It’s no secret that SEO is ever-changing, and it can be incredibly easy for marketers to get left behind the curve.
So, how are busy business owners who’re looking to grow their online presence supposed to keep up?
This guide outlines three of the most important factors in regards to local SEO in 2019. These factors will no doubt continue to grow as strong ranking factors for years to come, so be sure to spend time testing, reworking and optimising to get these right.
These tactics are also fantastic for beginners to get their teeth stuck into, and are not technically demanding (unlike other tenants of SEO).
Many small business owners may not be able to commit to the services of an SEO consultant. However, this does not mean that local SEO growth is not unattainable.
On-page SEO refers to the additions a website owner puts on each page of their website to make the job of the search engines easier. When it comes to local SEO, it is vital to focus on the following factors:
Title Tags: When used correctly, title tags are incredibly effective to target the keywords you want to target. As a small or local business owner, it is important to understand the fine line between under and over-optimising your title tags.
For example, ‘Plumbers | Manchester’ as a title tag is lacking in keywords, whereas ‘Best Manchester Plumbers in Manchester Highest Rated Best Manchester Plumbers’ is far too over-optimised. So, how can you ensure that your title tags keep search engines happy in 2019? Ensure that the keywords you use are both relevant and useful to the searcher.
Ensuring title tags are no longer than a maximum of 70 characters is also essential, otherwise they will be cut off within the search results.
Meta Descriptions: Not strictly a ranking factor, meta descriptions should include the keyword(s) you are targeting as a trust signal and method of conversion rate optimisation. With Google often changing the character limit, the recommended length may change again in 2019, however, to be safe be sure to stick between 130-155 characters of well-optimised, relevant text.
These on-page SEO factors will not be going anywhere in 2019.
Local Citations & Publications
Local citations from online newspapers and online directory websites have been around for years, and whilst they do still carry relevance for local SEO, there is an even stronger factor which will continue to grow into 2019 due to the relevance of the link: Local publications.
Google knows that any website owner can simply sign up to a directory and achieve a backlink, therefore the amount of manual backlinks that can be added to a site and still achieve effectiveness certainly dwindles out quickly.
Consider this – If you are a local barber in London and get featured in TimeOut or a relevant London publication, the link is much more contextual and, even if you have had to pay for it, will be of a much more natural and higher quality than a manual directory submission.
Search for local online publications in your area and reach out to them for a guest post or sponsored article.
Local Landing Pages
What exactly is a local landing page? Local pages are an incredibly effective way for business owners to target their areas of operation (and even some they don’t).
Landing pages must be written with the searcher in mind, and must remain unique. If done well, this tactic can continue to work well into 2019 and beyond.
When it comes to writing a local landing page, be sure to include:
- Up to 500 words of unique copy
- Images which are geo-tagged and contain relevant alt text
- A URL with the location and keyword within
- Appropriate page headings
- An embedded Google Maps listing of your business
Take a look at what your competition are doing. How can you improve on their content? What are they missing out on that you can quickly create as a piece of content or page on your website?
The above tips are just a start when it comes to the world of local SEO, but they will certainly get the needle moving in the right direction.
Be sure to keep track of your progress via analytics and test, test and test again!