When was the last time you looked for a store or service near your residence? Whether it be essential services like plumbing or leisure purchases like clothing stores, sometimes consumers find the best solution to be ones that are close to them.
Within the world of SEO, this reiterates the importance of local SEO. Local SEO refers to the tactics that help a page being optimized for site visitors who have local intent.
Let’s take a view at some of the available statistics to quantify the significance of local SEO.
As per Go Gulf, over 46 percent of all searches made on Google have an underlying local intent. And HubSpot Marketing states that 72 percent of people who conduct local searches end up visiting a brick-and-mortar store within a five-mile radius.
For businesses that primarily operate within a specific region, whether it be a country, city, or area, have a lot to gain for optimizing their online presence for local searches.
But, the question may arise in your mind, “how exactly can I implement local SEO?”
The good news is that local search engine optimization is quite straightforward if you use the right tactics. Here is a brief guide that will aid you decode and adopt local SEO effectively.
Section 1: Understand the Google Algorithm
Before you begin optimizing your content and website for local searches, first begin by understanding how the Google algorithm works. Once you decode this process, search engine optimization will come naturally to you.
Here are the top three things Google cares about when ranking local content:
- Relevance: Is your business relevant to the search query you are optimizing for?
- Prominence: Is the business credible and trustworthy?
- Proximity: Is the location of the business nearby to the google searcher?
When seeking help from local SEO service for small businesses, make sure that the team takes into account each of the three factors when making their strategies.
For starters, the keywords you ought to optimize for must be relevant to your business. If you are running a pizza shop in NY, you cannot optimize your website for search queries related to pasta shops in NY merely because you deliver a similar cuisine!
Additionally, to highlight your credibility, make sure that you have a robust online and social media presence. Also, backlinks and citations from other trustworthy sources will add to your credibility.
Finally, make sure that you optimize your website for the right area. Stemming from the above-mentioned example, if you have a shop in New York, your shop shouldn’t pop up for Philadelphia-based searches.
We will see how you can excel at each of these ranking factors in the sections below.
Section 2: Local Keyword Optimization
According to SEO Tribunal, a whopping 78 percent of location-based mobile searches end up with consumers completing offline purchases. Additionally, Chat Meter reports that “close by” and “near me” keyword searches have grown by a staggering 900 percent in the last two years!
Location-based and proximity keywords are examples of local keywords you must optimize your website and content for. However, as mentioned above, merely adding a local keyword just because it is popular does not suffice.
To avoid penalization and to rank highly, you must choose keywords that are relevant to your business and location. Also, make sure that you add to your content in a cohesive and contextual manner. Keyword stuffing, just for the sake of adding local words, backfires.
For instance, see how Mike Diamond Plumber optimizes its content for the local searchers.
When deciding which local keyword to add to your content, you can seek help from the different keyword research tools available.
This may include Uber Suggest, SEMrush, and Moz. Such tools will help in offering insights about the different words, including local competitors that rank for your chosen words and the overall performance of the keyword.
Section 3: Claim and Update your Google My Business page
According to Safari Digital, 86 percent of Google Maps users look for local stores via the app. Google My Business listing is what reflects businesses on the app. Yet, over 56 percent of small businesses have not claimed their GMB pages!
When optimizing for local search, one of the first things you must do is claim and update your Google My Business Page. Add as much information on the listing as you think is required by searchers. The basic information includes the name of the business, address, contact information, and operational timings.
However, quality GMB pages go beyond the essentials to include images of the business as well as consumer reviews and FAQs.
For instance, see how Stateside Seattle includes all the relevant information in its GMB listing.
Note that you must keep on updating information as and when required. For example, in case you change your operational timing or contact information, edit your GMB page to offer the right information to your customers.
Section 4: Maintain an SEO-Friendly Website
A lot of businesses make the mistake of downplaying the importance of their website performance for local SEO. It turns out, maintaining an SEO-Friendly website is just as important for local ranking as it is for general SERP!
What makes an SEO-friendly website, you may ask? Well, here are some of the elements you need to keep in mind:
- Relevancy of content to user needs.
- Delivering optimum user experience via smooth navigation.
- A high speed to reduce bounce rate.
- Responsiveness of the website on different devices. Use Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test Tool” for this.
- Web accessibility to cater to visitors with special needs.
Section 5: Link Building
Link Building is among the top three ranking factors in the Google algorithm. This is because it helps the search engine in assessing the credibility as well as the relevancy of the website. The more authoritative links that link back to your website, the higher your rank will be.
In the case of local SEO, getting relevant local links matters. For instance, let’s say your business is featured in a local article about places residents should visit; this is likely to boost the interest of the audience in your business. It will also provide legitimacy to your business.
Here are four tactics that can help in building links:
- Guest blogging on relevant local websites.
- Creating a dedicated blog on your website to which other businesses can link.
- Signing up for local competitions and causes to get your business mentioned in relevant press releases.
- Using tools like Link Intersect to find backlinks of your competitors and try to get links from the same sources.
To say that local SEO is starkly different from general SEO would be a travesty. At the end of the day, every ranking boils down to the effect your business has on the online experience of search engine users.
Before adopting any tactic, take a step back and think about whether it will make the lives of your target audience easier. If they do, you are on the right track. If it doesn’t, try something else.
By following this method, you can easily avoid the urge to take any “shortcuts.” It will also ensure that you filter off any digital agencies that don’t use the right practices!
Understand the essence behind local SEO, and you will automatically make the right decisions. Good luck!
Mary Warner is an enthusiast blogger. Her compelling research and communication capabilities exchange offerings that have value for the reader. Her passion for writing has been an ever-evolving affair. She loves to share her views related to latest trends in marketing, technology, ecommerce, and the like.