9 Local SEO Tips for getting found in Newcastle online.
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If you’re a local business struggling with your online visibility and you want to be found for your primary keywords, you are probably wondering what you can do to ‘get found locally in Newcastle’.
If you’re short on a budget and want to make changes to your website without paying a Newcastle SEO company, there are plenty of worthwhile things you can do yourself to make a difference to your search rankings and overall online visibility.
This may sound obvious, but one of the best ways to get found in Newcastle is to actually be in Newcastle. If you have a Newcastle address, postcode and phone number you’ll be able to tell the search engines - “Hey! This is where I’m at!”. You’ll then be able to wrap local business schema around your address on your website, add yourself to directories and build a Google my Business page – a few of the things that will help you to become an authority in the local area.
You don’t even need to be in Newcastle to rank in Newcastle, either. Purchase a registered/virtual office in the city centre, along with an ‘0191’ phone number that matches the Tyne and Wear area, and you can build authority around these details.
If you want to get found locally in Newcastle, you either need to BE in Newcastle, or at least make it look like you are…
If you don’t understand what local business schema is, that’s OK. All you need to know at this point is, will it help to get you found in Newcastle? Absolutely.
Local business schema, or schema generally, is often referred to as structured data or schema markup and is a common language spoken by search engines. The vocabulary, officially named schema.org, was created by Google Bing, Yahoo and Yandex in 2011 as a global standard vocabulary to help the search engines better understand various types of web content.
So how do you set about putting it into your website?
Take the time to read this article by BrightLocal and it will tell you everything you need to know about schema markup and why it is critical for local businesses.
Google my Business, otherwise known as Google Maps, provides local businesses with the opportunity to physically put themselves on the map. Google my Business, or GMB, is considered to be a key ranking factor and is super easy to optimise.
Step 3 is also much easier than step 2, considering you don’t have to be technically minded to achieve this step. All you need to do is create a page and get it verified, either by phone or postcard.
The next part of this step involves filling your GMB page out with as much data as possible, thinking about what your customers would like to learn.
Consider adding photo’s, key business information (such as opening hours), products and services, FAQ’s and of course, your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP). You should also look to build your customer reviews, but we’ll touch on that further down the line in step 9.
Another great way to build authority in your local area, is to add yourself to local and national directories. This will further enforce your search engine marketing strategy of telling the search engine’s where you are.
Listing your business details anywhere online is known as a ‘citation’. Citation optimisation is considered one of the best ways to improve your local presence, however you should take extra care when doing this.
Carry out a citation audit to find out where you are already listed. If you have inconsistent data online, you will need to amend your details to make sure everything is uniform. Your NAP (name, address, phone number) details especially should be correct for where you are based and how people can reach/find you. If you have old addresses/phone numbers listed through directories, it is more beneficial to update an old listing, rather than create a new one.
Popular directories, such as Yell and Checkatrade, will often rank high up in the search engine’s as well; So, if you’re not in a position to drive traffic to your website organically through the search engine’s, you might be able to boost your web traffic through the directories you have listed yourself on. (In Google Analytics, this is known as referral traffic i.e. traffic that has been ‘referred’ your website by another).
Becoming a master of local SEO involves more than just having a local address, building a few directories and a GMB page and hoping for the best. To rank higher organically in Newcastle in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), you need your website to be technically sound and have good on-page optimisation.
The basics of on-page optimisation are occasionally over-looked and people will often wonder why they aren’t ranking, however there are a few things you should do before anything else:
1. Implement page/meta titles.
2. Write compelling meta descriptions.
3. Create compelling page content, optimised for local search.
#1 - A good structure for a meta title, especially when it comes to local SEO, is to have your service, followed by location, followed by your brand name. This way you include all the key elements.
Here’s an example for a building company called ‘Build Experts’ that want to be found in Newcastle.
Your main keyword that you want to be found for should be at the start, followed by the location you want to be found in, a secondary keyword (if space allows it) and your business name at the end, to tell the world who you are.
#2 – A great meta description will include keywords (or keyword variations), your brand name, occasionally contact details and be written in a way to capture the attention of search engine users.
The problem with your meta description is, you don’t have a lot of space to fit all of this information in. Industry experts agree that a good meta description length should be around 155-160 characters, to avoid it being cut off.
Here’s an example of a basic meta description for the aforementioned ‘Build Experts’.
Looking for local builders in Newcastle upon Tyne? Build Experts are the building company you can trust for quality results. Call us today on: XXXXX XXX XXX.
The above description has exactly 155 characters and covers the basic elements you should look to include.
