Optimising for your community.
As a local SEO agency in Milton Keynes, our goal is to improve our client’s digital presence, rank them higher on Google and ultimately get them more leads & sales online. That is literally all that we are about.
SEO achieves this because, as it says in the name (search engine optimisation), we scrutinise, identify errors and optimise websites to increase their rank on search engines. We have a common saying at FULLTIME.digital; if your site isn't going to get traffic, what's the point of having one?
We want this article to serve as a Local SEO guide to all businesses in Milton Keynes (and anywhere else for that matter), so let’s dive right in.
Need some support?
What is Local SEO?
While general SEO is focused on gaining high ranking results for specific searches or queries, local SEO brings geographical location into the mix.
SEO covers many aspects, which you can read more about on our blog or on our SEO services page, but when we’re talking about SEO in Milton Keynes, it is best to focus on Local SEO. This refers to when people are searching for business, services, or products in their local area. Typically their searches will include ‘near me’ or the search term followed by their location like ‘cafe Milton Keynes'. “Near me” or "close by" type searches grew by more than 900% over two years according to Chat Meter.
Setting up your site and all of your content to be easily indexed by the search engine algorithms will allow them to provide your details when a user is searching for your products or services.
How Local SEO works
As I’ve mentioned many times in previous articles and will probably mention again, it’s worth making sure this stays in the forefront of your mind when considering optimising: search engines have one mission: to provide the best results for a user query.
Google is trying to match the best possible result to the user’s search query. The more you can align your site, it’s content and your services to your target customer's search queries, the higher you will rank.
This is why creating your customer avatar or really understanding your target market becomes so important. Because if you truly understand what they are looking for, then when Google eventually serves your content in response to one of their searches, that should be exactly what they need to satisfy the search. This can be proven by a higher click through rate, a lower bounce rate, a longer time on site and/or multiple pages viewed.
For example, FULLTIME.digital is located in Milton Keynes. We love MK and will always champion the town, which is why we create blog articles specifically focused on Milton Keynes as an area, and not just to promote our services. However these articles serve another purpose for us as a business, as they also provide local SEO benefits.
You can check out our blog about frequently asked questions about Milton Keynes as an example. This article not only provides some great info about Milton Keynes, but all the queries we are answering are also the most frequently Googled MK queries. As users continue to search for these queries, more will be directed to our article, the user will find value in our answers which in turn will validate to Google that FULLTIME.digital is a credible authority in MK.
Why Local SEO is important
Based on research by GoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. This really confirms that there is a huge opportunity for your business within your geographical area. Starting a business anywhere can be challenging, but without support from your local community, the difficulty only increases.
Local SEO is one of the most actionable optimisation strategies you can work on by yourself, and could potentially give you the most traction. We all aspire to deliver our products and services nationwide and internationally, but focusing on your immediate surroundings is a logical move that will help your sales, boost your reputation and give you the ‘nod’ to expand further afield.
Google Business Profile (formally known as Google My Business)
The first point worth noting here is that without a Google Business Profile listing, you basically have zero chance of appearing in local search results. If you haven’t claimed or verified your GBP listing, you can download our 7-step Google My Business Audit Checklist here. It’s completely free and will get you in great shape to start appearing in local search results that are relevant to you. The Local SEO checklist also runs through all Local SEO best practices. The aim of this article and the checklist is to give you the understanding of why Local SEO is so important, and give you the know-how to take actions to improve it.
According to StatCounter, Google has an unbelievable 91.86% share of the search engine market. So not having your business listed on Google is effectively going to make you invisible to 9 out of 10 users. That doesn’t sound like a smart business move.
Bing Places For Business
Bing is in second place with a modest 2.34% share of the search engine market. While this is a tiny fraction of the market compared to Google, it’s not worth ignoring. They have their own version of GBP called Bing Places For Business, and it's incredibly easy to sync this with GBP to replicate your listing on both search engines. We’ve listed exactly how to do this on our 7 step checklist.
It works in the same fashion as Google, and has a lot less traffic, but it's all relative, don't disregard this as a small search volume. According to BrightEdge, Google sees 6.9 billion searches per day compared to Bing's nearly 900 million searches per day. It won’t harm your rankings, and if you’re listed on more than one search engine, it could be seen as an additional citation of your business details, which again boosts your ranking and authority among the other search engines.
Your Geographical Location
A large part of ranking in local searches will literally depend on your location compared to the user searching for a product or service. According to Hubspot Marketing Statistics, 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles. If you’re closer to the user than your competitors (and have a properly optimised GBP listing), you will likely rank higher. This is because Google is trying to provide the most value in their results, and one main factor in local searches is distance. Why would somebody want to travel 20 miles instead of half a mile for the same service, unless they filter based on other factors such as opening times, reviews, price range and more.
Regardless of ranking higher on search results, having your GBP listing optimised really will provide a better experience for your potential customers. Not only will it list all of your most useful information, but they can call you directly from it, find directions to your store or shop (if you have one), or provide a booking link if they want to organise a call or reservation. Moreover, for restaurants, it provides menu details, pricing, and one of the most important things; reviews!
Reviews are the best possible referral you can hope for. It’s pretty common knowledge that people love to read reviews now. They improve trust, credibility and reputation.
Whether it’s with our help or not, you need to take SEO seriously to get noticed by search engines and potential customers. It’s the best marketing strategy you can invest your time into. It’s also likely the cheapest strategy, as 70-80% of people ignore paid search results, instead choosing to click on organic search results according to Backlinko, and will provide the most valuable leads as users finding your site based on their search times typically have clear purchase intent.
FULLTIME.digital are Local SEO experts. We know how it works, and how to make sure your business is appearing when the local community is searching for products and services like yours. Hopefully this article has explained local SEO importance, so if you’d like to learn more or have a chat, head to our SEO Services page.
FULLTIME.digital build and optimise websites specific to your needs and your business. Want to get serious about your website?
Get in touch and talk to the team.