Local SEO is one of the most important parts of any online marketing strategy. It’s a great way to get your business noticed and increase your conversion rates, but it can be difficult to know where to start when you first begin.
In this guide, I will help you understand what local SEO really means, how to find out if you need it, and how to use it effectively.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a type of search engine optimization (SEO) that focuses on getting your website found by people who are searching for products or services near them. This includes businesses like yours, as well as individuals looking for specific things like restaurants, hotels, and other types of businesses.
Local SEO is often confused with Google My Business (GMB), which is another method of optimizing your site for search engines. GMB is more about having a presence on Google Maps, while local SEO is more about making sure your business shows up in the results for searches related to your location.
Who is Local SEO For?
Anyone Can Do Local SEO!
Local SEO is important for every type of company — whether they’re physical stores, websites, or services desks.
While some companies may have an advantage over others because they already have a strong online presence, anyone can do local SEO. If you don’t have a strong online presence yet, then you definitely should consider doing local SEO.
If you want to rank higher in Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other popular review sites, then you absolutely must optimize your website for local SEO.
How Much Does Local SEO Cost?
It depends on how much work you put into it. While there are many free resources available, such as Google My Business, you still need to invest time and money to make it happen.
Some companies spend hundreds of dollars per month on their local SEO efforts, while others only spend $20-$50 each month. The amount you spend depends on how much effort you want to put into it, and whether you plan to continue investing in it once you see positive results.
The Benefits of Local SEO for Business
There are several benefits to local SEO:
1. Increased Customer Retention
When someone is looking for a product or service nearby, they typically go to a few different places before deciding which place to visit. They might check reviews from friends and family, read online comments, and look at ratings on social media.
When someone finds your business through these methods, they are likely to come back again and again.
2. Higher Conversion Rates
Having a stronger local presence increases the likelihood that someone will choose to purchase something from you instead of going somewhere else.
3. Better Reviews
People love reading reviews. When someone has a good experience with your business, they’ll leave a glowing review on sites like TripAdvisor, Google, and Yelp. These reviews increase your chances of being ranked highly when people search for similar businesses.
4. More Exposure
People tend to trust recommendations from friends and family more than anything else. Having a strong local presence makes it easier for customers to find you.
5. Improved Search Rankings
Google uses local rankings to determine where your business appears in search results. Your local ranking is based on what people are actually searching for.
6. Lower Costs
You won’t pay any fees if you use Google’s paid ads. This means you can focus all your energy on improving your organic search traffic.
7. Increased Brand Awareness
Your brand name isn’t just for consumers. It also applies to potential clients, partners, and vendors. A strong local presence helps promote your brand among these groups.
8. Better Online Reputation
Your reputation matters. People who know you personally are less likely to be disappointed by your business.
9. Reduced Risk of Negative Impacts
A bad review can ruin your day. But a bad review doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone hates your business. In fact, most people are willing to overlook minor issues.
10. Better Visibility
A strong local presence gives you better visibility on maps and other platforms. You have more options for advertising, including display ads, mobile apps, video ads, and even billboards!
What’s the Difference Between Local SEO and SEO?
Local SEO is about getting found locally. If you’re trying to rank higher in Google Maps, then you need to optimize your listing for local searches.
SEO is about optimizing your website so that it ranks high in Google and Bing. While local SEO focuses on local results, SEO covers both local and non-local results.
Who Does Local SEO Attract?
Local search is a great way to attract new customers. But it’s not the only way, and you should be careful about how much time and money you spend on local SEO. If you’re already doing well in your industry, there may be little reason to invest in local SEO.
But if you’re struggling to get noticed, local SEO is one of the best ways to improve your rankings. And if you want to expand into new markets, local SEO is an excellent option because it allows you to target specific locations.
How Does Local SEO Work?
There are two main ways that local SEO works:
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search engines like Google and Bing look at websites based on certain criteria, including how many pages they have, their content, and whether they are optimized for mobile devices.
When someone enters a query into Google or Bing, these engines try to match the words to the information they already have stored about your website. If there is no match, then they show an error message.
If your website has been optimized correctly, then it should appear in the results because it matches the keywords that were searched. The higher your ranking, the closer your website appears to the top of the list.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all work similarly to search engines. They crawl through the web and index the sites that are relevant to your business. Then they rank those sites according to how popular they are, how much engagement they receive, and other factors.
