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How to Fine Tune Local Search in the UK?


Receiving local search engine traffic is one of those things that small businesses often seek, but do little to target correctly. Many in fact have no idea that you can target the UK, or in fact, a single town within the UK. If that is the case, what can a small business do to get traffic that is targeted to both the UK and their product?

To answer this question you need to look at what factors affect the search engine’s results when a local search is required.

· Product or Service: obviously the product or service is important. Your SEO strategies need to optimize keywords based on your product or services

· Target Region: the second component that needs to be targeted is the town, city, region, or country. The target area must be included and closely associated with all your keywords. In effect, the area you are targeting together with your product or service become the one keyword

Having established your keyword set, you need to optimize all of your pages with these links. However, there are other areas that need specific attention as well.

· Address: simply having your address in the footer of all pages can give your site a huge boost. Be sure to include everything that helps to pinpoint your address. Street name (and identifier e.g, Rd or St.), the town name and any postal codes. Having your full telephone details can also help, particularly if you include international codes (make sure you prefix with the words telephone, fax, or phone).

· Internal links: use specific geographic terms in all internal links. Don’t forget to use local terms as well (slang). These links should be optimized for both geographical location and product/service.

· Link out: links from your site to other related sites can be quite beneficial. The relationship does not have to be strictly applied either as links such as ‘our visitors find xxx parking in xxx to be reliable’ or ‘when visiting xxxx, our visitors prefer to stay at xxx’. Be sure to include your targeted region name in the link.

· Incoming links: find local directories and get listed with their services. You can also encourage local businesses to link to you, perhaps in a similar way to the previous point.

If these areas are targeted for local search using both the geographical terms and product/service terms as complete keywords, you will find that your position in those local search results will climb significantly.

The local search takes a lot of thought and some careful planning but the results can be spectacular when it comes to increased traffic.

Ranking in the UK Specific Local Searches:

Location is an important factor in search engine optimization and local search results. Search engines look for results that are relevant to a user’s query taking into account the user's location and language. Search engines do their best to return results from their region, in their language.

It becomes difficult if your website is a dot com that is hosted in the United States and you are in France and your site is written in French. Chances are that many US searchers will be finding your site whilst very few French residents are. That is not just a language issue; it is also a local search issue.

Having a local domain with a local host makes a lot of sense on many levels — at the very least you have similar time zones when there are hosting difficulties to sort out.

Most search engines can determine a user's country based on their IP address. Web sites can be identified by the domain name suffix (like for our region) and they can also determine the physical location of the host by their IP address.

This information is collated and put together so that matches can be made when a user enters a search term. A resident in Australia will find that Google returns results from Here in the UK, a resident will see Google results through

If your site is hosted in the US, you may not appear in the results. There are ways around this issue; however, the simplest way is to get hosting in the region where you do the most business. This will get your search results in that region and it will be far easier to undertake search engine optimization strategies for your local search.

Do You Appear In Local Search?

Do you ever check your details in a local search? For that matter, when was the last time you checked your own details on your site? Actually, do you even appear on local search?

Local search is becoming THE most important search and over the next few years, search engines will concentrate almost all their efforts on trying to return relevant local results to users.

Search engines already use details gathered from those undertaking a search to try and match results. In the past, you had to include geographic terms in your search query to have any hope of finding a local business.

If you’re wondering about your listing, go to and enter a search for your business. Local search now returns results with maps and directions. Business details can also be included.

If you are not appearing in local search, you need to focus your search engine optimization so that you can get that listing in local search.

Is Local Search Important In the UK?

Whether or not you have an online business, a brick-and-mortar store, or a combination of both, you should ensure your website is ranked well in searches for your local area — aptly known as local search.

People aren’t just searching for items anymore. They are now searching using the town or even area in the search phrase as they try to narrow their searches to their own neighborhood. In today’s world, people want to know whom they are dealing with online. They want to be able to visit your business in person if possible, or by telephone, or at least know where you are if things go wrong.

There are many services that require bricks and mortar sites, for example, dry cleaners, doctors, or services requiring repairs such as motor mechanics. To do business with you, they have to visit in person. If they can do a search and find you online, perhaps with a map or at least directions to your store, they will feel more comfortable.

Some of your best customers may be right around the corner, searching online for someone to provide the services they need. If they can’t find your website in the local search listings that they use, they may never come through your door.

For a region like the UK with so many competitors in close proximity, being found in local searches could make the difference between being found, or your competitors being found. Local search may give you the edge you need to succeed.

Multinational Companies Must Localize Or Die

The age of global dominance is gone. The Internet has changed the rules of the business game — for everyone, even multinational corporations, especially multinationals.

It used to be that big and was great. Now, big is bad. And what is better is going small. In fact, “Small is the new big.”

If multinational companies want to compete in the global marketplace they will need to figure out that localization is the newest trend. Sure, build a big and pretty website. Will it get found? It will likely not unless people look for your specific company by name. And with many people around the world a bit on the biased side against mega-corporations and their exploitative practices, it doesn’t look too good for them.