#3 – Your page content should reflect what the page is about and what you want to rank for. Before you write any content, you should first carry out keyword research to establish what keywords you need to include.
For our ‘Builders Newcastle’ page, keywords might include:
Building company Newcastle
Builder in Newcastle
Local builders in Newcastle
Sprinkling (not spamming) these keywords throughout the page will help to tell Google (and other search engines) what the page is about and what you want to rank for.
You should include your primary keywords in your headings and your page should have a good heading structure. One <h1> tag at the top as your main heading (including your main keyword), two <h2> tags and a number of <h3> & <h4> tags further down the page.
Some people prefer to write a compelling page of content and add the keywords/headings afterwards. Others prefer to plan their headings out before writing the page to make filling in the gaps easier.
Take the time to plan your page properly, thinking about your page title, meta description and page content. When you put your page live, make sure it is easily accessible by people who reach your website by linking it in a prominent position, either in the navigation or throughout the rest of your website.
You will also want to consider a good URL structure for the page, which for our building page might be: www.buildexperts.co.uk/builders-newcastle/.
Newcastle is the biggest city in the North East by far, with a population of just under 280,000. This makes ranking in Newcastle much tougher than if you were attempting to rank in Jarrow or Wallsend for example. A plumber would have a greater chance of ranking for ‘plumbers Wallsend’ than ‘plumbers Newcastle’ because of how competitive ranking locally in Newcastle has become.
So, what can you do to combat this?
Start building your domain authority with a well-structured link building plan.
The best approach here would involve looking for as many relevant links as possible from other sites. The optimum word here is ‘relevant’. Does the website provide any value in linking back to your website? Is it a website that Google would trust?
Link building is generally quite a slow process that can take a long time to master, but the end result should mean a higher DA (Domain Authority) for your website. It can all seem a bit daunting at first, so if you are struggling to understand link building and why it’s important, take the time to read this helpful guide, specifically geared towards link building for small/local businesses: https://searchengineland.com/organic-traffic-link-building-small-businesses-269353
The consensus is – people like website’s that work on mobile, tablet and desktop.
As do the search engines.
Ensuring your website is easy to use and works on a range of devices should be up there on your list of priorities.
Did you know? Mobile first indexing is a real thing. Google looks at the mobile version of your website FIRST, before crawling the desktop versiion of you site. This alone indicates how important it is to have a mobile-friendly site.
Not only is having a ‘mobile-friendly website’ good for SEO, it’s also important for the people who land on your website. If your website doesn’t work well on mobile, users will simply bounce away and go elsewhere.
The last thing you want, after spending month’s trying to get your website ranking, is for a potential customer to leave after landing on your website and realising it doesn’t work properly on mobile.
Make sure your website has a responsive web design and, if it doesn’t, take the time to get this fixed ASAP!
Like not having a mobile-responsive website, if your website is super slow, people will bounce away.
Having a slow website will lose you customers in the long run, so you should take the time to speed it up and make it as user-friendly as possible.
There are plenty of reliable page speed tools you can use (Pingdom, GT Metrix, Google PageSpeed Insights) that will tell you how fast your website is and what is wrong with it.
The tricky part is speeding it up.
At this point you will probably require the help of someone who specialises in technical SEO to improve your loads times and increase the speed of your site. However, if you’re totally hell-bent on not working with a local SEO company and doing it all yourself, a good place to start would be optimising your images. This basically means reducing the file size of the images.
There are a bunch of cool image compressors out there that allow you to do it for free, although sometimes the quality of the image is compromised. You have to be careful not to damage your images when you optimise them and should keep a backup of the original copy before you start trying to reduce the file sizes.
Reviews won’t necessarily help you in getting found locally, however they will tell other customers that you are real and give signals to the search engines. They play an important role when people are comparing your business to your competitors.
Getting as many positive reviews as you can should form a huge part of any local SEO strategy. The more, genuine and positive reviews you have, the greater chance you have of being contacted by a person studying their options online.
Let’s give you an example:
If you have a hundred 5 star reviews, compared to your competitor with fifty 5 star reviews, ten 4 star reviews and a 1 star review, if someone types the word ‘best’ in front of their Google search, you will stand a better chance of showing up higher in the search results with your GMB page.
Reviews don’t just stop at your Google my Business page though. You should focus on getting positive reviews anywhere that matters. Whether that means Facebook, Yell, Checkatrade or on your website, getting recent customers to review your services will help you become an authority in Newcastle for what you do.
Following our local SEO tips will help you to rank higher in Newcastle and any other areas you are trying to target.
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