August 16, 2023

How Can I Rank Better in My Local Area?

If your local business has an online presence, you likely want to be found by local users. But how can you guarantee that your business shows up on relevant searches? 

To rank better in your local area you will need to pay special attention to your SEO basics: Google Business Profile, structured data annotations, local citations and backlink profile. Read on to find out more about each of these areas and how to address them. 

In this blog, we explore the essentials of local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to help you rank better in your area. But first, let’s get a clearer understanding of what local SEO is, and who it is relevant for.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is an optimisation strategy that focuses on improving a business’s visibility in local search results. Local SEO is particularly relevant to brick-and-mortar businesses and services that operate in a specific area. 

On most search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), results for search queries related to businesses, products, and services will often be tailored to the user’s location. For local search results, Google often shows three map results above the 10 organic links that most regular searches bring up. This is known as the Local Map Pack or Local Pack. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, part of the aim of your local SEO strategy will likely be to rank among the top three Map Pack results.

Optimising for Local Search Results

Cover the SEO Basics

While our aim is to rank for local search results, the principles of Search Engine Optimisation we need to follow to achieve these results are much the same as we would for any other SEO campaign, but tailored to your local business’s needs. 

Find the Right Keywords

Targeting the right keywords is essential. By optimising for keywords that your target users are searching for, you will be more likely to show up in their results.

Your target keywords should cover general terms that describe your business, like ‘tree surgeon’ as well as more specific terms that are relevant to your services. For our tree surgeon example, those may be; ‘tree cutting’, ‘hedge trimming’, ‘tree planting’, etc.

To take the guesswork out of keyword targeting, SEO experts use paid tools like Semrush and Ahrefs, which provide detailed insights into search volume and competitors’ rankings data. If you are doing your own keyword research, Google’s Keyword Planner can be used as a free research tool. 

Map Out Your Keywords

Once you have your keyword selection, map out the relevant keywords to pages on your website. 

In doing keyword research, you may even find opportunities to create new pages. This may be the case if there are services with good search volume that you offer but don’t yet have a dedicated page on your website. 

TIP: Don’t forget search intent. When choosing your keywords it is important to take into account the intent that search engines understand a keyword to have. 

Put your keyword ideas into the search bar and look at the results. If you are not seeing Local Map Packs then the keyword is not understood by search engines to have local intent. If you are seeing lists and blogs rather than businesses and service pages come up for your chosen query, then the intent behind that keyword is likely informational, so you should target it with a blog rather than a service page. 

Optimise your Metadata, Headings and Content

Now that you have chosen your keywords, it is time to optimise the content on your website to target the relevant terms. 

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are the information that users see about your website in search results. They should include your target keyword for the page and may also include your location. 

Image depicting title tags and meta descriptions

Your page content should also target your keywords and location while ensuring that the information provided is useful and relevant to users. Provide information about what you do, and the areas you serve. Include any information relevant to the local area, local case studies and verified reviews to back up your service. 

TIP: Do not optimise your metadata and headings for ‘near me’ keywords. When doing your keyword research you may find that keywords like ‘tree surgeons near me’ have great search volumes. This does not mean that you should use that exact term in order to rank for it. Your job is to send clear signals of the service you offer and where. Search engines will do the work to connect the dots between a user’s location, their search terms, and the relevant businesses near them.  

Add Location Pages

If you serve more than one area or have several physical locations, it is a good idea to create separate location pages for each area. Make sure that the content on each of these pages is unique and relevant to the location. That means including details like the unique store address for the area, opening hours, unique store or service information, details about how to reach the location, etc. 

Learn more about targeting multiple locations in our dedicated blog, How To Target Multiple Cities Without Hurting Your SEO.

Optimising Your Google My Business Profile

As we have explored above, a unique feature of local results is Local Map Packs. Appearing in these top results will make a big difference to your local visibility.

These three top results are links to relevant Google Business Profiles, so you will need to create and validate a Google Business Profile as a first step towards obtaining these results. Once your profile has been validated, we can move on to optimising it for success! Below are some of the key areas to remember when completing and optimising your profile:

Image of a Google review

You should also consider creating and optimising your Bing Places for Business Profile to ensure that you have better control over your online business presence. The good news is that you won’t have to do the work twice. You can sync Bing Places of Business with your Google Business Profile and import all the relevant data.

What if I Have More Than One Location?

If you have more than one brick-and-mortar location you should create a business profile for each of these. 

Make sure that all the profile information, including the description, photos, and opening hours are tailored to that location. Do not include your location in the Business Profile Title, your business name should be consistent across the board. 

Add Structured Data

Structured data or schema is a standardised format used to provide search engines with organised information about the content of a website. There are many types of schema and correctly implementing it to your website can help your site gain rich results, like Map Packs and knowledge panels

The type of schema most relevant for Local SEO is Organisation schema. There are several types of organisation schema, and you should aim to choose the most specific type of schema that aligns with your business. 

By implementing organisation schema, you are providing search engines with essential data about your business in a structured manner that is much easier to read than parsing your website pages. To be effective for Local SEO, your schema should include your business name, website URL, logo, address, contact information, opening hours, reviews data, and area served (if relevant). You can also include information about your social media profiles and other relevant business information. 

