In the present day, local businesses face tough competition. For this reason, marketers find it hard to rank companies locally. Check out this guide on local SEO to find out how things work for this digital marketing component.
SEO is not only for online businesses; people who offer offline products and services also rely on local SEO. The reason is simple — whether someone is looking for a beautician or electrician, they use search engines to look out for the people near them who provide these services.
If you are a marketer or an SMB owner who wants to excel in Local SEO for your business, this post will be useful.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO means doing SEO for a local area or optimizing your website for a specific locality. If you own a business that functions locally, such as a shop, restaurant, or service provider agency, this approach is essential for you. Local SEO allows your website or web page to rank for queries done by local customers.
Optimizing the website for local SEO can ensure that the customers can find you easily online and offline. Apart from this, you can try out other techniques to rank higher on local SEO.
Why Do You Need Local SEO?
- The activities you perform for local SEO, such as a Google My Business profile and backlink building, increase your online visibility.
- As more local customers discover your business, you will get more foot traffic in your offline store.
- As more people prefer to shop locally nowadays, local SEO lets you explore these new business opportunities.
- Local SEO helps you get more calls and website visits if you provide in-house services.
- With this SEO strategy, businesses can manage their online and offline reputation in a better way.
- It allows you to gather more positive reviews for your business and service, which will ultimately lead you to get more customers.
Difference Between Local SEO and Organic SEO
Both local SEO and organic SEO mean optimizing your website or business for search engines but different purposes of businesses. Organic SEO means strategies to get naturally ranked on local, national, or global keywords. On the other hand, local SEO focuses on ranking on local keywords or queries that search for services near the audience to bring more people to your offline store.
For local SEO, reviews and local popularity is crucial, while you need to get backlinks and on-page SEOs for organic SEO. However, both play an important role in your business growth, and where you want to invest depends on your budget and digital marketing policy.
Major Factors That Affect Local SEO
Google Business Profile (Previously Known as Google My Business/ GMB)
While developing a local SEO strategy for your business, Google Business Profile is the most vital factor. This Google tool lets you enlist your business for free. Google highly values it while ranking businesses in local searches.
First of all, you need to create your business listing on its website and perform the necessary verifications. Once the listing goes live, you can optimize your profile by updating information such as photos, business hours, contact info, website URL, directions, etc. Also, do not forget to update regularly with new content.
Targeting the right keywords and queries is the base of an effective local SEO strategy. With it, you can be sure you are getting visibility on the terms your target audience is searching for. Hence, there is no place for selecting random keywords in local SEO.
You need to use the right keywords and key phrases related to your domain and popular among your local customers. Taking help from keyword research tools is the best way to finetune your keyword list, which also contains additional data such as keyword search volume.
Another significant component that affects your local search ranking is link building. You need to make sure that your websites get links from authoritative domains. Focusing on the number of backlinks is not enough. You must ensure that the linking domains are relevant to your business and target location.
One easy solution for this problem is to target authority websites that belong to your target region or location. If you offer air conditioner repair service, getting links from the HVAC tips website will be more useful than a beauty website. You can gather links through guest posts from local websites or partner with local organizations.
Local citations are also known as NAP data. It is the mention of your business name, address, and contact info on any online portal or directory. Third-party websites, social media, and local business directories are some mention-worthy platforms from where you can get local citations.
With these citations, local customers can seamlessly discover your businesses. Moreover, it has a positive impact on local rankings. Therefore, you need to aim to get high-quality basic citations to rank higher on local search results. Most platforms let you manage the citations directly, so you need to provide accurate data.
On-page SEO is the technique and strategy of web page optimization that lets you enhance your rankings and get more organic traffic. Any SEO activity you do on your website, including high-quality blog and video content, headline optimization, meta descriptions, HTML tags, and image tags, is on-page SEO.
As you include your target keywords in different places on your web pages, search engines will consider those pages to be authoritative on those keywords and rank them higher.
How to Develop Local SEO Strategies
You have to outrank your local competitors to rank on top in local search. For that, you need to analyze your competitors’ performance, such as the keywords on which they rank.
Also, check out their backlink sources and strategies that help them rank higher. Moreover, find out which keywords would suit your business and website.
Local SEO Keywords Research
To become successful in local SEO, you need to include the right keywords in your strategy. Google’s Keyword Planner Tool is a great way to find local keywords based on your business specialty.
