What is local SEO?
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is when you optimize your website and online properties to target potential customers who are local to you.
The main goal for your local SEO strategy and development should be to increase your brand’s community presence so you’ll be found in more localized searches on the most popular online search platforms:
Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, Siri, Alexa, Ask.com, etc…
Does your website rank high for customers searching for your products or services?
Many business owners and leaders don’t know where to start, or don’t understand the potential value Local SEO offers.
A simple example of a business that would benefit greatly from being seen on local searches would be a restaurant or a plumber.
Local SEO is not only about optimizing for the keywords themselves (like global or overall website SEO), but also involves optimizing for the location in which the search was made in or about.
Google must be convinced that the business is real, legitimate, and located in that specific area.
What does Google care about?
People search online to ask questions and find answers.
Google, Bing and other platforms’ number ONE priority is to answer the user’s question as fast and as precisely as possible. Whichever websites can do that will rank at the top (or very close to it), not including ads.
This should never be forgotten when designing a website, blog, or SEO improvement plan. It should always be factored in from start to finish.
However, don’t try to be “fast” by having a short webpage(s) or blog just to answer a certain question. Sometimes things can be answered or explained in 50-100 words with no images and be ranked high, but other times it takes 2000+ words, 1000 backlinks, 5 infographics, plus a video all on a single page.
Every webpage on your site should speak precisely to the target customers you’re trying to reach.
Essentially, the better each page solves the user’s problem, the better your Local SEO and overall SEO will be.
Why can Local SEO be so important?
SEO is one of the very few acquisition channels with true scaling ability.
If done correctly, it can give your business and website an enormous amount of ongoing valuable web traffic at a low cost. If you successfully plan and execute it, you can convert additional customers and have improved sales month over month.
Local optimization can improve your presence in overall search results, including on mobile devices, Google Maps, and for “close by suggestions and recommendations results” that are given to users when searching for particular places and/or services.
Ranking for close-by suggestions and recommendations:
When someone searches for services in a geographically localized search, these are usually brick and mortar businesses and/or service area businesses. The user search might look something like this:
“General contractor in [“city name”] OR “Plumber near me”
Or like the example in the picture above “Digital Marketing Companies in White Rock”.
Where do I start, and how do I rank locally?
For local improvement of close by map ranking factors, one of the best places to start is by setting up and optimizing your “Google My Business” listing.
If you don’t yet have a page set up, don’t fret—just click this Google My Business setup link and claim your page now.
Having a Google My Business page can help tremendously for proximity searches and for building up trust with Google.
Also, it allows your customers to quickly view important info like store & holiday hours, directions, phone number(s), contact email, website address, indoor/outdoor pictures, reviews, and much more.
Recently, a Local SEO case study by Moz.com (highly regarded in the SEO industry) ranked Google My Business as the number one factor for Local SEO and as a top SEO tool. We believe it’s a great place to start building for anybody with even the most basic technical skills.
2. Claim Your Business Page on Top Sites
This would be called link building and it’s valuable and relatively easy. Depending on your business and industry, your list could include such websites as:
- Google My Business Reviews
- Trip Advisor
- Better Business Bureau
You will need to analyze which ones are best for your business and industry, then optimize your pages accordingly. Keeping these business pages updated will tell these high-valued platforms like Google that you’re taking your business seriously.
Don’t forget to have an actual business strategy for getting customer reviews on your most valued site (and make sure they definitely allow reviews).
3. Optimizing Your Website (Technical SEO)
The first thing you’ll need is to set a goal before you start optimizing your website for Local SEO success.
A common goal for improving your website SEO is simply to be seen more (getting more online impressions).
Impressions are when an advertisement (or any other form of digital media) shows up on a user’s screen. Impressions are not action-based, and are merely defined by the potential of a user seeing it.
Other common goals include getting higher overall clicks per user rate, as well as improving CTR (click-through rates), user experience, and conversions.
Once you set your goal, you can then devise strategies to make your intended improvements, giving you the potential to enhance your company conversions, sales and overall success.
A great free program to help with analyzing your current website is Google Search Console, which has many useful tools (backed with valuable data). This tool can help you improve in important areas using error reports. It can also show you how your website users are currently searching for your business on Google. As you make necessary upgrades, you can also then analyze what’s working on your overall website and individual web pages, and what isn’t.
Leading Local SEO Factors:
An important part of Local SEO is “On-Page SEO” which is the practice of optimizing each individual web page in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. It’s recommended that this task be completed during the initial setup of your website, but also as an ongoing practice.
If you want to get started today, here’s a list of some of the top SEO Factors:
- Google My Business Profile + Online Reviews.
- Social Media Marketing – linked pages, sharing, reviews, events, engagement, Facebook ads, etc.
- Citation/Directory Listings (backlinks).
- Blogging – area-specific (local) content & keywords.
- Website structure – (Very important if you serve multiple cities).
- Title Tags, keywords, Meta Desc, headers, H1-H3 tags, Alt Tags and overall copywriting.
- Matching phone, name & address to your website & Google.
- Google Maps embedded on your website.
- Local backlink & directory building (image attached below of one way to check for local high-authority domains).
- On-Page Optimization (length customers spend and how they interact on your webpage).
- A mobile-friendly website (very important).
- A call-to-action (CTA) on most (or all, if possible) web pages.
- Reviews and testimonials.
Get started today with these leading SEO & Local SEO tools:
(Paid & Free – Tools & Versions Available)
- Google Analytics (Free)
- Google My Business (Free)
- Google Keyword Planner (Free) Must have Google Ads Account.
- SEMRush (Free & Paid)
- Ahrefs – (Paid only)
- Moz – (Paid & Free)
- Serps.com (Paid & Free)
- Yoast SEO – (Paid & Free) WordPress websites.
- Keywordtoo.io – Youtube, Amazon & eBay Keyword tools.
- UberSuggest – (Paid & Free)
- TheHoth – (Paid & Free)
- Answer The Public – (Paid & Free) Top Customer Questions on Topics.
- Google Pagespeed Insights (Free)
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test (Free)
- Pingdom – (Paid & Free) Website Page Speed testing.
- ImageOptim.com (Free)
- ImageCompressor.com (Free)
We hope we’ve given you some knowledge on industry-leading SEO tools that will help you plan your current or future business locally.
The information, strategies, and tips included in this Local SEO guide can be used to positively impact many different areas of your website and overall sales.
Now there’s nothing holding you back from getting started today!
Let us know if you have any questions or ideas!