Multinationals wanting to compete today will need to build websites around local niches. Not necessarily a website for every city in the world, but one for every region. In other words, if you do business in more than one country then you should have a website in each country in which you have a presence — you should have a website for every top-level domain name serving those countries. And you should target specific keywords within your industry that will attract traffic in those countries.

Multinational companies that fail to follow this route won’t last very long in the global Internet marketplace. I guarantee it.

What Does Local SEO in the UK Mean?

When we talk about local SEO in the UK, do you know what that really means? To some people, local SEO means your city or town. In fact, it does mean that but it also means your country and region. So when it comes to local SEO in the UK, depending on whether your company does business in the UK only, all over the world, or just within a certain region or small town in the UK, you want to rank well for your keywords within that geo-targeted area.

There are several ways you can focus your website on local SEO. The elements involved in local SEO are much the same as for general SEO. You need to have your local place name or SEO term within the title of your page, page description, keywords meta tag, body content, and all the other elements of your web page as well. But which terms should those be exactly?

First, you have to figure out what your local area of business is. Do you do business in the UK, in England, in a certain region of England such as Birmingham, only within a certain city or town, or a particular area code reference? Your local SEO efforts should be focused on that geographical region, whether larger or smaller. Some of the strategies that you can use to SEO your website for your local region include:

· Telephone Area Code

· Postal Code

· Country Name

· Name of City or Town

· Your Region’s Popularly Referred To Phrase or Name

When it comes to local SEO, all it takes is a little understanding of the rules of SEO and applying them to a smaller geographical region. If you can do that then you can ensure a sound local following for your business.

Should You Promote Your Region In Your Content?

How far should you go promoting your region in your web sites content? I notice many websites talking about their products or services but few promoting their region. For those online enterprises that have the world as their customer base, the issue is not so important. However, the biggest growth area for new internet startups is in the area of local business. It stands to reason then that your own region should be featuring predominantly in your content.

You may wonder why? To a certain extent your region, town or country are keywords within themselves. If you promote yourself on the local searches you will get listed in local search directories. For the general search engines, particularly Google, local terminology may help to get you listed higher in the SERPs, particularly when a region or town is used in the search phrase.

Using your town or region in association with your keywords is important when it comes to local search and general search. If someone uses a search term such as ‘SEO Company UK’ or ‘SEO Company in the UK’, in our case we would hope the search engine places us highly in the search results. However, humans are fickle and they do not always search according to reason. They may use a search term such as ‘SEO based in the UK’ or ‘SEO servicing UK’.

If you use your region frequently within your content, you are more likely to pick up these stray searches. The best way to use your town or region is by promoting and promoting yourself within the region. You will surprise by some of the results. It is also important to note that some unscrupulous people have been claiming businesses that have remained unclaimed and using them for their own purposes. This could affect your reputation — so claim your business and take it out of harm's way.

If You’re Local Then Concentrate On Local Search

People are tightening their belts and that includes website owners. As I have mentioned in previous posts, take care how far you tighten your belt when it comes to your online activities. The percentage of shoppers who are checking the web before they go shopping is going up every day.

If you have a local brick-and-mortar business with an online presence to promote it; don’t cut your online presence adrift to cut costs. If the current trend continues you could be better off reducing offline advertising first.

Your primary focus needs to be where your customers are. You are a local business so you need a strong presence in the local search results. Your SEO efforts should be focused on the local search engines, local directories, and local sites that complement yours. Your aim is to be first wherever a prospective shopper enters a search term.

For directories and local searches, be sure you stand out from the pack. If you are not number one, at least standing out will attract the eyes and clicks and hopefully the customers. If your copy is dull, boring, or just a list of keywords, you will not get the traffic.

If you’re a local business — promote yourself hard in local search to snare all the local search traffic.

Why Should Businesses Rely On UK Local Search?

Local search is becoming more important as each day passes. Businesses in the UK that are trying to compete in search results with other businesses from the UK often find it hard to gain top rankings. This is making local search all the more important.

Let me rephrase that with an analogy — would you rather compete for advertising space with half a dozen competitors, or would you like to compete against a couple of hundred — perhaps a thousand. When it’s put like that, the obvious answer is to compete against half a dozen. That is the difference between local search and general search. Local search pits you against those in your area whilst general search pits you against everyone in that region’s data center.

If the latest move by Google moves across the Atlantic and finds its way into our local search culture then claiming your business and putting up a local business profile will become a must. What is this latest feature? It’s pretty cool, actually, to use a somewhat outdated term.

The Google feature is called ‘near me now' and it does rely on people using iPhone or Android phones. Those that are using compatible phones can select the ‘near me now’ option and, using GPS, the phone will display those business groups that are near that person at the time. It may show restaurants or theaters, as an example. By clicking on one of the groups, it will open up to show those listed in the local search.

