You’re a local business. You operate locally. So it makes sense to ensure your website pops up on page 1 of Google when someone makes a local search for businesses like yours. Here are some simple ways to improve local website visibility.

First, what is a local search?

Simple. When you search for ‘web design services’ Google’s search results deliver a whole load of links to website designers from all over the country. If you haven’t localised your search using Google’s search refinement buttons, you might get a page of website design agencies from all over the world. But when you search Google using the term ‘web design services in Oxford’ , for example, the search engine giant will deliver you a page of local web design agencies.

Why is local visibility a good thing?

If you operate nationally, it’s OK for someone to contact you from the other end of the country. If you’re local, it’s a waste of your time. It’s best to put your site in front of people who want exactly what you provide, saving them time and hassle and targeting your message to the right audience.

  • Get better exposure in the local organic search results
  • Get listed in Google’s local Pack and local Carousel results

Using your location in keywords

First and foremost, using your location in your page titles, headers, subheads and body copy will help Google figure out where you belong. Here are some simple examples:

  • Web design Oxford
  • Website designers in Oxford
  • Oxford web design agency
  • Find a web design expert in Oxford

You need to proceed with care, since stuffing your entire website with references to your locality will drive search engines nuts. Go too far and they might even ban your site from their index, which would be catastrophic. An SEO expert, professional copywriter or content creator will know how to strike exactly the right balance.

12 simple ways to improve local search engine visibility

The basics of local on-page and off-page SEO are easy enough to get to grips with. Here’s how.

  • Optimise your logo, using your business name and the region, county or area you cover within the file name and also in the image alt tag
  • Optimise your Google + Local Page for your location and set up Authorship for the people who write for you (while some aspects of Google Authorship have been ditched by the search engine recently, apparently it’s still handy if you want to make a tiny, weeny difference to your site’s visibility and your copywriters’ credibility)
  • Use the right language and geographical tags to show Google your location and help them put your site in front of people who prefer their websites written in English. You should specify US or UK English to make things crystal clear
  • Do the same for your on-page meta titles and descriptions, making the town, city, country or region you operate in clear to search engine bots
  • Put your street address and local phone number in a prominent place, for example at the foot of your home page, so it helps Google understand where you are
  • Include a Google map with your premises or address marked clearly on it, also helpful for visitors
  • If you write a business blog, can you write posts about other local businesses, local issues and so on? Or arrange local events and If so it’ll all help Google ‘get’ the picture that you’re a local firm
  • Use Local Business Schema mark-up. On-page coding from schema.org helps Google understand where you are in a geographical context. You can also showcase your people via a ‘meet the team’ page including local schema mark-up. Don’t forget to link to their LinkedIn and Google+ profiles, too – which also help place you geographically
  • Event and Offer schema, also from schema.org, are another way to point out your local-ness. You can use the mark-up to tell Google about special offers and events. Or arrange your own local events and special offers and write about them / link to them in your blog
  • Add local reviews and case studies from local customers, including their address
  • Forget Google for a second… you can also create a business listing on Bing. While more than 90% of Brits use Google, it makes sense to build a decent presence on other popular search engines just in case the Big G ever goes down the tubes, a brilliant new player takes over the market or everyone suddenly decides they hate it. You never know what’s around the corner!
  • Plus there’s Yahoo, who provide local small business marketing tools and initiatives through Yahoo Localworks

Do we do local?

Unlike far too many website design agencies, yes we do. If you’re a business with a local focus we’ll take it into account from the offset so more people will find your site when they’re searching for a business like yours.