Are you being seen on Google or Bing? Internet users rely on search engines daily, with the juggernaut Google being the most visited website in the world, handling over 88.6 billion monthly visits. It controls the search market, processing 95.28% of online searches in Ireland as of April 2023, followed by Bing (3.15%) and Yahoo! (0.86%). Yandex, DuckDuckGo and Baidu also feature with smaller markets. Your visibility on search engines determines how much exposure your brand gets online.
Popular Google Searches In Ireland in 2022
We all make random personal queries on the search engine- from news and health, to everyday home recipes, as well as look for information on local stores and businesses. Before we delve into the metrics of promoting your brand, here’s a snapshot of what captured the nation’s attention in 2022:
Trending conversations like COVID, and the war in Ukraine were among the top searches by Irish citizens in the year – together with associated queries like ‘What is NATO?‘ and ‘What is an Oligarch?‘ featuring heavily as citizens sought to understand the war dynamics further.
Heavy searches on Box office releases like Top Gun: Maverick, Uncharted, and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin Uncharted showed how Google helped Irish cinemas bounce back into business after the COVID slowdown. We also continue to enjoy life indoors, with Netflix shows like The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Inventing Anna leading online searches, and cocktail recipes like a hen party staple – the Porn Star Martini, showing that many were drinking and socializing at home instead of heading out to pubs.
The nation also went heavy into online word games like Wordle and Heardle. Its sporting interest was seen with topics like the World Cup being prominent and the rugby tournaments like Ireland vs. New Zealand, where they got their first victory against the All Blacks right in their backyard.
Not to be left in the dark on Hollywood scandals, searches on Johnny Depp and Amber Heard topped the list of 2022’s most searched people as Ireland kept up with the court proceedings. Will Smith followed closely, no surprise, given the heated 2022 Oscars Ceremony. Searches on Liz Truss and Matt Hancock pointed to us also keeping up with news events closer home.
Search engines are intertwined with our lives – and are a golden goose for a company’s web traffic. 97% of people learn more about local businesses online than anywhere else. 74% of in-store shoppers surveyed in a Google/Ipsos Retail Study searched for items related to the store before visiting it – like the location, hours it’s open, and its contact information. How are you positioned to make the most of this?
SEO for your Irish Business
Whether you’re targeting a global audience or a local market, SEO is key to giving your business visibility. The strategies you implement will make or break your brand. Local SEO is core to your operations at Salt Marketing, helping businesses expand their reach within their communities and target geographical zones from Carlow County, Donegal, and Dublin, to Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Wexford and Wicklow.
We do it for ourselves too, as you can see from some of our results across different areas:
After 3 months of diligent work aimed at ranking for searches in new Ireland counties and towns, Salt Marketing was already sitting at the top of Google searches.
Every business wants to rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs). Competition is stiff. Discover what you can do to stay ahead here
With 46% of searches made on Google being local, skipping out on local SEO means your brand will miss the opportunity to be seen whenever someone searches for your products or services.
Why Local SEO in Ireland Matters
Broadly speaking, SEO – search engine optimisation- focuses on getting search traffic to your website. Local SEO adds the element of geography. The goal is to get you to rank high in search engine result pages (SERPs) for local searches. A Limerick restaurant ranking high in Dublin doesn’t do it much good. They’ll want to be visible to Limerick audiences. In a similar way, a Wexford grocery delivery service is best placed to tailor its SEO to audiences within the south-east region of the island.
One of the Dublin based accountants we onboarded was frustrated by their previous Google marketing efforts. When we analysed the reasons why the marking campaign was not generating results, it turned out that traffic was a key issue: The site was generating the wrong traffic. Visitors from all over the world, and not even 1% of it being Irish.
Snippet of traffic results for an Accountancy firm in Dublin. Can you spot the problem?
Top ranking factors for local SEO are keywords, Google Business Profile signals, and your backlink profile. Let’s go over these and more and how you can improve your ranking to get more site traffic and conversions.
