Set up your local profile on Google and drive more business.

If your business operates locally, has multiple stores, or wants to attract a loyal customer base, it’s vital to build and maintain your local presence online. Nightingale are local SEO experts and will help market your business through the correct channels so local customers can find you.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a search engine optimisation strategy that helps your business be more visible in Google’s local search results.

If your business has a physical location or serves a particular area in the UK, then you can benefit from implementing best local SEO practices. If you perform a search for the most relevant keywords to your business, and a map with several listings appears underneath it (also called a map pack), then local SEO can help you drive business growth.

How does local SEO work?

Google has evolved from its early days so that it now looks at hundreds of factors both on and off pages to determine if your website is relevant enough to display as a search result.

After analysing data from billions of searches, Google realised that many people seeking businesses want to see those in their immediate area.

Therefore, Google’s local search algorithm includes a proximity factor, which means Google will take your location into account when you search for a local keyword. This occurs even when the user doesn’t include the name of a town or city, or “near me” in their search.

For example, if you need a plumber to fix a leaky tap in your house, you might Google “plumbers”, and the search results will show a list of locations near your home.

However, if a tap started leaking in a friend’s house 10 miles away, and you searched for plumbers to come and fix it, you’ll be shown a completely different set of results. This makes sense, as you’ll want a plumber that’s closer to your friend’s house.

Local SEO has been around since 2003 and used to be limited to those searching on desktop computers. However, with the huge growth in mobile internet access since then, mobile search has increased exponentially, and local SEO has become significant for any business offering local services and products.

What’s important for local SEO?

Although the local map pack is shown alongside the standard organic Google search rankings, different algorithms power the main Google search results for local rankings and the local map pack results. As a local business, you have the chance to appear within both the main organic search results and the local map pack at the same time.

To do this effectively, the following tasks should be undertaken:

  1. Register with Google Business

    This takes only a few minutes, and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to ensure visibility in local search results. When you set up your profile, you’ll need to give Google your business address, who will then send a card to that address containing a PIN code that you use to verify the location of your business.

    Please note that your business address has to physically exist and be an actual building that users can visit, as virtual addresses are not normally accepted.

    Once you’ve done this, your business should be included on the ‘map pack’ that Google displays when users in your area enter a search for your type of service.

  2. Use the right keywords throughout your website

    The descriptions of the products and services you are offering should reflect what users are searching for.

    If this isn’t the case, it is unlikely people will find your business, as Google is not finding enough relevant keywords on your website.

  3. Make sure your location is referenced in key areas of your site

    These include:

    • Title tag
    • Headings
    • Body copy
    • Meta description.

  4. Submit your site to reputable local directories

    This can boost your position in search results, whereby the directory entry can return a high place in search results. This means other sites can help certain URLs on your own website become more visible.

    In addition to this, you may also receive a backlink, and anyone browsing these directories will see your business.

  5. Ask for feedback

    Google has hinted that it treats business reviews as a ranking signal, so it’s important to ask any customers that are happy with your product or service to leave a review on Google.

    The more reviews you receive, the more you will stand out from your competitors.

  6. Implement geographic markup

    Use’s geographic markup code to let search engines know more about your business location. By providing this helpful information, your content can be better understood, allowing search engines to show only the most relevant search results.

    The Schema code also allows search engines to display extra information about it in search results, such as review, ratings, pricing, etc.

  7. Include your location in the anchor text of backlinks

    While backlinks are extremely important to the general visibility of your website, they are also significant to your local SEO efforts too.

    By sometimes encouraging anyone willing to give you a backlink to include the location of your business, this will emphasise this information to the search engines. For example, the link might be “camping shop Reading” rather than just “camping shop”.

    However, don’t do it too often, or it may start to appear spammy.

  8. Create high-quality local content

    Writing in-depth, informative articles around your local area will help you improve your local SEO rankings.

    This is because they will contain keywords relevant to your industry that customers will be searching for, so this exercise is always worth investing time in.

    For example, if you run a car repair shop, you might write a blog on local rural attractions that require a car.

  9. Look for sources of local PR coverage

    Local news sites are another great way of getting backlinks to your business.

    If you can gain links from these, you will gain some good “link juice”, as news sites tend to have a lot of authority compared to other websites. This will boost your position in local search results.

  10. Make sure your website is performing well on mobile

    Currently, around 55% of searches are carried out on mobiles, and since Google prioritises sites that perform well on mobile, it’s crucial your site is mobile friendly if it is going to do well in local SEO.

    This also means your website should be responsive and loads quickly on a mobile device (ideally between 1 and 2 seconds).

    It’s worth running your website through Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool and PageSpeed Insights Tool to see how it is currently performing. You should also check whether your site is meeting Google’s Core Web Vitals standards.

  11. Local landing pages

    If your business has multiple locations, make sure you create a landing page for each one, and write unique content that includes important details such as the name, address, phone number, business hours and any reviews you’ve collected.

  12. Social media

    Although it may not seem immediately important to local SEO, try to keep building up your brand through social media, which offers a gateway to new customers.

    By promoting your business through LinkedIn, Facebook and other appropriate platforms, more and more people will find out about what you have to offer and where you are based.

Start exploiting local SEO

With our local SEO checklist above, you can start harnessing its power and focus on what’s going to improve your digital visibility in terms of local search. Once you’ve made the appropriate amendments to your website, you will start being able to serve customers within your local area and scale your business more quickly.