The apple, McDonald's and Google logos side by side

The 3 Things Great Logos Have In Common

This blog post accompanies a video from our brand new YouTube channel. Our channel is dedicated to sharing useful tools, tips, tutorials and conversations around design, productivity and business. Whilst we may only just be getting started on YouTube, we’ve been designing logos, graphics and websites for our clients for over 4 years and can’t wait to share what we’ve picked up along the way.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in click here to be taken over to YouTube and subscribe!

If you asked a random person on the street to think of a logo on the spot, there’s a good chance that most people would name the same 5 or 10 businesses that have achieved truly insane global recognition or awareness of their logos. James, our creative director, wanted to share some simple points that we can learn from great logos and help understand how we can use this guidance in our design work.

In the words of world renowned logo savant Sagi Haviv, a logo must be three things:

  1. Simple
  2. Distinct
  3. Appropriate.

A photograph of two hands using an iPad with a magic pencil

So Why Is Simplicity Important to Logo Design?

The world has changed. More so now than ever, our logos have to exist within a number of different contexts that extend far, far beyond the traditional applications that dominated even just a generation ago. Whilst these traditional applications are still very much in play, the introduction and rapid growth of the digital spaces that feature so strongly in our day-to-day lives mean our logos now have to contend with so many different modalities of display.

Simplicity allows us to present ourselves effectively in all such situations; let’s look at Nike as an example. Their “Swoosh” logo has to exist in all traditional formats, but also needs to work on app icons, smart watches, websites, hats, shoes, and even on products sold within virtual realities. With each application comes a different set of considerations like scale, texture or colour, yet the simplistic nature of the logo design ensures Nike can navigate these challenges whilst remaining recognisable to their global audience.

A man using an Apple Watch next to three apple watches in a promotional campaign

But How Is A Simple Logo Distinct?

Simply put, the purpose of a logo is to identify. It is the designer’s job to uncover a design that straddles the line between simple and distinct. Let’s look at the Starbucks logo as an example of how requirements for logos have changed and evolved over time. You can see that since its original concept, the means of identifying a business or brand have shifted dramatically to promote a simpler and more versatile form.

Simplicity does not mean forgoing originality – far from it, it means that as a designer your efforts should be geared toward producing the most simple version of an idea or concept that still possesses a distinctive and recognisable identity.

A poster showing the Starbucks logo evolution

Does A Logo Really Have To Match Tone?

The short answer is yes. Take a look at the example below – we have purposefully mismatched the tone of these logos to stress just how important it is that your designs truly reflect the ideals of the business/brand it seeks to represent. These designs both still work visually, but will hopefully strike you as completely inappropriate representations.

This is where you need to take responsibility in truly getting to know the business, its product or services, its audience and competitors – how can you find success in matching the tone of the business if you don’t know the qualities your design should be aiming to promote?

These three rules are at the forefront of our minds when we’re taking on logo projects and working through our ideation process, and we think they form the perfect working guide to produce strong, accomplished logo designs. 

Lego and Prada logos swapped in style

Want More?

If you’re looking to learn more about logos, catch up on last week’s blog post on the 7 Different Types of Logo Design where we break down the different types of logos and what they are suitable for.

We’ll be posting new videos on our YouTube channel every week, so keep an eye out and make sure to subscribe if you’re finding the content valuable!

We’re new to YouTube, so please let us know any comments or suggestions for videos you’d like us to make, any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated.

To make sure you don’t miss out, make sure to sign up to our newsletter for curated blog posts, videos, and tools sent directly to your inbox – fill in the form below!

A black and white photograph of the apple logo on the side of an office building

The 7 Main Logo Types - What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

As with most things underneath the umbrella of graphic design, there’s often more to a logo than meets the eye. Even the most simplistic looking final resolution can be the product of a long and complicated process of development, and most iconic brands have evolved their logos across their many years of operation.

Take Pepsi, for example. Taking a look at their logo evolution below, it is clear that they’ve used a variety of different logo types over the years.

A poster showing the evolution of the Pepsi logo

With that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to explore the 7 different types of logo, look at some well known examples, and investigate what each logo type may mean for your business.

