Last Updated in February 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny
If you are familiar with the terms, ‘SEO’ or ‘Search Engine Optimization’, you know how SEO helps improve the ranking of your website or business in the search engine results page. While regular SEO attracts clients on a global level, local engagement is very important for most businesses and websites.
Simply speaking, the use of SEO attracts clients from all around the world, irrespective of the geographical bounds with respect to the products and services offered by your website or online business. In such a case, the quality of your site’s traffic may not improve, even if the amount of traffic improves. This can hamper the marketing parameters of your online business. The way to tackle this is with the help of local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
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In a very basic sense, local SEO is SEO for attracting clients from local searches online. It differs from regular SEO in the sense that it is done by taking the geographical limitations of the products and services offered by a website or business into consideration.
How does Local SEO Work?
Everyone who uses the internet and search engines is familiar with the regular search engine results page format, i.e., the format in which the search engine results page displays relevant websites when a user searches for something. For the time being, let’s talk about Google, which is one of the most widely used search engines worldwide. You may have noticed, sometimes, when you search for something in Google, the results displayed are divided into two distinct sections; a few localized results followed by the general results.
This usually happens when someone searches for a particular business, product or service in a search engine. For instance, if you search for ‘restaurants’ in Google, it is very likely you will be provided with a list of restaurants in your area in the results page, before you scroll down to find more general results. It is noteworthy that Google will only show you localized results when it is aware of your location through GPS or if you provide the name of a particular location in your search itself. These localized results are made possible with the help of local SEO.
For filtering search results to provide users with the best possible localized website links and businesses related to their search, search engines keep track of relevant localized content; area bounded social media profiles, backlinks, and citations of the corresponding websites and businesses. With the help of these data, the respective search engines use their ranking algorithm to display relevant results. Understanding this information and the way the search engine algorithm works allows businesses to improve their own ranking in local searches, by helping them implement local SEO.
Who can Benefit from Local SEO and How?
Local SEO can be beneficial to any business that offers any product or service to its customers irrespective of whether or not they have a website. Don’t be confused. Surely, if your business has a website, there is a chance local searches may redirect potential customers to your site. However, even if your business doesn’t have an online site, local searches can still help you gain customers through the Google Maps results they provide.
Taking the aforementioned example, if a user searches for restaurants near them, Google will return a list of all relevant restaurants within the location, irrespective of whether or not they have a website.
Your business probably needs local SEO if you are a small business owner offering products or services within a particular location or across a few locations. But, even if you deliver globally, local SEO can still help you get noticed individually in a number of localities.
Since Google displays the local search results at the very top of its results page, there is a much higher chance of your business getting noticed by potential local customers than in the case of general SEO. Evidently, local SEO can greatly impact your business by helping you promote your business to build a proper localized clientele based on relevant local searches with respect to the products and services your business offers.
What are Local SEO services?
Local SEO services are the means that make Local SEO possible. A local SEO service helps you put your business on the map, both figuratively and literally, by enabling your business to gain the exposure it deserves. A local SEO service may offer many useful resources to assist you in improving your ranking in local searches, including helping you manage your Google My Business, paid advertisements, and even improving your website content if you have one. Among the numerous services out there, which local SEO service you need will depend on your business goals and their respective pricing.
What to Look for in Local SEO Services?
As mentioned before, local SEO services can assist you in many ways. However, while finding the best local SEO service for your business, it is very important to understand your business needs. A good local SEO service must not only help you optimize your content for local searches but also help you manage your Google My Business, your local listings or citations, the ratings and reviews of your business, localize your website, build your business reputation, assist you in finding local SEO keywords and getting relevant backlinks. All of these together help you enhance the local SEO marketing campaign of your business.
How to Find Local SEO keywords?
One of the most basic parts of doing local SEO is keyword research. Local SEO keywords are the popular words users from a particular locality or area type into their search bar while searching for something. There are tons of ways to find these. However, it is not always enough to simply predict the most popular ones. So, what can you do to find them?
Apart from predicting common keywords, some of the best ways to conduct local SEO keyword research include:
- Using Keyword Finders.
- Analyzing Google Autocomplete suggestions.
- Using Competitor Analysis Tools that conduct both positive and negative keyword research.