Social media allows you to connect directly with customers, so it’s a great place to promote your business. You can also create campaigns that target people in specific locations, so you can reach potential clients who might not otherwise see your ads.
Why Should You Use Local SEO?
You may be wondering why you would want to use local SEO. After all, isn’t it just a waste of time and money?
Well, let me tell you a little bit about my own experience using local SEO. When I was starting my e-commerce store, I didn’t think I needed to do anything special to make it visible to people around me. But after doing some research, I realized that I could actually improve my rankings significantly.
I started by creating a profile on Yelp and Foursquare, which helped me build credibility and trust among my neighbors. I also created reviews and photos of my products on Google+, and made sure to include links back to my site.
I used social media to get feedback from my friends and family, and even got a few new leads. It took a lot of effort, but the payoff was worth it.
So if you’re thinking about adding local SEO to your marketing plan, here are some tips to help you succeed:
1. Create a Profile on Local Sites
Start by signing up for profiles on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and Google+. These will allow you to add reviews, photos, and other details about your business. Make sure that you fill out as much information as possible, since this is what helps search engines find you.
2. Add Photos and Videos
Photos and videos go hand in hand when it comes to local SEO. So take advantage of any opportunities you have to post them online. For example, you could share pictures of your products on Pinterest, and upload video tutorials to YouTube.
3. Link Your Site to Local Pages
It’s important to link your website to local pages whenever possible. This lets search engines know that your website is located nearby, and gives visitors more options when they type in a location.
4. Get Reviews
If you already have a good number of reviews on your site, you can encourage others to leave reviews on other websites. To do this, ask your customers to submit their contact information, and then send an email asking them to review your product or service.
5. Start Building Trust
Once you start getting reviews, you should try to respond to each one individually. People appreciate hearing back from businesses, and it shows that you care about their opinions.
6. Do Some Research
Once you’ve built up your reputation, it’s time to do some research. Find out where your competitors are ranking, and figure out what keywords they’re targeting. If you don’t know how to do this, there are plenty of tools available to help you.
7. Optimize Your Website
Finally, once you’ve done everything else, it’s finally time to optimize your website. There are many different ways to do this, so it’s best to hire someone who knows what he’s doing.
8. Promote Yourself Online
Now that you’ve optimized your website, it’s important to promote yourself online. You can use social media, blogs, forums, and other platforms to spread the word about your business.
9. Use Social Media
Social media has become a huge part of our lives, and it’s no surprise that people are using it to connect with their community. By posting content related to your area, you can reach thousands of potential customers.
10. Build Relationships
Social media isn’t just about making sales – it’s also about building relationships. When you interact with your followers, you create a bond between you and your audience. And it doesn’t matter if you’re selling shoes or pizza – everyone wants to be heard!
11. Don’t Forget About Offline Marketing
When it comes to local SEO, offline marketing is still very important. It’s not enough to simply put up signs around town; you need to make sure that your business is visible everywhere.
What Are Local SERPs?
Local SERPs are special versions of regular search results that only show relevant listings based on your current location. They’re often found at the top of mobile searches, but they can appear anywhere depending on your settings.
How Can I Rank for Local Keywords?
There are two main ways to rank for local keywords:
1. Create Content That Focuses On Local Searches
You want to write articles that focus on local topics, and include keywords like “restaurant near me,” “local coffee shop,” etc. The goal here is to attract people searching for those terms, and get them to visit your website.
2. Include Location Information In All Of Your Posts
If you’re writing blog posts, add a map to the bottom of the post. For example, if you’re talking about a new restaurant opening nearby, add the address to the end of your article. This will make it easier for readers to find your business when they click through.
Can Google See My Reviews?
Google can see all of the reviews you have written on your own website. However, it won’t be able to access any reviews you leave on third-party sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
What Is A Good Number Of Reviews To Have?
It depends on your industry. If you’re a dentist, having 10+ reviews might mean something. But if you’re an accountant, having 5 reviews could actually hurt your credibility.
How Do I Get More Reviews?
It’s simple: Ask your clients for feedback. Tell them that you value their input, and ask them to give you honest reviews.
How Long Should My Review Be?
Reviews should be long. Ideally, each review should be at least 200 words. Anything less than that may seem too short, which could lower your reputation as an expert.
