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Optimising Local SEO for Sheffield Businesses

A guide to improving your local business visibility.

GMB example for web design across sheffield

Intro

The Value of Local Business Listings

Business owners often share a common goal: achieving local recognition. The year 2022 witnessed a significant shift in consumer behaviour, with an impressive 87% of individuals turning to Google in their quest to explore local businesses. This marked a substantial increase from the preceding year, signifying a noteworthy transition from 81% to 87% (Source: Bright Local). Furthermore, an astounding 46% of all Google searches now carry a distinct aura of local intent. This surge in “near me” searches reflects the bustling activity of a local audience, ardently seeking services within their immediate surroundings.

Our purpose here, in this guide, is to provide a set of practical Local SEO strategies designed to optimise your business’s visibility within local search results. In this era of heightened digital competition, the pursuit of a finely-tuned online presence takes on added significance. Hence, we embark on this journey, offering insights into the techniques and principles that empower your business to stand out in the digital crowd and cater effectively to the local clientele in Sheffield.
There’s a lot of people offering advice online, so much so it can be confusing when you start reading conflicting resources. No one can definitely state they completely understand Google. There are guidelines but it’s difficult to know for sure what’s involved as things are continuously changing. We can only write about our experiences and ultimately if we can’t replicate what we’re talking (for Edge Studio) about then you definitely shouldn’t trust us. We’ve experienced a big shift recently, from position 8th to 1st place to be exact. We’ve seen our local traffic increase by tenfold with what we consider to be a common sense approach to local SEO within web design in Sheffield.

The purpose of this guide is to help you improve your local business SEO. By demonstrating our skills and understanding we hope it gives you confidence in what we do.

A Business Website

Start With a Professional Website

If you’re a local business owner without a website, you’re going to struggle to present yourself online with any form of credibility. Your website serves as your online storefront, offering a peek into what you’re all about to prospective customers, it also helps portray your brand and ethos. A good website should be used to tell a story of your business to your customer/clients.

A website allows you to provide more comprehensive information about your business than a GLB listing. This includes information about your history, mission, team, services, products, pricing, and contact information. These all need to be targeted towards your service area.

Concerned about keeping up with the technological curve or fearing the potential dent in your wallet? No need to fret. Here’s where we step in. At Edge Studio, nestled in Sheffield, we pride ourselves on crafting visually enticing websites finely tuned for search engine visibility. Our expertise bridges the tech know-how gap, offering a feasible solution without costing an arm and a leg.

Professional website design

Mobile Friendly

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

The use of shadow can also enhance the colour scheme and create depth and dimension. Shadows can add a sense of realism and tactile quality to the website, making it feel more interactive and engaging.

Local and mobile searches are tightly linked, with 61% of all Google searches made on mobiles. Your potential customers are often on the move, looking up reviews, and finding directions to your place, or searching for contact info from their mobiles.

This trend is on the upswing, with a 100% increase in “near me” searches on mobile from 2018 to 2021 in the UK.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, easing the journey for your prospects and customers seamlessly leading them from a mobile search to your doorstep.

GMB Listings

Claim and Optimise Your Google Business Profile

Claiming and optimising your Google Business Profile is a straightforward process. The initial step involves signing up for a business profile. Following this, you’ll need to provide your business address for verification, ensuring it’s not a post office box or mailbox in a storefront, as Google requires a physical location​.

Google map listing showing web design around sheffield

Directories

Get Listed on Business Directories

With a staggering 94% of customers turning to directories to seek local businesses, local businesses should increase visibility by listing on websites like Yell, Yelp, and Bing Places.

Kickstart this process by pinpointing the directories that resonate with your business niche.

You have a trio of choices:

  • Roll up your sleeves and create the listings personally
  • Entrust this task to your SEO agency
  • Engage specialised directory listing services to do the legwork

Retaining control of the directories’ login credentials is wise if you outsource. This sidesteps any fuss down the line should you wish to switch agencies or take the reins of updating the listings yourself.

