SEO for Local Businesses

Thanks to the internet, many businesses can operate from anywhere they choose and still provide a great service to their customers. But for businesses that rely on face-to-face contact, or need to be local to be effective, SEO needs to be more considered. In particular, businesses need to be highlighting their location on their website to ensure that Google will show it to the right customers.

SEO: the basics

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, in other words, creating a website that Google will find and put on its front page when an internet user searches for relevant terms. Google wants to maintain its position as the top search engine, so the team have created a variety of algorithms to ensure that searchers find what they’re looking for and will use Google next time they’re searching.

Keywords play a big part in SEO – if you’re searching for a Digital Marketing Agency and we haven’t put those words on our website, you’re never going to find Piping Hot Media through Google. But there are other factors to consider. Search engines look for websites that get a lot of visitors because it stands to reason that if a lot of people are already using a product or service, it must be good and it’s worthwhile to direct other people there. Google wants to see that your website has recent activity, to avoid sending users to businesses that have closed down. Links taking visitors between your web pages are also valuable as they show that your website is genuine.

How to optimise for your local area

Many businesses operate purely on a local level. Anyone who works face-to-face with their customers needs to be found by location – for example, no one expects a Newcastle builder to build an extension on a Surrey house. This makes it really important that your business ranks for your local area. In other words, your website needs to appear on Google when someone searches for “builders/hairdressers/estate agents in Guildford.”
In addition to the general SEO tips above, there are three ways of helping your local business website to rank on Google:

  1. Use keywords to direct Google to your site. Remember to increase your chances of being found by including phrases (long-tail keywords) in the text on your site e.g. “We are firm of builders in Guildford in Surrey, specialising in loft conversions.” Show some moderation, though. Don’t repeat the keywords over and over again in the hope of increasing your ranking – your website should read naturally. If it looks like you’re “keyword stuffing” Google will penalise you.
  2. Minimise the competition by focusing on a small area. If you’re a new business and you’re still building up your web presence, you’re unlikely to rank well for broad locations like “Surrey” and “South East England.” Instead, choose to mention which town you’re in – there’s nothing to stop you naming the county too, thereby widening your net.
  3. Choose a domain name ending co.uk. This tells Google that you’re based in the UK. A quick Wikipedia search will show you that there are four Guildfords in Australia and one in Canada – you need potential clients to find the businesses in the right country! 

SEO is a great way of improving your visibility and growing your business. To find out how the team at Piping Hot Digital can help you get your website to the front page of Google, give us a call today on 01483 362 357 or email contact@pipinghotdigital.com.

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