Should I Leave Negative Reviews?
No. If you didn’t receive good service, then there’s nothing wrong with leaving a negative review. Just try to keep it professional.
Do I Need To Respond To Negative Reviews?
No. If someone leaves a bad review, you shouldn’t respond. Instead, let it go.
Local Map Pack vs Organic Results
How Does the Google Local Algorithm Work?
The algorithm behind Google Maps has been changing over time, so we don’t know exactly how it works today. But we do have some clues about the past.
In a paper published in 2014, researchers from Stanford University and Microsoft Research looked at how Google Maps changed between 2007 and 2012. They found that while the overall shape of the map didn’t change much, the way it was organized did.
For example, Google started displaying more information on the left side of the page. And they added a tabbed interface that allowed users to quickly navigate to different parts of the map.
This meant that the most important content would naturally rise to the top of the list.
Three main factors determine whether a business appears in local searches for nearby locations:
• Quality Score (QS) – How well does this business perform in search results?
• Page Rank (PR) – How many other websites link to this site?
• TrustRank (TR) – How trustworthy is this business?
We’ll discuss these three factors in detail below.
Quality Score (QS)
A quality score measures how relevant a business is to a specific location. It’s based on several factors, including:
• Traffic volume – The amount of traffic coming into the business
• Customer satisfaction – How satisfied are customers with the services offered by the business?
• Competitiveness – What other businesses are similar to yours in terms of offerings?
If a business has a high QS, it means that it’s likely to provide better customer service. This will help attract new customers and retain existing ones.
Google also takes into account the number of reviews a business receives. So if a business gets lots of positive reviews but few negative ones, its QS will be higher.
Page Rank (PR)
Page rank measures how popular a website is among other websites online. We use PR to measure the authority of a website when ranking pages in our own sites.
But Google doesn’t just look at how many links point to a given website. It looks at the trustworthiness of those links.
So if a website has a lot of links pointing to it, but most of those links come from low-quality sources like social media or spammy blogs, its PR will be lower.
Trust Rank (TR)
Trust rank measures how trustworthy a business is. It’s calculated using data from third parties, such as consumer complaints and government agencies.
So if a business has a high TR, it means that people are less likely to file complaints against them.
Local Search Ranking Factors
Now that we understand what makes up a good local listing. Google uses a combination of PR and TR to rank pages in its search engine.
Here’s what happens when a user performs a search:
A spider crawls through the web looking for links to pages.
When it finds a page, it checks to see if it already exists in the index. If not, it adds the page to the index.
Then it assigns a number called a “page rank” to the page.
Finally, it displays the first 10 pages in order of their page ranks. As a result, the higher-ranked pages appear closer to the top of the page.
The same process repeats for every subsequent page.
So, if a page gets a low page rank, it won’t show up until later in the search results. In addition, the lower-ranking pages tend to be less popular than those ranked higher.
That’s why you might find a few pages that look like they belong together. For example, if you search for “restaurants near me”, you may also get restaurant reviews or recommendations.
Each page can earn a different page rank because each one has unique characteristics. Some pages are linked to directly from another website. Others are linked indirectly via other sites.
To calculate a page rank, Google looks at all the links pointing to a particular page. The page rank is then determined by the total weight of all those links.
The higher the number, the more authoritative the page is considered to be. However, there are some exceptions.
For example, a page that contains only links to itself isn’t as valuable as a page that includes external links. Also, a page that’s highly relevant to a certain topic but doesn’t have any links is unlikely to receive much attention.
On the other hand, a page that has lots of links but no relevance is likely to lose value over time. Therefore, a page with a lot of links that aren’t very useful could end up ranking poorly simply because it lacks content.
Links are important — but so are citations. A citation is a reference to an existing webpage on the Internet. They help Google determine whether a page is accurate or not.
When someone writes about your company or product on his blog, he should include a link back to your site. This helps Google know that the information on his page is reliable.
If you want to make sure that your website appears in the search results, you need to ensure that it has plenty of quality citations.
This will boost your page rank, which will help you increase your visibility in the SERPs.
In fact, having a large number of citations can even improve your rankings!
But how do you go about getting these?
There are two ways to build citations:
1) You can submit your URL to directories such as Dmoz, Yahoo and Bing Directories. These directories contain thousands of websites that are manually reviewed before being added.