However, you may use some other platforms for the same purpose. Also, businesses can find out the search volume of a specific keyword from these tools.
Map Optimization for All Search Engines
Speaking of local SEO, individual place listings of each search engine influence the ranking. So, to get local search traffic from various machines, you need to claim and optimize each available profile, including Bing Places.
Though you can optimize the location and direction for Google Maps through GMB, updating your business data at Apple Maps Connect is crucial for Apple Maps.
Local Content Strategy
Nothing grabs the attention of your local customers like content related to a local issue. If you can write separate blogs on the local scenarios where you have offices or changes that recently occurred in your business, you might rank higher for these locations.
Creating location-specific webpages and including videos and interviews on your website is also helpful for local SEO.
Site’s Text Elements
For local businesses, optimizing the home page of a website for local keywords is not an ideal strategy. Here, they must focus on a highest-opportunity keyword that can serve a broad customer base.
Also, optimize on-page content, headings, and metadata with the home page keywords. However, depending on showcasing all your locations, businesses should add a tool to the home page for users to search by location.
Scalability Using Local Seo Tools
Staying scalable is challenging for a business that has many branches or operates nationally or globally. You need to assign employees to ensure review management and information update is done regularly on all pages.
Local SEO tools can make sure your strategy is fully scalable. These automated tools can effortlessly perform the tedious task of citation building.
Businesses that want to optimize their websites for local SEO should apply local business schema, also known as structured data markup. It refers to the additional code you include on your webpage so that the search engines can easily understand your location and relevancy for the search queries.
Companies can add schema for each product and service to focus on them. If you want to see the website schema breakdown, use the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google.
Local SEO Audit
Are some gaps in your website that stop it from appearing in local searches? You can identify these loopholes by a local SEO audit. It lets you figure out which optimization factors you need to prioritize for more conversion. Local SEO audit includes keyword review, competitor analysis, and technical audit for the website.
If you run a small business, there is no harm in leveraging the geographical proximity and familiarity your business shares with other businesses in your locality. You can reach out to other local players in your community and ask them to provide a link to your website. Thus, a new business can quickly earn backlinks that will improve its local ranking.
Additionally, you can approach local news media to promote your business. If you can get authority backlinks from such websites, it will increase your chance of ranking higher in the search results.
Major Local SEO Factors That Help in Ranking
Domain Authority (DA) is an important factor in all search result ranking, including the local ones. Developed by Moz, it signifies the authority of a website. If your website has a high DA, you have a better chance of ranking higher than your competitors with a DA lower than yours.
In the old days, we had Yellow Pages — now, these got replaced by online directories. The information about your business on these directories is known as citations. These are a great source of spreading your correct and consistent business information besides acquiring local backlinks from authoritative websites. Both these have a positive impact on local SEO.
Proximity of Address
Proximity is one of the deciding factors for ranking in local search results. The reason is that search engines value the convenience of the searchers. The closer your business is to the customer’s location, the higher the chance your business has to rank on its search results.
You need backlinks to your website for higher local SEO ranking and better authority. But do not create as many backlinks as possible blindly.
The quality and relevance of the websites from where you get those backlinks are more important than the number of backlinks. If you are a local business, try to get backlinks from other authoritative websites relevant to your domain.
The common organic on-page SEO factors are also responsible for getting your website higher in the local search. Your webpages should have a properly optimized meta title, meta description, tags, slug, headings, and alt text. Also, link relevant web pages of your website with one another.
NAP Data Consistency
If your NAP (name, address, phone number) data is inconsistent on different platforms, it will hamper your local ranking. Hence, you must include accurate business information on all prime citation websites, including Google Business Profile, Bing Maps, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. Try to have the data on high DA listing directories without any discrepancies.
Customers want to opt for reliable business. Search engines like Google also consider it as a defining factor for ranking. The best way to build and prove your credibility among the audience is to get positive online reviews.
Ratings and reviews people left on your social media profiles, Google profile, and other local rating sites play a significant role in having a better ranking. Furthermore, you need to respond to your reviews (positive or negative) to have better credibility.
Local SEO is a powerful approach to achieving the desired visibility to your potential customers – especially those living in your vicinity. The right strategy can help brick-and-mortar businesses flourish in their market space.
Following the factors mentioned here, you can easily rank your businesses or products for “near me searches.”
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