If your business has physical locations, you should implement Local Business Schema (a type of Organisation Schema) or the most relevant type within the Local Business Schema parent type. See the full list here.

Image showing a list of Schema types

 List Your Business in Relevant Directories & Gain Local Backlinks

Listing your business in relevant local and national directories is a good way of increasing your visibility, gathering citations, and establishing your online presence.

Start by finding local directories that are relevant to your industry and list your business in them. You can find these by looking at the directories ranking for your relevant service keywords and reviewing your competitor’s backlinks. You can also use free sources like this list by Moz to find popular citation sources based on your business category.  Make sure that you provide complete and consistent information across every directory in which you list your business. 

Monitor Listings to Ensure Consistent NAPW Citations

If you are already listed in directories and other online sources, you should review these listings to ensure that your name, address, phone number and website (NAPW) details are correct and consistent across every citation. This will help create connections between the different mentions and reinforce the fact that the information search engines have about your business is correct. 

This becomes particularly important if your business has been online for some time and there have been changes to your address, contact details, core hours, and other key information during that time. Taking the time to find these citations and get them up to date will have a positive effect on your organic visibility. 

Gain Local Backlinks

Inbound links from relevant sources help build your authority and therefore improve your organic performance over time. While backlink strategies generally focus on gaining links from websites with high domain authority (DA) scores, local mentions and links to your website are more relevant for local businesses.

Linking opportunities can be found in a number of places, and gaining them is all about finding the right ideas and opportunities. You may explore opportunities like:

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list and link-building opportunities can come from very different sources depending on your industry. Working with an SEO specialist can make this task much easier, as they will have access to the tools and expertise needed to find the right opportunities and ideas. 

Conclusion

Local Search Engine Optimisation is essential to the online presence of any local business. By following the advice above, you will be taking the first steps towards best practices and enhancing your chances to rank locally. 

For even more essential information that will help you punch above your weight online, check out the Wildcat Digital blog

Or, if you would prefer to leave the digital stuff to the digital experts, get in touch today to find out more about our local SEO services. Wildcat Digital is an award-winning agency that helps businesses of all sizes improve their online performance. 

Post by

Miruna Hadu

Will Hitchmough

Founder

Our founder, Will Hitchmough, worked at a number of high profile Sheffield Digital Agencies before founding Wildcat Digital in 2018. He brings an extensive knowledge of all things related to SEO, PPC and Paid Social, as well as an expert knowledge of digital strategy.

Digital Marketing can be a minefield for many businesses, with many agencies ready to take your money without knowing how to deliver results. I founded Wildcat Digital to deliver digital success to businesses with smaller budgets in a transparent way.

Chloe Robinson

Content Strategist Team Lead

With a degree in Marketing and a background in more traditional, offline marketing, Chloe joined Wildcat in 2021 after deciding to move into the digital marketing industry. She joined us as a Content Specialist and quickly moved up the ranks, becoming a Content Strategist and later an SEO Team Leader.

Outside of work, Chloe is an avid creative. If she’s not knitting, you’ll likely find her behind a sewing machine or in the kitchen trying (and often failing!) to make sourdough.

Paul Pennington

SEO Account Director

Paul has a strong background in SEO, having previously founded and ran a successful eCommerce business, as well as running a personal blog that achieves an average of 17K users per month. Paul’s knowledge of SEO is extensive, with a strong emphasis on client handling and technical SEO.

Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his family and staying active with weight lifting and combat sports.

Nadea van der Merwe

Head of Operations

Nadea joined Wildcat in 2021 and has since overhauled the way we work. She has a background in various administrative, operations and HR roles, which gave her the experience and skills needed to lead and organise a growing business. 

Outside of work, Nadea loves anything that keeps her active, but she especially enjoys hiking, camping and mountain biking.

Molly Sturgeon

SEO Account Manager

With a background in sales, Molly is a natural Account Manager, brilliantly handling any issues that come her way. Having joined us as a Digital Marketing Executive, and working part-time through her final year of University, Molly is a shining example of how hard work pays off. She is now an SEO Account Manager with a particular interest in Content and Client Management. 

In her spare time, Molly loves to get out in nature, hiking and exploring the Peak District. She also loves cooking and likes to unwind with a bit of yoga.

Libby Oldale

Senior PPC Account Manager

Libby joined Wildcat in 2021 as our first PPC hire. With a degree in Digital Media Production, a Master’s in Digital Media Management and previous experience in Social Media Management, Libby hit the ground running and has since climbed the ranks to Senior PPC Account Manager and has a particular interest in the eCommerce sector.

Outside of work, Libby likes gaming, and cooking and likes to keep active by lifting weights.

Jasmine Savery

SEO Team Leader

Jasmine joined Wildcat in 2022 with a strong background in SEO and Account Management. At the time, she was finishing up a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and has since worked her way up to SEO Team Leader. Jasmine excels at content writing and promotion, and particularly enjoys finding creative ways to join the dots on multi-channel campaigns.

