What do you think a bride-to-be looking for the best photographer does first? She searches for ‘best wedding photographer’ online. Look at the first few ranks. Did you notice something?
The spotlight is on local.
Google knows your location and assumes local intent. Search engines work on the understanding that you are looking for suggestions based on your location, and precisely put those in your SERPs. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are local.
Local SEO is one of the most impactful methods in digital marketing today. When it comes to marketing any sized local business online, the process of ‘optimizing’ your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches, to promote products and services to local customers, is what local SEO refers to. These searches for local businesses can use various search engines like Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, Apple Maps, etc.
How does Local SEO work?
Visibility is king, and this is made easier to attain through the local SEO best friend, ‘local pack’ or Google Snack Pack. The block of three or four business listings below the map in Google’s search results most relevant to the search enquiry in local terms actually attracts 33% of clicks compared to 40% going to the regular organic results. The key lesson is that it pays to rank in both, hence, enter the world of local SEO.
Here’s a quick tour of the main points that will demonstrate how to get started with local SEO:
- Optimise website for mobile visitors: Many studies and statistics are revealing the growing priority that SEO should give to mobile devices because local searches are done on mobile devices, and are intent-backed. 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. It is projected that mobile device influenced local sales will amount to more than $1.4 trillion in 2021. A great tool to check your website’s mobile device performance is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Local keyword research: The format in which people search for services is service in location or SiL. Make a list of all the services offered and the locations served, and merge them to create a bunch of potential keywords. Traditional SEO techniques like good search volume, lower competition, highly targeted niche keywords are all effective here. The Google Autocomplete tool can generate more search suggestions. Remember that search engines are understand search intent, therefore, the average #1 ranking page will also rank high for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords.
- Local competition analysis: The keywords used by your competitors can uncover other relevant long-tail and related searches. Tools like Ahrefs Content Gap helps to extract common keywords for multiple competitors at once. The competition is a good place to discover locally-optimised on-page copy for topical and keyword focus.
- On-Page Technical SEO: Again, the traditional SEO strategies of solid technical foundation is still true for local SEO as well. Functionality is closely realted to user-experience, a top ranking factor for SERPs. Hence, validated HTML and CSS coding, schema.org coding, locally-optimised title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs are a key focus area.
- Content to attract local interest: Creating content topics that will entice local searches and attract traffic is a valuable part of local SEO. Avoid the pitfalls of Wikipedia-type content that isn’t focussed or unique enough, and keyword-stuffing. Establish links with niche local sites within your industry that are local authorities on their topics.
- Develop Citations: Claim and optimise your Google My Business listings, Bing Places and Apple Maps listings among others. This is the most important part of local SEO. When you claim your local profiles and local SEO citations, you enhance your online reach and improve your SERP rankings.
- Stock up on online reviews: A majority of users depend on online reviews to form opinions on the quality of a business, brand, or product. The impact of reviews is significant. Whether GMB or Facebook, or several other review websites, they are the primary source of SEO juice, and for inspiring trust.
- Track your results: It’s important to know what’s working and what’s not, and how to improve over time. The important metrics being tracking Local SEO rankings, tracking traffic or visitors to the website, and tracking the leads generated.
Research has shown that 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business Page (GMB) and when the odds are in favour of local searches, this is a great loss. Don’t be that business. Instead, use the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide to get started with local SEO.
What is a Local SEO citation?
The online mentions of your business, which usually display your business name, address, and phone number—collectively known as NAP (Name, Address, Phone) are citations, sometimes the inclusion of website or URL makes the acronym NAPW/NAPU.
The examples of citation can be structured citations where NAP information is presented in a visually-structured manner. For instance, those on business directories, social profiles, etc. The other citations are unstructured ones which consist of mentions of a business in blog posts, news websites, etc.
Consistent NAP information across the web serves to verify data search engines have for a particular business while wrong details mislead both Google and potential customers leading to poor user-experience.
Does Google My Business help with SEO?
Google My Business is a versatile free tool designed to help small businesses manage their Google listings. When customers use Google or Google Maps to search, the local listings show businesses in niches concerned.
According to industry experts, citation signals are one of the top local ranking factors. This is true for both Google’s ‘local pack’ results and regular organic search results. Having an accurate NAP listed here allows potential customers to find your business easily and in relevance to their intent. This translates into more customers and revenue.
GMB details your services and contacts, opening times, and a short business description. Besides, features like attributes, Q&As, and reviews, it is a marketing opportunity delightful for consumers and businesses alike.
How do you create a citation?
When creating citations for local SEO, the twin priorities are:
- Ensuring existing citations are correct and consistent,
- Building relevant citations ahead.
Now, businesses already have some existing citations. The points to consider is:
- Citation Audit: First, check the main data aggregators and uncover incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings. Edit and clean using advanced search operators.
- Create new: After fixing existing citations, start building core structured citations in places like the local Chamber of Commerce, local business associations and directories, community hubs, and in other relevant industry-specific forums.
- Rank Local Landing Pages: The website structure should optimise the homepage to the primary location. Search engines add local modifier in the background. In case of multiple locations, optimisation should be around relevant keywords.
Who needs Local SEO?
Every single local business!
Competition is fierce and a huge challenge for local companies is making it high on SERPs outrunning the big brands. People only engage with the first few names in the search results. To build your business as a local success, it is vital to make your way to the top of the rankings.
Remember, local SEO optimised links are the most important ranking factor for local organic results. While, the local or snack pack listings are the next in importance.
What is the difference between SEO and Local SEO?
The difference between local SEO and SEO isn’t much when it comes to tactics like keywords, content, and links as a part of the optimisation strategy. The difference lies in the local focus.
The approach in local SEO strategies is holistic and relationship-building rather than a constant strong-arm approach. This could attract a penalty. Hence, the focus in local SEO is on:
- Link acquisition, not link manipulation,
- Emphasis on user, not keyword stuffing,
- Compelling user experience, not complicated digital clutter.
Why is Local SEO important?
Because Google is the New Yellow Pages. 97% of people search for local businesses online. Second, it’s free!
A simple boost to your organic rankings and accurate citations can result in an ongoing stream of free traffic that you can convert into customers. Beside, local SEO is one area where small local businesses are on an equal playing field with larger global businesses.
What is Local SEO services?
However, simply updating your GMB is not enough local SEO work. It requires a strategic focus on optimising your online presence so the people near you can find you easily.
A lot of studies show that location-based search leads provide serious sales potential to businesses. You have to appear trustworthy and marketable, an appealing enough package to bring in click-throughs.
Google places emphasis on key factors such as relevancy, location, engagement, and finally, reputation. In this vein, local SEO services include on-page SEO, optimising GMB listing, quality backlinks, online reviews, online citations, behavioural signals like click-through rate or click-to-call and even the check-ins, and incorporation of social media as local ranking strategy.
Take a look at the below related Chapters
Chapter 1: Top SEO Success Factors You Should Know
Chapter 4: All About Tracking Google Algorithm Updates
Chapter 6: SEO Keyword Research: How to Do it Right?
Chapter 7: How to Communicate Your SEO Strategy in 2021
Chapter 11: Things You Need to Know About Mobile SEO
Chapter 12: Top 8 KPIs to Track for SEO Success