2) You can create your own directory using tools like Yoast or XRumer. Both of these allow you to add links to your site automatically.
You can use both methods to build citations.
However, submitting your URL to a directory is usually better. It allows you to target specific keywords and makes it easier to manage.
Also, you don’t have to worry about building your own directory. All you need to do is enter your URL into a tool and let it handle everything else.
Once you’ve submitted your URL to a directory, wait a while (usually around 3 months). Then check your analytics to see what happened. Did people start linking to your site? If yes, great!
If not, try again later.
It takes time for people to realize that your site exists. So, give it a chance to grow organically first.
Then, once you’re satisfied with the results, you can focus on creating additional citations yourself.
The Benefits of Citation Building
Having high-quality citations means that you’ll appear in the search results when users type in certain terms.
And this is especially true if you’re targeting long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are often less competitive than broad match keywords. And they tend to be more focused.
So, if you’re looking to rank for “best WordPress theme for small businesses”, then you might find that there are fewer competitors than if you were searching for “WordPress themes”.
That’s why it’s important to get your name out there.
If you’re able to generate some quality citations, then you’ll be able to rank higher in the search results.
Ongoing Citation Building and Management
As mentioned earlier, you can use either manual or automated tools to build citations.
Manual methods involve adding links one by one. However, this method is tedious and time consuming.
On the other hand, automated tools save you tons of time. They also offer many features that will help you build your business.
For example, you can set up alerts so that you receive an email whenever new content is published on your site.
Local SEO Reporting
To monitor the progress of your local SEO campaign, you should use Google Analytics.
Analytics provides detailed information about your traffic sources and their behavior. This includes things like where visitors come from, how much time they spend on your site and whether they buy something.
Analytics also gives you insight into the performance of your website. For example, you can compare the number of visits per day over the past month. Or you can look at which pages on your site received the most clicks.
These insights will help you make decisions regarding your strategy.
You can also use analytics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
This way, you’ll know whether your efforts are paying off.
Local SEO Tips
Before you even begin your local SEO campaign, make sure that your site is ready.
Make sure that it has all the necessary components. These include:
A good domain name
An address that matches your location
A page title that reflects your brand
An optimized web design
Include relevant keywords in the meta description and alt tags.
Use Schema markup to add structured data to your site.
Add social media sharing buttons.
Create a sitemap.
Get a free citation building tool.
Start building your local presence today!
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a website in order to increase traffic, leads and brand awareness from local search. It’s not just about ranking for keywords that are relevant to your business but also about getting found when people do a local search on their smartphones.
How does it work?
When someone searches for a product or service using a mobile device like an iPhone or Android phone, they will be presented with a list of results. The first result may be a listing for a company, store or restaurant. This is called a “local listing” because it shows up as a result when you type something into the Google Maps app (or other similar apps).
A local listing can appear at the top of the list if it has been optimized properly. If it doesn’t rank well, it won’t show up at all. In addition to having a good address, phone number, hours of operation, etc., a local listing needs to have content that answers questions like: What services/products does this business offer? How long has it been open? Who owns it? Where is it located? Is it a franchise?
How important is Local SEO?
If you want to get found by customers who are searching for products or services near them, then Local SEO is essential. According to a study done by Moz, 93% of consumers use maps to find businesses. And according to Google, more than 50% of smartphone users conduct local searches every month. So even though there are still plenty of websites out there without any sort of local presence, it’s becoming increasingly important to optimize your site so that it appears high in local search results.
Why should I care about Local SEO?
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you already know how hard it is to compete against larger companies with deep pockets and big marketing budgets. But what many don’t realize is that if you aren’t ranked highly in local search results, you could be missing out on potential new clients.
For example, let’s say that you own a plumbing repair shop. You live in a city where there are several competing plumbers, but one of them happens to be ranked 1 in local search results. That means that whenever someone types “plumbing repair” into the Google Maps app, they see his name come up first. They click on him and call him right away. He gets the job.
But what if you weren’t listed anywhere? Even if you had a great website, a strong social media following and lots of positive reviews online, you wouldn’t be showing up in local search results. People would simply assume that the best plumber was the only one available.
What can you do to improve your local rankings?
1. Get Your Address Correctly Entered Into Google Places
Google Places is a free tool that allows you to enter information about your business into a database. Once you add this data, Google will crawl your page and index it properly. Then, when someone searches for your location, your business will show up in the local search results.