Guide To Improve Your Local SEO
To have a firm foundation, you first need to optimise your website properly. Check our 21 SEO checklist to see areas that you can improve on, and what you could be missing. Now, for local SEO, here are best practices to put in place:
- Claim and optimise your Google My Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile gives you more control over how your business is presented on the search engine – from SERPs to Google Maps. The listing is free, and a good place to start with your local SEO. Fill out the profile completely. The information needed here includes the business name, description, business hours, street address, official website, photos, and reviews. Google uses the profile information to fill the Local 3-Pack for Maps in search results pages.
64% of consumers already use Google My Business to get the contact details of local businesses. Note that actual visits from GMB are high, with 56% of the actions by consumers on the platform, resulting in website visits – so the website itself should also be optimised to improve the user experience for more conversions.
Some key aspects to note:
- All information about your business should be consistent. i.e., Don’t have the street name spelled out on the website, but abbreviated on the GMB listing.
- When filling the profile, select the category that matches your business as closely as possible.
- Publish quality photos of your business’s products, services, employees, etc. Leverage the imagery to give customers an authentic look and feel of your business. Such photos translate to 35% more click-throughs to the website, and 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, as reported by Google.
- Engage (read and respond) with the reviews on the GMB listings. They form part of the considerations that Google makes on the search results.
- Add site schema
Schema helps search crawlers to easily understand landing pages, for them to deliver the relevant results in the SERPs. Note that this is not exactly the same as structured data, which is a standard format to provide information on a page and classify its content.
Schema is technically a form of structured data, and was launched in 2011 through schema.org by the major search engines i.e., Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex. This common language between the search engines helps them to better comprehend what websites are about. Working with the markup on schema.org will make your landing page to be eligible for rich results (initially known as “Rich Snippets”)
Schema markups will benefit your SEO by telling Google how your business is local and relevant to the search queries being made, and also enable your business to display more detailed results in SERPs, resulting in higher click-through rates
- Publish locally targeted content
Your website needs a blog. Here, you publish content on your brand, its products and services, trends and other kinds of industry-related information that your target audience will be interested in. It gives you content you can share on your social media sites, driving more traffic to the website. With more factual and relevant information being published on the blog, you become a resource for your consumers, employees and competitors, who view you as a credible source, making you more of an authority in your industry. It also boosts your other marketing campaigns. For instance, a business with a blog get twice more email traffic compared to those without one. The blog humanises your brand, allowing your audience to get to know more of you – and you can even share more diverse opinions and infuse a fun ‘behind the scenes’ look into the business.
All this makes blogs essential for your website’s SEO. Search engine algorithms returning results based on a user’s query will determine the quality of your blog in respect to the search that has been made. Higher ranks = More traffic. In fact, websites with a blog section get 434% more indexed pages than those without. Links to the company’s main site are also indexed here, and third parties can also link to your website, especially if it is a high-quality resource. This adds to your domain authority.
However, even with all this, when it comes to local SEO, infuse elements of your community, neighbourhood or local city wherever it is relevant. Note that not every search query will include the city’s name, so be sure to add neighbouring regions and other ‘unofficial terms’ that the locals in your area may use. Local news and events, covering incidents with a ‘local business owner’ perspective, interviewing experts from the area and publishing this in the blogs -they all help in boosting the local SEO.
Remember that the content that is published shouldn’t always be about your particular products and services. Deliver content that is beneficial to the reader and addresses their needs and pain points. The goal here is to become a trusted source in your locality, especially within your business’s niche.
Extra tip: Get in touch with blogs from other local businesses. Build relationships with them, to get inbound links to your blog. Sure, this shouldn’t be your direct competitors. You can find businesses within the niche you operate in that complement yours. For instance, a Galway grocery store blog partnering with supply chain participants dealing with fresh produce delivery around the harbour city on the country’s west coast will create a strong network.
You can find local blogs relevant to your location and business by searching terms like “[target location] [industry] blog“.
- Use strong local keywords
This is a standard local SEO practice. What is your target audience searching for in relation to your products, services, and overall brand? Combining high-volume terms like “near me now/tonight” to the local keywords will add to their impact.
