Local SEO is a strategy to rank higher in local Google Search Results. It has different requirements than traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because it needs you to understand what they are looking for when searching locally. Since as many as 46% of the total queries are local, such SEO is incredibly beneficial for a business. This guide will help you get started on Local SEO best practices and how to implement them.
What is Local SEO? How does it work?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps businesses appear more prominent on local search queries. All businesses that have physical locations or serve geographical areas can benefit from Local SEO. However, it’s is especially important for businesses that are considering geographic expansion because it will help them attract new customers by enabling their businesses to rank higher on local SERPs.
Existing businesses can also use local SEO in the same way—to share their business with new potential customers. This strategy helps businesses grow in the midst of tough competition and online advertising saturation.
29% of SERPs include a local pack in the result. It, therefore, seems that locally based searches represent a massive chunk of the SEO world, and if you are looking for your company to succeed, it’s important to get your product to the top of the local search results.
What matters for local SEO?
Regional and geographical data packs are inserted into the Standard Google organic search SMS listing page. A different algorithm runs the main Google results for the search result maps. Website content and local link popularity are factors similar to Google’s primary search algorithm.
A location is another consideration that can have an effect on local SEO rankings, like businesses found in Google My Business. There are SEO tools focused on Google local search that can be helpful to develop region-focused SEO audits, such as developing a keyword analysis about your local audience.
10 tips for local SEO
Now that you know a bit about what we’re dealing with — let’s dive right into the tips.
Create a GMB (Google My Business) listing
The Local packs show the map and all businesses in that particular area. Creating a GMB listing is important for your business to rank well on Local SEO because they will be ranked higher with Google’s algorithm as long as you provide appropriate, accurate information about your company.
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice searches are getting more and more popular—76% of people who own a smart speaker conduct local voice searches at least weekly. In addition, 46% of the users perform voice searches on their devices daily to search for information about small businesses in their area.
You need to adjust your SEO strategy for how people might ask verbally, just like you optimize it for keywords on the page. For example, your customers would rather perform voice searches with long-tail key phrases than traditional queries. What this means is you’ll have to adjust SERPs and accommodate conversational tone.
When thinking about SEO, remember that there are different forms of search queries. For example, traditional searches often focus on what, when, and where the resource is used. Meanwhile, user intent has a greater effect on voice searches, most commonly done when people want specific information.
Local SEO Keyword Research
Local Search Engine Optimization Keyword Research is a one-off process. Unlike blogs, you shouldn’t keep trying to find new keywords constantly. In most cases, all you need is some keywords that people search for their local businesses. This section will show how to get qualified local search terms into your SEO campaigns and cover this approach in more detail than I previously had time to do so.
Optimize your website for mobile
A study by Perficient shows that the shift to mobile devices compared to desktops has been more drastic since 2020. Phone-based website visitors grew from 63% in 2019 to 68% in 2020. Local content can be particularly lucrative, with 18% of any mobile search that exhibits local intent producing purchases within 24 hours. A. It confirms that you must optimize your website for mobile to be a player for local SEO.
Apart from just getting your site optimized, it should also be intuitive in terms of UX. There are some golden rules of UX that you need to follow to be successful with your website.
If your local business is expanding into new cities and neighborhoods, you’ll need to consider website localization. Again, it’s all about adapting your pages to fit with the local culture. For example, New York has the highest Hispanic population anywhere in the US, so if you’d be a branch there, it would be worth translating your site to Spanish and redesigning it with Hispanics in mind.
NAPs are imperative
Google uses the citations on your website to confirm that it has all the correct information for your business. These citations confirm that you have an accurate address and phone number, but also about other aspects of your company, such as the services you provide, operating hours, and more. This is how a neighborhood business can rank when looked up on Google.
Some services, such as USPS, are notoriously hard to call. There are even websites with instructions on how to get through. Don’t be one of those services and land on such a site. Your NAP should be as accessible as possible, not only for Google but also for the customer.
A study found that negative reviews can hurt you in terms of SEO, and the more positive your reviews are, the better. Google considers reputable review sites when ranking businesses locally too. Responding to reviews for positive actions on your page is also a good idea if done respectfully because it not only gives potential customers confidence in trusting you, but this level of trust will also show up in Google’s search rankings.
“Regular” SEO is still necessary.
Google has traditionally treated local searches a bit differently, with a distinct ranking system than other search terms. Still, companies that come in higher in organic search rankings will also have high placement locally. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your website content and link-building practices are optimized for local SEO, given its unique ranking system that accounts for a position on the map. For competitive keywords, I recommend a Local SEO strategy combined with the other aspects of Local SEO.
Inevitably, businesses will want to rank for keywords that are more general (e.g., ‘coffee shops’) in addition to their specific location (Maple Valley). But these two approaches must be used together through regular SEO tactics and traditional Local Optimization techniques so that Local SEO can be more effective.
Create local content
Google doesn’t focus on search engine optimization anymore. Its main focus is to provide the best article content possible for its users, not just SEO articles for engines. The user’s experience comes first. Therefore, you want to write blog posts that go beyond sales tactics and target creative topics where you can be entertaining or informative as well as a local authority about your niche.
Local content is beneficial for your SEO because it helps establish you as a credible and authoritative resource in the industry, which then increases traffic to your site and improves rankings on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs).
Get inbound links with relevance and authority.
Google considers inbound links from other websites to be a sign of relevance for your company’s website. Inbound links can also affect your website’s domain authority. Consider starting with people who are already involved with your company — perhaps Chamber members or suppliers — and then extending the circle from there.
Hosting a community event is one good opportunity. Another thing you can do is listing on local business directories. Here’s a list of some of the most popular ones:
- Angie’s List
- Local Guides
Google’s Autocomplete feature can be a goldmine for Local SEO. It’s easy to see what people are searching for in your industry and how they’re spelling those words, so you can plan new content around them before they even know it exists.
Combined with free tools like Keyword Surfer, it can give you a good idea of what your customers are looking for, which you can then create new content about.
Local SEO is a constant battle for business owners, but Local Optimization can give you an edge in the hyper-local search engine results pages. It means creating content that’s relevant to your company and its location- — whether it be specific keywords or new topics altogether.
It also includes getting links from sites with relevance and authority so that Google knows how well known you are locally (and nationally). Still, online reviews and local directories are the most powerful signals for local SEO. So make sure you keep them in check.
Image Credit: provided by the author; thank you!