Type #1 – Pictorial Mark

A pictorial logo, sometimes called a “logo symbol”, is most likely what springs into mind when you think of the word logo. Formed with an icon, symbol or image, a pictorial logo usually utilises a recognisable object and uses this to represent an element of brand identity – some, like Apple’s apple or Target’s target aim to simply reflect the brand name, others try and represent business activity or attempt to appeal emotionally to the audience like the World Wildlife Foundation’s panda icon.

Although reflective of real world objects, pictorial logos are usually carefully stylised to balance simplicity with visual interest. A great example of this would be Twitter’s bird logo.

A black and white photograph of the apple logo on the side of an office building

What are the considerations?

As these logos consist of a single icon/image, it can be hard for start-ups and those without such strong brand awareness/recognition to use effectively. It can take significant time and investment before customers start to connect your logo and brand together, and thus many start-ups or smaller businesses tend to opt for combination logos (see below) whilst they are growing and developing.

The largest consideration when designing a pictorial logo is the image itself – the icon you choose to represent your brand needs to avoid current trends and aim to be timeless, and will have to represent some element of your brand or core business.

It is also worth thinking about the future of your business. If you are likely to change your service offering or heavily evolve your product range, having a logo mark that represents your business now may not be so relevant a few years down the line.

So, who is a pictorial logo suitable for?

Although pictorial logos are absolutely at their most effective when you already have an established brand, there are instances where they make perfect sense to utilise.

A logo symbol works great for those with long trading names as it can depict what your business does graphically rather than having to contend with sprawling text; in the same vein, those that trade globally can avoid having to translate their logo across multiple languages if they lean on a graphical representation instead.

Type #2 – Mascot

A mascot logo is an illustrated character designed to represent your company and act as an ambassador for your brand. They can be the colourful, engaging and fun face of your business and go a long way to developing a wholesome family appeal to your service or product.

As humans, it makes sense that we connect more readily to anthropomorphic characters than we do to abstract images. For this reason, a well designed and deployed mascot can be a fantastic way of forging deeper emotional connections between customer and brand.

A man wearing a KFC sweatshirt holding a KFC bucket of fried chicken

When do mascot logos work best?

It’s likely you’re not going to have much luck selling luxury handmade Italian suits with a cartoon mascot splashed across your branding. Mascot logos are very effective for companies aiming at younger aged audiences or those that are attempting to appeal to families, like KFC’s Colonel Sanders or Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger.

That isn’t to say that they can’t be used for any brand relating to adults, as Michelin’s eponymous Michelin Man proves perfectly, but generally mascot logos are much more readily utilised by those that want to be seen as approachable, fun and playful – and a lot of companies looking to do this have targeted their service/product towards children.

Are there any other benefits?

An effective mascot logo is a marketeer’s dream. By positioning the logo as a “friend” to the audience, and encouraging engagement through this playful appeal, mascots can have wondrous results when used in marketing campaigns across social media and are seemingly at their most powerful when trying to foster user-generated content. They can be just as effective in physical marketing spaces too, like banners or mascot stands at conventions.

What else do I need to know about mascot logos?

As touched on above, it can be very hard to use a mascot effectively if you are trying to establish your brand for an older or more refined audience. It is also worth remembering that mascot designs are often much more complicated than icon logos and due to this added detail may not operate well at all in smaller dimension designs.

Type #3 – Combination Logo

This logo type does what it says on the tin, combining images with words – it doesn’t matter if the image and text are situated beside one another, on top of one another or combined into one image, if it combines letters or words with an image, it’s a combination logo.

One of the most popular logo types, combination marks are used throughout all sectors/industries and suit small businesses just as well as large multinationals.

A marketing banner for Lacoste showing an old woman and young man both dressed in pink Lacoste tops

What is the appeal?

The main appeal for combination logos is their versatility. You can design and implement different variations of a logo to suit different contexts/modalities, all whilst maintaining a consistent brand identity. A fantastic example of this would be Lacoste – their combination mark features throughout their e-commerce store and media campaigns, yet a majority of their products utilise only the image element of their logo – the famous crocodile.

How do they work for small businesses?

Combination logos can really help small businesses build up brand awareness/recognition. If you start out promoting the logo with both text and image elements combined, you should reach a point where you have earned the freedom of choice between the two whilst remaining just as recognisable to your audience. They’re also much, much easier to legally protect through trademarks as the combination of a symbol and text forms a much more unique image than either one alone.

