Local SEO Best Practices
What is Local SEO Best Practices? What is Local SEO in Hong Kong?
Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization) for any Hong Kong based business is an effective method to market your business locally in Hong Kong.
With local SEO best practices implemented, customers who are already locally situated in Hong Kong, or even in your neighborhood or district/area, or physically near your store or office will be able to find your business when Googling on their mobile devices.
Through Local SEO best practices, your business information (including street address, office telephone number, email address, etc) can show up in Google’s SERP and/or Google Maps. Additionally, user reviews can be displayed within Google Maps or organic search results (if you have received any reviews from users).
Having an office presence (i.e. a location for local SEO) and positive user reviews (with 5-star rating) give your audience and/or potential customers the trust they need when deciding to buy from your business.
- Why Local SEO Best Practices Are Important for HK Businesses?
- How Can You Improve Local SEO?
- Tip 1: NAP – Name, Address, Phone
- Tip 2: Get Google User Reviews
- Tip 3: Respond to User Reviews
- Tip 4: Get Citations from Reviews Sites
- Tip 5: Get Citations from Third-party Websites
- Tip 6: Publish New Google Posts Regularly to Keep Your Customers Informed
- Local 3-pack (or Google Maps Pack)
- How Do You Verify If Your Local SEO Has Been Done Right?
- Ensure Your Website is Mobile Responsive
- Ensure Web Pages are Accessible by Googlebot
- Avoid Common Mistakes in Mobile SEO
- Use of Interstitials
- Run a Mobile-friendly Test
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Why Local SEO Best Practices Are Important for HK Businesses?
Local SEO best practices may be extremely vital for any brick-and-mortar business who provide services in a local district in Hong Kong, whether it is Wan Chai, Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung, etc.
- More than 90% of users do perform local searches through search engines including Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
- Over 60% of people make phone calls to local businesses. Some actually click to call/phone a business directly from Google search results when using their mobile phones.
- More than 50% customers eventually visit the physical address of a business.
The ideal local SEO in Hong Kong should include the following cases.
Case 1: When someone does a Google search for your keyword (i.e. one of the services you are offering) in Hong Kong, you want your website to appear on the first page of Google.
Case 2: Your office address is located in Wan Chai. When someone does a Google search for your keyword in your local area i.e. Wanchai, you want your website/web page to appear on Google’s first page.
Case 3: When someone does a Google search for your keyword plus your area name, you want your company information with address and phone information to appear in a Google Maps pack, or known as “local 3-pack” (within Google search results). For example, the keyword is “wanchai visa service “.
Case 4: When someone searches your business/brand name as a keyword, your company information with address and phone information should appear in the right hand side box in the Google SERP.
How Can You Improve Local SEO?
Below are the 6 tips that you can improve local SEO for your website/business.
Tip 1: NAP – Name, Address, Phone
Google considers the important information of your business which includes:
- Name (N) – Name of your business/company e.g. Prism Consultancy Co. Ltd.
- Address (A) – Your office/store (physical) address e.g. Suite 1404, 14th Floor, 109-111 Tung Wai Commercial Building, Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
- Phone (P) number – Your business local phone number e.g. +852 34645200
Or they are also commonly known as NAP.
In your Google My Business account, you would have provided the NAP information of your business.
Make sure information of the business Name (N), business Address (A), and Phone (P) number (or known as NAP) of your business is consistent all over your website, and across all the online directories where your company name, office address, or phone number appear.
Tip 2: Get Google User Reviews
You should have gathered a few loyal and/or satisfied customers when running your business over the years.
You can ask your customers (who are happy about your services and/or products) to write and post reviews on your Google My Business.
The best result is that if your happy customers also give you a great star rating i.e. 5 stars.
After receiving several good user reviews through Google My Business, such as this example with 20 user reviews with an average of close to 5-star rating, the reviews will gradually have positive impact on your business.
i.e. It causes good word-of-mouth to happen, and it will lead to driving you more new business.
Everything is the result of good karma.
Tip 3: Respond to User Reviews (When Appropriate)
Depending on the exact reviews you have received, there may be reviews that you actually need to reply.
Make sure you do not over-do it. Only respond to those reviews when it is appropriate.
Tip 4: Get Citations from Reviews Sites
Yelp is a popular customer reviews site.
Claiming your page and creating an account with Yelp allows you to respond privately and publicly to your customers who have posted their reviews about your services and/or products.
When you take the time to build your comprehensive Yelp business page and add information to it, the page will become useful for potential customers who have not yet used the services you are offering and/or have not purchased your products.
Yelp for Business is free at the most basic level. It offers paid options if you need more features.
There are other user/customer reviews sites that are similar to the nature of Yelp, and having more positive user reviews on any of the reviews site is a good sign for improving local SEO.
Tip 5: Get Citations from Third-party Websites
Another method with citations to improve the local SEO of your website is when a third-party website mentions your business as a point of reference (in your industry).
