The cornerstone of local SEO is improved search visibility for businesses that serve their communities face-to-face. It’s similar to traditional SEO, but with an added geo element. If you don’t have a local SEO strategy in place and you’re a local business, you’re missing out on sales opportunities for customers searching online for your products and services.
If you are a small business owner or a franchise model, organic ranking and local SEO is proving more difficult every day due to businesses targeting specific areas. There are several local SEO ranking factors that you must consider when competing for top rankings for localized keywords, apart from traditional SEO.
What Is Local Seo?
According to Search Engine Journal, Local search engine optimization is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing a website to be found in local search results
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is vital especially for brick and mortar businesses that are confined to a specific location. If done and optimised in the right way it helps your business be found by the right audience which takes you one step further to convert them.
Why Should You Use Local Seo As A Small Business?
- Intent Specific
When it comes to Local SEO, it is evident that customers are looking for a service or solution that is location-specific. For eg: A person looking for “disinfection services in Dubai” doesn’t want a disinfection service in any other region. He or she would be looking for a service in Dubai that can provide service in a fast and efficient manner. Optimising your business for Local SEO would help your business connect with these intent-based target audiences.
- More Visits
Customer visits can increase as a result of local search. Customers who are looking for a local business are often prepared to pay a visit. According to Google’s research, 76% of people who perform a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hours.
- Has a Higher Conversion Rate
Local search has a higher conversion rate. People who are searching with intent often fall at the bottom of the buyer’s journey and are ready to convert. Search Engine Land report that 78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase either in-store or online.
Optimize Your Website for Local SEO in 8 Steps
- Google My Business
What is Google My Business?
Google my Business is a business listing platform that you can use to list your business based on each location. It will show your business-related information such as an address, working hours, contact information) and also you can add the CTA buttons.
How can GMB benefit your business?
Creating a Google My Business profile is just the first step. Once you have created a GMB page for your business, you must make sure to update the page with photos, encourage your customers to write reviews, and update your FAQs, making sure that you have the maximum visibility for your business.
- Add Business Address to the Website
To make it easier for the search engines to understand your location, it is highly recommended to add your business address to your website. Include your location and address in the footer of your website, and if you are a franchise model and have multiple locations, creating each location page separately is advised.
Importance of Structured Data
When it comes to Local SEO, you can’t ignore the importance of structured data. Structured data, also known as schema markup, is a form of microdata that you can add to your website to help search engines understand it. Structured data based on location makes it easier for search engines to identify the business’s location.
- Add Business Citations
One of the most important business citations is Google My Business. However, it’s important not to limit it to just one citation.
What is a business citation?
A citation is any place where the name, address, telephone number, website URL, details of your company appears together online, usually in an online directory or database for company listings. These are especially important to have in a position for local SEO because if you don’t appear in the places people are searching for businesses like yours, the competitors that do will certainly overtake you.
There are two types of citations – unstructured and structured.
Structured citations always contain the company’s name, phone number and address (also referred to as NAP). These listings are referred to as structured citations because they are references to the company that are supported, approved of, and built into the structure of an already existing digital platform or database. Structured citations typically appear in business listings and come from fields of the form that are filled in when claiming the listing.
Unstructured citations are more informal. They are online references to the company found in posts, blogs, descriptions, captions, reviews, and so on.
- Mobile Site Speed
Be it Local SEO or traditional SEO, mobile-friendliness is important for any website to perform better than its competitors. A site that is optimized for mobile responsiveness performs better in ranking and above all, it provides a better user experience. A recent study by Bright local says that 70% of mobile users have a higher chance of converting while searching for the local business. To test for mobile-friendliness of the website, you can use third-party tools like SEMrush or google’s mobile-friendly test. This gives insights into the scope of improvements.
- On-Page Optimization
Header 1 or H1
Header tags are like secondary titles that help organize the content of a web page and allow the search engines and users to communicate the key topics of the website. H1 tags should be as near as possible to the top of the page and should include geo-modifiers and targeted keyword phrases. For example, if you want to target a location the Location should be included in Header 1 or H1 of the page.
Optimize The Titles
For your website, title tags serve as just that – a title. Using these tags to offer a succinct overview of your location pages to visitors and search engines including the company name, the store’s geolocation and the key service and/or product.
Meta descriptions have for some time not had a significant effect on search rankings. Search engines, however, display explanations for organic search results in the preview snippets, so it’s crucial that this copy entices users to click through to your site.
Optimize the URL
This is one of the most important factors that need to be considered in local SEO optimization. The structure of the website’s URL can have a significant impact on the local search engine rankings. For example, consider you are using location pages. The best practice is to use the exact location along with the parent domain.
- Optimize Your Website for Local Keywords
In line with the primary on-page optimization, you need to optimize your website content for the locally focused keywords. Locally focused keywords are the long-tail keywords and phrases that include geographical mentions. You can use popular keywords research tools like Google keyword planner, SEMrush to find the popular keywords that are prominent and relevant to your business locally.
After you have completed the keyword research to increase the organic visibility;
- You need to create and optimize the content based on the keyword research
- Optimizing one particular keyword to each page is the best way to do this. By doing this you avoid keyword cannibalization.
- Make sure the targeted keyword is included in the main on-page elements, the titles, URLs and descriptions.
- Build Quality Backlinks
It is important to build quality backlinks that will elevate your possibilities of organic traffic. Focus on quality links rather than quantity. Guest posting, Digital PR and mentions regionally would contribute to your organic visibility locally.
- Get Reviews Online
Customer reviews are another important factor that Google considers when determining how trustworthy the business is. When assessing search rankings and organic visibility Google considers the number and kind of reviews that your company has received. Obtaining customer feedback should be a part of your local SEO strategy. Your Google My Business page is the most valuable place to gather feedback.
However, local SEO isn’t a stand-alone endeavour. Don’t restrict yourself to technical local SEO practices such as citations and site optimization. Develop partnerships with other relevant local businesses, join community events, and become a member of local organizations to maximize your site’s digital footprint in the local search ecosystem. You’ll be able to serve more people in your geographic region—and grow faster—once you start improving each important signal area.