2. Add Photos and Videos To Your Website
Photos and videos are some of the most powerful tools that you can use to help people learn more about your business. Not only will these elements make your website look better, but they also increase engagement with visitors.
Video ads and promotional offers are two of the most effective ways to get your brand in front of potential customers. If you’re looking to boost sales or attract new clients, you should definitely consider investing in video advertising.
Images are one of the best ways to grab attention when someone visits your website. Adding images to your pages will also help search engines understand what your content is about.
3. Create Great Content For Your Business Page On Facebook & Twitter
Your business page on Facebook and Twitter can be used as an extension of your website. It can provide additional information about your company, such as contact details, photos, videos, and other helpful resources.
4. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
You may not think much about your social media profiles until you start getting calls from prospective customers. When people type your name into their phones, they need to be able to find you easily. This means that you need to have a profile set up on all the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
5. Use Reviews As A Marketing Tool
When people leave reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business, they’re giving you valuable insight into how well your business is doing. These ratings and reviews can help you identify areas of improvement, and they can also give you ideas for future promotions.
6. Make Sure Your Phone Number Is Up-To-Date
If you haven’t updated your phone number in a while, you might want to consider doing so. Many businesses choose to keep their old numbers around because they’ve been using them for years. However, if you change your number, you’ll ensure that everyone knows who you are.
7. Set Up An Email List
Email marketing has become increasingly popular over the past few years. In fact, according to HubSpot, email marketing is now responsible for nearly 40% of all digital ad revenue! That’s why it’s important to create an email list. You can then send out personalized messages to your subscribers, encouraging them to visit your site and buy products.
8. Offer Free Shipping
People love receiving things for free. According to a study by The NPD Group, consumers spend $1 billion every year just to receive free gifts. So, if you want to improve customer satisfaction, offer free shipping on certain items.
9. Get Involved With Community Groups
Community groups are becoming increasingly popular among small business owners. They allow you to connect with others in your area, share tips and tricks, and even ask questions.
10. Include Call-to-Action Buttons On Every Page
Call-to-action buttons are extremely useful tools that can help increase conversions. For example, if you sell clothing, you could include a button that says “Buy Now” on each product page.
11. Publish Blog Posts Regularly
Blogging is another great way to build trust with your audience. Not only does blogging encourage interaction between your readers and your brand, but it also helps you gain more followers.
12. Optimize Your Site For Mobile Users
Mobile users have become increasingly popular as smartphone usage continues to grow. It’s therefore essential that you optimize your site for mobile devices.
13. Encourage Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are very helpful for businesses. When someone writes a review, it gives other customers an idea of what to expect from your company.
What is The Map Pack?
The Map Pack is an extension for Google Maps that allows you to add your business details into the map itself. This means that when someone searches for your business on Google Maps they will see your business information at the top of their results.
What is Google’s mobile-first indexing?
This means that as far as Google is concerned your mobile site is your only site. If someone wants to find you online they will search for you via Google Maps or Google Search.
How do I get my website listed on Google Maps?
You need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile first. Once this is done, you can submit a sitemap to Google which contains a link to your website.
Do I have to pay to be listed on Google Maps?
No, there is no charge to be included in Google Maps. All you need to do is follow the instructions above.
Can I use Google My Business to promote my business?
Yes, you can use Google My Business to manage your listing, upload photos, videos, and provide additional information about your business.
How do I know if my business is being indexed?
Here, you’ll see a box where you can enter your address and zip code. If your business appears within these results, you’re good to go.
Is there any benefit to having a local business profile on Google Maps?
Absolutely. Having a local business profile on maps shows potential clients that you are a legitimate business and not some spammy website trying to trick them into buying something.
Why should I create a Google+ account?
Google+ is a social network that many people use daily. As such, creating an account is a great way to engage with potential customers. You can also share content across all of your different accounts.
Should I use Google Places for my business?
Google places is similar to Google Maps. However, it has fewer features than Google Maps, so you may want to stick with Google Maps if you don’t have much time to dedicate to managing your listings.
What’s the difference between Google Plus and Google Places?
Google plus is a social media platform that allows users to connect with friends and family. It was launched by Google as a competitor to Facebook. Google places is a free service that helps businesses find new customers.