An example is when your business name, location (i.e. store/office address), and contact info (including phone number or email address) are mentioned on another website.
This mentioning has a positive effect on Google – It lets Google knows that your business is real and may be trustworthy.
Tip 6: Publish New Google Posts Regularly to Keep Your Customers Informed
You can create new posts in Google My Business (GMB).
An example on using Posts: Your business may be hosting a local event in Wanchai during one of the afternoons next week. Even you have already sent out invitations to your customers, you should also announce this event by posting it on Google My Business.
Another example is more common, if you run a blog (on your website) and write (and publish) blog articles regularly, you may write a short snippet for each blog article, and repost the short snippet with a link to your blog article on the Google My Business Post.
Local 3-pack (or Google Maps Pack)
Follow the four tips above to get Google to list your business in the local 3-pack with your business location also appears on Google Maps.
Having a website is not a compulsory requirement to get your business appearing on Google Maps.
A website is important because of two reasons.
Reason 1: A website consists of multiple web pages. With the web pages, you can create landing pages that are for specific purposes. One purpose of a landing page is to show a contact form to individual visitors, and let them provide their contact information (such as name, email, phone number, etc). Over time, you will have collected the contact information of many potential customers.
Reason 2: The website has multiple pages where a single page has a specific topic which is different to the topic of another page on your site. This setup allows your web pages to target many different keyword search terms. This means your business will have more opportunities to get found through Google.
How Do You Verify If Your Local SEO Has Been Done Right?
Ensure Your Website is Mobile Responsive
When building a website, you always have multiple options in terms of mobile configurations. To ensure your website shows up correctly in the search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines, you will have to configure your site to fit with multiple devices including mobile, tablet, and desktop.
When building your website, the three main techniques that can handle view screens of all types and sizes include:
- Responsive web design: Your website will have one single set of URLs across all devices, and one set of HTML code.
- Dynamic serving: The website will have one set of URLs across all devices, but two sets of HTML code.
- Separate URLs: Your site will need two different sets of URLs and two different sets of HTML code i.e. One for mobile and another for desktop/tablet.
The best practice with mobile configuration is to create your site with responsive web design. Responsive web design is the mobile configuration that Google has recommended.
It is best to treat tablet devices as desktop, but not mobile devices. Tablets tend to have larger screens (when comparing to mobile). It makes sense to assume that users expect to see your website as it would look on a desktop computer (or web browser).
Mobile devices usually refer to smartphones such as devices running operating systems in Android, Windows, and Apple iPhone iOS. The mobile browsers are similar to desktop web browsers in which they can render HTML5 web pages. The screen size of mobile is much smaller, and the screen in most cases is set to vertical orientation as default.
Ensure Web Pages are Accessible by Googlebot
The bottom line with the format or convention of page URLs is that all page URLs must be accessible (or crawlable) by the Googlebot user agent.
Check whether you have mistakenly blocked access from Googlebot to some page URLs or directories with robots.txt.
Avoid Common Mistakes in Mobile SEO
When your pages that are intended for mobile users provide poor searcher experience (due to common mistakes), they may be demoted in organic search rankings or displayed with a warning in mobile search results.
When a user visit a web page with content that is not supported by a mobile device, it causes poor experience.
Content such as unplayable videos that are created through Flash videos may be considered poor experience for mobile users. In this case, you should re-create your video content in supported formats, and the videos should be embedded into your web pages using HTML5 standard tags.
If possible, make the transcript of the video available. This will let your site content become accessible to users who use assistive browsing technologies or have web browsers that cannot play some video formats.
Avoid using fixed-width viewports in your HTML page codes, as this causes your page to not scale well for all device sizes. You should specify a viewport using the viewport meta tag because your website visitors may use a variety of devices with varying screen sizes.
Use legible font sizes and avoid setting font size which is too small on your pages for mobile. You can set the font sizes to scale properly within the viewport.
Make sure you have not set touch elements such as buttons and links too close to each other. This will make it difficult for mobile users to tap on a desired element with their fingers without tapping on the wrong element at the same time. Use more space to keep sufficient distance between two elements.
Use of Interstitials
Some websites tend to show interstitials or overlays that would partially or totally cover the main content of a web page when a visitor is browsing the page. This is a big mistake. Google considers most interstitials bad experience for mobile users which include:
- Full page advertisements
- Direct promotion to a mobile app of the website
- Mailing list sign-up forms
The recommendation is to use a simple banner when promoting your mobile app inline with the content of the page.
- The banner may be created in HTML or image that is similar to a typical small advertisement and can link to the app download.
- A browser-supported banner should be used i.e. Native App Banners for Google Chrome, or Smart App Banners for iPhone Safari.
Run a Mobile-friendly Test
Many local searches are coming through mobile devices, and you should ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Run a mobile-friendly test for your website on this tool, Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
As an example, the English homepage of the site (https://prismvisas.com/en/) has passed the mobile-friendly test.
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