Type #4  – Abstract Mark

Similar in kind to the pictorial logo, an abstract mark logo centres on an image, albeit one that uses much more of an abstract form. This means that rather than depict a tangible real world object, like Apple’s apple logo, they represent your brand with visual metaphors.

The nike tick logo installed on the side of a building

Why would I use something so abstract?

Creating an abstract logo might seem like a strange option, but there’s a reason that they’re so popular with giant brands like Nike, Adidas and Pepsi. As they are not reliant on real world objects, there are an infinite amount of design directions to pursue and this gives your brand the chance to create something completely unique.

That isn’t to say an abstract logo should be random in any way – a truly great abstract logo conveys your brand’s core values and generates a real, tangible response in its audience. Think about Nike’s famous “Swoosh” design – this abstract shape looks perfectly simple, yet it conveys speed, movement, and even represents the wing of the greek Goddess that is Nike’s namesake.

Abstract designs also mean you and your company don’t have to rely on cultural implications of a real-world image or have to translate across different languages too.

Type #5 – Monogram Logos / Lettermarks

Imagine you are tasked with designing a logo for the International Business Machines Corporation. That’s quite a lengthy name to have to design around and print on a business card isn’t it? That’s where monogram logos come in. These are typographic logos that are created using a brand’s initials, and are often referred to as such – think NASA, HBO and CNN.

A photograph of the NASA worm logo on the side of a metal vessel

So it’s just letters?

Yes and no. As with everything logo related, the simple is never really that simple. There are many considerations when looking at monogram logo types, yet due to the nature of their design, a lot rides on the font used within the logo. Selecting a font or creating a custom typeface that represents your brand perfectly is no easy feat, and there are many small details taken into consideration during this process, right down to the spacing between letters (kerning).

So, if your business name is a bit of a mouthful, it’s definitely worth looking into lettermarks when designing your logo.

Type #6 – Emblem

An emblem logo or badge logo consists of text situated within a symbol; often ornate and harkening back to traditional designs, emblems are worn with pride by sports teams, represent some of the world’s most prestigious universities, and also adorn the Starbuck’s coffee cup. Badges, seals and crests are all part of the emblem family.

A photograph of three Harvard Emblems hanging from the Harvard building above a crowd

Is an emblem right for me?

Whilst it might not always be the most obvious answer for businesses, organisations that are related to education, community and heritage are the most likely candidates to be suitable for emblems to represent their brand. We’ve had the privilege of designing emblems for football teams, religious groups and school academies, yet don’t find ourselves leaning towards emblems for many private businesses.

What are the Pros & Cons of an Emblem Logo?

What makes an emblem so attractive for those institutions is the sense of traditional appeal that these designs lend themselves to, as well as the availability of space to reflect slogans and intricate details that can be packed with symbolic meaning. However, the very same qualities that may make it appealing to some mean that it is less than ideal for others, as all that intricate detail can remove versatility from the logo and make it ineffective on smaller scales, like business cards or embroidered on merchandise.

This is why a more contemporary take on the emblem is starting to gain popularity – these more minimal designs tread the line between tradition and practicality, with cleaner, less complicated designs for you to work with.

Type #7- Wordmark

Finally, we come to the wordmark. This is a logo that turns its attention to the name of your business, and that alone. Our own logo is a wordmark, as are some of the most famous logos of all time: Google, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, eBay, the list goes on.

Like the lettermark, similar considerations must be given to the font selected during the logo design process. Coca-cola, for example, have created their own custom typeface, whilst a lot of more modern wordmark designs seem to feature sleek sans serif fonts.

The Coca Cola wordmark logo in white on a red background

Is my name suitable for a wordmark?

Wordmarks work best when they’re applied to a business name that is catchy, distinct and succinct – Google is a great example of this. If your name is too long, then it might be that other logo types are more suitable – you may want to abbreviate and look at creating a lettermark!

What needs to be considered?

Aside from the typography/font, there are plenty of considerations for a wordmark that will all have an impact on how much the design suits your brand – do you want to use all caps? No caps? A mix? What about colours? How will the text be weighted – heavy to promote qualities of safety and trust or more light and elegant?

If you’ve got a catchy name and strong sense of what you want to convey as a brand, wordmarks are the perfect choice!

I want to design a logo, what now?

We consider ourselves logo design specialists and nothing makes us happier than helping a small business create the perfect logo for their brand. If you’d like to chat to us further about logo design, please get in touch, or head to our portfolio of logo projects for some inspiration

To make sure you don’t miss out, make sure to sign up to our newsletter for curated blog posts, videos, and tools sent directly to your inbox – fill in the form below!

