Local SEO: Tips and Best Practices
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Local SEO: Tips and Best Practices

Local SEO

Local SEO: Tips and Best Practices

Local SEO: Discover How To Improve Local Search Engine Results

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that is hand-crafted for local businesses looking to increase their visibility in search engines, reach more customers, and of course — earn revenue.

Sometimes referred to as local search marketing, local SEO is an incredibly effective way to market your local business online, as it helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them online.

Not only will this help customers find your business, but featuring your company’s name, address, phone number, and website URL (NAPW) on citation sites and adding extra information to business directories will help improve your search rankings.

While the search engine may rank a website based on its authority and brand history, it also wants to provide users exactly what they are looking for while enabling small business owners to break new ground.

The more local backlinks a website has from authoritative sources and websites, the higher it will rank on search engines.

When you optimize your site with local SEO and use your GMB profile, search results will come alive with a map of your location, recent reviews, and more information to entice users to come to your location.

Fully managed Local SEO is all about attracting and targeting clients and customers that are near your business location.

While it’s key to make this a foundational aspect of your local SEO strategy, by building citations in the most relevant websites, research shows that if they’re not regularly updated and cleaned up, there can be serious consequences. 

By the end of the guide, you'll have a firm understanding of how to optimize your business to reach potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services they're going to buy.

Local SEO

How Local SEO Works

You already know that on getting your website ranked higher on search engines, but with the very best local SEO, there is a slight difference.

To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.

Online Reviews One of the best tactics used to improve your rankings on local search engines is by optimizing online reviews about your business.

Everything that’s displayed in the local pack comes from the business’s Google My Business profile, a critical part of local SEO marketing that’s becoming more important as Google tries to satisfy more search queries directly in the SERPs.

It helps your business become more visible to local customers and helps promote your products and services locally. There are different strategies used in local SEO, which help your business website rank higher on business directories, like Google My Business listing, YellowBook, SuperPages, Yelp, Bing Places for Business page, and Foursquare.

There are many ranking factors in local SEO that determine whether your business appears on Maps results and I’ll work on all of them to ensure you rank both in Organic and Maps results. Small simple websites that showcase a handful of services to attract email or phone leads will work best in this style of search engine optimization campaign.

With platforms like Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see in real-time how your local SEO is performing, which will allow you to precisely tweak things that aren’t benefiting your campaign.

Ultimately, local SEO helps achieve top rankings so more people can find and contact you — and visit your local business.

Citations matter because they help surface local businesses in online search, and when local businesses actively manage their citations to ensure data accuracy, it promotes trust in these online listings.

One of the most important things when implementing a local SEO campaign is to target local keywords. To rank at the top of local search results, you also must target local keywords on your website and in your site content.

Small simple websites that showcase a handful of services to attract email or phone leads will work best in this style of search engine optimization campaign.

That means you’re not only showing up when potential customers search for your services with search engines but that you’re also visible on social media. The effects of local SEO services take a couple of months to show full results (much faster than custom SEO). Effective local SEO services require work on a lot of areas — on and off-site SEO, local directories listings, reviews, links, and more.

 

Local SEO Services For Small Business

Local SEO helps your business market itself effectively in search engine requests made by local users (people who are in the area you operate).

Achieving good visibility in the local map pack is of increasing importance to local businesses, especially those who find themselves unable to compete with big-ticket rivals in the main search results.

A big part of local SEO is making your GMB profile as up-to-date and accurate as possible so it has a higher chance of appearing in the local pack, and trustworthy, attractive, and appealing enough to warrant a click-through.

Claiming your Google My Business page is a key step towards helping your business display on important Google services, such as local search results and Google Maps.

To ensure you're optimized for Google My Business, you'll want to create and verify a Google My Business page, use Google Posts within your account, encourage your customers to share reviews online, and respond authentically to reviews, specifying the location.

Google My Business Signals — keywords in the business title and description, proximity, and the right categories. On-Page signals like the name, address, and phone (NAP) of your local business, keywords in titles, and domain authority. Link Signals including inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc., and citation Signals from generic, niche, and hyper-local sources.

