Local SEO stands for Local Search Engine Optimization and it is an effective way to make your website visible in the results of a web search engine. In a nutshell, the higher ranking in the search results your website has, the more visited it will be.
What’s more, local SEO optimizes your website to have a better ranking for local customers. And Local SEO can deal with any type of business, from florists or chemists to an electrician or a laundry service.
Is Local SEO a must for your business?
Surprisingly, over 45% of searches on Google are of local character. This means that if you do not use the services of local SEO, your business will be less visible and possibly potential customers will not find your products and/or services.
Even though we live in a global village, just under 90% of people look for a local company on their phone at least once in a week, whereas 58% of Internet users do daily searches.
Where are the most visited websites?
The ultimate goal is to be seen in Google Snack Pack. What is that? Google Snack Pack (also known as the Local 3 Pack or Google 3 Pack) is a box appearing on the first results page when someone makes a local online search.
It contains the number 3 in its name because this box shows the top three local business results. The point is that the websites inside the Google Snack Pack generated heavier online traffic and has more views and visits than the websites outside it.
There are numerous business owners who value this ranking and make a great effort to achieve Top 3 results. Below you may see the results from the search ‘bakery Chicago’.
You can notice that this box is somewhat different from standard results since it contains reviews, opening hours and photos.
Yes, I want more traffic!
If your answer is affirmative to the question of increasing the traffic on your website, then go for a local SEO.
Local SEO is quite similar to organic SEO, but here we have a significant geographical component. Namely, it is pointless to have your London pharmacy ranking high in, let’s say, Manchester local search results. It is important to enhance your local SEO and thus have busier organic local traffic of your business.
How to do Local Search Engine Optimization?
1. Optimize your business website locally
Having a properly optimized website is a precondition to reach the highest position on the SERPs. Consult your local SEO and check how to improve it.
First, you should the following:
Make a proper contact page
Your NAP must be shown clearly. In addition to your Name, Address, Phone, there should be your email address.
Have your phone numbers clickable on mobile phones
Your website should be convenient for mobile devices since a third of mobile searches are local-oriented. Moreover, statistics say that more than 75% of people who have done local search make a phone call.
So if your phone number is not clickable, this will be definitely off-putting for mobile phone users and they might give up calling you.
Add your location and make it visible on the map
Most people, especially tourists, can’t survive without Google Maps – over 85% of people check the location of companies using this application. So don’t forget to add your location there!
People prefer reading the comments of other customers. This also gives a necessary real-life component to your website.
Don’t be lazy and collect and show testimonials from your clients or customers for an extra local SEO boost.
Add Schema Markup
Do search engines communicate with each other? Yes! Schema.org is a language between Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
If you add the proper Schema markup for local businesses to your site, then your business will be recognized by Google as local and not global, multinational brand.
The process is easy and we advise you to consult Hall Analysis to help you create the appropriate Schema markup.
2. Claim your online profiles
Your business website cannot live on its own – it should be listed on the review platforms, such as Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor. Plus numerous local-review sites!
Google My Business
First, open your business profile using Google My Business (GMB) service and complete your profile with the contact info, address, working hours and other relevant info.
Once you categorize your website, Google will have a better insight into your business and connect you will all subsequent local searches.
Google My Business was previously known as Google Local and Google+ Local, and it updates a variety of places with relevant information such as Google Maps search results and the local pack.
Business owners may submit the information on their GMB profile but it can also contain the information submitted by customers. Business owners are usually in charge of posting information about products they sell or services they provide, contact details, category, business objectives and opening hours.
Customers have full access to GMB attributes, Google Reviews, and GMB Q&As, that is to say, the experience that has had with the business. If you are having issues you can always contact Google My Business support.
Other social profiles
It is advisable to start profiles on other relevant social media channels. Make sure you have consistent information on each platform. Once you have all these profiles, your business will be seen by far more customers.
Voice search and local SEO
We’ve got great news! Local SEO optimizes for voice, too. We have over a billion voice searches every month and around 40% of these searches are local.
3. Create local content
Plan to have a blog as part of your website. Also, you can host the blog on your domain so you will get SEO benefits. For example, create “www.abcd.com/blog” instead of “blog.abcd.com” or “abcdblog.com”.
Why are blogs important? Because of links! When you acquire links to your blog, at the same time you will get links to your main site. In other words, if search rankings of your blog go up, this will mean a boost for your website.
When you write a post, you should use your city and neighborhood names. In addition, you can write nicknames or unofficial names for your city and neighborhood.
Local happenings and upcoming events in your community can be useful for your business and it is a good idea to write about them.
Many marketing experts say that business owners should avoid writing about their products or services in their blogs.
Blogs are just a convenient way to establish a bond and a trustworthy relationship with your customers. Try to observe your customer as your reader who will then regard you as a reliable player in your industry.
A necessary part of building your blog readership is collecting inbound links.
