It’s staggering to see the amount of websites who look to achieve rankings for local terms, yet appear nowhere in the SERPs when these terms are searched for. The reason they don’t rank is because of one key issue; website owners or webmasters simply have not optimised the content to include these crucial local search terms. So when it comes to optimising your site for local SEO, be sure to optimise your content as well – it could make all the difference.
The best place to start is to review what keywords you are currently ranking for. If these terms do not contain local terms such as your town, city, county, check the search volumes for these terms and implement accordingly. It’s best to target the term with the highest local search volume, which may well be your town or city. So for example if you are a bed supplier in Southampton, this could be, ‘Southampton Bed Suppliers’, or ‘Bed Suppliers Southampton’.
Include your local search term in all the necessary areas of your pages, for example, within the H1 title and the main body content. If you are unfamiliar with using keywords within your On-Site copy, there are useful blog posts on the subject [See: SEO Copywriting: How to Use Keywords in Your Website’s Copy].
One of Google’s major updates of recent times has been the focus on relevance for search terms. Their algorithm needs to make sure that the pages they present in the SERPs are relevant to what the person has searched for, and a great way of enabling this is to provide additional content to create context and relevancy around a search term.
So instead of just writing a keyword on the page, it’s important to create context around those terms, and content is a perfect way of generating much needed context and relevancy. Look to include at least 250 words, but don’t over-do it. Writing too much will affect usability, and using too many keywords will affect your keyword density, which won’t help you in terms of rankings.
To help with relevancy, consider using co-occurrence. In the context of writing web copy, this refers to the way words or key terms and phrases appear in close proximity to one another. This is useful as search engines can determine the relevancy of a page based on key phrases that frequently appear with a primary keyword, making it more relevant. So for example, if you were trying to rank for ‘Southampton Bed Suppliers’, you would also include keywords like ‘metal framed beds’, ‘double bed mattresses’, ‘bed linen’, amongst many more.
In addition to this are synonyms and words around your local area. So to help rank well for local search terms, if you were targeting ‘Southampton bed suppliers’, you may also want to consider, ‘Hampshire Bed Store’, or ‘South Coast Bed Providers’ to emphasise the locality.
With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, the sheer volume of local searches is expected to soar, and one way any business can keep up to speed with these advances is to ensure they are found in search engine’s local search results. When it comes to local SEO, there’s a variety of methods and techniques to consider [See: SEO For Local Buisnesses], but one thing that should never be overlooked is the optimisation of your web copy to reflect your locality, if you don’t your competitors will and you’ll miss out on additional traffic and custom as a result.
Nice post James. You can also target local search by using location Microformats for the address. This helps search engines correctly index your site for a particular location.
Hi Miles, thanks for the comment and tip! I was highlighting the importance of websites getting their on-site copy up to scratch to help with local SEO; but you’re right, in addition to this there are many other ways in which you can optimise your site locally, and using location Microformats is a great tip, so thanks again.
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