Local SEO: the 10 most important things to know
SEO & Search engines
If you’re working in the world of content marketing, then it’s likely you’re familiar with the ins and outs of SEO. Obviously, SEO is an integral part of almost any marketing strategy. But what if you were able to extend your online visibility to those directly in your area, promoting your products and services to local customers?
Local SEO is a marketing strategy that does just this, helping to offer your services to locals.
This targeted marketing approach could have a huge impact on your clientele and the future of your business. So, for all of the important information, we’d suggest you read on!
Local SEO: the 10 most important things to know!
Local SEO in a nutshell
Although we’ve gone over the basic principles in our introduction, we’re going to give you a little bit more background on both the practices and benefits of local SEO. Essentially, it helps businesses to promote their goods and services to consumers at the exact moment they’re typing their needs into Google.
This system uses a variety of strategies including finding ways to have your site rank higher up on Google, as well as appearing at the top of directories including Yelp, Superpages, as well as Foursquare, and further, putting localized content on your website.
Localized search continues to grow in popularity, as users are constantly turning to the internet to find the best goods and services in their area. When you implement local SEO practices into your marketing strategy, you greatly increase your visibility to potential customers.
Local SEO targets those who are already interested in what you’re offering, making reach and conversion an organic process. This is because it appears on the terms of the customer. So, what do the main local SEO services consist of? Keep reading to find out!
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1- Website localization
This is one of the simplest local SEO methods and the title is self-explanatory. Localizing comes down to including information on your website that indicates the city, country, municipality or region where your business or services reside. Depending on what type of business you operate, this could come down to creating individual pages for each location, service station or resource center.
Finding ways for your company to get involved in or to report on local events is another way to gain visibility within your area. If these community-building activities or events relate directly back to your business, a common practice is to feature information about them on your website. This can be done in the form of articles, blog posts, or simply linking to community projects.
2- Consistency is key
When it comes to your business being listed in online directories, one of the most important aspects is a consistent stream of information across all channels. This means that all of your online listings need to contain the same, accurate information. Specifically, all listings should include your name, address and phone number so interested and returning customers alike can easily find you.
Even though this seems like a fairly straightforward thing to be aware of, having an inconsistent listing is one of the most common issues when it comes to local SEO. If your data is inconsistent, this could not only hurt your rankings but could also have a big impact on your overall reach and sales. Make sure to keep an eye on all channels and if your company changes locations or phone numbers, check all sites twice to make sure information is accurate and up-to-date.
3- The utilization of schema tags
For those who are not familiar with schema tags, let's begin by offering a definition of them. These tags are pieces of code that can be added to a website so that information appears when a website link is displayed in search results. Offering more detailed information increases significantly the number of clicks on the links, hence the positive influence on local SEO.
4- Create and claim your Google My Business
As Google is the most widely used search engine, it’s important to claim your Google My Business page in order to have your company information displayed on widely-used Google Services. These include Local Search, Google+ as well as the Maps app. When you claim your GMB page, it also works for the Microsoft equivalent, Bing Places. Being part of this online directory is paramount to your SEO, as this will drive traffic to both your website as well as your physical location.
5- Optimize your Google My Business page
As Google is the search engine that most people use, we need to outline the importance of optimizing your Google My Business page to benefit from it. Offer reliable information about the services and products you're offering. Don't forget to update information about your opening hours and the localization of your company.
Further, note that the integration of visual elements contributes to the optimization of your page. More specifically, it's highly suggested to include your logo's company (on your profile), a cover illustration and one or more pictures of the services and products you're promoting.
6- Rating and reviews matter
The reviews and ratings of your business matter for multiple reasons. First and foremost, this is the best way to know how customers are feeling about your services. But further, it matters for your local search rankings. Your ranking score on search engines is based on so many different factors, but customer reviews make up just over 10%.
Specifically, Google looks at the average number between your rating in relation to the total number of reviews. Further, the majority of consumers base their buying decisions from online reviews, and in turn, these reviews send signals to search engines ensuring that you’re running a site and service that's good and trustworthy.
7- Always adding fresh content
As with the majority of SEO practices, the creation of fresh, engaging and up-to-date content is key to your ranking as well as how you come across to customers. Google is looking for new content to crawl, and thus keeping things current will help attract a fresh audience while also greatly improving search rankings in local areas. This comes down to all your channels of information including social media as well as your GMB page.
There are tons of businesses on the web and likely many which you’re in direct competition with. All of these tips and tricks affect your local SEO, so stay on top of things to keep your website as well as your business performing well and in a high-ranking position.
8- Give clear indications that your company is local
To improve your local SEO, make sure to give clear indications that your company is really local. In order to achieve this, some tips are as follows:
- Give a local tone to your keywords if you wish to serve a specific area by putting the name of that same area near your main keywords
- When naming your pictures, include the name of your area in their titles
- When choosing your URL, include the name of your area
- Use the process mentioned in the first point for your meta tags
- Indicate your contact information (name, phone number, and address) at the bottom of your page including your opening hours.
9- Adapt your website to mobile devices
Offering a website adapted for mobile is definitely a positive factor for SEO, and this also applies to local SEO. So, if your website loads quickly and adapts clearly on a smaller screen, you will surely gain some benefits out of it.
10- Optimize your content
We already know how important backlinks are for SEO, especially when it comes to obtaining a good ranking in search engines results. For those wishing to improve local SEO, backlinks are another aspect that shouldn't be ignored. However, let's specify that these links need to be obtained by means of a netlinking strategy targetting local company, association or information websites.
The more links you gain from websites with high notoriety, the better the influence on your local SEO. Once again, you need to think about quality more than quantity.