98% of the adult population carry a mobile phone; in today’s digital age, consumer behaviour has shifted away from traditional advertising methods like newspaper adverts, flyers and billboards. 

Instead, search engines (like Google) are the source of local business information. In this piece, I’ll explore how you can optimise your Local SEO strategy to maximise visibility in the local area. 

How does Google rank its search results? 

Google sends out small programs called “spiders” that crawl through websites digesting and recording their content and technical information (like load speeds) - these spiders then return the information to Google. 

Armed with this information, Google uses algorithms to determine how relevant your pages are to people’s search enquiries. 

Every so often we see changes to these algorithms, some causing bigger changes in ranking criteria than others. 

If the algorithm has changed Google will need new data about your page to change where it ranks. For example, this could come about from:

  • Optimising the content of a particular page to better match the intent
  • Building better-referring links.
  • Improving the structure of your website
  • Reducing the number of technical issues on your website

What most people don’t realise is that Google needs to obtain and process this data to make any ranking changes, and doesn’t hold a live copy of your site. The changes you make will therefore only take effect once Google has recrawled the new information and processed it.


What's The Difference Between SEO and Local SEO?

SEO focuses on optimising content for specific keywords, i.e. hairdresser. 

Local SEO is about focusing on content for specific location-based searches, i.e. ‘hairdresser in London’ or ‘hairdresser near me’. You can rank for these terms through both on-page SEO efforts, i.e. optimising for local terms within your copy OR via a Google Business Listing which will tell Google your map location. 

It’s important to optimise both as if the person is in London when performing the search but actually resides in Manchester, they will likely search for “hairdressers Manchester”, and Google will then display relevant local hairdressers in Manchester. 


Optimising experiences 

Dwell time (how long a user spends on your website) correlates with high-ranking websites - therefore, we recommend optimising content and user experience to ensure visitors can find what they are looking for, quickly - while also providing content that makes them want to stay on your site. 

You can do this by writing content around the subject and implementing good internal linking. For example “3 things every hairdresser wants you to do before your appointment”.
In some cases, however, it's more important to consider the primary need. For example, if you have a leak and are looking for an emergency plumber to fix the problem you are more likely to need the telephone number quickly which results in a much shorter dwell time.

Different niches will therefore require different behavioural considerations based on the customer's need.


Factors Influencing Local SEO

Factors Affecting Google Business Profile Rankings
  • Location - As mentioned above, the location of your business and the proximity of the searcher can affect how highly you rank
  • Business Title - How you title your business on your Google Business Profile can impact its appearance in search. For example, including the words “Conference Centre” in your title could help your business rank for “Conference Centre” searches.
  • Website URL - The relative strength of the webpage you link to from your listing is believed to impact the rankings as is the relevance of the page you link to.
  • Categorisation - In many niches you can select categories your business should appear in. Choosing one of these categories will often increase your prominence for related searches.
  • Service Area - Selecting an appropriate service area will also help you rank in a chosen area.
  • Competition - The number of competitors in a given area, their location in relation to the area searched and how well-optimised they are can affect your ability to rank.
  • Mobile Friendliness of the website - With most local searches being performed on a mobile device the user experience of your mobile site is shown to impact local rankings.

Many more factors could affect your rankings from opening/operating times through to activity on the profile and photos 


Reviews can be aggregated from across the web from various trusted sources as well as reviews directly on the Google Business Profile.

There are several factors which may affect how reviews impact search engine results. Some of these are listed below

  • Consistency across platforms - Do reviews exist across different platforms and do they show consistent sentiment?
  • Are the Reviews Current or are they from some time ago? Old and outdated reviews may not be reflective of the current business.
  • Frequency - How often is the business receiving reviews?


On-Page Factors

In addition to the factors from Google Business Profiles there are several on-page factors which can affect both your profile and website's Local SEO.

  • Authority - The authority of both the website and a particular page URL can affect your ability to rank. Authority can be improved by building external links from good sources as well as internal linking between pages to ensure the authority is distributed between the pages of your site.
  • NAP which stands for Name Address and Phone number consistency is a measure of how many reliable citations you have that match the information on your Google Profile. The more consistent, reliable sources you have the better your chance of ranking highly
  • Content Optimisation - The optimisation around and relevance to the searcher's query can influence how well you rank.
  • Page Type - Matching a searcher’s intent with your page is often overlooked. For example, if a searcher is looking for a service but your site only has a blog post relating to the subject you are unlikely to rank.
  • Technical SEO Sound and Secure - Technical issues and potential blockers for Google’s spiders will make it difficult to rank well in results. Key among these factors is mobile friendliness, given most local search is performed on a mobile.


