Picture this. You’re a digital marketing agency in the UK. You throw yourself a backlink on this keyword on your most recent blog post. Now that’s got you thinking. Do you really want to or need to mention you’re based in the UK? You only service clients in the UK, but suppose you’d probably be able to service clients globally, in theory. Are you restricting yourself? Should you delete the UK? Should you may even go hyper local; are you a digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire? Or digital marketing agency in Letchworth? In this paragraph, we have three different locations mentioned. That’s probably pushing it in terms of expected results as we don’t want to cram a load of keywords in, however, Google will most likely let us off, as we like to believe we know what we’re doing when it comes to SEO, especially in Hertfordshire!
The answer to the question of whether you should add a location to your SEO keywords to help with search engine optimisation depends on a number of different factors.
Firstly, how competitive is the keyword? If you’re an estate agent, a digital marketing agency or trade, for example, you’ve got absolutely no chance of ranking through DIY means without adding a location. The way we usually explain things to clients is that yes, we can rank without a location, but it’ll take at least 12 months of intensive SEO. If however you start with a town or county, focusing on that for 3 months you’ll probably find you’ve reached page one. Then you can build a new landing page focused on a different town or county and repeat. Before long, you’ll have the local searches nailed, and can behind expanding your horizons. It’s so difficult ranking new properties in particular, who have few backlinks, limited content and no prior investment in SEO, for national/international terms.
Do I just stuff location keywords to rank better in Google?
The one thing you shouldn’t be doing is keyword stuffing: trying to focus on too many different cities and locations on the one page isn’t going to be effective. If however you build a pillar page focused on a specific county and added in the various towns and villages in this area, that’s a much more realistic strategy.
How long does it take to rank for location specific SEO keywords?
How long’s a piece of string? Ultimately, it varies as to how long it takes to rank. Some of our clients are very lucky (as are we) in that we can get them to number one in Google for their keyword within the first three months. However, generally speaking it could take 3-12 months to reach number one, even with location specific keywords. However, SEO tends to be in some instances based on pure luck! Sounds strange, but agencies who promise too much tend to disappoint. We prefer to be realistic with our clients.
Sometimes it can just be because you’re successful in a certain area, with products or services that you might just be ranked higher for when people are searching in the first place. A lot of searches nowadays can just have the search of ‘near me’ which takes the location of your business into account, but rather your actual location than the keywords that might be featured on your site.
Let’s dive deeper into some considerations around focusing on local SEO first.
Assessing your competition
Sometimes it can be all about who you’re coming up against, as for some businesses they’re not too focused on their SEO and just one or two important keywords could take you to the top of the rankings in a short space of time. We always start with competitor analysis when it comes to SEO as it’s important to benchmark and set expectations.
As great as it feels beating your local competitors with SEO, it’s not always quick and easy.
Spend too long celebrating, they’ll potentially start investing too and then it becomes an SEO battle.
Local SEO needs to feature in your content strategy to become a truly effective weapon in your marketing arsenal. You need to think of ways you can align your website, products and or services with local search terms and commit to this. As much as you may not wish to seemingly restrict yourself, being vague, unspecific and generic is potentially more damaging than simply stating the location in which you’re based, for example, from an SEO perspective. Equally, your homepage can be neutral in terms of locations and you can build locations more-so into deeper pages on the site.
Tailor those keywords
One of the most important parts of this process is making sure that you are choosing the correct keywords to target with your SEO efforts. Don’t just base it on a hunch – use a platform like Moz to research. We use Moz’s tools to identify search volumes, prioritise keywords to focus on and furthermore, use the keyword suggestion tool to ensure all variations are picked up on which may be perfect for a blog for example.
In answer to the question around adding a location to keywords to help with SEO: in most cases, yes. Under you’re a huge national provider with a ridiculously high domain authority!