Local SEO is a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy that helps your business be more visible in local search results on Google. If your business has a physical location and serves local customers it will benefit from local SEO. Local searches have increased significantly in recent years and now 46% of all Google searches are local. In this blog we explore what is meant by local SEO.
What is Google Local SEO?
4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. As Google dominates the search engine market, we will focus on Google local SEO. Google is by far the most-used search engine, Statcounter reported in 2020 that Google’s search engine market share worldwide was a whopping 92.18%.
Local SEO services are for any business that has a physical location where it greets customers or any business that serves a set local geographic area. A local search is any search with a location, for instance ‘pizza delivery near me’ or ‘pizza delivery in [town name]’. But now you don’t even have to put in ‘near me’ or a town name, Google uses GPS to keep tabs on your location, and to provide you with more relevant search results. If you scroll to the bottom of your search results on mobile it’ll say where it thinks you are.
Who will benefit from local SEO?
Local brick-and-mortar stores like restaurants, bars, laundrettes, doctors’ surgeries, lawyers, and convenience stores are all businesses that should be using local SEO. Additionally, service-area businesses (plumbers, builders, locksmiths, and other similar professionals that travel to their customers) will benefit from local SEO.
For brick-and-mortar or service-area businesses, investing in local SEO services can help drive more customers to your store, so you can begin generating more revenue.
In order to improve traffic to their websites and through their doors, local businesses need visibility on what’s known as the ‘local pack’, ‘3-pack’, or even sometimes the ‘snack pack’.
This is the block of three business listings that appear below the map in the results displayed after a Google search with local intent. Most of the information listed in the local pack comes from Google My Business.
Google My Business
A Google My Business profile is completely free and a vital stage of any Local SEO campaign–if you’ve not set one up for your business yet, that should be the next step on your to-do list.
Google My Business provides highly visible business branding directly in search results with a knowledge panel.
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. It’s also important to note that features such as; GMB subjective attributes, GMB Q&As, and Google Reviews are almost entirely generated by consumers – ideally ones with experience of your business!
Google is also increasing options for users to interact with local businesses directly from search results via your GMB page with the following options:
– Booking Appointments
– Requesting Quotes
– Messaging Directly
Without a GMB page, you may miss half of your opportunities in a local search result and the local pack. It is one of the most important tools that any business should have for local listing in SEO.
Google My Business Ranking Factors
Naturally, Google does not exactly share the exact ranking factors, but they do provide some basic information here.
Relevance: “Relevance refers to how well someone searches are matching with a local listing. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches from customers.”
Distance: “Distance is calculated by how far each potential business is from the location terms used in a search. If a customer doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.”
Prominence: “Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels or well-known shop brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be more prominent in local search results.
“Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the Internet such as; links, articles and directories. Google review count and score are also factored into local search ranking – more reviews and positive ratings will improve a business’s local ranking.”
Choose the best possible category for your GMB listing and/or subcategories.
Provide an accurate business description in your GMB listing, try and include your main business keyword and location within your description.
Make sure your Name, Address, and Contact Details in GMB match the details on your website + any local citations. Your business address and other relevant information should be available sitewide in the website’s header or footer. Not only does this add to reinforcing your location, but it also provides customers with business details no matter where they are on your website.
This is the least controllable because every user’s search location will be different.
Make sure the location is in the website page’s <title> and using the location where applicable in H tags on-page. For example; ABC Taxis – Taxis in Peterborough or, Jim’s Plumbing – Emergency Plumbers in Leicester.
Provide directions for customers on-site. Depending on the size of the city, you could provide 3 or 4 direction details from various landmarks in an area.
Localised content on-site – target longer tail search queries that capture the user during their purchase research. A blog or news section on site is a great way to provide localised content to searches that are not within your main site pages. These areas also help you to capture users during their research phase.
1. Local citations – list your site in local directories.
2. Look for local specific directories in your area that are relevant to your niche – Business citations or mentions (does not always have to be a link) help provide search engines with a better understanding of the business and where it is located; it helps build up prominence online.
3. Register with local chambers of commerce or trade bodies.
4. Try to get articles published in the local press, e.g., launch a charity drive, local press loves these stories.
5. Reviews on GMB, Facebook, and Trade Sites. Incorporate asking customers for reviews into your customer interaction and newsletters. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews.
6. Working with other local businesses – approach them about mentioning each other in your websites.
So, what is local SEO – it is making sure your website is optimised to appear in local searches if you sell to local populations. It involves registering your details on Google My Business and then ensuring the content on your website fits with Google’s algorithm – relevance, distance and prominence. If this all looks too complicated, we can help optimise your website – call us on 01202 650 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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