What's the magic word?
If you're a small business owner like me you need to do everything you can to help Google find your website and show your business high up in its organic search results. So what's the magic word you can easily add to your homepage to radically improve your SEO?
Yes, it's that simple! And yet it's amazing how many local businesses fail to include their location on their website. Now I've pointed it out you'll keep noticing how many business owners fail to do this seemingly obvious thing.
Why is it so important to put your location on your website?
1. Because people search by location
Let's take a pertinent example. Say you need a website designer for your small business. (I can recommend a good one!😉). How are you going to find one?
First you'll try word of mouth by asking your friends and other small business owners for recommendations. But if that doesn't yield good results, the chances are you'll turn to Google.
And what will you put into the search box? It won't be just "website designer" because there are hundreds in the UK and you'll spend hours trawling through web designers who aren't near you. So you'll do the sensible thing and search for "website designer Chester", for example.
That's how people use Google, they specify the location. If you haven't told Google your location, it won't return your business in its search results.
2. Google favours local search
How often have you used "find ... near me" when searching on Google?
Imagine the scene. It's Friday evening. You're tired, hungry and you fancy a takeaway. If you live in Wrexham and you order a pizza from a place that only delivers in Crewe, you're going to stay hungry. So you Google "Pizza delivery near me" and, yum yum, your Quattro Stagioni will be with you in no time.
Plus, for businesses with a physical address, Google helpfully brings up results on a local map with the closest result first.
But only if you tell Google where you are!
3. So people know they have found a local business (for local people)
A potential client is searching for a business like yours. How will they know when they have found you?
You need to tell them.
People like local businesses. This is true even when there is no real need for them to be local.
Take my small business. I am a website designer in Chester. Almost all my clients come from Cheshire, Wirral or North Wales. In theory they could use a website designer anywhere in the world but there's something reassuring about being local. I have had clients I only met via Zoom or even email, especially during the pandemic, but they still chose me because I'm local.
Where should your location appear on your website?
Your location should be on, or near, the top of the homepage.
Don't make your visitor work for it. Don't bury your location deep in the content or, worse still, expect them to go all the way to the "contact us" page before they find out your secret hiding place!
Your visitor should be able to see what you do and where you are as soon as they land your website without scrolling at all. You only have a few seconds to convince a potential client that they have found what they are looking for or they will simply click away.
And remember, you don't know which page your site visitor will land on. It won't always be the homepage. So the safest bet is to put the location in the header.
You also need to add your location on your "contact us" page and probably on your "about" page too. If you have a physical premises that clients visit, consider putting your location in the footer.
How should you describe your location?
As simply and clearly as possible.
If you are based in a single town or city just say that. Or, if you cover several areas, state them simply.
Think about how someone would look for you.
Let's say you cover the North West of England. Will people search for that? Really? Or are they more likely to search for Liverpool or Manchester because that's where they are?
Let's use me as an example again. I live and work in Chester. I can design websites for clients anywhere but realistically they are most likely to be within 30 miles and many will be in or around Chester itself. So I have "website design Chester" in my header and I also mention Cheshire a bit further down. But Wirral, Wrexham and Flintshire are all in my likely catchment so they get a mention within the website too.
Think you've already done all this?
Are you sure?
Check your website now. Look at it on different devices and make sure your primary location is really obvious without scrolling.