Mobile technology is booming when it comes to internet access and it is the next big thing to hit Great Britain. Having sites set up to display effectively on mobile screens is becoming a must. Claiming your business and having it listed in local search is also a must.

Like social marketing, you should be encouraging your shoppers to rate and leave comments related to their shopping experience. This is another area that is being overlooked at present by most small businesses — however, when it comes to local search results displayed in a general search results screen, those comments and ratings do appear to have some effect on the order in which local businesses are displayed.

Should we work hard on optimizing the UK local search? Most definitely — it’s here to stay and growing daily.

How Your UK Business Is Associated With the UK Region

Google’s primary way of associating businesses with their local region is through the top-level domain name. In other words, businesses located in the UK that have the .uk domain name extension will be associated with the UK. If you want your local business to be associated with an area that is more specific than that then you should tell Google that when you list it with the Google My Business. The same is true of the other search engines as well. If you want your business associated with a local area in each of the search engines then list your business with the local business feature at the search engine and include your address.

On-site SEO goes a long way to optimizing your site locally as well. Include your address at least once on each page.

Don’t think there is only one way to optimize your UK business for local optimization. The fact that you have a .uk top-level domain puts you one step closer. After that, it’s just a matter of learning the techniques that will rank you well for your keywords while also targeting your local customers.

Local Search: You May Not Be As Local As You Think

Local search is a real plus for many organizations outside of the UK. At least it could be. If you have a domain with the .uk extension then you may think you are fine when it comes to local search on search engines such as Google.

For those who are unaware, individuals using a search engine such as Google have the option to search either the whole web or just their local area. By local area we mean the geographical area of their search engines. For users in the UK, your geographic search engine is Google UK. For those in Canada your geographic search engine is Google Canada — and on it goes.

If you use a domain name from your geographic area then you may think you are fine when it comes to local searches. Someone in the US entering a search term and requesting a local UK search should find your site if you’re using a domain right? Perhaps not.

Despite the use of local domain names and optimizing your META tags to include the local area, if your website is hosted in another area then you may find that you rank highly in that area and not your own. Let me explain.

Many websites are hosted in the US due to price and other factors. Your IP address is normally set by your web host. If your host is in the US then you will have a US-based IP address. When a search is undertaken one of the factors used to determine the results is the IP address of the website. You may find that rather than your website ranking highly here in the UK, it is ranking highly in the US.

Local Search And Getting Listed In Google My Business

Search engines all have a version of local search — without being too biased, Google My Business is one of the best aides to local search on the internet. Believe it or not, your business may already be listed in the directory, it is just waiting for you to claim it.

Claiming or adding your business to the Google My Business is not difficult. Google My Business is part of Google Maps so you not only get a business listing, but those who search will also get a map of your location as part of the results. Even if you don’t have an online presence, claiming or adding your business could result in more sales since local search is quickly becoming the most popular way to find a business — it will soon outrank local telephone books like the Yellow Pages.

To add or claim your business follow these straightforward steps:

· Go to the Google My Business for your region. This can be found through your local Google Maps.

· Select put your business on Google Maps

· You will need to sign in or create an account if you don’t have one

· Select “Add New Business”

· You can now enter your business information

· Follow the prompts to confirm the details

· If it claims your business is already listed then follow the screen prompts to claim your business otherwise follow the prompts to add your business

· If you have any additional details such as business category, opening hours, photos, payment options, and so on then enter them in

· Submit your site and go through the verification process. This will be either via phone or postcard. Once verified the details will go live.

If you wish to add coupons you can do so along with the modification of any details after the listing has been verified.

How long does it take — roughly 30 minutes. Is it worth it? If you have a local brick-and-mortar business then it certainly won’t hurt. If you gain one customer per month the 30 minutes taken will be worth it.

Local Search Factors That Are Crucial To Success

Local search is growing and the trend is rapidly reaching a point where more people will use the internet to find businesses than use paper-based products like the Yellow Pages. The chances are these days you are spending money on a paper-based directory listing that no one ever sees.

As we steadily climb out of the recession, your marketing budget (especially your Yellow Pages budget) may well be best spent on developing an online presence. Local Search is one area that should be high up on the list of ‘to do’ projects for every business.

Have your address listed with major data providers.

Claim your listing at the local business center.

Have reviews either at Google or elsewhere.

List your business in the proper categories once it’s been claimed.

The most crucial and fifth point is to have your site linked to local people and local businesses. This reinforces your presence locally and gives your business some authority in that regional area.

An interesting point made by noted search specialist Bruce Clay, suggests that local SEO is not cheaper than general SEO. This is a good point since local search involves work in both the local and general realm of search.

Local search is growing and growing quickly. Local businesses need to act just as quickly to ensure they are found when someone enters a search term for their niche. If you’re not found, you may find your customer flow starting to dry up. Meanwhile, the money spent on paper-based directories will be going down the drain.


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