You can also use keyword modifiers like ‘best’, ‘top’, ‘free’, etc, in your content, to improve your local SEO ranking through keywords. This is because users often use these keyword modifiers in their searches. Mentioning your location with your keywords, without disrupting the flow of your content is another smart way to aid your local SEO marketing strategy for your website or business.
Tips to Use Local SEO to Boost SEO Ranking:
Now that you have an idea on what local SEO is and how it works, with the above mentioned information in mind and without further delay, let’s discuss 5 promising tips to use local SEO to boost the SEO ranking of your business and website:
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile:
Google My Business is a free and user-friendly feature that allows businesses to manage their presence online throughout Google. Having a Google My Business account for your business will not only improve your website’s chances of showing up in local searches but also provide valuable potential customers with the physical location of your business through Google Maps. Thus, in addition to building your online presence, it will also help you potentially increase the range of your local clientele.
If you wish to boost the SEO ranking of your website and business, optimizing your Google My Business listing is one of the most basic steps you can take. In order to ensure visibility on the search engine results page, verification of your Google My Business is also very important. Moreover, customers find it much more comfortable to put their trust in verified businesses rather than the ones that are not verified. To optimize your listing, make sure the data you have provided including the name, address, and contact details of your business is relevant and accurate; mention additional details like payment methods, open hours, and your business logo in your listing, post relevant content and updates regularly, and focus on your customer support enquiries.
Get Reviews From Your Customers:
If you want potential customers to put their faith in your business and give you a chance to prove yourself, positive customer reviews can really raise your chances at that. Quality products, good service and a strong customer support together make good ratings. Good ratings are very important for any business to grow.
If you have loyal customers who have been happy with your products and services in the past, make it a point to ask them to rate your business and put in a good word for your work. The higher the ratings and reviews of your business, the better is your chance at gaining customers. The best thing about this is that good customer reviews bring in more customers and more happy customers bring in better reviews; thereby continuously helping the visibility and performance of your business.
Build Citations for Your Business:
Building citations can be very useful for improving the local SEO ranking of your website and business. Citations refer to any mention of the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business on the internet. The more citations your business has, the easier it is for your business to get noticed. There are a number of ways to build citations for your business, some of which include submitting your business to Government sites, yellow pages, relevant business directories, using Moz Local for analysing citation sources, and organizing press releases.
Get Backlinks for Your Business:
A backlink is created every time a website creates a link to another website. This means, if another website provides a link to your business website, your website gets a backlink. Just like citations, the more backlinks your website has, the higher is the chance of gaining clients for your business. You may be wondering, in such a scenario, if backlinks are dependent on what other sites decide to post, what control do you really have in that matter? Surely, the decision of providing a link back to your website on another website depends on the owner of that particular website. But, what can you do to make them want to provide a link to your business website?
If you think about it, actually there are quite a few things that you can do to help generate backlinks for your website, in order to improve the local SEO ranking of your website. Some of these are mentioned as follows:
- Use your local SEO keyword research for creating high quality content. Other website owners are much more likely to add a backlink to your website if your website has good and relevant content, rather poorly written, out-dated content.
- Collaborate with local influencers and offer samples of your products and services to owners of local review blogs, so they can add a link back to your website.
- Guest post on authority sites to generate backlinks for your business.
Use Yoast Local SEO plugin for Your WordPress Site:
Being one of the most popular hosting platforms out there, most businesses use WordPress to launch their business sites. Among the numerous plugins in WordPress, Yoast SEO is one of the most widely used plugins. Being a freemium plugin, Yoast SEO has a yearly cost. Even so, it offers quite a few useful free features. If you wish to improve your site’s local SEO ranking, Yoast local SEO is one of the best plugins for you. Yoast Local SEO plugin puts all your relevant business details in Schema.org enabling Google to access it on every single page, thus giving your business better exposure, improves your contact page and address details, and optimizes your site’s local SEO for all the locations in which your business operates.
In a world already filled with businesses and multinational companies, it is becoming more and more difficult for new and smaller businesses to make their mark in the marketing industry. In such a scenario, local SEO can prove to be a boon for businesses worldwide, especially small ones, so that they too are able to grow and evolve and get the recognition they deserve.