The google chrome logo with a puzzle piece in the middle of it

5 Free Chrome Extensions Every Designer Should Know

This blog post accompanies the first video of a brand new series on our YouTube channel. This series is a space for James, our Creative Director, to share the tools he uses every day in his role here at Wilkes Wood, starting off with 5 Free Google Chrome extensions that every designer should know about. 

Our channel is dedicated to sharing useful tools, tips, tutorials and conversations around design, productivity and business. Whilst we may only just be getting started on YouTube, we’ve been designing logos, graphics and websites for our clients for over 4 years and can’t wait to share what we’ve picked up along the way.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in click here to be taken over to YouTube and subscribe!

Without further ado, let’s get stuck into the list.

Tool #1 – WhatFont

WhatFont does what it says on the tin, enabling us to find out exactly what fonts are being utilised on a website. After installing the extension, all you need to do is click once and it will bring up all the information about the font selected.

A screenshot showing Lorem extension in a chrome browser

This is a great tool, and as web designers we are always keeping track of great fonts we see elsewhere online to share with our clients.

Tool #2 – Lorem

Next, we have Lorem. Lorem is a placeholder text generator that has a fantastic user-friendly interface and can generate text efficiently with the click of a button. You simply select how many paragraphs and sentences you need and click once to immediately have the text on your clipboard, ready to be pasted in when needed.

A screenshot showing Lorem extension in a chrome browser

This extension is essential for us when we are building out wireframes when developing websites or quickly fleshing out text for graphic design concepts – it’s super simple but saves lots of time.

Tool #3 – Color by Fardos

Again, this is a very simple tool that comes in handy to save time, and whilst there are plenty of alternatives out there for this function, this is by far the best we’ve found.

Color by Fardos is a colour picking tool that has a couple of great features. Firstly, the eyedropper tool allows us to click on any colour on a web page and immediately get the information for that colour, as well as save the colours for later.

A poster for colors by Fardos showing different colour combinations

You can also click once and it will generate a complete list of all hex codes of any colours used on the website, which you can also save to a bank to be referenced later.

In addition to the colour picking tool, Color by Fardos also enables us to search for colours and then provides various shades and tints of that colour, as well as complementary triadic split/complementary colour pairings so it’s a fantastic tool to use for any design work, whether it be web related or graphic design.

Tool #4 – Toggl Track

Whilst Toggl Track is a full feature application, and a pretty good one at that, we’re only discussing its chrome extension in this blog post. Toggl is a really useful time tracking application that makes it incredibly easy to efficiently and accurately track your time between various tasks, jobs and clients.

A screenshot showing Toggl Track in a chrome browser

It is as easy as typing in what we’re doing, clicking the start button and then clicking once to stop the timer; we can then tag that tracked time to a project or client or whatever you want to file it as.

We’ve used this to track everything from time spent on internal development projects to tracking billable hours for our client work, and we think it’s just as good for those getting into freelance design work as it is for small agencies.

Tool #5 – Muzli 2

Muzli is an extension that we absolutely love, and also plays a big part in how we are able to come across plenty of useful tools and websites without spending so much time and energy actively seeking them out.

Muzli replaces the Google Chrome home screen with a perfectly curated feed of articles and tools related to design – it’s perfect if you’re seeking out some inspiration or want to engage in the more productive kind of procrastination.

A screenshot showing Muzli

James has found some fantastic apps here over the past couple of years, and we’ll no doubt be covering these in future blog posts and YouTube videos.

Want More?

We’ll be posting new videos on our YouTube channel every week, so keep an eye out and make sure to subscribe if you’re finding the content valuable!

We’re new to YouTube, so please let us know any comments or suggestions for videos you’d like us to make, any feedback at all would be greatly appreciated.

To make sure you don’t miss out, make sure to sign up to our newsletter for curated blog posts, videos, and tools sent directly to your inbox – fill in the form below!

A poster showing logos for Google, Starbucks, Apple, Ford, Nike, McDonalds, UPS, Coca Cola, and Chanel

3 Reasons Why Great Logo Design Matters

All too often overlooked and undervalued, the humble logo has great potential to make a real impact on your business. It speaks volumes without uttering a single word.

