Want to learn what is local SEO and how to rank on local search? You have landed right. Local SEO is the search engine optimization of businesses or websites to rank on local search results. Let’s dive deeper into the local Search optimization process.
Earlier, achieving ranks on search engines was easier; however, with advancements, Google has become even smarter and looks for various factors to rank a search result.
In this digital era, people are more into online search than ever. They are searching for each and everything online, even for locating offline services or pursuing anything offline. If you haven’t optimized your business for local search, you are definitely missing out on a golden opportunity.
We have created this local SEO guide to help you learn what local SEO is, Why it is important for local businesses, and how to rank and optimize a business for local search.
Let’s get started.
What is local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is the approach of optimizing a business for search engines to enhance local search visibility, achieve higher rankings on local search results, and increase brand awareness. Local SEO is particularly used to optimize a business for a specific geographical area.
If you have a business situated geographically, whether a restaurant, shop, clinic, agency, or anything, or you want to rank a web page for a local search query, local SEO can be beneficial for you. It will increase your search visibility in local searches and ensure that people can easily find you online as well as offline, expand your business and get more and more customers.
Local SEO is similar to organic SEO but more focused on a particular geographical area. In organic SEO, you optimize a web page to gain visibility on SERP globally; however, in local SEO, you want to be more visible in local searches for a specific geographical area.
Why is local SEO important for businesses?
Local SEO is a proficient and effective way to improve business visibility for local searches on Google. It includes valuable information regarding your business, such as business name, contact details, address, images, and ratings. The following are the benefits of optimizing the business for local SEO:
- Enhance local search visibility: Local SEO helps Google understand your business more closely and boosts your search visibility for relevant local searches.
- Reach More People: More visibility and higher rankings on local SERP will expose your business to more and more people in your area.
- Increased Brand Awareness: Once your business is exposed to more local users, they will get to know about your brand even more, your business details, opening and closing times, contact details, and much more.
- More traffic and sales: More visibility will boost traffic, and more traffic brings more conversions and more sales.
- Enhance reputation and trust: Once people become more familiar with your company and find your products and services to be of excellent quality, they will trust you more, and your business’s reputation will improve.
Thus, Local SEO is valuable for the above aspects that support a business to expand and flourish.
How a local SERP appears?
Local SERP is divided into two halves that basically include two types of search results for local searches, “map pack” and “regular organic results.” With local SEO, you can rank on both.
- Map pack- The map pack or local pack results includes the top local business listings along with a map. For local search results, a map pack usually appears at the top of the local SERP.
- Localized Organic results- These are the regular organic search results that usually appear just below the map pack results.
- Local finder- It is the extended list of the map pack that includes business listings when you click on “more places” just below the map packs.
How does Google decide the local search results?
To decide the local search results, google mainly evaluate three factors, namely distance, relevance, and prominence. All three factors help Google decide the most suitable match for the local search query.
- Distance- It determines how far the relevant search results are according to the location used in the query. If a location is not specified in the query, Google determines the distance as per the searcher’s location.
- Relevance- This determines how relevant a business profile is and how closely it matches the searcher’s query.
- Prominence-It suggests the popularity of a business or how well-known it is in the offline world. Google tries to reflect this in the local search results. For instance, some businesses and places are well-known locally, such as museums, restaurants, landmarks, etc. Prominence is also based on various factors and information that google gathers about the business from the web, such as links, articles, reviews, and review scores.
Thus, you can achieve higher rankings on local searches by adding true and detailed information about your business to help Google understand your business in a better way. Also, try to gather more reviews and positive ratings to improve your ranking on local searches.
If you want to rank on local search results, remember that these three factors are most important and valuable because you can’t pay or request higher rankings on local searches. This is the only way to achieve higher rankings.
How to optimize your business for local search results?
Following are the ways to optimize your business for local search results:
1. Register your business on Google My Business
The first step toward local SEO success is your business profile on Google My Business.
It’s a free feature that helps business owners to manage their online presence. Create your business profile by entering the correct details of your business, such as your business name, location, contact details, address, etc., and verify your profile.