Your GMB profile can include a host of information submitted by yourself, such as services you offer, contact details, business description, category, and opening times but it’s important to note that features such as GMB attributes, GMB Q&As, and Google Reviews are almost entirely generated by consumers, ideally with experience of your business. The stronger your review portfolio, the bigger the impact on local search performance.Social signals, engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.

We achieve this through a variety of methods, some of which differ from what’s practiced in standard SEO, and some of which are far easier to manage using local SEO tools and can require specific local SEO or local search marketing services.

It feeds information to a variety of places, including the local pack and Google Maps search results, but the most familiar appearance will probably be when it’s in the top right (or top on mobile) of a branded search for your business, as below.

This gives even more reason to optimize your website with local SEO because it shows that consumers are truly deciding based on location, and how close they are to a business that offers what they’re looking for.

This is where local SEO has again helped businesses, since it affords more online visibility, and leads to proximity-based searches.

A big part of local SEO is making your GMB profile as up-to-date and accurate as possible so it has a higher chance of appearing in the local pack, and trustworthy, attractive, and appealing enough to warrant a click-through.

Similar to traditional SEO, local SEO services focus on boosting your business listings in online search results.

If you’re a small business owner, you are better off targeting a smaller niche, through local SEO, since it increases online visibility. Local SEO services can ensure that your customers find you locally and that you’re always top of mind when customers are in your neighborhood.

A great local SEO company will have the people, process, and products they need to put you in front of local searchers.

Audits

The primary aim of an SEO audit is to measure the performance of your marketing strategy and the results of search engine optimization for your website.

Performing an SEO audit of your site, fixing any technical issues, and improve overall usability can increase chances of ranking higher on Maps.

Keyword Selection

To rank at the top of local search results, you also must target local keywords on your website and in your site content. An SEO professional will help find the best keywords for your services and target areas.

For these types of local queries, which typically include a location or ‘near me’ (which aren’t even necessary if searching using Google Maps or if Google knows your location and assumes the search has local intent), search engines understand that what the searcher wants is business suggestions or lists based on location, and so that’s precisely what they offer in the local search engine results pages (SERPs).

Content

With content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The creation and implementation of beneficial, informative content gives Google something to serve on results pages, and you’ll rank highly if you follow SEO best practices.

Citations

Citations are mentions of your business made online, and the more full citations your brand has, the better Google will rank your business on local search. Citations matter because they help surface local businesses in online search, and when local businesses actively manage their citations to ensure data accuracy, it promotes trust in these online listings.

A citation is any place your business’ NAPW (Name, Address, Phone number, Website URL) information appears together online, typically in an online directory or business listings website.

Unstructured citations are more likely to result from press and social media, wherein your NAPW information is visible and connected on a web page (perhaps throughout a local news piece about the business), but not in a structured format.

Reviews

The reviews your local business is getting online, also affect its rankings on search engines. It is a crucial part of any local SEO campaign because reviews can make or break your business.

The number of reviews you receive, the overall quality of the reviews, and the authority of the review sites themselves are all important factors for local search rankings. Any business that gets more critical reviews than good ones, will not attract much traffic and will not rank well. Review management The reviews your local business is getting online, also affect its rankings on search engines.

The number of reviews you receive, the overall quality of the reviews, and the authority of the review sites themselves are all important factors for local search rankings.

So increase your company’s online reputation, ask trusted customers to leave a positive review about your business online — and attract hundreds of new customers.

The stronger your review portfolio, the bigger the impact on local search performance.Social signals, engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.

You Want To See Quick (not Instant) Results.

Search engines are becoming smarter and offering individualized results to users, and if a customer searches for a product, Google allows them to see results based on their geographic location.

With SEO services, especially for local businesses, it’s important to make sure the company you work with can actually drive results.

With local SEO, you’ll see an increase in your website’s traffic since you’ll be more visible on search engine results pages. The effects of local SEO services take a couple of months to show full results (much faster than custom SEO).

Working with a local SEO expert will help you create content that shows off your expertise and help you revive pages that need more work.

You Are Limited By Budget.

Local SEO Packages are designed specifically for small businesses with a limited budget, small websites, and markets in neighbouring cities.

