Appearing in Local Search Results

We have been saying for many years here at accountantSEO that firms of Accountants should be aiming their website marketing at the local population unless they are a national (or international) firm or provide a very specialist service.

If you use us for your SEO (search engine optimisation) then much of what I talk about below is something that we would do for you automatically however for those of you that would like to have a go yourself I’ve provided a few tips to help you optimise your website in order to make it more search engine friendly from local search point of view.

These tips can help your site obtain higher rankings in the organic Web search results (i.e.  not the paid for/sponsored results that appear at the top or right-hand side of the Google results) for search terms that specify a location (for example, “Accountants in Chandlers Ford”) or are caught by the recent Google local search update (about half way down this page announcing changes to the search results).

When you are optimizing your site for geo-targeted key phrases (those that are based on your location or areas that you provide services to), you need to approach your SEO campaign using the same processes as you would if you were targeting a national or generic phrase. You still need to conduct keyword research, do a competitive analysis at the local level, then apply on-page SEO by optimizing tags and content on your pages.

You should also try to increase your link popularity by obtaining inbound links (preferably from relevant sites that are local and serve the same area that you are trying to target) as this will help to emphasise to the search engines that you are based in a location and that this is the area you are targeting.  This is where you can score if you do the link building yourself, although it can be a thankless task, as you would be aware of the locality and could probably find local sites easier than if you leave this to someone else to do that doesn’t know the area.

So, if you want to optimise your site for geo-targeted keywords, make sure your locations (i.e., city, town or location name) are included in your content. You should also incorporate local search terms in the content when appropriate, without making the content sound too awkward (for example don’t say something like “XYZ Accountants in Welwyn Garden City are a firm of accountants in Welwyn Garden City…”).

Make sure you emphasise your location and the fact that you provide services to a specific geographic region, again though do this with care and read the content of your pages out loud to check that you don’t repeat the location too often.  Our experience shows that both the “about us” and “contact us” pages on websites are great for targeting local terms, although it’s more than possible to target local terms on all the pages on your website if you do it carefully.

If you have multiple locations or serve different areas, it would be may even be an idea to have a dedicated page for each location that provides specific information about the services you provide or the team in each location.  If you do this however please do not just copy the page several times and just change the location, try to make each page different

If you have just one the one office location then add your full address in the footer of your website (or the header, it doesn’t really matter which from an SEO point of view).  This has the added benefit of letting people know how to contact you on every page and not making them search for your contact details (which can put people off).

Finally, use local phone numbers. Having a 0800 number is great if you don’t want people to be charged for the phone call (bear in mind though that 0800 numbers are not always free for calls from mobile phones), but when it comes to local SEO, make sure to include a local phone number on your that matches your targeted area if you can (although this isn’t always possible in areas such as London where your phone exchange might not cover all of the area you want to target).