Local SEO is a great way to build local audiences for your business. Many businesses today use this technique to narrow down their targeting options. In this blog, you’ll learn all you need to know about local SEO.
Local SEO Definition
Local SEO is an SEO strategy focused on optimizing businesses for local customers. It allows businesses to use their online presence to target customers in a geographical location.
What Is Local Search?
Local search is the process of using a search query to search for information within a geographical area. For e.g., if you’re in Cincinnati and looking to find Tesla car dealers in your region, you enter the search query ‘Tesla dealers near me’ or ‘Tesla dealers in Cincinnati’.
Organic Search vs Local Pack
Organic search produces general search results NOT limited to a geographical area. Local pack, on the other hand, features location-specific search results. That’s the key difference between organic search results and local pack. Below are the details.
Organic Search: Organic searches are standard search queries that work on a broader scale irrespective of location. Here’s an example – Suppose that you typed the search query ‘how many car models does the company X produce’. Google will return general results featuring websites that discuss the models, their performance, etc. That means you will get general information, irrespective of the car dealer in your location.
Google Local Pack: You can find Google Local Pack at the top of the search results page where it displays a list of the best three local businesses. It is a section where Google lists all nearby businesses relevant to your query. The top results have the best relevancy and ratings. Also, these feature snippets have a map that indicates the location of the top results. These are meant for businesses that have a physical store in single or various locations.
What Are Google Map Citations?
A citation is specific data about a business to display online e.g., name, address, and phone number. Citations allow searchers to gain awareness about your local business online. You can say that an online citation is the equivalent of a banner displayed outside an offline store.
Make sure to add correct citations on your site as well as on famous directories, such as Yelp and Foursquare. Your citation has to match Google’s geo-targeted queries. Citations are further divided into two types: Structured & Unstructured citations.
Structured citations involve all the details of your business in a structured format, i.e. NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number.). This allows businesses to get listed on popular websites that maintain an online directory of local businesses. Conversely, unstructured citations are mentions of your business in blogs, feedback, etc. In short, both styles of citations can help in building a robust local SEO strategy.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a Google feature which allows businesses to create their own business page and govern its online activities.
All you need to do is set up your business page in it, add correct & relevant information, and engage with your customers. So whenever the searchers go for the local search, they’ll come across your business. The best thing is that everybody in your vicinity can get to know about your business. With the help of GMB, local stores can now focus on fulfilling the local needs in their service vicinity.
So, start immediately by creating your GMB business page (profile). Fill in the information correctly because the local audience might be searching for your business online. Any inaccurate information will mislead them. Your job is to enhance the customer’s experience. It will further get you positive feedback from your local customers. Thus, it is advisable to maintain a GMB profile for your local SEO initiatives.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is important because it allows you to optimize for local search queries. The majority of local businesses do not even have a website but still have an online presence. It shows how local SEO can promote your business. Also, it can grow your offline customer visits. The majority of your local audience will get to know about your business offerings in local searches.
1. Local search marketing is highly targeted
Local SEO narrows down your targeting to reach the right audience. Thus, to stand out and promote your business locally, local SEO marketing is the key. If your physical business has a service location, local SEO allows you to target people in your service vicinity.
2. High conversions
Compared to organic results, local SEO is better for conversions. The simple reason is that you promote your business in your searcher’s vicinity. Your local audience might be knowing about your offline store beforehand. By viewing your business in the local searches, they’ll prefer you over the others.
3. Good ROI
Local SEO will save you lots of money as you can manage it without even building any website. Since your focus is only on a local audience, you’ll enjoy a prominent position in the local searches. It will boost your online credibility and increase conversions.
4. Local SEO is free
Yes, local SEO is absolutely free. Be it in GMB (Google My Business), Yelp, or numerous online directories; you can promote your business through local SEO at no extra cost.
5. Local customers use mobile searches to find business online
Research shows that more than 70% of mobile searchers called a business directly from the search results. This is because anybody can make a phone call by clicking on your business number. Therefore, optimizing your site for the mobile version will increase your visibility & conversions.
