Decoration Circle
Advanced SEO Textbook
7

The SUSO Method: Local SEO Best Practices

In this chapter we outline the best practices for each component of a local website.

Topic Details
Clock icon Time: 14
Difficulty Intermediate

Search engines are looking for signals that allow them to associate your business with the desired location that the user’s search query is based on.

We’ve already shown you how to optimise your GMB profile, explained the importance of reviews and have also shown you ways to improve your link profile.

So now, let’s take a look at some of the special techniques that we at SUSO carry out for our local campaigns.

Content and On-Page Recommendations

Embedding a Google Map

Embedding a Google Map somewhere on relevant core landing pages will not only be beneficial for your users and build trust that your business is a real place, but it allows search engines (Google) to associate your business to your location far more easily.

Include Directions

Including directions is beneficial for users familiar with the area as it shows them that you are an established member of the community.

Apart from its benefits to the user’s experience, this also has an added benefit to your SEO. Using keywords that Google may also associate with your chosen location such as the names of other businesses and landmarks in your area, can send positive signals for your location and get you ranked locally.

The example below outlines various ways in which visitors may find the desired location.

Use of Qualifier Keywords

It is also great to use qualifier keywords in your H2s – these are adjectives such as ‘best’, ‘top’, and ‘cheapest’ – but only use them if they apply.

This is because, generally, users who are searching for your products and services are not sure what the best, top, or cheapest option is, so they turn to Google for help.

If you can leverage the qualifiers within your content and in headings, it shows Google that you are delivering these things and you will be ranked accordingly if done right.

In addition to this, many “traditional” on-page SEO practices also apply here, like:

  • Include keyword in your H1
  • Include keyword in your title tag
  • Include keyword in your URL
  • Write and enticing meta description that includes your core keywords and location data

Content and Structure for Location Pages

If your business operates in and serves different locations and you want to rank in each of these areas, you need to create specific landing pages for them.

The URL structure we recommend is:

  • your-website.com/location‑1/
  • your-website.com/location‑2/
  • your-website.com/location‑3/

Here are some top tips on what to do, and what not to do when it comes to location pages:

  • Ensure that each of these pages contains unique content that is specifically catered for these locations for example:
    • Phone number
    • Address
    • Opening hours
  • Aim to create pages for locations where you have an actual physical presence. You can still create pages for the area that you cover, but don’t have a physical location, but bear in mind that these pages will not show up in the Local Pack.
  • Don’t create local landing pages for faraway locations unless you have a genuine reason to do so e.g., you’re based in London, but specialise in French real estate.
  • Don’t create multiple landing pages for the same location, but targeting slightly different terms i.e. “london hairdresser”, “hairdresser london”

Homepage Content

The homepage should target the primary location that you serve; regardless of however many other areas you cover.

For example, a Macnhester based law firm should target keywords like “manchester law firm” on their homepage.

You may be wondering why you shouldn’t target the broader search term “law firm” on your homepage – after all, it has a considerably higher search volume.

Well, if you search “law firm”, most of the search results will likely be location specific.

To illustrate this, here is the same search (law firm) from Manchester, London and Paris, France.

 

Despite not adding a location within the search, Google still shows results that are based on the user’s perceived location via your GPS / IP address.

Here are some of the key elements we like to see on homepage content for local campaigns:

  • NAP information – add the name, address, phone number in the footer of your homepage, unless you have other location pages.
  • Embed a Google Map – we’ve already explained the benefits of this above.
  • Display testimonials/reviews – these help build more trust and entice prospective customers to convert.

Links

NAP Consistency

It is paramount that the name, address and phone number data you have stored in directories are consistent. At SUSO, we make sure that these remain well connected and up to date, as Google relies on this business information stored in these databases for its own assessment.

This means listings in online directories such as Yellow Pages, Yelp!, Hotfrog, TripAdvisor etc. should all contain the same information about your business.

Social media accounts should also be checked and kept up to date with all the right information, as well as making sure the website URL is too.

We highly recommend conducting an NAP audit to ensure your online presence is as accurate as it can be:

  • On your website.
  • On your GMB profile.
  • On business directories.
  • On local listings sites.

We use Whitespark in order to do this – more details later on in the section!

Finding Local Citations Using Google Search Operators

There are countless tools out there that will help you find local citations by looking at competing domains etc such as Ahrefs and Whitespark, but sometimes even these tools might miss out on possible link opportunities!

In this case, we use a manual approach using simple yet powerful Google search operators.

Here’s an example of a search for business directories in Leicester.

This will return any web pages that contain the phrase “business directory” in their page title and contains “Leicester” somewhere in the content.

the modifier should contain local keywords. But, instead of just looking at the city (i.e. Leicester), also use specific counties or towns in and around the city.

Technical SEO

Schema Markup

The more information Google knows about your business and website, the better chance you have to rank.

Schema markup helps you do just that – it’s simply additional code that gives Google extra information about your business/website.

Google’s Structured Markup Helper makes it super easy for you to do this.

All you have to do is select the “Local Businesses” checkbox, paste in one of your pages, and hit “start tagging.”

Your page will load and be displayed in a visual editor.

To add the schema.org markup, simply right-click any appropriate on-page elements and choose the relevant markup items from the list.

You can pick out key elements like your business name, phone number, address as well as your business logo and mark them up accordingly.

Remember: any data that you mark up should be consistent with your Google My Business data.

When you’re finished, hit “CREATE HTML” and select the JSON-LD format.

You will see a code snippet like this:

<!-- JSON-LD markup generated by Google Structured Data Markup Helper. -->
<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context" : "http://schema.org",
"@type" : "LocalBusiness",
"name" : "Surrey Plumbing Services Ltd",
"image" : "https://surreyplumbingservices.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/surrey-plumbing-services-caterham-coulsdon-purley-oxted-warlingham-croydon-logo-2.png",
"telephone" : [ "01883 344405", "07811 363088" ],
"address" : {
"@type" : "PostalAddress",
"streetAddress" : "53 Greenhill Avenue",
"addressRegion" : "Caterham",
"addressCountry" : "United Kingdom",
"postalCode" : "CR3 6PR"
}
}
</script>

You can then test the code using Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.

Simply paste it in and it will highlight any errors.

Once you’ve fixed the errors, paste the code into the header section of your web page – done!

Repeat this process for all of the local pages on your website