Verifying your business might take a few days, and after that, you can manage and modify your profile. You can add images, working hours, keywords, manage and respond to reviews, etc.
2. Add Schema Markup to your site.
Schema Markup, also called structured data, is valuable in helping search engines to understand the page’s content more clearly. Schema markup is helpful in converting unstructured data into structured data, which helps search engines to crawl a website more efficiently and understand the page context more precisely. Adding Schema markup on your business site will help search engines understand your business more precisely, improve the way it displays it on SERPs, and rank it in relevant local searches. Schema markup might seem daunting to implement, but you can use Yoast Local SEO plugin. It helps you create schema markup easily.
3. The NAP Citations.
The NAP citations must be accurate and up-to-date everywhere to support your local business. NAP refers to the name, address, and phone number, which must be the same on the website as well as on the web, as these represent your brands and usually appears on business directories as well social media. Incorrect and dissimilar information might hurt business.
4. Adding a business to local directories
Adding a business to local directories can be another beneficial step in supporting local SEO. Business Directories are online directories that include a list of businesses for nearly every industry. You can add your business to the relevant directory so that visitors can see you in that list whenever they search for the local business relevant to your niche.
Also, you’ll get a backlink to your site that will support your local SEO.
Make sure you use the same details as used on your website, Google my business account, and anywhere on the web.
5. Utilize Customer Reviews
Customer reviews play a vital role in local SEO as well as in marketing a business. The more positive reviews a business gains, the easier it can achieve higher rankings on the local search result page. Quality reviews are a ranking for local SEO. In addition to this, reviews help you build trust within your business and set you as authoritative in Google’s eye.
Most users look for customer reviews before making a purchase. Positive reviews can help you establish yourself as trustworthy and boost sales. Don’t buy reviews or ask visitors to give positive reviews; these are against Google guidelines. Instead, Google suggests responding to your reviews to create a customer connection and signal that you value your customers.
Once you have quality reviews, add them to your site using AggregateRating Schema.
6. Research local keywords and create local content
Creating local content can attract local traffic and exposes your local business to them effectively. Content that people are searching for in your niche can be effective for local SEO. Also, your content might attract backlinks that will boost your site’s authority. Make sure to use all on-page optimization tips to optimize your content for search engines.
Also, try getting backlinks from relevant high-authority sites to enhance your local SEO.
Some Local SEO Tools
The following are some valuable local SEO tools that can help you optimize your website for local search, assess your website analytics, and help enhance your site’s performance.
1. Google my business or Google Business Manager
GMB is valuable in establishing your Google business account and managing your business profile. It’s completely free and is a must solution for every business need. A GMB profile helps searchers to know details of the business, such as name, phone number, and location, easily.
2. Google search console
GSC is a useful tool for evaluating a website’s search performance. You may analyze your website traffic and see how your customers interact with it. In addition to this, you may also track the number of clicks and impressions your website receives. GSC is also useful for evaluating website indexing and identifying website issues.
3. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a valuable keyword research tool that can help you research potential keywords on a local basis to target local SEO.
4. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another helpful tool that can help you monitor your website performance and traffic analysis. Track your website’s local traffic, session duration, bounce rate, and other valuable data.
Yext is another tool for optimizing your local SEO. It helps you manage your business listings. You can manage your business information for multiple listings and can keep your citations consistent.
6. Grid My Business
You can use the Grid My Business tool to see the map pack ranking position for each keyword you optimize for your business. The tool is valuable in assessing whether or not local users can see your business or not.
Local SEO is a must practice that every physically located business must perform. Local SEO is vital to achieving search visibility and higher rankings for local SEO. We hope this local SEO guide has helped you understand all about local SEO. After reading it, you might be able to answer what local SEO is, why it is important & how to optimize a site for local search results. Create your Google My Business account, keep your NAP citations consistent, add your business to local listings, utilize reviews, and create local content- all these will help you optimize your business for local SEO.
All of the strategies listed above have been proven to be effective in optimizing your business for local search. SEO is a long-term game, whether you’re optimizing a business for local or worldwide search. Be patient and consistent in your local SEO efforts to reach your local audience.