Local SEO Strategy Checklist
Local SEO is mainly meant for small businesses, aiming to get local audiences in their vicinity. They regulate their online activities across various online directories to rank higher in the local searches. Therefore, implementing local SEO is the best option for your business. Below are the best ways to prepare a robust local SEO strategy.
1. Claim your Google My Business page
Start by simply setting up a business account in Google My Business. Here you can maintain your business credentials, control online activities, and engage with customers online. You can also increase your visibility in local searches and Google maps. It is advisable to add local phrases in your Google My Business profile’s description to rank higher in the local searches.
2. Get reviews from satisfied customers
Positive reviews can be a game-changer in your local SEO strategy. Getting reviews/ feedback from your local customers is the best way to gain popularity in the local searches. Search engines look for these signs and rank you higher in the local searches. The better your services and customer experience, the better feedback you’ll get. It is a sign of quality user experience that takes the spotlight in the local search rankings.
3. Create content based in local news
Local SEO focuses only on the local audiences in the service vicinity. Thus, your content should also revolve around these target markets only. For this, make sure to address local trends and events that share a similar tone of the local audiences. It will also bring awareness about your initiatives of sharing local news articles/content.
4. Optimize for mobile
Today, mobile-friendly websites have gained significant importance in local search marketing. That’s because more and more audiences are opting for smartphones. Therefore, optimizing your site for the mobile version will be beneficial for your business.
5. Location-specific ‘About Us’ page
Having a website is indeed a great way to promote your offerings and build an online reputation. But, what if your local customers wish to order products from your business in real-time? Generally, people will proceed towards the ‘About Us’ page. By adding the location of your service vicinity, people can order products from your website.
6. Get high-quality backlinks
Suppose that you own a restaurant and publish food-related content on your site. And another popular food blog writes about your restaurant and adds a link to your site in their blog. This link will count as a quality backlink and a sign of trust. Similarly, if any local blogger or news agency cites your offerings with an attached link to your site, this can positively influence your position in the local search ranking.
7. Citation building/NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
You help your customers abundantly by adding your business credentials online in the form of (NAP) citations. It will create local brand awareness of your business. There are many independent online directories where you can place your (NAP) citation and gain an online presence.
8. Add location pages to your website
Location pages are meant for those businesses that have physical stores in different locations. These pages talk about each store separately. Anybody residing near these locations can get a clear picture of the stores and its unique offerings.
9. Optimize for local keywords
Keyword optimization is the foundation of a strong local SEO strategy. It is vital to add local keywords to your site in order to get a placement on the top of local search rankings. As your focus is only on local audiences, choose your optimal local keywords wisely. Start with tools like keywords planner, which enables you to conduct keyword research based on location.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Understanding the nitty-gritty of local SEO and building a local SEO strategy can get quite nuanced. Below are the answers to some common questions about local SEO.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your business for local customers. In simple words, it is search engine optimization targeted at a specific geographical area.
2. How does local SEO work?
Local SEO works on three parameters – proximity (the service area range of your business), relevance (the relevancy of your offerings), and prominence (customer feedback about your brand). E.g., if you search for ‘Birthday Cakes Near Me’ on Google, you will find the bakery stores within your location range with a high customer rating.
3. What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
SEO is the standard way of optimizing your business for search engines without any geographical targeting. On the other hand, Local SEO is geographically focused on customers within a specific region. It narrows down your targeting options and helps you rank for local search queries.
4. Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO can get you listed in the local search engine rankings, promote your business online among the local audience, and boost your offline business due to the online presence. Local SEO gives businesses a great opportunity to boost their brand and revenues.
5. How do I set up local SEO?
The first step is to create a business page in Google My Business. Then optimize your business by adding local keywords and location in your content to rank on the local search engine result page. Lastly, try to get genuine, positive reviews from the customers.
Local SEO can help businesses improve their visibility in local searches, reach more customers, and grow their revenues. All you need to do is set up your local business profile, optimize your website for local traffic, add citations, and start interacting with customers. It will bring positive reviews about your business and help you rank higher in the local searches.