Join conversations in other similar blogs in your community. Why don’t you leave an interesting comment or mention and link their posts on your blog? What you can get in return is more links back to you.
Your target group
Who is your typical reader? If you have no idea about who you are writing to, you might be in a difficult situation.
There is an interesting and useful SEO tool, such as – Zip Code Lookup. Just enter your zip code and plenty of data will be available to you, such as average income, population by age, etc.
Do not make these local content errors
Your content is your property!
Do not borrow content from others unless it is a quote in your own content. In that way, you are likely to lose your unique position.
4. Be aware of reviews
Thanks to the Internet, business operations worldwide have become more transparent. Today it is difficult for business owners to hide their customer dissatisfaction or below-average quality of their products or services.
Bear in mind that more and more people will comment on your business.
Some research states that around a third of consumers leave comments on blogs or forums and more than 80% of people consult reviews and ratings.
Last but not least, even 97% admit that their buying decisions were completely influenced by what they have read in the customer review. Almost everyone!
Make sure your product or service is flawless. However, each company sometimes gets negative comments. When this happens, do not be rude and negative. Try to give a professional, and why not, personal response.
The goal for every business is to have four or five stars and plenty of positive reviews.
Once you have achieved your goal, make your reviews shareable. This can be done by using Google review link.
Every platform has its specific rules and terms of service regarding reviews and you must be fully familiar with them. For example, it is forbidden to offer some incentives, gifts or bonuses in exchange for reviews on Google.
Don’t insist on leaving comments or writing reviews. Your customers will feel when and how to do it.
Of course, it is a bad idea if you have too many reviews at the same time. This might seem suspicious!
5. The power of citations
Before we move on to more practical tips, let us explain the concept of citations. Simply speaking, a citation is any place where your business information, or NAPW (Name, Address, Phone number, Website URL), appears on the Internet.
So, the first step is to have these details online but we all know that being the market leader is a constant battle with the competitors. Here local SEO will serve as your SOS because they will make sure your business will be seen and ranked better than your rivals.
Types of citations
We can classify citations into two categories – unstructured and structured.
A structured citation is your business information (NAP – name, address, phone) on a business listing directory. You can submit your business on a citation site and obtain a citation.
Some of the sites for structured citations are as follows:
Here is an example of a barbershop on Yelp:
An unstructured citation is your business information (NAP) on a site other than a business listing directory, such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, wikis, and the like.
Citations on other blogs
We have already pointed out how blogs of other businesses can be useful in your attempts to increase your local SEO.
If you get links from other blogs, search engines will recognize your business as trusted and relevant.
There are different local blogs, but normally you can find blogs of your interest if you search for them using the following logic:
Locally focused directories
Local directories also have to with a particular geographical location and they are usually well indexed by search engines.
You may add your company to Best of the Web’s Regional Directory.
Industry-focused blogs or directories
You have also available industry-focused blogs and directories for your citations.
This type of sites does not have a local focus because they relate to products and services but local search engines recognize them as citation sources.
Why Should You Optimize for Local SEO?
Now let us show you some of the most important reasons to opt for local SEO services in order to attract more customers.
1. People search for local businesses on the Internet
We have already talked about the statistics and the figures are stunning! In brief, there are over 45% local searches on Google and two-thirds of local searches prefer search engines and directories when looking for local businesses. And once they do local searches even 78% of them decide to make an offline purchase.
2. Local search marketing is brilliant
The main reason why people search is to find a local business. The next reason is to find the desired product or service. Even though there are a lot of people who look for a specific business, numerous local searchers simply search for products and services. That is why you should be well-positioned in your type of business so you will be listed among top businesses for your products and services.
3. Mobile Internet is increasing dramatically
Recently the purchase of mobile devices and therefore the mobile Internet has gone up significantly. In the past people rushed back home to surf the net – today people use the Internet while they are on the go. And they often need some local services or products.
4. Printed editions are decreasing considerably
Today much fewer people buy and read local printed newspapers and magazines. Actually, two out of ten adults read newspapers nowadays. This does not mean that people are not interested in local news, events, and businesses – they simply try to find the needed info on the Internet.
5. No need to print your brochures any more
We can witness a decline in the interest to the printed press. Similarly, traditional advertising is less popular. When you advertise using traditional brochures and leaflets or relying on direct mail, you may have your advertising material thrown into the junk box. With local SEO you do not have much-wasted exposure. You won’t be bothering your potential customers. They will find you when they need you.
6. Online reviews a new word of mouth
In traditional marketing practice, word of mouth has been seen as an invaluable resource. Today, even 91% of adults aged between 18 and 34 say they believe online reviews in the same way they trust comments given by people they personally know.
Having read all these facts, try not to underestimate the power of local search and use this as your guide to local SEO improvement. People depend on using the Internet for various purposes on a daily basis and local search trends will certainly become more important in the future. So, jump on the bandwagon and make your business successful and profitable!