For instance, let’s say you run a local seafood restaurant. The website likely contains high-come keywords like “seafood restaurant,” “best seafood restaurant,” or “seafood restaurant menu.” Massive chains already have, and compete for, these keywords. Optimising your website with local terms will work in your favour. e.g., “Dublin seafood restaurants near me”
Search through your website for each “seafood restaurant” instant and optimise them – but watch out for keyword stuffing. Some variations of this can include:
- best [city/street] seafood restaurant
- seafood restaurants on [city/street]
- seafood restaurant around [city/street]
You don’t have to limit the keywords to your specific town and street. You can also optimise for areas that are 5 or so kilometres around your business, and target those keywords – if it’s feasible for your audience in those regions to access your business. This is especially for Irish businesses that are in smaller towns outside the large metropolitan areas.
- Incorporate a map on your site
The main purpose of local SEO is to make your customers find you – so embedding a map in your website is a natural part of the process. Visitors to your site can quickly get the directions to your business without having to take the extra steps of opening a new browser window or leaving the site to look for directions elsewhere. They simply use the map that’s on the site. With Google Maps in particular, your business information – the address, contact details, images, and reviews are also included – adding to your credibility. Additional information is availed are the points of interest that are nearby – like parks and theatres, as well as restaurants and parking areas. The Google Maps embed is free, and you just copy the <iframe> code you get from Google and paste it onto your website.You can see this with Salt Marketing Contact Us page:
- Set up a contact page; Include clickable phone numbers
This page should have your locations, addresses, phone numbers as well as the hours of operation. This makes it easy for your audience to contact you. For small businesses with few locations, you can include these details on the sitewide footer element of the website.
Ensure that the phone numbers that you have provided are clickable on mobile. When someone is browsing your website on mobile and wants to call you, switching between apps and keying in the number manually can be a put-off. Part of improving the UX is simply ensuring that they can click the number and get an automatic prompt from their phone asking them if they would like to call that number. Salt Marketing does this on the Contact Us page as well.
When you click the number, you are prompted with dialling options to call the firm.
Here is a handy HubSpot guide to adding a clickable number in HTML.
- Build citations on local search engines and directories
A citation is a mention of your business details anywhere online, even when it doesn’t link back to the site. These are the name, address, phone number (NAP) and website URL. The business needs citations for actual physical locations, not virtual offices or P.O. boxes. You can set up a unique citation for each physical location of your business. Just ensure that each of the details of a particular location is identical wherever the citation will be posted.
For businesses that are in multiple locations in Ireland, the website link on the citation should point to the relevant landing page on the website. For instance, if you run an Irish law firm with offices in different cities, your Limerick citation should direct to the Limerick landing page, while Dublin citations should lead to the Dublin landing page, and so on, for each of the physical locations that you operate from. Consistency in the NAP is still key here. Inconsistencies in the citations are actually responsible for 41% of issues affecting local rankings, followed by duplicate Google Places/+Local listings. You should also build citations on platforms that are relevant to your location or industry. For instance, tradespeople can set up citations in the contractor associations that they are a part of. On the other hand, restaurants, hotels and similar participants in the hospitality industry should list on business directories like GMB, Yelp, GrubHub, Yahoo and TripAdvisor. Find specific local directories with search terms like “[City] directory“, “[County] directory” or “[your keyword] directory“.
Turn to Salt Marketing for Local SEO Ireland Services
Your local SEO efforts don’t end with these six measures listed above. You’ll need to know who you’re targeting and curate content for the reader personas, taking their neighbourhoods and demographics into account. The business also requires profiles on social media channels that the target uses. For instance, a restaurant’s marketing efforts would be better served on Instagram, where it can flaunt photos of its meals to entice customers instead of looking for engagement on Reddit, where there are longer-form discussions. The page structures of the website need to be optimised too – including the title tags, headers, meta descriptions, URLs, robots.txt and sitemap.xml. Add this to making your site mobile friendly, from ensuring that the page display is responsive, the fonts readable, the media display is optimised, and the text has proper formatting. Salt Marketing local SEO services are here to take care of it all. Reach us by email through firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call: 01-9065862 for a site audit to analyse your performance and discover opportunities to rank better in your region.