You Have Limited Time Or Desire To Be Involved.

A great local SEO company will have the people, process, and products they need to put you in front of local searchers. Business owners and/or staff need not be intimately involved in the process.

When Should I Expect SEO Results?

Results technically can happen in as little as 4 to 8 weeks with some minor adjustments if you already have a claimed Google listing, your website has some built-in authority and you have the appropriate categories set.

Many SEO firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to see results. That's accurate, but remember this is when you see results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you're getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you're getting at 12 months.

RELATED Q&A - Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Local SEO and Local SEO companies

What are the benefits of local SEO?

  • #1 Attract More Potential Customers for Little Cost. ...
  • #2 Improve Your Online Visibility. ...
  • #3 Reach More People on Other Platforms. ...
  • #4 Generate More Leads & Sales. ...
  • #5 Gain Competitive Edge. ...
  • #6 Increase Your Trustworthiness & Authority. ...
  • #7 Grow a Local Following.

When should I use SEO?

We should use SEO when you wish to get to the top of the search engine and/or to remain at the top. This is not something that happens overnight, it requires an SEO strategy that uses many key elements to achieve this. However, when you've achieved this, you can enjoy long-lasting benefits.

What matters for Local SEO?

While it displays the local map pack within the standard Google organic search listings, separate algorithms power the main Google search results and the local map pack results. As a local business, you have the opportunity the appear within both the main organic search results and the local map pack at the same time. If you're new to marketing your business online, one of the major challenges is knowing what you should focus on making your efforts as effective as possible. Website content is a significant factor, just as it is in Google's traditional search algorithm, but location-based factors like Google My Business, citations, and review signals are also included.

How can Local SEO benefit my business?

Every day people are turning to Google to search for local businesses in their area. Your Google My Business listing needs to appear in those searches for potential customers to see it. Local SEO helps your GMB listing rank better in local searches, ultimately driving more traffic and qualified leads to your website.

What’s the difference between Local SEO Services and Custom SEO?

A local SEO Package is designed specifically for small businesses with a limited budget, small website, and a local market in 1-2 cities. This plan is for businesses with limited time to be involved in the SEO process. It's also good for businesses that can give preapproval for new content. Ask to see our SEO Comparison if you aren't sure if this is the right SEO fit for you.

How can I improve Local SEO right now?

  1. Create a Google My Business Account.
  2. Get Regular Reviews from Happy Customers.
  3. Optimize for Voice Search.
  4. Create Content Based on Local News Stories or Events.
  5. Optimize Your Website for Mobile.
  6. Hone in on Local Keywords.
  7. Use Location Pages or a Location-Specific “About Us” Page.
  8. Take Advantage of Online Business Directories.
  9. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks (Link Signals).
  10. Create a Dedicated Webpage for Each Product/Service You Offer

How Can I Improve my Local SEO for Free?

  1. Improve your website's user experience.
  2. Write great content optimized for SEO
  3. Get more backlinks.
  4. Improve your page speed.
  5. Fix broken links
  6. Optimize your images.
  7. Use H1 and H2 header tags
  8. Optimize for local search.
  9. Optimize for voice search.
  10. Aim for position 'zero'.

How much should I budget for SEO?

Depending on what you can afford, the size of your website, and the amount of content you're generating, you might expect to devote anywhere between 5 and 50 hours per month to your SEO efforts. Based on the going rates of most digital marketing agencies, this could cost anywhere between $500 and $10,000 per month.

How much does local SEO cost?

Typical local SEO campaigns cost between $300 and $2,000 per month depending on your businesses needs, your competition, and your geographic location.

 

Putting Your SEO Marketing Dollars To Work

Sites like BrightLocal can help you get started building citations, and local SEO services from companies like WebFX can ensure your citations are updated and driving relevant traffic to your website.

To ensure success through link signals in local SEO, the links must be relevant to the business, otherwise, Google will not count them.

Local backlinks It is important to build local backlinks for your website to improve its rankings on local search engines.

Local directory marketing (just one of many local SEO strategies) has a higher conversion rate than other more traditional advertising options–up to 50% conversion on some directories.

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