Local search is important for the success of small businesses.
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Local search is important for the success of small businesses. About 46% of all searches on Google are looking for local information. This means that your business must be optimized for local search so that you can attract potential customers that are ready to buy in your area. In a nutshell, you shouldn’t joke with local SEO if you want your business to remain relevant.
To help you optimize your brand for local SEO, we have put together this detailed guide to equip you with a deep understanding of how you can optimize your business to reach prospects that are using local search to find products and services that they want to buy.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website to boost traffic, increase leads, and enhance brand awareness from local searches. Local SEO is usually associated with tasks such as finding local keywords, optimizing the Google My Business profile of the business, and building NAP citations.
Businesses that adhere to local SEO best practices will be able to improve their traffic from searches carried out by customers in nearby locations. Search engines use signals like local content, citations, social profile pages, and links to get information for local search. This information is then used to give the user the most relevant results.
Also, businesses can use local SEO to present their offers to local customers and prospects that are searching for them.
Importance of Local SEO
To show you how important local SEO is, I will show you some amazing statistics:
- According to the Search Engine Roundtable, 46% of Google searches have local intent.
- A report published by RankRanger shows that 29% of Google SERPs have a local pack.
- According to Google, 76% of people searching for something in their local area via their phone visit a store that same day.
These statistics show that local searches constitute a huge proportion of the SEO industry. If you can get your local brand in front of these searches, you have a good chance of attracting new customers to your business within a short period.
How Local SEO Works
Local SEO works like Google search. When you search for something online, Google provides the best results for the search after scanning through its index. Local SEO is unique because Google uses a unique set of factors to rank the local search results.
According to Moz, the factors listed below are used by Google for local SEO rankings:
This refers to if the relevant search term is found in your business title and the proximity of your business to where the user is searching from.
External Location Signals
These signals include Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) and Name, Address, Phone + Website (NAP). The signals are obtained based on the information gathered by crawling data providers and the citations of your business close to the address and lots more.
They include keywords in the titles and the website’s domain authority.
These include inbound anchor text (i.e. the text within a website link) and factors such as linking domain authority and quantity of backlinks. This implies that you can improve the relevancy of a linked page by placing hyperlinks in the descriptive text (so, ‘Las Vegas SEO Company’ is better than ‘click here’).
The quality of reviews of a local business is one of the most important factors that determine the quality of sales such a business will get. According to Google, 73 percent of all searches are connected to local businesses. The more the number of quality reviews of your local business, the higher your business will rank in local search results and the more customers will buy from you.
This means your click-through rate and clicks to call on mobile amongst others.
This refers to the way you tailor your site’s user experience to a particular user. You can effectively personalize your website by targeting a particular location. Other sophisticated forms of personalization include designing your site to align with the previous interactions a user had with you.
How To Optimize For Local SEO
Now that we know the factors Google considers for local SEO rankings, let’s see how you can optimize your website for local SEO:
Make Good Use of Your Homepage
Your website’s homepage is the most important part of your site. It plays a key role in the user experience and SEO optimization.
If you want to effectively optimize your homepage for local SEO, you need to clearly state what your business is, what your business offers, and where it is located. This implies that the header tag and meta description must clearly state this information. For instance, ‘SEO Company in Orange County, California.’
Create Dedicated Pages
You need to break up your website intelligently to make your web pages rank effectively. This means you need to create relevant and dedicated web pages for the different parts of your business. You can do this by creating different pages for each of the locations or products that you offer.
This makes your business clear to search engines. It also helps your business to rank for different pages and keywords.
So, going back to our previous example, if our SEO Company in Orange County advertised SEO services, they would need different web pages for each of their services.
If the company makes the mistake of including all their services on the same page, it would look confusing to search engines. The website will also find it difficult to rank for a term like ‘Divi SEO in Orange County,’ which is a keyword the business would love to rank for in search engines.
On-Page SEO Optimization
Google, and other search engines, consider many ranking factors to have an idea about what your pages should rank for. Therefore, ensure you do the right thing to optimize each of your web pages for on-page SEO.
The most important thing you can do is to optimize your web pages for the right keywords. For instance, if you want to optimize one of your web pages for ‘service A in location B,’ you need to include your keyword in:
- The URL: The URL should not be too long and make sure the keyword is in the URL.
- Headers: Use H2 tags for the headings. The keyword must be in the first header on the page. The keyword must also be in the H1 tag for the title.
- Meta Description: The keyword must also be in the page meta description. Keep it short and straight to the point.
- Images: Include the keyword in the image alt text.
- Your content: Use synonyms of your keywords in addition to your dedicated keyword in the content.
