Local SEO work is an important part of any online marketing plan, and it is important to understand the basics before you get started.
A local SEO expert can help you optimize your website for local rankings and make sure that you are taking advantage of all the ranking factors that can help your small business appear in Google’s local search.
This includes using local keywords, creating and optimizing local citations, building a network of local business directories and links, and following best practices for optimizing your website.
Additionally, a local SEO expert will be able to advise on link-building strategies to increase visibility in local search results and ensure that your website is properly optimized for success in Google’s local search.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO helps make sure customers can find local businesses online. It involves optimizing your website in a way that makes it more likely to come up when people search for something related to the business in their area.
For example, a restaurant in New York would want customers searching for restaurants in the city to see their business first.
Businesses need to work on their local SEO to make this happen because it’s the best way to get organic local traffic.
Getting your business to the top of the search results in a local area is really important if you want more people to find you. These top 3 results are called the Google “three-pack” and used to be 7, but now it’s been shortened for easier searching on phones.
To get your business into this three-pack, there are things you can do to make sure that your local SEO improves.
We’ll discuss these tips later in this article.
Why Is It Important to Optimize Your Website for Local SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very important tool for local businesses. According to research, almost half of all searches have “local intent,” and most search engine results include at least one local business.
Additionally, 76% of people who search for something local on their phone visit a store the same day. This shows that when you use SEO, you can get your business in front of shoppers quickly, potentially getting more people to come into your store.
How Does Local Search Engine Strategy Work?
Google uses a range of factors to determine the rankings of local search results. Here are some of them:
- Search location is an important factor in ranking, as it is considered by Google when determining which businesses are most relevant for searchers.
- Google My Business Listings play an important role in rankings and must contain accurate contact details and business information.
- Online reviews can also strongly influence rankings, so it’s important to encourage customers to leave positive reviews.
- Check-ins from customers help to demonstrate the popularity of your business, which can further increase rankings.
- Optimizing for Google Maps is another key factor for achieving the highest possible ranking on local searches.
Who Benefits from Local Organic SEO?
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way for businesses to increase their visibility in their local area.
Here are different businesses that can benefit from local SEO:
- Businesses with physical premises that customers can visit, such as stores and offices, benefit from targeting potential customers nearby through local SEO.
- Restaurants, catering services, and other businesses that target a specific group of people based on where they live also profit from local SEO optimization.
- For service area businesses that take their service to the customer’s location, like plumbers and delivery networks, local SEO helps to increase their reach and attract more customers.
- Local SEO involves optimizing content for keywords or phrases related to the local area, submitting business listings on major directory websites, and building links with help from other local businesses.
Local SEO can be a powerful tool to attract more customers and grow your business, so it’s essential to get it right.
Which Algorithms Impact Local SEO?
Google regularly rolls out updates to its algorithm, but a few of them stand out when it comes to how local search results are displayed. These are the most crucial local SEO updates you should know about:
In 2014, Google made some big changes to the way it ranks local searches. This change, called Possum, allowed people to search for businesses even if they were outside their city limits.
Before this update, that wasn’t possible. Now, searching for businesses even slightly outside of a city limit is totally doable.
The Possum update changed the way Google shows businesses of a similar category in its local pack and local finder results. Previously, multiple businesses from the same building appeared in search results.
But after the Possum update, only one or two of those businesses were visible. This made many business owners anxious, but they soon found out that their listings were still accessible when the user zoomed in on the map.
In 2014, Google released the Pigeon update. It was designed to show people local listings that were both relevant and accurate, taking into account things like distance from the user and their exact location.
Before this update, the local pack displayed up to seven listings, but after it was reduced to three. The changes could be seen on both Google Maps and Google web search results pages.
Local SEO Tips for your Local Business
When it comes to local SEO, there are some tips that can help boost your local SEO and increase local visibility.
- Firstly, make sure you have great local content on your website, as this will drive more local signals and help increase your search visibility.
