If you have a brick-and-mortar business or a local business that is restricted to certain locations, chances are that you may have tried to reach out to the geographic audience there.
That's what a local search means. According to Hubspot, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
This means that if you are not leveraging local search engine optimization or local SEO in your marketing plan, then you are losing out a lot on the table.
Every day, around 8.5 billion Google searches are conducted. With nearly half of these searches having a local intent, it's simple to see how many people use the internet to get what they need in their neighborhood. If your company isn't utilizing local SEO to gain a foothold in the market, you can bet that your competitors are.
This blog will give you a better understanding of local SEO and how to optimize your website for local search intent.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization for the local search results that help local businesses with increased exposure and better visibility. It also helps increase search traffic in the nearest location stores.
Businesses can utilize local SEO to promote their products and services in front of local prospects and customers looking for them.
Local search engines provide the user with the most relevant local results by using signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations.
How Does Local Search Work?
By optimizing it for local SEO, your business indicates Google that it is located in this physical location, and thus, the user nearby should be displayed this search result.
Local results may appear above all organic content if you search for a keyword like 'Indian restaurants near me.’ You have an immediate, local need, according to Google.
Local search results, including business name, address, phone number, website, images and videos, customer reviews and star ratings, and more, are more likely to satisfy that need than a simple blue link.
Benefits of Local SEO
Implementing a local SEO strategy has various advantages. They include the ability to reach a larger audience, increase conversions, and improve your reputation.
More people will discover your brand due to an improved presence in local search results. The searcher could then go to your GBP (Google Business Profile), your website, or visit your business in person.
One of the best methods to reach potential local customers is to appear in the Local Pack, and ranking here should be a top SEO priority. It's not just the Local Pack, though, that you should be concerned about. Increased presence in map apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps can also help your business gain more customers.
People looking for a business on the go, such as a cafe or restaurant to visit, may frequently use their preferred map app.
It's vital to remember that Google Maps and Google Local Finder are two different things, and you'll need to think about them independently.
The results of Google Maps are not limited to a certain geographic location. On the other hand, Google Local Finder gives just search results from the local area, as the name implies.
Taking steps to improve your search visibility will automatically result in more individuals accessing your company's website, leading to more conversions.
A conversion could be one or more of the following, depending on your business type: Account signups, newsletter signups, phone calls, free trials, and form submissions are all product or service sales examples.
Online customers don't necessarily need to visit your website to convert because they can often get the information they need within your GBP.
This raises the importance of ranking in the Local Pack, implying that businesses with little organic search authority can still do well.
Boost your business reputation
Your reputation is critical to your long-term success, regardless of the type of business you run. Certain local SEO tactics will help you grow your reputation and identify yourself as an industry leader.
Review profile helps you build an online reputation.
It explains why potential clients should choose you above your competitors. It also allows buyers to see how you handle disgruntled customers when responding to negative reviews and reflects your brand's personality.
How does Google Rank Local Businesses?
Google's organic search ranking algorithms are kept a carefully guarded secret, but what it takes to rank in local results is far more transparent.
According to Google, there are three key categories of local ranking factors:
The closeness to which a local business matches with user search intent is referred to as relevance.
"How far each potential search result is from the location phrase used in a search is perceived as the distance.”
In this case, prominence refers to how well-known a company is in Google's eyes. This is the most difficult of the local ranking factor categories, as search algorithms also attempt to account for offline significance.
There are other factors affecting local SEO ranking. Just like there is a SERP in global SEO, local SEO has got some SERPs:
The Local Pack appears at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for a local search. It usually consists of three organic results (ads may appear here) and a map with pins for each ranking business.
It's vital to note that the Google Business Profile (GBP) of a company, not its website, is what affects local rankings. Without the local pack, it might be hard to rank on Google Business Pages.
The order of the results in this section is determined mostly by the distance between the searcher and the profile, as well as the relevancy of the search query and the profile's prominence.
One of the most significant search goals for any local business is to appear in Google's Local Pack. These three top-ranking results get the most clicks and, as a result, the most website traffic, leading to increased sales and profitability.