Online business directory example

NAP

Name, Address Phone Number

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, i.e., the basic contact information of a business. This trio of details is displayed on a business’s website, Google My Business profile, other online directories, and social media profiles.

Consistent NAP information across the web enhances the trust search engines have in the accuracy of the contact information. This trust, in turn, positively impacts local search rankings, making a business more visible and easily accessible to local customers searching for relevant services or products.

But it’s not just about pleasing the search engines; it’s also about the user experience. When potential customers find conflicting information about your business, like different store hours or phone numbers, it can erode trust.

The simplest strategy for maintaining a consistent NAP is to create a Google document to store the official details of your business. Use this as a reference when filling out or updating online directories, social media profiles, or your Google Business Profile.

Audit these platforms once every three months to ensure the information matches your master document. If you make any changes, like moving to a new location or changing your phone number, update the centralised document first and then roll out the changes across all platforms.

Keywords

Conduct Keyword Research

Local keyword research is crucial for tuning into the local chatter and understanding what local customers are searching for.

Begin with jotting down obvious keywords related to your business, then leverage tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to delve into local search trends. Scoping out your local competitors’ keywords can also provide valuable insights.

With a list of local keywords, it’s time to weave them into your website – within your content, meta descriptions, and titles. The key here is to ensure they blend seamlessly within your content, making it easy for local customers to find you.

Reviews

Manage Online Reviews

Online reviews pack a punch. 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and it’s not just idle reading. A solid 93% of people say that what they read in reviews swings them to make a purchase or steer clear​​.

Dig a bit deeper, and nearly 64% of customers check out Google reviews before they even pop into a business​. A generous 68% are happy to leave a review for a local business ​​if asked.

With reviews holding such clout, it’s savvy to manage them well, right? So, let’s dive into how you can ace your online review game and give your local SEO a leg up.

  • Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews by sending follow-up emails after a purchase or service, or by simply asking them in person. Make it easy by providing a direct link to your Google My Business review section.
  • Respond to positive or negative reviews shows you value customer feedback. A polite thank-you can go a long way for positive reviews. For negative ones, a professional and empathetic response could turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.
  • Flag reviews that are false or violate platform guidelines to maintain the integrity of your online reputation.

If your business is within Sheffield local reviewers are going to have a greater impact than outside the city. If you’re a local business Google will verify this by reviewing the location of the reviewers. Google is also looking at the history and age of the accounts.

Google business reviews for Edge Studio

Content

Add Location Pages

If your business caters to different areas, create a unique page for each location or service area. Ensure each page’s NAP is consistent with your master document.

Include location-specific keywords in your content, title, and meta description.

For physical locations, provide directions and an embedded map to guide visitors. For service providers, clearly delineate the areas you serve.

Create Local Content

Creating engaging local content enhances your local SEO and rapport with the community.

Cover local events or news in your blog, contribute to local publications, collaborate with nearby businesses on content projects, and share your content on social media to foster interactions.

These local-centric strategies boost your SEO and position your business as a familiar name in Sheffield.

Community

Participate in Your Local Community

Engaging with your local community can bolster your local SEO efforts.

By participating in community events or local sponsorships, your business interacts with local audiences, generating brand awareness and fostering a positive brand image.

This in-person interaction often translates to online engagement as people may mention your business on social media, local forums, or even their blogs, which can result in valuable local backlinks to your website.

These backlinks, especially from locally relevant sites, are highly valued by search engines and can improve your site’s local search rankings.

Local SEO is vital for marking your business’s footprint in Sheffield’s lively market. The guidance provided here lays the groundwork for elevating your local online presence. Yet, Edge Studio is here to assist if the digital nuances feel overwhelming.

We excel in crafting SEO-optimized, visually compelling websites. Contact Edge Studio today to amplify your local search visibility.

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