Logos are foundationally important elements of your visual identity, allowing consumers to easily recognise your brand in a competitive marketplace. Research suggests that 42% of people believe they can accurately gauge a brand’s personality by their logo alone.

Robert Jones, professor of branding at the University of East Anglia, sees good logos as expressions of a company’s values. In an interview with the BBC, he stressed how logo design informs perception, stating that a logo helps “express how you’re different from your rivals – warmer, greener, stronger, and so on.”

That isn’t to say that logos can magically make your business a trusted and reputable one – no logo can build a respected brand on its own and will only be successful and impactful if the company it represents has put in the hard work to build their brand and reputation.

In short, consumers still very much assess your brand on the quality of the product or service. In Jones’ words, “…all of that real stuff matters more.”

So What Can a Logo do for Me?

To put it bluntly: a lot. In an analysis of the role of logos in brand performance for Entrepreneurial Executive, research concluded that for entrepreneurs with limited resources investment in logo design can yield great results.

By delivering “favourable unique brand associations” through design and combining this with delivering “positive consumer shopping experiences”, entrepreneurs can leverage this combination to create “strong customer preferences for their brand.”

That’s a very academic way of saying that if you combine a recognisable logo with great service, you’re onto a winner…

Here are a few key points that make the right logo such an important asset…

1 – First Impressions Count, Lasting Impressions Count More.

Your logo is, often, the first impression that consumers will have with your business. Like all good first impressions, you want it to be strong and memorable, but what good is an impression if it doesn’t last?

In a study determining the effectiveness of logos published by the Harvard Business review, a well designed logo was not only seen as a tool to “pique the interest of consumers”, but also as an opportunity to influence your audience and their purchasing decisions.

They highlighted that the initial interaction between consumer and logo (more specifically the logo’s design characteristics) can “considerably impact consumer behaviour and brand performance.”

This is a chance for you to immediately communicate ownership over your niche through good design – your logo’s first impression can introduce your business as an authority within the competitive space, and have a lasting, positive impact on the consumer.

Underestimating the importance of this opportunity can be a costly mistake.

2 – Brand Loyalty is Priceless

As touched on in the introduction, there’s somewhat of a formula to getting the most out of your logo. Combining excellent service/product quality with a great purchasing experience and a well-designed logo is a recipe for successfully building brand trust and loyalty.

By enabling your consumers to become attached to your logo mentally and physically, you have the best chance at converting one-time consumers into loyal brand followers that will make repeat purchases, share your brand with their family and friends, and be more inclined to test out other products or services in your range.

This is powerful stuff, and why research from Vengagge revealed that brand loyalty is worth as much as 10x more than a single purchase.

For this all to work, however, your logo must be appealing to your targeted niche, with 60% of consumers avoiding brands that have logos they find ugly or unappealing and 78% of consumers regarding brand logos as art, it is clear how highly consumers hold brand logos when choosing to shop with one company over another.

3 – Your Brand’s Foundation Depends on it

It is a common misconception that creating a logo is the same as creating a brand. “Brand” is a much more holistic term that, at its heart, is about telling stories that successfully influence the emotional responses of consumers.

Having said that, a well designed logo gives you the opportunity to build your brand around a solid foundation and provides the cornerstone of a successful visual identity.

Everything from colours and fonts to brand voice, tone and imagery grow out from your logo, shaped by the narrative that you want to convey to your audience.

Without this key element in place, there is no visual anchor for your brand to develop from; ahead of visual style, colours, voice and other branding elements, logos are proven to be the most recognisable brand identifier for consumers.

I Want to Invest in a Logo, Where Do I Start?

A good logo is one that is unique to your business, represents the quality of your product/service and differentiates your brand from competitors.

Our logo design service is entirely bespoke, so you can be sure it represents what is important to you, your audience and your business.

For more information about logo design and how we can help you create the perfect logo, get in touch today!

A screenshot of a Google Business profile showing 27 5 star reviews for a business

Why your Google Business Profile Matters

Formerly known as “Google My Business”, your Google Business account gives you the ability to appear on Google Search, Maps and Shopping with a personalised profile, boosting your visibility across a range of Google services.