- Second, get listed in local business directories like Yellow Pages and Google My Business, as well as other relevant business directories. Furthermore, focus on building a good reputation by getting more positive reviews from customers.
- Lastly, use the right keywords to affect local searches and make sure your website is set up to be as visible as possible in local searches.
All of these tips will help you improve your SEO ranking and get more customers who are looking for products or services in your area to pay attention to you.
1. Create a Google My Business Profile
If you want your business to show up on Google, one of the most important things to do is create a Google Business Profile. This will help your business appear in internet search results, and it’s not difficult to set up.
Just be sure to fill out every field you can so that your profile is complete.
Some other tips that can help you create your Google Business Profile include:
- Give your business description an SEO boost by including keywords.
- Include a detailed list of the products and services you offer.
- Engage with potential customers through regular posts and updates.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page.
- Include frequently asked questions and answers that are written in a helpful and informative tone.
- Include links to other relevant pages, like your website or social media accounts.
2. Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are Consistent
If you want people and search engines to find your business, it is important to make sure that your NAP information is up to date. NAP stands for “Name, Address, and Phone Number,” with the area code included.
Make sure this information is in crawlable HTML text on your website so that Google can better display it according to local search results.
When creating a website, it’s important to make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are visible. Don’t just include them in an image, as search engines won’t be able to “see” them.
The best place for the NAP is in the header or footer of the page, as well as on a dedicated “Contact Us” page. This will help potential customers find you more easily.
3. Make Sure You’re Using the Right Keywords for Rankings
If you want to improve your local SEO, you should use the right keywords when people perform a search. To figure out which keywords are most useful, you can take advantage of online tools like Ahrefs and Semrush.
They will help you find words related to your business that have different levels of competition for high rankings.
Keyword research helps you identify the terms and phrases that people search for often, but don’t have too much competition for search engine rankings.
By doing research into what words and phrases to use, you can increase your visibility on search engines and make sure more people can find you online.
4. Optimize Local Content, URL, Title Tags, Headers, & Meta Description
Creating new blog posts is a great way to get your website noticed.
Each post gives you the chance to target a specific phrase or keyword, and be found in search engine results pages. This can give your business more visibility and help draw potential customers to your site.
When writing any kind of content, it’s important to use certain words that search engines can easily find. It also helps if you include stories of customers who used your product or service and explain the details of each location of your business.
This will help with searches for things near them.
5. Optimize for Mobile
If you want people to be able to find you on the internet, it’s important to make your website look good on mobile devices.
Google has a tool called the Mobile-Friendly Test that can help you see how well your website looks on phones and tablets. Make sure your website passes the test so people can easily find you online.
Here are some tips that you can follow to optimize your site for mobile devices:
- To improve the mobile experience for your website visitors, focus on loading times, content readability, user interactivity and responsiveness.
- Ensure that your website loads quickly by compressing images and reducing unnecessary code.
- Make sure your content is easy to read on small screens. Consider increasing line spacing and font sizes to aid legibility.
- Improve user interactivity by optimizing buttons, links, and navigation menus for mobile devices. Make sure they are large enough and spaced sufficiently apart to be easily clicked.
- Responsive design ensures that your website will adjust to any screen size, providing a seamless experience for all visitors regardless of their device.
By making these improvements, you can provide a better mobile experience for your website visitors and ultimately increase engagement and conversions.
6. Publish Relevant Content
If you want your website to show up higher on Google, a great way to do that is by writing content that includes specific words and phrases. This could be blog posts, product descriptions, or informational articles.
The more of these you publish, the more likely it is that Google will rank you higher. If you want to improve your local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), try to include the name of your city or town in some of your content too.
7. Encourage Customers to Write Online Reviews
Having a loyal customer base is invaluable for your business, as satisfied customers can be your biggest advocates by sharing positive reviews about your service or product.
