Search Local

Search Local

When looking for services or products locally,
we turn to our phone first.

Is the local chemist open?
When does the pizza shop open?
What sort of reputation does the local car repair garage have?
–   all quick searches online.

Company representation online is important in three main ways:

  1. Be found.  People must be able to find your business easily.
  2. Accurate Data.  Your opening times, location and contacts must be accurate and up to date.  Out of date or wrong information will adversely affect your search ranking and your company online reputation.
  3. Active.  Active profiles look better and perform better.  Impress your visitors and search engines by updating and adding new content to your social platforms.

Top places to promote Search Local:

Google. Google business is a great place to publish your location, opening times, COVID updates and what’s new.  Google account holders can add reviews, which are very valuable.

Facebook with Instagram. Facebook is the most active of all the social platforms for most businesses.  Here you can add your opening times, location and attract reviews.  Posting at least once per week will keep your online reputation looking good.  Depending on your industry you may have to post more often to keep up with the competition.  Remember to use hash-tags.

Twitter.  Twitter is nice and simple, fast to update and looks professional.   For most sectors, it’s not really very active but I always suggest the addition of a Twitter account, keep the account active to help with the overall reputation and it helps with search too.

Directory Listings

There are about 40 recognised directories we suggest you list on.  These include Bing Maps, Foursquare, Manta, Brown Book and Show Me Local etc.  You can also be active on Yell and Gumtree, this all helps but depends on your industry.

Listing on all the directories requires an investment of time and going forward effort to keep up to date.   Don’t expect a huge response or uplift in traffic immediately.  Listing accurately on the directories strengthens the business online profile and will benefit search ranking.

I do suggest you list on all the main recognised directories;  helps with search local and overall search results.   You will notice directory listings are starting to pop-up at the top of search results when searching locally, your company needs to be there.  See screenshot.

Local Search

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Darlington”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big website stores.

Local searches lend themselves to instant requirement and the interaction between browser and business will convert that browser to a loyal customer.

Let’s say you need new brake pads for your car. You want them today;  want to pop to town to collect the parts, you may want to look at the item before buying to be sure the right fit etc.  A search of say ”Car parts shop in Darlington’ will work.   Or you are looking for a local service that can only be local; Joiner, Decorator, Loft Conversion Company, Upholsterer etc.  These all need to be local.

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.

Lastly, you should be everywhere.  When a browser searches for your local business you should be everywhere, accurately presented with an active and up to date profile.

What are Sitemaps?

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

A way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at.

Sitemaps are something most of our clients are not aware of. Sitemaps help search. Sitemaps are free and easy to add, they are simply a way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at to help make the search engine crawl (a robot clicking through your website) easy and accurate. They help produce a SERP Map too, a multi-link search engine result on Google and Bing.

A sitemap file is hidden from human visitors, but search engines like Google and Bing can see it.  The sitemap helps search engines easily see all the content on your site in one place.

Why do you need a sitemap?

Without one, the only way for those bots to find all your content is by following links on your site. So, if you have any pages on your site that aren’t linked to often, or it takes a lot of links to reach a certain page, there’s a chance that Google won’t find those pages and they’ll never end up in search results.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.

Sitemaps are something most of our clients are not aware of. Sitemaps help search. Sitemaps are free and easy to add, they are simply a way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at to help make the search engine crawl (a robot clicking through your website) easy and accurate.  They help produce a ”SERP Map” too, a multi-link search engine result on Google and Bing.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters (the person who looks after your website) to inform search engines about pages on websites that are available for crawling.  In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.  So a more often updated website will be more attractive to search engines.

Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites.  Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata.

Using the XML Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides help for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.  XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It’s a markup language similar to HTML, but its main purpose is to organise data.

How to set up a site map

You can generate a site map from your host provider or admin panel.  WordPress for example provide a site map automatically now.  A site map link looks just like a website address with .xml on the end. Then submit it to a search engine.

WordPress provides a sitemap as standard now (5.5.1).   If you already use an SEO tool to boost your website traffic, no action required.

Benefits of Upgrading to the New WordPress 5.5.

WordPress

New with WordPress 5.5.

Speed. The speed of a website is important, Google prefers faster loading websites as a faster website provides a better experience for the visitor.

With WordPress 5.5 posts and pages feel faster, thanks to lazy-loaded images.  Images give your company story a lot of impact, but they can sometimes make your site seem slow.  So it advisable to make sure you optimise your images, size them about 1000 to 1500 pixels wide and reduce the resolution (they don’t have to be high-resolution images unless you are printing).   In WordPress 5.5, images wait to load until they’re just about to scroll into view. The technical term is ‘lazy loading’.

On mobile, lazy loading can also keep browsers from loading files meant for other devices. That can save your readers money on data – and help preserve battery life.

Search.  Add a  sitemap for search.

WordPress sites work well with search engines, especially if fresh rich content is added.  For example; updates from your company, case studies, answered FAQs etc.  A site map is a way of letting Google and Bing etc to know which pages you want crawling and telling them your site has been updated. This can produce much better search results and in some cases, a multi-linked SERP map (search engine results page map).

We at Zedcomms always add a site map to our client’s sites using plugins such as Yoast or All in One SEO but now this feature is included with the latest WordPress software.  WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines discover you’re most important pages from the very minute you go live.

So, more people will find your site sooner, giving you more time to engage, retain, and convert them to subscribers, customers, or whatever fits your definition of success.

This is a good move for WordPress.

Tip – Hit update just once; When updating your WordPress site to 5.5, click the update button only once. It looks like it has not responded, wait a while and it will do the job.  Hit it a few times and the site may get – lest say confused.

Redirect Pages To Streamline

301 redirect

Lost?  You may have an established link on a directory or a search result that links to a specific page in your website but you’ve changed the exact URL.  To avoid embarrassment and loss of an interested client use 301 Re-Direct.

301 redirects are pretty simple. They’re used to redirect one webpage to another.

Often missed as most of us don’t search for our own website too often.  Do so every now and then or ask your website guy to check for you that all links to your pages find a page. You also need to make sure that people actually visit the HTTPS version of your site, which means using a 301 redirect between the HTTP and HTTPS version.  Yoast has a standard option within the settings area.

301 redirect Allows You To ‘Redirect’ An Established Link To A Chosen Page.

Another way to clean up your search and links it to tell Google things have changed by updating your Site Map.

You want Google to crawl every important page of your website. But sometimes, pages end up without any internal links pointing to them, making them hard to find. An XML sitemap lists a website’s important pages, making sure Google can find and crawl them all