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If you own or do any type of online marketing for a brick-and-mortar shop or a local business, you know the different issues that come with marketing it compared to marketing a brand that is not specified in a location. Search engine optimization (SEO) is often done by most websites but a business with a physical store in a location needs to have a better approach. Local SEO is very different from a simple SEO campaign. A local SEO must know that the optimization for local search results is rapidly changing compared to other digital marketing strategies.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website or information to attract more leads using relevant local searches. These specific searches are taking place mostly on Google and other alternative search engines. As a business owner or a marketer, you have to keep in mind that local SEO is not just about Google alone. It is a fact that Google is a dominant player among search engines. However, when it comes to local SEO, people research about a local business using other search engines such as Apple Maps, Bing, and Yelp.
Local SEO is a powerful strategy that every small or big business with a location can use to attract more people to their business. This is why your local SEO expert needs to have a proper understanding of how to locally optimize your online presence.
How does Local SEO work?
Local SEO can also be called local search marketing. It is an incredibly effective strategy to target your potential customers and let your business become visible to them online. It helps local businesses to promote their services or products to nearby customers, at the right time when they are looking for it online.
To become visible to potential leads, various methods can be done. Some of the methods greatly vary on what is being done with a general SEO. Some local SEO methods can easily manage it through the usage of local SEO tools.
We need to look at various things that differ from a local search versus a standard informational search. According to Google, around 46 percent of the total searches have local intent. First, you need to look at the differences between a standard informational search and what’s known as a local search. In a standard SEO, websites would like to rank for a search phrase like “how to fix a septic tank”. However, a search phrase with a local intent would become ‘septic tank repair contractor near me’ or ‘septic tank repair service in [location]’.
These kinds of local search queries would usually include the phrase ‘near me or the location where the searcher was. These terms may not be necessary when the user searches using Google Maps or if Google has identified the user’s location while assuming that the search query has local intent.
Search engines often understand what a specific user is searching for. The search engines do it by giving lists or business suggestions that are based on the location of the searcher. This is what the engines offer on their local search engine results pages. The difference in the behavior of the searcher and the result is the reason why local SEO is a worthy marketing strategy to spend time on, alongside other digital marketing strategies.
Definition of Local SERPs
Most local businesses need to improve their traffic to their websites. What they need the most is the visibility which is known as the 3-pack or local pack. A 3-pack is the block of three business listings that show up below the map which the results display. These are the services that are found below a Google map when the user has local intent.
When you use Google with local intent, you will notice that there are many different organic results. Some of the results include the store’s opening times, ratings of reviews, and some photos. Google may pull this information from your website but that is not where it came from.
Whatever is displayed on a local pack came from a company’s Google My Business profile. It is a critical component of a local SEO strategy that has become essential for Google. Google uses the information on Google My Business Profile to identify which businesses will it put on its search engine results pages (SERPs).
Definition of Google My Business
Google My Business was previously known as Google Local and even became Google+ Local. As the name suggests, Google My Business is where your business profile is placed on Google. This specific functionality feeds the information on various websites which includes the Google Maps and local pack. It is mostly visible on the top right side of the SERPs or the top if you are using mobile.
Your GMB profile contains the information about your business which you have submitted. It may include the types of services offered, contact information, category, schedule (opening and closing times), and business description. A local SEO expert or the agency you work with can submit all these things for you. Some of the features on GMB are Google Reviews, GMB Q&As, and GMB attributes which are generated by customers that had previous experience in your business.
A huge part of a local SEO strategy is by updating your profile formation on GMB as much as possible. This will give a higher possibility of making your business show up on the SERPs. It will look trustworthy and appealing that the searcher will click it. Google My Business is a very powerful way to get noticed but it is only one of the examples called a citation.
Definition of Citations
A citation is any place where the NAPW (name, address, phone number, website) of a business appears together in a SERP. It is usually on a business listing or online directory. This is very important to get better chances with appearing on local SEO. If your business does not appear on websites where people are searching for businesses like yours, your competitors will easily get overtaken.
There are two different types of citation which are structured and unstructured. A structured citation would usually show up in business listings which will originate from the form fields that were filled once the listing is claimed. A structured citation can be found on websites like Yelp.
Three Core Components of a Local SEO Ranking
Now that you are aware of some basics about local SEO, you are probably wondering how to be successful in it. To have more success with local SEO, you need to familiarize yourself with the three core components of a local SEO ranking. The first component is proximity. Your business needs to be close to the searcher. The second component is relevance. Your products and services need to be relevant to what the searcher is looking for. The third component is prominence. This is about the reviews and ratings that your other customers say about your services or products.
Factors That Your Local SEO Expert Has To Focus On
Website localization is done by localizing your website with the inclusion of your business location’s city, region, and state throughout your website. Businesses with several locations or stores in other areas must create different pages and content hubs for each location. Another strategy for website localization is by joining local community events and getting featured articles about the event on your website.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
You must claim your listing on Google My Business. It is a crucial step in helping your business get displayed on other important Google services which could be Google Maps or local SERPs. GMB’s equivalent for Microsoft is Bing Places for Business. You also need to claim your listing on Bing Places for Business to ensure that you cover some of the most important listings.
Build Your Citations
You have to ensure that your website and business information is listed on citation sites, as well as online business directories. Not only will this help people to find your business but they will see the complete details of your business.
Get Quality Backlinks
The agency or local SEO expert you hired must be able to obtain backlinks from high-domain authority websites to aid the search engine in recognizing that your website is a trusted source of information. Aim to gain links from local newspapers and business associations in your area.
Manage Your Ratings and Reviews
The reviews that your business receives will help in showcasing the quality of your products or websites. It also sends the appropriate signals to search engines to show that your business is trustworthy.
By using local SEO, you can put your business in a better position in the SERPs. When a user near your storefront looks for a service or product like what you offered, the search engine can show him or her your business. Since the searchers already have the intent and the need for your product or service, there is a higher chance that the user will become your paying customer.
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