In her spare time, Jasmine volunteers at a charity, helping combat loneliness & social isolation experienced by older neighbours. Outside of Wildcat, she owns a catering company, Savery Grazing, creating delicious grazing tables & platters for a range of events. She also loves skiing and exploring the Peak District.

Braden Godley

Senior PPC Executive

Prior to joining Wildcat, Braden founded and ran his own Social Media Management agency where he gained valuable skills in growing brands’ online presence, which has since proven invaluable in his role at Wildcat. 

Outside of work, Braden is a big football fan, regularly travelling to Pride Park to support Derby County. He also enjoys watching and playing snooker, hiking in the Peak District, and attending air and car shows.

Jon Herdman

SEO Executive

After spending ten years managing businesses, restaurants, cafes and event spaces across Sheffield, Jon decided to change careers and joined Wildcat as an SEO Executive in 2022. He especially enjoys the client management side of the job, helping them to understand digital marketing and ways in which they can build their business’s presence online. 

Outside of work, Jon likes to keep fit with running, badminton and football, and also loves music. 

Rachel Davies

SEO Executive

Rachel joined us as a graduate, having recently graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in English Literature. Since joining, Rachel has proven herself to be a Content Queen, and particularly enjoys getting stuck into projects that allow her to explore her creative side. 

Outside of work, Rachel enjoys a wide range of hobbies, including rugby, singing, reading, and spending time with her family and three labradors.

Carl Atterbury

PPC Team Leader

Carl joined Wildcat in 2023 with a wealth of experience in PPC. He has experience working with a wide range of clients, industries and budgets, from small local businesses all the way to international e-commerce businesses. Carl has a particular interest in strategic planning and forecasting. He is passionate about data analysis and creating sustainable long-term cross-channel strategies.

In his spare time, Carl enjoys keeping fit by lifting weights, bouldering and running. He’s also a keen musician, having played the double bass and bass guitar for 20 years.

Dariusz Baczyk

Team Lead & Technical SEO Account Manager

With a degree in Computer Science and SEO experience dating back to 2017, Dariusz has a wide range of SEO skills and knowledge. His specialist knowledge of Technical SEO has firmly landed him the title of Wildcat’s Technical Wizard, and he has recently taken on the responsibility of Team Leader for the Panthers Team.

In his spare time, Dariusz loves hiking, experimenting and trying new coffees and loves learning new things. He is currently learning more about CRO and AI and how this could benefit our clients.

Jamie Stowe

SEO Account Manager

With a degree in Film and TV production, and a varied career history, Jamie made the move to marketing with a Masters degree in Digital Media Management. He has since worked in SEO at Agencies across Sheffield, before joining Wildcat and working his way up to SEO Account Manager. Jamie has a particular interest in backlinks and Digital PR and has recently gained a client a valuable backlink from Forbes!

In his spare time, Jamie is an avid foodie and loves trying new restaurants and cuisines. He also loves to travel and spent a year travelling to Australia after university.

Andy Blanchard

SEO Executive

Andy joined Wildcat in 2023 after starting his digital marketing career in-house for a local Sheffield company. Since joining, he has developed a strong interest in Technical SEO and has strong skills in Account Management. 

Outside of work, Andy loves music and plays in a couple of bands. He also enjoys rock climbing, cycling, photography and good food.

Siena Russell

Client Success Coordinator

Siena joined us in 2023 with a background in sales and digital marketing. She leads on client relationships across the company, ensuring that our customers are happy throughout their journey with us, from their initial consultation through to onboarding and beyond. 

Outside of work, Siena enjoys travelling and getting stuck into the local culture. She likes to make the most of her experiences and particularly enjoys watching sunrises and sunsets from beautiful locations around the world.

Thea Chapman

Senior SEO Executive

Thea has a wealth of experience in SEO, having previously worked for other Digital Marketing Agencies in Sheffield. She has a particular interest and skills in Technical SEO, but is more than willing to get stuck in and give anything a go. 

Outside of work, Thea spends most of her time with her children, but also loves reading, photography and gardening. 

Tom Brookes

PPC Executive

Before joining Wildcat, Tom worked across different industries, building skills in sales and customer service. He later developed a passion for digital marketing whilst working on personal marketing projects and freelance ventures, and gained numerous certifications in PPC and Social Media. 

Outside of work, Tom enjoys staying active by going to the gym and hiking. He also loves travelling and motorbiking.

More blogs.

View all

May Digital Marketing Roundup: Latest Updates

May 21, 2024

SEO is an ever-changing landscape. With the ever-increasing prominence of AI in our field, how do SEOs find their place…

Jon Herdman

Knowledge Hub
News

Northern Pride: Our Double Success at Northern Digital Awards 

May 13, 2024

Reflecting on our journey as a dynamic force in the digital marketing landscape, Wildcat Digital takes immense pride in our…

Rachel Davies

News

Is It Better To Use “www” or Not for SEO?

April 29, 2024

For many that are setting up their first website, the question of whether they need to include “www” at the…

Jamie Stowe

Knowledge Hub
SEO
Technical SEO