The events of the last 12-18 months have had huge impacts on businesses in Cork and around the world and it has highlighted the fact you need a strong online presence to survive the current climate. But how can local SEO in Cork help your business?
Well simply put, take out your phone, open Google and search “best coffee shop” and what do you see? Generally speaking, the top results aren’t huge chain shops, they’re usually locally-owned businesses in your city and close to where you are now – That is the power of local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a part of search engine optimisation (SEO for short) that places an emphasis on boosting a local businesses visibility in local search engine results, like Google. Usually, the results that appear in local search results answer a question that either has “..near me” in it or the search engine has realised that there is some form of geographic constraint to the search.
Why is local SEO important for businesses in Cork?
Did you know that almost half of all Google searches today are local searches? Even if someone inputs a typical search query, chances are that Google still shows them results nearby.
But why is this important? Well, data that Google recorded between 2017-2019 reported a near 900% increase in searches that included the phrase “near me today/tonight” Because of this Google began providing far more results for geographically related searches based on overall relevancy, prominence and proximity.
72% of consumers who actually search for a local business then visit a store within 5 miles of them, if your business is being found in local search results or even in Google Maps, you’re very much so increasing the chance of you capturing some new leads for the business.
You’ve also got to consider how much people are using their mobile devices in order to search and shop, according to a study undertaken by Search Engine Watch, a huge 80% of local searches that are performed on a mobile device leads to a sale.
A great, local SEO campaign puts your business directly in front of the customer exactly when they’re looking for your product or service, which of course makes them far more likely to purchase or at the very least, send an email or pick up the phone.
How can Cork business use Local SEO?
Here at Digital Funnel we are proud to be the leading provider of SEO Services in Cork and when you work with us, we will assist you in putting your business in front of as many potential clients as possible. The following actions will boost your visibility in the local SERPs –
- Create accurate local listings.
These are hugely important – Local citations and listings are where your business name, address, phone number and email are mentioned online. This is known as your NAP (Name, address, phone) and it’s imperative that these match everywhere they appear on the internet as this assists a search engine in trusting you as a source.
- Verify your businesses online legitimacy
You’ll want to list your business in some local business listings like Redbook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, etc. Again, this makes it far easier for search engines to just verify that your business is a perfectly legit and operational organisation.
Google My Business & SEO
The combination of Google My Business listing is a hugely underutilised tool for your websites SEO. By creating and regularly updating a Google My Business profile for your business you can feed your businesses information directly into the Google Search and Google Maps. It also allows you to monitor your reviews, update your customers on current events and so much more.
Simply put, by optimising your profile you’re informing Google that you are a strong, reliable source and this in turn will cause you to rank higher. One of the key benefits of a totally optimised profile is that it will give your business the opportunity to appear in the Local Map Pack – This is the box that appears above the organic search results, so we cannot stress how important it is to give your business the best opportunity to appear in this section.
Much like the first page of Google, it makes a dramatic difference to appear in the first 3 listings in the Map Pack. Browsers do not click the ‘see more’ button for the other listings so if you are not there, your competitors are getting the business.
Reviews are an essential element of ‘Google My Business’, serving as a hugely simple and effective way to boost your ranking in the Map Pack. Reviews hold a huge amount of power and Google have revealed that they are a key factor in their overall ranking algorithm. To get the ball rolling, ask some of your most regular and trusted customers to leave some reviews.
Reviews help to improve your click through rates and convert overall traffic into leads. Think of it like this, once a customer clicks onto your product or service page, you are nearly over the goal line, at this point customers have gotten here because they have an intention to purchase.
Positive Google reviews are vital here as this will show potential customers that you are a trustworthy and reputable vendor.
When it comes to gathering actual reviews, here’s some tips –
- Head to Google and input your business name, then head to the top right-hand corner and click the 9 dots.
- Select My Business and set this up if you have not done so.
- Scroll through the My Business home page until you see the ‘Get More Reviews’ Tab.
- Copy the link provided.
- Prepare a list of who to potentially target for reviews and draft a personalised, friendly email.
- Request they follow the link to leave a 5-Star Review!
- For after sales communications, organise a template email to be sent out to every customer following a purchase – Thank the client and politely ask for a review!
If you want to find out more, read our full blog post on How to Optimise your ‘Google My Business’ Profile. We’ve done a complete deep dive on how to fully optimise your GMB profile and included a great guide on how to get more reviews for your business.
Create Specific Pages
If you serve various locations across Ireland – you could create landing pages for each location. For example, our SEO company is trying to engage with new clients in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Tipperary. Each city has a dedicated page on our website which has a unique URL, page title, headings, and long form content specific to that location.
So, if you were to search on Google ‘SEO Cork’ or ‘SEO Services Cork’ you would see from the link that this page is created specifically for these terms. Whereas for the term ‘SEO Dublin’ or ‘SEO Galway’ we also have pages with their own maps, city images etc. It is vital you do not just copy and paste the text and add minor changes.
This needs to be a unique page of content or else you will be penalised by Google for duplicate content violations.
Location, Location, Location.
If you are looking to rank in a specific city or town, you should really have an address there to utilise Google My Business. For example, in Cork City most of the professional services are based on the South Mall. There are numerous SME’s that do not have the budget for a city centre office, or just do not need a physical location.
Despite this, Google will need an address to prove that your business is reputable and the advantages of having that in your target market location is immense. Before branching out into a physical location you can organise a virtual address and build your client base before moving into an actual premises.
A virtual address normally only costs between €15-€35 per month depending on the demand for the location. If required you can get upgraded services for post forwarding, call answering and more.
You will need to verify your new GMB account online. Google will send you a postcard with a code to your new business address.
Improve your Local SEO
Digital Funnel are a complete Digital Marketing Agency, specialising in SEO but also offering website design, PPC, & Digital PR. Working with clients in the Financial Industry, e-Commerce, Health Industry, Tradesmen and more, Digital Funnel specialises in putting local clients in front of the consumers that benefit them the most. If you want to learn more about how SEO in Cork can benefit you, get in touch with us today to order a Free SEO Audit of your site.