The Local Finder is a long list of GBPs for relevant local businesses.
Local Organic Results Listing
Most individuals will be familiar with the localized organic results. This is the list of blue links to websites that show the Local Pack for a local search.
The local search algorithm, which evaluates ranking elements such as on-page optimization, links, and behavioral indications, determines the order of the websites included in the localized organic results.
Google uses the same GBP search result data for Maps’ results as it does for the Local Pack and Finder. The difference is that Google Maps will offer a much longer list of results because it delivers results from a larger area.
Although this isn't true in every business, advertisements frequently appear at the top of Google Maps results.
When Google returns Maps results for a local search, the results will be displayed in the form of list that is on the left side, whereas the locations will be highlighted on a map on the right.
As you look around at different spots, you may move the map and utilize the search this region' option to refresh the results. You can also utilize the top-level filtering options to find the most relevant results to your needs.
Because visibility in the Local Pack, Local Finder, and Google Maps is dependent on GBP, it should be a primary priority of a local SEO plan.
Local SEO Tips and Strategies
Before explaining each local SEO strategy, it is important to note that the steps mentioned below follow in order.
Here are the quick local SEO strategies:
- Optimize your website for Google My Business.
- Participate in social media and upload posts to Google My Business.
- Check your NAP across the web.
- Revise your online directories and citations.
- Create SEO content.
- Optimize your website and content.
- Build internal links.
- Add location pages.
- Check that your website is mobile-friendly.
- Optimize your local image and metadata.
Optimize for Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business is a starting point to establish in local search. Google only prefers to share content that it feels is credible and comes from verified profiles.
Google My Business lets you create those business profiles.
To optimize your page for Google My Business listing, the following are steps:
- Create a Google My Business page and verify it.
- Create Google Posts from within your account.
- Encourage your consumers to leave online reviews.
- Respond to reviews truthfully, including your physical location.
Once Google has verified your business, it will reward you with a sidebar in the local search.
Share posts on social media and Google My Business
Google views social media content to be more essential than ever before.
Once you've created a stunning Google My Business page, share it on social media and start uploading the posts on Google My Business.
Create appropriate NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number)
When a potential customer Googles your business, they'll need to know where you are (name), what you do (address and phone number), and how to get in touch with you (email).
Ensure all your contact information is up-to-date on your website, Google My Business page, and any other authoritative online sources like yellow pages.
The best place for you to place NAP is either the header or the footer of your site. This way, your site visitors get to see NAP on any page of your site.
Revise the business directories and citations
Adding your business to online directories (like Google, Yahoo, and MSN) is essential for getting found in search engines.
Make sure all of the information on your site aligns with what you've submitted to directory sites, such as on-page content, descriptions, and anchor text.
Ensure citation forms are filled out accurately, including the contact information for each website where content from your business was quoted or republished.
Check that your citations are the same and complete across these four data aggregators to make sure they are.
Misspellings, abbreviations, a lack of a suite number, or the wrong phone number can make it hard to get in touch with someone who needs help.
A business may not show up in search results at all if Google can't figure out which information about it is correct.
In addition, be sure to get rid of any listings that are the same.
Create SEO content
High-quality and relevant content for your website is an important part of SEO in your local search. There are many types of content that you can make, like blog posts and videos. You can also make podcasts, animations, and so on.
Perform in-depth keyword research before writing your content. This is because you want to make it useful for your local audience.
Even though great content is a great way to help your audience, it also helps you get links to your site, which is important for your SEO efforts. The more people like and love your content, the more likely they are to link to it from their own websites. To get and keep high rankings, these links are very important.
Optimize your website and content
As for content, when you write a new blog post, it creates a new page for your site, and a new local search result gets indexed on the search results.
But, this is not enough. You should also focus on optimizing your content for local SEO search.
The use of high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and content you write to make it more search engine friendly.
Using a local SEO intelligence tool like Scalenut will help you target the right keywords for your local content. For example, if you want to rank for a keyword like 'Best Burger Joints in California.’
All you need is to drop your primary keyword and choose the location as California.