To make the most of their loyalty and gain traction with potential new customers, it’s important to encourage your customers to leave reviews online.
There are lots of ways to get customers to give you feedback.
Your team can ask people how they liked your business, you can join the conversation on reviews that have already been left; and you can offer something like a discount or coupon in exchange for leaving a review.
You could even send out surveys to get an idea of what people think. All these strategies can help you gather valuable customer feedback.
8. Get Citation on Local Directories
Citations are like mentions of your company on the internet.
For example, when someone lists your business name, address and phone number on their website.
Having more citations means that your business will show up higher in searches on Google.
Here are certain ways that’ll help you get local citations:
- Consistent business profile across all online listings is an important part of boosting your business’ visibility.
- One way to get listed online is to create a listing on Google My Business and make sure that the business name, address and phone number are accurate.
- Another great option for getting cited online is to submit your business to online directories.
- You can also maximize your presence by creating profiles on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- These platforms can help draw attention to your business, increase its visibility, and bring in more customers.
- By using these methods together, you can ensure that your business is seen by potential customers who are searching for it.
9. Add Location Search Pages to your Website
If you have multiple physical stores, make sure to create a page for each location.
These pages should include your name, address, phone number, hours of operation, descriptions of what makes your store special, parking and transportation details, special offers, and customer reviews. All this content should be written in an informative style.
On the other hand, if you own a single business location, you should create a page that tells people about it.
You can make your website even better by putting a Google Map on the page that talks about where your business is located. This way, you won’t have the same content on multiple pages.
Local SEO Tools
1. Semrush Listing Management Tool
With the Semrush Listing Management Tool, you can quickly submit your business data to key directories both inside and outside of the US.
- This tool lets you keep track of your listings and make sure they are always up-to-date and consistent across platforms.
- Additionally, this local SEO tool helps you stay on top of things related to your business.
- You can use it to keep track of customer reviews, how well your business is doing in target cities, and even receive reports via email so you don’t have to log in all the time.
So, you can have confidence that potential customers will be able to find the most accurate details about your business. With this tool, you can be sure that you always know what’s going on with your local search performance.
Whitespark is a web design agency that also offers SEO software tools to help businesses with local search marketing. Their most popular tool, Citation Finder, helps you find citation opportunities so your business can be seen in relevant local searches.
You can use the tool for free three times a day and get limited search results. If you want more, you can pay $33 per month for five campaigns, twenty searches a day, and unlimited search results.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your local SEO, Whitespark has some great tools to help.
i) Local Rank Tracker
If you want to get more traffic and the right customers for your business, Whitespark has a local rank tracker that can help.
It can track the top 100 positions in local search so you can see how you compare to competitors, as well as how you rank on different search engines and result types. It’s an easy way to get insights and improve your SEO performance.
ii) Reputation Builder
With the Whitespark review system, you can ask customers to share their thoughts on over a hundred online review sites, like Google and Facebook.
Plus, the feature will measure how satisfied your customers are with your company based on their reviews. The best part is, you can quickly respond to any important reviews or recommendations from customers straight from the system!
iii) Review Monitoring
Keeping an eye on your business reviews is important. With this tool, you will be notified if you receive a negative review, so you can quickly take the necessary steps to address it.
3. Growthbar (Chrome Extension)
Growthbar is a helpful tool that can help you stay on top of the local SEO search engine game. With Growthbar, you get access to a low-cost web app or Chrome extension.
- Use this tool to easily track your website’s position for popular keywords, which is essential for competitor analysis and identifying keywords for local SEO.
- Growthbar gives you information about how authoritative a website is. With it, you can compare and follow your competitors’ authorities.
- With the rank tracker tools, you can track which domains come up in search results for particular keywords or questions.
4. Moz Local
Moz Local makes it easy to ensure that your business is visible online. It’s been around for more than 10 years and it works for businesses of all sizes.