Creating a profile is free and allows you to add vital information to help turn casual searchers into new customers, like your business hours, photos and videos of your goods/services, and latest offers. Here’s a little more about why we think Google Business profiles are so important:

Get Discovered across Google

A photograph of a hand holding an iPhone showing a Google maps search for a butcher

If my car broke down and I needed the number of a local mechanic, there’s a high chance that I’d pull out my phone, head to Google, and search “Mechanic near me”. I could then see what businesses were operating nearby, how well they’re reviewed, their opening hours and perhaps even their fees. But only if they had a Google Business account.

This is why your profile is so important. As a space to represent your business, potential customers can access information that tells them where and how they can use your services and is a really vital step in improving your local SEO.

Testimonials Build Trust

Google reviews are an incredibly important part of building trust and reputation online, and over 60% of customers say they use Google reviews as part of their decision making when looking to buy. 

Google Business allows you to showcase your credibility by pushing customers to review your services, allowing future profile visitors to see how real people have experienced your business and get a good first impression. As a business, you can reply to all reviews (whether favourable or unfavourable) and provide more context or just say thanks, and you can also flag any false reviews or spam reviews with Google through your account.

Google also now give you the ability to share a direct link with customers and clients, taking them directly to your page to ensure it’s as easy as possible for them to leave their feedback.

A sticker on a shop window of the Google logo encouraging visitors to leave a Google review

Google Business Provides Insight

Google Business is also a powerful tool in understanding how people find you, and offers insight into keywords used to find you, as well as data on reviews and other elements that give you more knowledge on how you’re connecting with your customers and clients. 

Your account gives you the ability to track performance over an adjustable time period, and further allows you to break down insight across:

  • Views on your listing
  • How your listing has been found
  • Where your listing has been found
  • Actions taken on your listing (website visits, phone calls, etc)

How to Optimise Your Google Business Profile

A screenshot of a Google Business profile showing 27 5 star reviews for a business

Like all business profiles, whether they be on social media or search engines, Google Business accounts need to be optimised to work in the most effective way. 

Here are just a few of the ways a profile can be optimised:

  • Completing all parts of the profile – fully complete profiles are more than twice as likely to be visited than incomplete ones.
  • Successfully verify your location – verifying your location ensures Google knows you are not a spam account and increases your chances of appearing for local searches on maps.
  • Great quality images and videos – this is a space for customers to get a feel for your business, so avoid using stock photography. Investing the time into getting real photo/video content of your business that is high quality ensures the best chance of a good first impression.
  • Keyword optimise – your Google Business profile gives plenty of space to write about your business and its services, so make sure they’re optimised for the keywords people are likely to search for!
  • Get reviews – promoting and encouraging reviews ensures that your business looks like it is getting a steady stream of customers and also signifies to searchers that your service is high quality and trusted.

There are also ways to further optimise your profile depending on industry and requirements, such as adding menus and stunning photos of food for restaurants and cafes or check-in/out times for hotels or BnBs.

For those that want to fully optimise their profile, but are unsure how to proceed, get in touch to talk about how we can help.

Google Maps icon on a red background

How You Can Quickly Improve Your Local SEO Position

Local SEO refers to an SEO strategy that is designed to improve the visibility of your business in local search results on Google. If your business has a brick and mortar location or specifically serves a target geographic area, then local SEO is for you – with 46% of searches on Google seeking local information and 97% of people learning more about local businesses online than anywhere else, you can’t afford to miss it.

This blog post will break down what Local SEO is, why it matters, and what you can do to help optimise your website and online presence for Local SEO.

Why does Local SEO matter?

As Google has evolved, it has come to realise that some searches are really looking for results in close geographic proximity – if you search “MOT Garage” and you’re in Sheffield, the chances are that search results showing mechanics in South Wales won’t be of much use. In fact, 72% of consumers will visit a store within 5 miles of them after a local search, and nearly 20% of mobile local searches result in an offline purchase the very same day.

This is why Google’s algorithm takes your geographic location into account when trying to find matches for searches made with local intent. Excitingly, Google uses two separate algorithms for the main search results page and their “map pack” results, giving your business the opportunity to appear on both simultaneously and maximise visibility when matched with a query.

A photograph of a man using an iPhone to look at Google maps

What are the Benefits of Local SEO?

There are many benefits to a well optimised local search presence, specifically if you want to drive traffic to visit your business in person or want to improve upon your local reputation and boost awareness of your business.

Local SEO gives you Reach & Conversions

Through improving your visibility to potential customers you can drive traffic to your website, as well as encourage phone/email/live-chat conversations and in-person visits to your local business.

