Be sure to optimise for the right algorithm, says Greg Gifford at Ungagged.

Dressed as Ted from Bill & Ted (reference totally lost on me, I’ve never seen it, but a few people in the crowd seem to enjoy it), Greg took the stage here at Ungagged conference to describe how to stay up to date with local SEO. Here are his basic local SEO tips.

Basic local SEO tips

What works in one city, won’t work in another

The first rule to local SEO, says Greg, is that it’s super niche. While the local search ranking factors study has good general advice, the reality is that you need to be testing everything.

Link building sucks

Let’s be honest, says Greg – link building sucks. According to him, link building strategies are so often outdated and rarely worth the money they cost (which was awkward, given the number of link building talks on the conference agenda, but hey ho…).

In local SEO, local link building is easy, says Greg. Try the following:

  • Local event sponsorship
  • Local clubs and organisations (those with which the brand is affiliated)
  • Learn more about your client – try this survey, says Greg – http://bit.ly/local-link-questions

Stop obsessing about ‘unique content’

Now that everyone has ‘unique content’, nothing is ‘unique’, says Greg.

Your content needs to be about your business and what’s truly unique about your company, about your area. Look at your homepage content and about us content – if you can take out the business name and place name and replace it with another business name and place name and have it still work, it’s rubbish. You need to create content specific to your business and location.

Try reading your content out loud, too. If it doesn’t read well for a human being, don’t use it (keyword stuffing is not cool, we can all agree!).

Geo term optimisation

According to Greg, local is only really taking off in the UK now, so there are plenty of opportunities for growth. Geo term optimisation is all about getting that city name in the title tag, headings, copy and URLs.

Also be sure to have a blog, and he suggests topic ideas here: https://searchengineland.com/make-blog-local-destination-win-local-search-215354

Use local content silos

Want to rank for locations you don’t have a base in? Use silos, says Greg – https://searchengineland.com/local-content-silos-secret-local-search-success-223371

Citations and reviews

Have consistent citations, says Greg. And get reviews across multiple review sites.

Google My Business

Your GMB listing is your new home page, says Greg.

Your audience can learn so much about you through GMB, so it’s so important to be listed there. Here’s how:

  • Don’t put keywords in your business name (can be penalised)
  • Add appropriate categories
  • Add and update your photos and videos regularly
  • List a local phone number (if you’re doing call tracking, put the local number as the second number)
  • Put UTM tracking in your GMB URL – attribution here is broken and will show up as ‘direct’ if you don’t track it properly
  • Use Google Posts – most local SEOs agree that sharing at least one post a week has a ranking benefit
  • Use the GMB Questions & Answers feature – https://searchengineland.com/google-my-business-qa-what-you-may-be-missing-299177

Top tips

  • The primary category in GMB carries significantly more weight than the other categories – put the weight on your biggest, most important keyword
  • Find out what your competitors are putting as their categories – search for the name of your competitor, then click the map that shows up in the Knowledge Panel. Next, right click on ‘view source’ and search for the primary category by looking at the business name, then it shows ‘null’, then it shows the list of categories that competitor has used
  • Report fake/spam listings – if competitors have added keywords in their business name, report them for it and they’ll be penalised
  • Get review stars in the search results – you can only mark up first party reviews, that you’ve gathered on your own website
Laura Hampton

Head of Digital PR

Head of Digital PR at @impressiontalk specialising in user-centred SEO, digital PR, content marketing and digital strategy. My team won the Best Use of PR in an SEO Campaign award at the European Search Awards 2019. In my spare time, I jump out of planes.

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