You just have to create a listing once, and Moz will take care of the rest by sending your information to search engines, apps, directories, and other services.
If you ever need to make a change later, you can just log back into Moz Local and edit the listing—no need to make changes in each place separately.
- Moz Local offers Google and Facebook integration to make your business more visible in the local search landscape.
- Duplicates across different online directories can be deleted automatically with Moz Local, helping you maintain an accurate business profile.
- Social posts are easy with Moz Local, allowing you to quickly create custom posts that help promote your business on both social media platforms.
Moz Local can help you manage your online reputation by sending you notifications when you receive new reviews, so you can respond to them quickly.
It also provides reports that allow you to track and analyze how local customers are engaging with your business.
The price for this service starts at $129/year, but it doesn’t include access to Moz’s other SEO tools.
GeoRanker offers an innovative way to monitor website rankings across the globe. The heat map feature reflects ranking results with different colors to indicate areas where the website is particularly successful.
With Georanker, gaining an understanding of website performance has never been easier!
You can use this local rank tracker to find out where your target locations stand in the rankings. It will show you exactly what position they hold, as well as all the sources of citations used by your competitors.
This information is essential when it comes to creating effective campaigns to improve or maintain your ranking.
Birdeye helps large businesses with multiple locations have an overall view of local SEO.
With Birdeye, companies can keep an eye on the customer experience and manage what other people say about them. 70,000+ world-renowned businesses, including BMW and Nissan, trust Birdeye to help them stay visible online.
Birdeye stands out from other local SEO tools because of its messaging platform, which lets businesses use various types of communication to bring in leads and make customers happy.
This lets businesses contact people in many different ways, so they can reach more potential customers and grow their business.
Its features include:
- It integrates data from multiple websites into one dashboard for more comprehensive monitoring.
- It handles reviews from over 200 platforms, making it easy to stay on top of online feedback.
- It supports messaging in all forms, including text, email, webchat, live chat, and chatbots.
- A single inbox allows users to manage all customer experiences in one place.
- It empowers businesses to increase revenue by providing the power to engage customers through messaging and reviews.
- It offers efficient customer experience and continuous channels for operators to monitor customer interactions.
Thus, Birdeye’s features provide a comprehensive set of tools that help businesses control their online presence.
With Yext‘s Review Monitoring feature, it’s easy to keep track of all the reviews your business gets from around the web in one place.
You can also grab any reviews your customers leave and add them to your website. Yext even has tools to help optimize your business for voice search so you can reach more people.
Chatmeter is a great tool for businesses that have multiple locations. It helps you keep track of your online listing, what people are saying about you on social media, and how people are rating you.
You can make sure that all your information is up-to-date by updating it in bulk. With Chatmeter, you can also add photos, menus, and services so customers know exactly what you offer.
- Chatmeter’s local SEO tracking tool enables you to effectively track and execute your local “near me” search strategy.
- Using Chatmeter’s Local Brand Visibility (LBV) score, you can compare your brand’s performance against competitors in the same field.
- Pulse is an advanced text and sentiment analysis engine that allows you to analyze customers’ sentiments in real time.
- Chatmeter also has voice optimization capabilities so that you can create content tailored to the specific needs of your target audience.
The tool provides a comprehensive suite of features for local SEO and brand building that can help you succeed in a competitive marketplace.
Thus, local SEO is a practice used by local marketers to increase their visibility and influence in their community.
It is the process of improving your website’s search engine rankings, getting more people to visit your site, and getting more attention from people in your area.
With the right approach, you can make sure that your business appears in local results, which can be an effective way of building brand awareness and generating more leads.
Link building is also essential for success and should be part of any comprehensive local SEO strategy.
By understanding the nuances of the local search algorithm, you can build up a portfolio of high-quality local links to help improve your SEO rankings and reach a larger audience.
With this guide as a starting point, you’ll have all the tools you need to start creating an effective local SEO strategy for your business.