What is Local SEO & How Does it Work?

What is Local SEO & How Does it Work
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Your digital marketing campaign will only be wasted if your website does not show up in the local search results. Suppose you want to dominate a particular industry in your local region. In that case, you will need an effective local SEO strategy that drives clients to your business and not towards your nearby establishment.

What are Local SEO Services?

Search engines like Google play a huge role in any local SEO campaign. The main purpose of local SEO is to optimize your digital marketing tools, including business websites and social media pages, to generate quality leads and organic traffic for conversion. Advertising agencies usually offer a comprehensive guide to local SEO services to help enhance the online visibility of any business. These essential marketing services focus on optimizing web pages targeting local audiences and a potential market in a geographical location.

Once online searchers use keywords containing local terms, it will be easy for them to find your business, especially if you have a location map and updated business details. If you are operating a small business or planning to open a start-up business, you can take full advantage of local SEO as your marketing tactic. Local SEO helps businesses with physical location or service areas become visible online. If you are not familiar with it, local SEO can be overwhelming for you, but SEO professionals may help you understand how this works. Local SEO services typically covers the following:

·Local optimization

·Content creation

·Landing page optimization

·Paid Advertising

·Google My Business (GMB) profile creation and optimization

·Grand reputation management

·Local citation enhancement

·Coding schema markup

How is Local SEO Done?

The work coverage of local SEO is remarkably extensive. To give you an idea, local SEO is done through the following components:

·Google My Business

Google My Business is a valuable component of local SEO. It is a free business tool that helps you manage all online platforms you use in business. Google uses GMB to determine the relevance and authenticity of the business in your industry. Maintaining a GMB profile can help local customers easily find your local business on the map pack on Google, especially if you constantly update your information.

·Social exposure

You can be rewarded by Google to actively promote your business on social media platforms and online forums. Content sharing is very important for Google and other search engines, so you should not forget to optimize your social media exposure. You can also utilize social media to initiate a conversation with target customers to generate comments and nurture a customer relationship.

It is also important that you regularly update your business details, referring to NAP or name address and phone number, across all online platforms so that your customers can easily find your business. Updated details of websites and social media accounts are critical to search engine crawlers, prompting digital marketers and business owners to pay attention to them. Genuine customer reviews and comments are also part of the ranking factors of search engines.

·Citations

Local SEO uses online directories and citations to determine the relevance of your business in the industry. Your citations must be consistent with four popular data aggregators, namely Express Update, Neustar Localeze, Foursquare, and Factual. Still, any misinformation from misspelled words to incorrect office numbers should be avoided. If Google cannot determine the correct information for your business, your name will not appear in the local SERPs consistently.

·Local SEO audit

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to review your website’s online performance alongside SEO experts through an SEO audit. The website’s overall performance, GMB profile, citations, and link building strategy are thoroughly evaluated in a local SEO audit. The auditing process analyzes whether your website competes well through competitor analysis, page speed, information accuracy, and search engine indexing. Any adjustments to the SEO strategy are often executed when content gaps, duplicate content, and broken links, among others, are detected.

·Link building

Local SEO includes improvements over internal and external links because these are crucial to search engine algorithms. Internal link building supports website navigation by organizing information structure and hierarchy. Well-established links also distribute page authority among multiple pages. Some strategies include forming partnerships or sponsorships, guest blog posting, and creating informative content like comprehension guides about external link building.

·Location pages

It is a good idea to create individual location pages if you operate multiple brick-and-mortar stores. This way, customers can easily find the business nearest to their location. It is advisable to create a separate set of content in each location to make the content description unique and avoid duplicate content.

·Content Optimization

In local SEO, the importance of keyword research should not be ignored because you need to optimize relevant keywords in your content, URL, meta description, and headers. Releasing a new blog post regularly means search engine crawlers will index a new page. Consistently creating content with geotargeted keywords significantly helps maintain a strong online presence and a stable position in the local SERPs.

The content you will put on the website needs to be written for a particular audience in your area. Hyperlocal content is used to help you present your business and services more precisely. Search engines may not appropriately index any content you create for a general audience. This contains blogs about social events, local news, local advisory, and press releases.

·Mobile-friendliness

Local SEO strategy ensures that your website is mobile-friendly. An excellent user experience depends on this because mobile consumers want to quickly find maps, business information, and product reviews using any portable communication device. Almost half of the searches happen on mobile devices, so it is very important to optimize mobile accessibility on your website.

