Matt and myself (Tom) spent last Friday at a local SEO conference; BrightonSEO, where we caught up on the latest best practices and what the future holds for SEO and the online business world. Now that we’ve collected our notes, discussed what we saw and have started to put our new knowledge into practice, I thought I would share some of what we’ve learnt. Firstly; if you don’t know what BrightonSEO is, it’s an SEO conference held every six months in Brighton. It’s an event for people in the industry from around the world to get together and discuss Search Engine updates, new techniques and test the latest software. To learn more about BrightonSEO and how it all began, check out their about page.

Website & Business Reputation

One of the key talking points was Local SEO and the impact of the recent updates to Google’s algorithms. A point heavily stressed was the reputation of the website and your business in general; putting effort in your local community offline will help with people’s opinion of you online. Get involved in your local community by supporting charities and events, working with other local businesses and generally being a presence in the community. The offline awareness will keep your business in the mind of the potential customer and when it comes to deciding to use a local resource they’ll be more likely to contact you over your competitors.

For more on Local SEO look at our recent blog post about it.

While being a strong local presence offline helps in your awareness campaign; you’ll have to drive it home by dominating your online space too. There are a few options available to you for local online domination; make onsite changes to ensure your site is locally optimised, be active and responsive on social media (especially to any negative feedback – check here for our advice on Facebook) and taking advantage of the geo-specific abilities of Google Adwords and Remarketing is certainly a good place to start.

Local Directory Citation

Having backlinks has always been important and being on directories is a great way to spread visibility, however, for local SEO is has become vital to be registered on local directories. It’s the online equivalent of being in the yellow pages. This isn’t surprising considering the huge trend of comparison websites in the past few years. If I’m looking for a plumbing in Peacehaven (where our offices are based) I get the following results:

Plumber search

Past the paid positions and the Google Map Pack, four out of the first seven results are comparison websites. This highlights the importance of increasing your websites visibility across directories and getting the correct directory citations. You can see in the results here that some of the sites even show star ratings; further increasing the information available to the users and helping them to come to a decision. If you’re not on local and relevant directories, you’re at a disadvantage and could be losing customers to your competition.

Not only is having website citations for your business crucial for local SEO but the information needs to be the same across all the listings; if your details have changed and all the directories you’re on haven’t been updated it’ll not only provide users with the wrong details but will have a negative impact on your SEO performance because of this.

If you’re curious to know if your details are all correct or you simply want to know where you’re listed online; get in touch with me about arranging an audit.

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