Optimized Internal Links
You can also optimize your website for local SEO by optimizing your internal links and ensuring that relevant web pages link to each other appropriately.
This process, also referred to as the topic clusters model, is favored by search engines. It promotes a cohesive block of knowledge over web pages that are randomly placed. These clusters contain ‘pillar pages’ (such as long-form, un-gated, and keyword-optimized pages) that dive deep into a particular topic.
You need to incorporate internal linking because of the following reasons:
- It provides an accurate information architecture.
- It helps to develop an effective hierarchy, and
- It distributes ranking power and page authority effectively.
Optimize Your ‘Google My Business’ Page
This is very important. Google loves its ideas. So, the Google My Business page plays a significant role in local SEO.
When you are building your ‘Google My Business’ page, ensure you add important keywords to the page. You should also state what the business does and its location.
Get Tons of Positive Reviews For Your ‘Google My Business’ Page
Your business page will rank high in Google search results if you get lots of positive reviews on your page. Apart from your ‘Google My Business’ page, you should also get positive reviews on Facebook and Yelp, as these would make more business more legitimate and increase its rank in search results.
But it’s easier said and done. Here are some ideas that you can use to can get more positive reviews for your page:
- Actively respond to customers’ reviews. Don’t ignore negative reviews. Try to resolve them and apologize if necessary.
- Create a customer-first service culture to solve the problem of poor reviews and boost your service.
- Politely ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on your pages if they think it is appropriate.
Get More External Links
Linking external websites to your website will increase your domain authority, and thus move you up the search results.
Here’s how you can get more of these external links:
- Place your business on as many websites that have local directories as possible.
- Create engaging content that people will love to link back to, and
- Make your content shareable so that you can get tons of links from social media platforms.
Create Local Content
Google is now smart and it gets smarter every day. What this means is that you need to write for users and not search engines if you want to optimize your website for local SEO. Although writing on general topics will attract a wide audience to your site, it is important to make your focus laser targeted by writing about local or industry news so that you can attract a local audience.
The goal is to be the local authority in your niche. You can accomplish this by promoting local industry news, gatherings, employees, and other educational content on your website. Think of content that surpasses what you sell.
For instance, if you own a local security company and you want to attract businesses that are new to your area, you can create an educational resource that will make these businesses familiar with your city. You can also provide a map of local service providers to offer value for your persona. You will also benefit from the relevant on-page local signals these resources contain.
Local SEO Tools
After covering ways through which you can optimize your website or business for local SEO, let’s proceed by exploring some tools you can use to improve your areas in the locations you’re targeting.
A local citation refers to an online mention of the name, address, and phone number of a local business. Citations are helpful because they help local businesses to show up in online searches. When local businesses focus on managing their citations, online listings will be able to trust them.
Whitespark provides local listing management, shows where you can list your business, analyzes your competition, and also builds and monitors how your citation grows for improved local search rankings.
This is a desktop program that crawls the links, CSS script, images, and apps of a website from an SEO perspective. The tool will analyze about 500 URLs for free and will also help you know if you have any 404 errors or if there is any missing H1 tag or meta description. Apart from the free version, there’s an unlimited paid version that goes for $200 per year.
Moz Local is not as expensive as its counterparts. This tool will ensure that Google and Facebook have verified your business listing. It will also distribute your listing across search engines.
Also, Moz Local will work with data aggregators to push your listings and give your brand the visibility it deserves.
Ahrefs plays a key role in backlink checking. This is very important because these links indicate that your website has authority. Ahrefs can also be used for analyzing the competition, carrying out keyword research, and gaining insight into the anchor text used by other websites when they backlink to your website.
BuzzStream helps websites to earn local backlinks, which helps you determine and build solid relationships with local influencers. The tool achieves these by researching influencers, tracking conversions, and offering reporting insights into your team performance, outreach campaigns, and the placement of links in your content.
This tool is specially designed to meet local business marketing needs. You can use it to generate and monitor reviews on local websites, analyze competitors, and understand your search performance.
Local SEO is a critical component of any SEO strategy deployed by local businesses. If you have a store or service area, you can use local SEO to help your audience find you when searching online.
Although link building, mobile-friendly design, and hassle-free website navigation can help the SEO strategy of big and small businesses, there are lots of other tactics that are not ideal for small local businesses.
For instance, instead of focusing on dominating the most competitive keywords in your market, you can add location-specific keywords to your search terms. You should also ensure that you include information about the cities where you offer your services so that Google can show you in searches that relate to your target locations.
Start by working on dominating your location, you can then proceed to compete with established brands in your country for the biggest keywords.