Ways to Improve Your Local SEO Right Now

Ways to Improve Your Local SEO Right Now

After you have learned the valuable components of local SEO, you also need to understand how you can improve the current SEO strategy you are implementing, if there are any. Some local SEO techniques include:

1. Creating a GMB Profile

You can utilize the features of your Google My Business profile in many ways. Being accurate with your details will help your business appear in the local results, featured snippets, Search Knowledge, and Google Maps consistently. After you create a profile, claim it through a business verification process that validates your ownership of the business. Only encode updated and accurate information about your business, including business hours, payment method, store location, and an official logo. You can also use your GMB profile to announce new products, services, and special packages to attract customers. However, consistency is the key to the success of your local marketing campaign using GMB.

2. Optimizing Voice Search Capability

Time will come when online consumers will use voice commands to search for information. Optimizing voice search in a local SEO campaign can help generate more qualified leads in a regional location. Since they will no longer type those search terms, customers will likely use long-tail keywords delivered in a conversational tone. In this case, determining the user intent to target the appropriate key phrases is crucially important.

3. Requesting Reviews from Satisfied Customers

Customer reviews improve your online visibility and encourage other customers to find your products and services. You can request a review after closing a deal with a client or after the product has been delivered on time. If you ever receive negative reviews, you should be proactive in resolving any customer problems not to affect your page ranking. Aside from this, being responsive to comments is also a good indicator for customers that your business is reliable in the industry.

4. Maximizing Mobile Access

Customers become more encouraged if your website is optimized for mobile accessibility. Over half of organic searches happen on mobile devices, so it is not surprising why you should optimize mobile responsiveness for your business. In order not to affect the overall user experience of your customers, make sure that the website is easily accessible on any mobile device, regardless of screen size and processing speed. Page speed, website design, and link structure are still valuable factors in the overall web performance of your website, so your SEO professionals should always consider these elements.

5. Creating Local News Stories

You can’t just ignore the importance of content creation for your local audience. Hyperlocal content can help boost the online presence of your business in the local market. You can incorporate local news stories, social events, and public advisories into your business. However, the content you produce must be relevant for your target viewers. By doing this, you can introduce your expertise to the industry without the need for an expensive traditional marketing campaign.

6. Targeting the Right Local Key Phrases

Since you target a local audience, the keywords you use in the content should contain local terms. Local SEO keyword planners can use to figure out the relevant search terms to target in your region. Once you have determined these popular local keywords based on search volume and competitiveness, you can now incorporate them in your content, headers, meta description, and images. You can also mention prominent location-specific landmarks in your content to generate interest.

7. Creating Individual Pages Based on Location

If you own a business situated in multiple areas, you should create individual pages for each location. However, avoid duplicating content instead of creating unique business descriptions and client testimonials for every geographical area. Customer needs significantly vary from one place to another, so consider creating separate pages showcasing how your expertise has provided credible answers to them. If you only have one location, creating an “About Us” page that focuses on local, relevant information is essential. For example, if you have a florist shop, your “About Us” page is the perfect spot to mention your shop’s involvement in supplying the flowers for any parades in your town or city.

8. Making a Dedicated Page for each Service or Product

It is not advisable to put all your products and services on one page because search engines view this page as unreliable, even if the information you enter is accurate. Instead, consider creating an individual page for each service or product you offer. This way, you can clearly show all the details about what you can provide to customers. Search engines can also easily index individually-created pages based on relevance and authoritativeness in the industry.

9. Paying Attention to Link Signals

Link signals are quality backlinks that point back to your website. For search engines, the quality of your backlinks is critically important, rather than focusing on the quantity alone. You can receive backlinks through guest post placement from an authoritative domain or any informative content that allows you to get natural links. You can also engage with local influencers in your industry via social media or email and request them to link back to you. If you are new to this marketing tactic, you need in-depth research about your competitors and time to build up your credibility in the industry.

10. Utilizing Online Business Directories

Apart from social media, you can make use of business directories to promote your website. Examples include Yelp, YellowPages, Foursquare, and MapQuest. But similar to your GMB profile, consistency will bring potential customers to your website using online directories. Business details must be written accurately, bannering a concise description of what your business can offer.

Why Local SEO is Important?

Because it is difficult for small businesses to compete with big brands in the market, local SEO will come into play. Local SEO is intended for companies with a physical location, whether single or multiple, such as law offices, repair shops, convenient stores, restaurants, and commercial suppliers. It becomes easy for local customers to find them in a geographical area. Local SEO uses geotargeted components to make the market highly specific for a particular business form. Small businesses may gain a fair share of the market because the search intent is local, unlike huge enterprises catering to both local and international markets.

Local SEO plays a significant role in converting page visitors into paying customers through increased phone inquiries and physical visits. Local SEO enables you to connect with local influencers, customers, and enthusiasts who may need your expertise. With a local SEO strategy, you can provide details to customers instantly, including business hours, payment scheme, and store location in just a few taps. It also becomes convenient for you to manage your physical shopfront and digital shopfront at the same time, apart from further improving your online visibility.

