If they are not consistent, it will be tough for Google to determine which information is correct and can result in your business not showing up in SERPs at all.
- Optimise “Google My Business” – For local SEO marketing, optimising “Google My Business” is critical. Studies have shown that the most influencing factor on a consumer before a visit to the store is a complete and detailed listing of the business. This is not easy and it is preferable that you hire the services of a leading digital marketing firm such as OneStopMedia.Com.Au Digital Marketing Agency. You can be sure that your local SEO will be fully optimised and geared for local searches in Australia.
Certain steps are followed for optimising local searches. First, the business category that exactly fits your nature of business should be selected. Do not be generic about it and list your business in multiple categories. Give a detailed description of your business, operating hours and types of payments accepted. Consider Google AdWords to drive visitors at the most popular times of the day. Upload a logo of your business for instant brand recognition. Include a minimum of clear and quality photos of your products and services. This strategy is being extensively followed in 2018 for local SEO campaigns.
- Customer Reviews – In 2018, customer reviews for local search optimisation has been given a lot of importance. Studies by Search Engine Journal show that eighty-eight per cent of people trust online reviews. It is not difficult to get reviews on social media platforms where most people are active. Use social media tools that allow you to monitor all your accounts on one dashboard. You can then respond to a review right away, regardless of where it is posted. The point is to show that you care for feedback even if it is a negative review. Facebook and “Google My Business” page are the two places that people usually look for addresses. So added attention should be given to these areas.
Moreover, Google has explicitly said that positive reviews enhance online business visibility. It can, therefore, be taken as default that reviews influence local search engine ranking.
- Publish locally optimised content – If you have the time to create a lot of content for your website, it is recommended that you publish locally optimised content. Once you can provide all the information on your site, there will not be any need for customers to go to different sites for it. Post every little detail (like NAP) on your site. Further, include keywords in page title, Meta description, URL, H1 H2 tags, ALT text in the images and anchor text. All these help Google to crawl your site and rank you high on local search engines.
These are some of the trends that are dominating local SEO services and strategies in 2018 as a part of overall digital marketing campaigns.