Attracting a local audience is how many small businesses survive, not just in New Zealand, but around the world. People like buying local. Supporting local business can give many people a sense of pride. For certain individuals it’s a bigger factor in their purchasing decision than anything else, even price. Reaching your local audience online is achieved through the implementation of local SEO.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the optimisation of a website and related business listings with the goal of appearing in local search results. These are the results that are served when a user searches with location-specific keywords like ‘seo writer auckland’ or ‘seo services in New Zealand’.
Local search results may also be pushed automatically to users that give Google (or other search engines) permission to view their location.
Whether you’re a local business or just capable of serving a specific location, local SEO is less about being ‘local’ and more about the ‘locality’ you want to target. It is possible to implement some local SEO without having a physical address, but it’s a lot easier and more effective if you do.
For brick and mortar retail stores especially though, local SEO is a must.
How to start with local SEO
1. Local listings (Google My Business and Bing Places)
Google and Bing are the two most popular search engines in New Zealand and the world as a whole. They each have their own local business listings and these serve as the first steps toward local SEO in NZ.
Create your free Google My Business and Bing Places accounts, claim your business, and start filling in as much detail as possible. Be sure to include keywords relevant to your niche wherever they can fit naturally.
The following information is most essential. If you can’t do it all at once, make sure you come back to complete it later.
- Business name
- Contact information
- Validation of account
- Address & map pin
- Photos & videos
- Introduction to business
- Business category
- Open hours
- Support/help information and hours
2. Regular client reviews
Start with your best, most loyal customers. If you deal with customers face to face, remember to ask them in person for a review. Follow that up with an email (people forget) and personalise it as much as possible, perhaps even offering an incentive. Link them to the review platform that you value the most.
Consider adding a review request somewhere in the experience for all future customers. It’s easy to add your review link to an automated email.
3. Optimisation of website for local search
Be sure to include as much information about your location on your website. Name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is easily detected by Google and weighs heavily in the ranking algorithm. Use NAP schema to make it even easier for search engine robots to read and use elsewhere.
4. Local directories
Search for industry-specific directories in your area, and get your business listed. If possible, link back to your website and local business listing (Google My Business, Bing Places). Investigate where your competitors are listed and make sure you are as well.
5. Local backlinks
Building relationships with other local businesses will help your online reputation grow. You can try:
- Swapping reviews and backlinks with local business owners.
- Engaging with local customers and businesses on social media, and linking back to your website.
- Partnering and cross-marketing in local advertising campaigns.
- Publishing shareable blog content specific to your local audience and distributing accordingly.
Local SEO for retailers
Local SEO for retailers means putting as much of your business online as possible…including your products.
- First, you must have separate pages for every product/service that you offer.
- Then, click the links below to get started as an online merchant.
Get started with Google Shopping.
Get started with Bing Shopping.
Hiring a local SEO
Many businesses that operate across country borders choose to hire locals for SEO implementation. Being able to communicate effectively with the target audience is vital to the success of a local SEO campaign.
For help with local SEO in New Zealand, contact the SEOwriter.