How Do You Know if you Need Local SEO?

·Single-page location details

Having a completely functioning website and many social media pages is not enough to boost your online presence. You are committing an error if all of your services areas are on the same page. Search engine crawlers will not index your business page properly if all your store locations are just listed down on a single landing page. You can generate more quality leads if you create individual pages for each store branch containing local descriptions and unique landmark features.

·Inconsistency in business profiles

If you want to have credible online visibility for your business, you need to optimize different business profiles like Google My Business and various forms of online directories. All encoded details must be consistent and constantly updated to remain relevant in the view of search engines. Although it is very time-consuming to manage all these pages, it is best to hire a digital marketer or leave this activity to SEO professionals. Remember that any misspelled word or inconsistent phone number is enough to confuse the search engine, prompting you not to index your page correctly.

·No clear insight on web performance

If you have no idea how much traffic your website generates, you probably need help from SEO experts. They can provide detailed analysis regarding the organic traffic performance of your website using local search analytics tools. SEO professionals can often provide relevant data about maps queries and local organic searches so that you can gain valuable insight and find out if your marketing strategy is still effective. These should be tracked and recorded to give you a clear insight into whether each page of your store location is performing well.

·Citation problems

You probably need local SEO if your business citations need serious attention because your business name should be mentioned in various online directories where you are registered, whether you are receiving backlinks or not. This requires completeness in your business details to make citations work for you. If you own a business with multiple store locations, consider investing in a citation management solution to handle citation issues easily and minimize the inconsistency of your details across various local directories.

·Lack of time to produce genuine reviews

It would be best if you did not underestimate the power of customer reviews. Local SEO helps to fill the gap in the review part of your SEO campaign. Whether you receive positive or negative reviews, you must be consistent and responsive to customer inquiries because it enhances the credibility of your website. Remember that reviews are powerful because over 90% of online consumers depend on reviews before finalizing their purchase. And customers are much more appreciative of businesses that send proactive responses to any negative review or immediate customer concern.

What is the Difference Between SEO and Local SEO?

Local SEO has local components involved, while general SEO is intended to help a brand or business reach wider market potential. Local SEO is usually designed for small businesses with single or multiple store locations, aiming to provide information to local customers as quickly as possible. Organic SEO, meanwhile, may only intend to provide answers for a particular query and has no local search intent. Each form of SEO strategy requires a variety of marketing tactics to achieve its individual goals.

Local SEO mainly focuses on attracting customers within a local region, city, or county. Local businesses often practice this digital marketing tactic to drive local customers to their brick-and-mortar stores. With the help of website elements and business profiles, local SEO can make these digital storefronts visible for everyone. However, businesses also utilize general SEO by providing answers to any relevant search terms to convert searchers into potential clients.

What is the Difference Between Organic and Local SEO?

The main difference between local SEO and organic SEO is the search intent. Local SEO contains certain geographical elements to help searchers find the information they need within a vicinity. If customers use keywords containing local terms, search engines know that the keyword has a local intent, so what will be immediately displayed to the customers are businesses that are accessible to them. Meanwhile, organic SEO delivers results that search engines may think to have no local intent but may seem helpful. The ranking of any website still depends on how keywords are optimized for search, in addition to hundreds of algorithmic factors directly affecting your organic traffic performance.

After the local results, you will notice that search engines will display a list of organic results, search results that search engines may find relevant for the customers. Organic results are displayed for customers who are just looking for valuable information rather than the geographical location. Local optimization is beneficial for local businesses operating a physical store or office. However, businesses optimizing search terms for both geographical area and organic searches may gain a wider reach.

Targeting a specific audience may not bring in more traffic because your website can only show up in local results but not in general search results. It is still a good idea to optimize high-performing search terms to help your name appear across local SERPs. Businesses with multiple service areas can rank locally and organically, particularly if they fully maximize the use of downloadable marketing tools and informative blogs for promotion. But as mentioned above, you still need to formulate a complete local SEO strategy that can accommodate general and specific searches.

Optimizing local SEO means more high-quality leads, traffic, and conversions because this strategy primarily focuses on your target local audience. Local SEO enables you to compete with larger brands in your region. However, your business can become more competitive if you work with a reliable SEO agency capable of delivering long-term results for you.

Founder at Be Visible Media
Dale is an SEO Specialist (on-page and Off-page) and a Content Writer. A self-starter and always hungry for knowledge. In his free time, he watches TV series, scuba dive on weekends, and handles is own blog HOWPO.
Dale Basilla
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