A Guide to Local SEO
Posted on 20th January 2023
SEO is essential; that’s not something anyone disagrees with. However, since Covid-19 and homeworking, local SEO has become increasingly important as businesses target local consumers.
You might think that SEO has just been renamed local SEO, but that’s not the case. There are similarities between the two, but some key differences define the ‘local’ aspect of optimising your online content for local searches.
So, here’s our guide to Local SEO and what it means for your company. But before we delve into the nitty-gritty, let’s just clarify the difference between the two.
What’s the difference between Local SEO and SEO?
Let’s start with SEO; this is the process of optimising your online content, like your website, to improve your website’s organic ranking on search engines consistently. This is achieved using different activities, such as blogs and articles.
Local SEO is slightly different in that you aim to improve your online visibility in local search engine results to help your business be found locally, i.e. in your town/area. Google’s search algorithm can identify a user’s location when they go online. One of the most popular add-ons to search terms is ‘near me’.
Most user searches are looking for local businesses to meet their needs. In fact, according to Google, 46% of all searches using their search engine are looking for local information. Add into the mix the other search engines, such as Bing, Apple and Yelp, and this number soon goes up, which is why investing in local SEO is worthwhile.
Why should I focus on local SEO?
So, now you know the difference between the two, let’s explain why you should focus on local SEO.
Search engines like Google have algorithms that send bots to search the internet for content that matches a user’s search term. However, these algorithms are far more intelligent than they used to be because they don’t just evaluate keywords. They also consider the user’s intent.
Therefore, any SEO activity must be more focused on your local area to increase your online visibility, ensuring a greater opportunity for your business to be more discoverable in search queries. The main benefits of local SEO include:
● Increased online visibility
● Greater foot traffic to a physical store
● More local footfall through the door
● Targeted web traffic
● Building trust and reputation
● More competitive, leading to more sales
● Better lead conversion
So, now you know how local SEO can benefit your business, here’s our guide to what you need to do to optimise local SEO.
A guide to local SEO
There are similarities between local SEO and SEO but also differences; certain aspects need to have a more focused effort to maximise local opportunities. Here’s our guide to local SEO.
Google Business Profile – a Google Business Profile (GBP) is now becoming essential for any business looking to maximise its local target market. It is possibly the top local SEO strategy that can benefit local businesses. The added benefit is that it is completely free to have an online directory profile. Your GBP is an excellent source of free publicity. You can share information about your company on your profile, such as opening hours, your products or services, office location(s), contact and website details. It is also a great platform for your customers to leave a review about your business. Research reveals that 81% of customers are likely to read Google Reviews before visiting a business in person, so having a Google Business Profile is a must.
Link building – if you’re already doing SEO, you’ll know how important it is to include internal and external links for Google to find and rank your business. Making sure you have a link-building strategy for local businesses is crucial for Google as it uses links, and citations, as a ranking factor. So, the more places your business name, location or contact details appear online, the higher the ranking is likely to be. Indeed, if your business is listed on more than one online directory, on social media and is cited in the content on other websites, you could feature in Google’s 3-Pack - a list of the top three local businesses that are prominently displayed at the top of search results pages, sometimes just below a map.
Targeted content – we all know that high-quality online content is another way of attracting Google’s attention; it is a major ranking factor for Google and other search engines. However, to better reach your local audience who are searching with local intent, create content that targets them directly. As well as reaching a wider audience local to your business, you are also building a reputation as a local authority on your products or services.
Using keywords correctly – a word of warning; don’t splash every keyword or phrase you can think of across your entire online content – Google, and other search engines, will quickly spot that and could well penalise you. However, using specific keywords and phrases for your products or services is still vital, but in a way that’s beneficial. It’s worth doing keyword research to find the keywords/phrases used in searches. Let’s give you an example: there’s no point using just ‘website designer’ as a keyword, as there are hundreds online. This isn’t much use to you or the consumer. So, to target people who are searching for local intent, extend your keyword to include your location, like ‘website designer Windsor’. Now you’ve created a keyword that Google can identify as the service and the location against a consumer’s search query.
Local SEO best practices are as important as ever over the past couple of years as more and more people are looking to shop locally rather than travel miles. If you haven’t mastered your local SEO activity, now is the time to do so.
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