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Local SEO and Your Business

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is search engine optimisation that specifically increases the visibility of your Local Search Results. There are different tactics that can be used to create a good local listing, compared to techniques used in more general SEO.

Why is SEO important to Local Businesses?

Why is SEO important to Local Businesses?SEO is important to local businesses for many reasons. One of the main reasons why SEO is important in the locality is because it connects you to the people who are searching for a specific product/service in your area provide this means they can find you on a search engine easily, so they are more likely to choose you over another company that they can’t see.

Local Search results are the results provided by the search engine when a query that includes a location e.g. gardening in Sheffield is entered into the search engine. Local results appear inside the organic results but are sectioned to stand out in a specific format. The search engine provider is the overall decider of who ranks in which position but by using Local SEO you can give your business a better chance of ranking higher for a particular geographically related keyword by making as many local Search Engine Optimisation related improvements as possible.

As with all rankings, the search engines have multiple factors when deciding the position of a website. However by including your direct location via Google Places with your full company name, address and postcode (NAP) it is possible that this may increase your rankings.


What is Google Local and how is it useful to me?

Google Local is the new and improved version of what used to be called “Google Places”. If you are a business with a physical location then you can enter your address details and Google will pinpoint your location on its map. The benefits of this are that if someone is using Google Maps or Google Local to find a service near them that you provide, then the pinpoint and address you set up will appear to them on your screen. This may mean that you acquire extra business just by simply setting up a Google Local account and getting started. You can find out more information and benefits of Google via this link:

Google Support for Google Local


What is a NAP?

Google-LocalA NAP is an abbreviation which stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. NAP is important if businesses are wanting to rank well in the local search results, because search engines like Google take the data into account when determining which companies to show on queries based around a location. In terms of using your NAP correctly, it should be written and spelt the exact same on both the website, your Google Plus Locality Page and in the citation of any other website where it features. This is because it is believed that Google reference-check the NAP when trawling through the sites to make sure you are listing for a legitimate company.
NAP is often entered into local citations, which may consist of local directories, for example a restaurant may have a citation to a directory called “Eateries in Sheffield”. You shouldn’t limit your search to just local directories though, as it is still important to have listings on well-regarded sites such as, but the better directories are ones that are more specific to your area. For example, if you were based in London; a London based directory would be the ideal place to put your citation.


Useful Tools when using and analysing NAP performance

Yext is a very powerful online tool that allows you to see how your business, and its NAP appears and where it appears across the Internet, it allows you to analyse your business’s online presence in the Local Listings and will suggest improvements to help you to better this.

Most Rank-Tracking and Citation-Related tools are great help when you are trying to improve your Local SEO functionality. Rank-tracking tools such as RankTrackr will allow you to keep tabs of how well your business is performing in the Local listings for set keywords, citation related tools will allow you to see on which sites your NAP is appearing. A good example of a citation related tool is GetListed – a powerful tool that crawls the Internet to see where your citations appear.


What are Citations and why are Citations Important for Local SEO?

A citation is an online mention of your businesses name address and phone number which we abbreviate to NAP, these are displayed without a link to the website directly however they are still accredited to your website by Google and the other search engines. This helps to build up a reflection that your company is well respected in the local area and therefore would be a more important result, and this means you would rank higher in the local results.

There are two types of citation:
•    Full Citation – Where the NAP is complete, all 3 parts that make up the NAP are written on the site where the citation is placed on. These are more beneficial over part citations because they are more precise.
•    Part Citation – Where only one or two pieces of information that make up the NAP are present.
As long as other factors are taken into consideration, businesses with a greater number of high quality, location specific citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer more general citations.


Mobile Search Optimisation

Mobile search optimisation is optimising where a business appears in mobile local search results is influenced by a variety of factors, this includes things such as:
•    Relevance – Is your business relevant to the users search requirements?
•    Prominence – The popularity of your business and the amount of information that can be found about you in the local area.
•    Distance – Where your business is located compared to where the search is taking place.

Overall, Local SEO is great when trying to optimise your website for ranking well in the local search engine listings.

Guy Tomlinson

Guy Tomlinson is the owner and founder of SEO CoPilot Ltd. As an organic SEO specialist and SEO trainer with over 15 years of experience, he has the knowledge when it comes to helping small businesses succeed online – and shares his expertise through SEO CoPilot’s blog (mentioned in Top SEO Blogs to Follow). Follow Guy’s profile on LinkedIn for more SEO Tips!
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