Once you have created the report, you can create fresh content or optimize the existing one using the suggested keywords and NLP terms.
Scalenut also suggests the suggested word count range and the readability level so that you can create content that is perfectly optimized for local search.
The image below suggests the best content optimization technique for California, U.S. Notice the key terms or the NLP terms you should use in your content.
Furthermore, the suggested count and readability are displayed at the bottom.
Build internal links
Internal link building is a simple but effective activity that is often overlooked. Internal links, as opposed to external links, lead from one portion of your site to another.
Internal links aid Google's understanding of your website. They show which pages on your site are the most significant and assist Google in determining the content of those pages.
Ensure that internal links always refer to important portions of your site and that the anchor text makes sense when you're adding them.
What does internal linking help with? It does the following things:
- Assists with navigation on the website.
- Assists with the website's structure and organization of information.
- Distributes page authority and ranking power to the pages.
Add location pages to your site
Adding location pages to your site can help increase the number of SERPs that show up for your business.
Location pages on your website provide information about where you are located, hours of operation, contact information, and more.
They should include a map and photos that display what you have to offer in terms of dining or shopping experiences.
Create a mobile responsive site
When your website is mobile responsive, it is likely to look good and work well on any screen size. This has become a crucial part of SEO since it ensures a positive user experience.
Hence, optimizing your local website page for mobile search is crucial.
There are various tools like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to check your page’s mobile responsiveness.
Your website should be easy for people to find what they're looking for and navigate without searching through endless menus or pages.
Orientation of menus, use of consistent font sizes, logical groupings of information, and clear headings are all important elements in making your site mobile-friendly.
Optimize your local image and metadata
Using images is critical since it improves the aesthetic appeal of your website. You should always optimize your photographs for search engines in addition to choosing high-quality, relevant images.
Image optimization includes adding keywords in the image name and providing useful alt text and a description, improving searchability and accessibility. To avoid slowing down your website, ensure your photographs are the appropriate size and type.
Content metadata assists search engines in understanding your site's content. This entails the usage of title tags and meta descriptions, among other properties.
Q. Which tools should I use for local SEO?
Ans: There are a number of local SEO tools for optimizing business listing. These include SEMRush listing management, Moz bar, and Whitespakr. If you want to optimize your content for local SEO, you can use Scalenut or SEMRush.
Q. Is there any such thing as black hat or white hat SEO tactics and strategies?
Ans: There is no clear-cut answer, as local SEO can involve a combination of both white hat and black hat techniques. However, some general rules include avoiding spamming organic search results with paid ads or links from malicious sites and ensuring your site's title tags and meta descriptions are accurate and helpful to users. Black hat SEO is against the search engine guidelines and manipulates them to get better rankings on search engines. It can make you lose all of your search results or move down the rankings. White hat SEO is an ethical way to do SEO by making high-quality content and giving users a good experience.
Q. Who needs local SEO?
Ans: Local SEO may benefit any company with a physical presence or that serves a particular region. Local SEO is essential for business owners who want to compete with larger companies in their local areas.
Q. What is the difference between local SEO and SEO?
Ans: Global SEO focuses on making your site more visible to people across the country or the world. Local SEO lets you take over local search territory so you can connect with people in your area. There are a lot of things that both SEO and local SEO use.
Q. Is local SEO dead, or is it still important in 2022?
Ans: Local SEO is not dead and is still an important strategy for many businesses, especially those that serve a specific region or need to compete against larger companies. While Google has made aggressive moves towards global visibility, the local search continues to be a valuable channel for reaching potential customers.
In sum, local SEO is an essential element of online marketing efforts for businesses of all sizes.
You can help position your business as the best option for customers in your area by doing local SEO optimization. Remember to abide by the rules set by search engines and stay transparent about how you are ranking in order to maintain credibility with potential customers.
Local search is drastically growing and changing. There are various factors and SERPs that affect how people find your business.
Thus, you need to be updated with the latest trends and changes. If you want help with optimization, you can try and start with Scalenut for free. This free SEO tool suggests the most relevant terms out of the top-ranking 20 results so that you can optimize them for the search engines.