Simply put, Local SEO gives you more visibility and precious screen “real estate”, it also enables a user to find your website, contact details and address without leaving their search.

Showcase your Reputation

How often do you check out Google Reviews before making a purchase online or booking a table with a local restaurant you’ve never tried before? Having a great online reputation on your Google Business profile is proven to assist in conversions, whether that be an online purchase or a phone-call to book your services. 

Regular reviews are also seen by Google to be a ranking factor; we’ve discussed the importance of reputation in a blog on Google Business profiles you can read here.

A cartoon showing 5 star reviews and an iPhone

How can you improve your Local SEO?

There are a variety of ways that you could improve your local SEO, here are some potential quick wins:

Optimising your Google Business Profile

Ensuring your Google Business Profile is full of useful, accurate information, reviews and stunning pictures goes a long way to helping visitors engage with your profile. 

More information on developing a great Google Business Profile can be found here.

Optimise your website

There are a variety ways to optimise your website for Local search, but here’s a short list of key points to check out for your business. 

1 – Make sure it matches!

To start with, your business name, address and contact details need to be 100% accurate and also match your Google Business Profile exactly. If we were called “WilkesWood Agency” on our Google Business Profile but “Wilkes Wood” on our website, Google may deem these as two seperate identities and punish our rankings accordingly.

Good practice is to ensure that all contact information matches across all touchpoints online, and your website footer has a clean and defined section set aside to have your address and contact number easily accessible – take a look below for an example from Valley Landscapes.

A screenshot of Valley Landscapes website footer

2 – Consider Content & Keywords 

Does your on-page content actually say what you do? Does it say where you do it? Is it all in one huge block of inaccessible text?

Optimising your on-page content can work wonders for helping your Local SEO rankings. To put it very simply, if lots of site visitors hit your website and then immediately leave, there’s a good chance that Google will see this as a negative and your rankings could plummet.

By ensuring the content on your landing page is optimised with valuable content that is presented in a digestible and easily navigable way, you’re giving a genuinely good experience to site visitors that will likely be reflected in their behaviour online.

There has to be a balancing act between content and keywords . You need enough of the latter to rank and appear for relevant search queries – keywords that demonstrate your location and business type help Google understand what you do and what areas you serve/are located at.

However, beware of straying into the world of keyword stuffing, i.e wedging in keywords for the sake of it, as your content will inevitably suffer and so will your rankings!

If you want to find out more about this, please get in touch and we can discuss how to optimise your site content.

3 – Better your Meta

Meta-data is very important when trying to optimise your website for Local SEO. Ensuring your meta descriptions and title tags feature the right keywords can help searchers understand how relevant you are to their initial search query.

Look at the following example of searching for “Hairdressers on Ecclesall Road”. This is a search query that has keywords relating to the service the searcher requires information about as well as a geographical marker.

You can see that the meta description and title tags of the top result relate directly to this search query and it is therefore very easy for Google, as well as the searcher themselves, to see that this result is highly relevant.

A screenshot of a Google search for hairdressers Ecclesall road

4 – Landing Pages based on Location

Let’s imagine you run a cleaning company that operates across South Yorkshire. That means your service is available to a few different cities and towns across the region: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

It may seem very hard to optimise for a broad location like this, but through optimising specific landing pages for each location, you can build a separate page for each area and rank accordingly.

Through researching effective keywords and ensuring your geographical keywords are accurate and present in your on-page copy, as well as the meta-data discussed above and the url/page-name, you can create the perfect page for each of the areas you service.

Building Local Links

There are plenty of business directories and listings that businesses can approach to get their information on – ranging from sites like Yell to more locally focused directories like the South Yorkshire Business Directory. The below search result from Yell shows up on the front page when searching for Wilkes Wood.

This is effective for two main reasons – firstly, it gives Google and other search engines even more information about your business, and secondly you have another “backlink” to your website that has the potential to drive traffic and boost your rankings.

A screenshot of Wilkes Wood appearing on a Google search

What Else?

There are plenty more ways to optimise for Local Search, including site media optimisation, developing your UX, and auditing the behaviour of your competitors. 

We find that with many of our clients the best place to start is by fully optimising their Google Business Profile. For more information on anything discussed in this blog, or to find out how we can help your business perform better with Local SEO, get in touch today.