Local Consumer Behaviour

As we’ve discovered, customers searching for local businesses often have a different intent from those searching nationally. They’re often looking for a service on their mobile device i.e. rather than in traditional advertising formats, so Mobile First SEO is highly important.

They are also looking for products or services which can be accessed locally, which means the proximity and accessibility of your business play a factor. Competition in the local area also plays a major part in the visibility of your website and listings as well as the overall reach.

One of the best ways to succeed locally is to treat local customers as a separate user group and then address your profile and pages of your website to this specific intent. 


Local SEO Checklist

To help you on your Local SEO journey we’ve put together the following Local SEO checklist.

  • Single Location with 1 physical address: Setup a single Google Business Profile and verify the address
  • Multiple Locations with separate addresses: Each location will need its own verified Google Business Profile
  • Keyword Research: Carrying out comprehensive keyword research to understand the local niche and being able to monitor your position improvements and declines on an ongoing basis is important in understanding your performance.
  • Optimise your Google Profile: Include Keywords in the naming of your profile, and ensure you have filled out service areas, products and services sections.
  • Which Page: Which page of your site best suits your user's local intent and does it have enough authority to rank
  • Citation maintenance: Scan the existing citations on your site and ensure your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) details are consistent throughout. You will also need to look for duplicate citations which will likely need to be removed.
  • Citation Creation:  Create a strategy and implementation plan for citation discovery and implementation, considering general and niche and industry-specific citations
  • Review Strategy: Ensure you have a strategy in place to obtain new reviews, without breaking Google’s guidelines. Remember to ask customers to be descriptive about their likes and dislikes.
  • Negative Reviews and Sentiment Analysis: Create a process to handle any negative reviews and review the sentiment contained in negative reviews to address common issues.
  • Showcase Reviews: Showcasing your reviews alongside relevant locations and services is a great way to create social proof and improve conversions.
  • Add Location Pages to Your Website: Add an individual location page for each location you service, ensuring the titles and page contents are optimised.
  • Create Local Business Schema:- Creating Local business schema and embedding it on your website can make it easier for Google and other search engines to understand your proximity to a searcher.
  • Connect the Location Pages: Use navigation or internal linking, or both to ensure location pages are connected into the main structure of your site.
  • Mobile Page Experience: Test and improve the mobile experience of your site. As most local searches are performed on a mobile device the mobile experience including page speed is an important ranking and conversion consideration.


Local SEO Strategy & Services

The reliance of many businesses on traditional forms of advertising has waned in favour of Local SEO due to the evolution of user behaviour. With most users now carrying a mobile with always-on-internet access users turn to search engines like Google as a quick and informative source of information about local businesses and services.

Local SEO Strategies are highly dependent on the behaviour of Local Users. To be successful businesses need to carefully consider industry niche and how the data indicates local users behave regarding search. Tailoring your marketing approach to local users as a defined group will allow your business’ local services to gain the necessary visibility

Data lead strategies should be applied to both Google My Business profiles as well as local landing pages hosted on the website and reinforced with appropriate citations to achieve the best results.

By taking into account all these strategies and considerations, businesses can position themselves to meet the evolving needs of their customers in line with consumer behaviour, as well as enhance their visibility and competitiveness.


Key Takeaways

  • Optimise Your Website for Mobile: Ensure your site is mobile-friendly to accommodate the majority of local searches done on mobile devices.
  • Content and SEO: Tailor your content to match local search intent, utilising local SEO strategies such as optimising for location-based keywords and creating location-specific pages on your website.
  • Google Business Profile: Set up and optimise your Google Business Profile for each location, including accurate NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) details and selecting appropriate categories.
  • Reviews: Develop a strategy for acquiring and showcasing customer reviews across platforms to enhance trust and search rankings.
  • Citations: Maintain consistency in your business's online citations and strategically build new ones to improve local search visibility.
  • Technical SEO: Address technical SEO aspects, like site speed and security, to ensure a smooth user experience and facilitate better indexing by search engines.
  • User Behaviour Analysis: Understand and adapt to local consumer behaviour, focusing on providing relevant and accessible information and services to meet their needs.

If you’d like support with your local SEO strategy please reach out, we’d love to hear from you!


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Carl spends his days helping our clients elevate their brands through the power of SEO. From creating strategies designed to deliver excellence and meet objectives, to implementing campaigns that deliver next-level results, Carl loves it all. 

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