A website gives you the ability to reach out to the entire (online) globe. On the other hand, local SEO is concerned with improving your local search engine rankings. It's worth investing in, especially now, during the COVID-19 epidemic, when individuals are trying to approach you more often online than offline. In current times, getting noticed online by your local audience greatly boosts your business's chances of survival. Here, we'll define local SEO and point you to additional in-depth resources to help you make your website more discoverable in your area.
The method of optimizing your content for a specific local location is known as local SEO. You want your pages to rank for particular search queries made by a local audience if you operate a local business, such as a shop, restaurant, or agency. It's all about making sure people can find you both online and offline when it comes to optimizing your local business's website.
Even if you're not getting any visits to your building right now, you're still targeting a demographic that lives in the same region as you. As a result, you should focus on improving your web presence in that sector. You can perform some of this on your own website, but there's so much more!
Because many people use search engines to discover local companies, local SEO is crucial.
According to Google, in fact:
In other words, clients are looking for your company. If you don't show up, you're throwing money away.
Because Google offers two sorts of search results for local queries, local SEO is a game of two halves. These are the "map pack" and organic "blue link" findings, respectively. On both of them, you may rate.
The map pack (also known as the local pack) is a Google SERP feature that displays a map and the top local company results. For local queries, it frequently appears at the very top of Google's search results.
We're all aware of the "normal" organic search results, which are the "10 blue links." They're frequently found behind the "map pack" results.
The process of determining how people search for the local services you provide is known as local keyword research.
It's crucial since you want to rank for what people are looking for. Let's have a look at how to accomplish it.
Most people aren't aware of the various methods in which others may look for what they do. If you're a plumber, for example, some clients will find you by searching for a "plumber" on Google. Others, on the other hand, will look for specialized services, such as "drain unblocking."
As a result, you should start by thinking and making a list of the services you provide. This will allow you to increase your visibility for searches that your clients are looking for. For a plumber, this may look like this:
Use the service keywords as "seeds" to discover other services that people are looking for. If you provide certain services, you might wish to target these keywords as well.
National search volumes are displayed via keyword research tools. You'll need to utilize Google Keyword Planner to get search volumes for your state, city, or municipality.
Keyword Planner, unfortunately, has flaws:
It displays search volume ranges rather than absolute figures (e.g., 1K-10K).
It aggregates keywords and displays a rounded search volume for all of them. As a result, looking at the relative popularity of terms at the national level is usually more fruitful. This is due to the fact that what occurs in one city is likely to occur in another. A keyword research tool can help you with this. In the United Kingdom, for example, more individuals search for "AC repair" than "AC installation," according to the tool.
Searchers with local intent desire to purchase in their immediate area. It's not a local SEO opportunity if that isn't the case for your services. To see if a question has a local purpose, Google it and see what comes up. It has a local purpose if there is a map pack and/or some local "blue link" results. The Google SERP for "boiler installation" shows a map pack and a "blue link" result. It doesn't have a local purpose if there isn't a map pack or local "blue link" results. You may still target keywords that aren't local, but it's not a local SEO job.
It's improbable that your homepage will rank for all of your service keywords. As a result, you'll have to target some of them with distinct pages. Consider which services URLs translate to when assigning keywords to them. Assign them to distinct pages if they map to extremely different services, such as "AC installation" and "bust pipe repair." Assign them to the same page if they map to the same service, such as "pipe unblocking" and "pipe unclogging."
Because there are two methods to rank, you may recollect that local SEO is a game of two halves. The map pack is the first, and the "normal" organic results are the second. Ranking criteria differ based on where you want to rank, although some are critical in both cases. Some ranking variables "overlap," i.e., some criteria are essential in both "map pack" and "regular" results, as shown in a Venn diagram.
We'll look at what SEOs say are the most essential elements for each in the sections below.
Local SEO relies heavily on Google Business Profiles. Because of your My Business listing, many individuals will discover your business for the first time and decide whether or not to become customers. By claiming your listing, you may optimize for this local SEO element. One of the criteria that can help you enhance your My Business rating is having an owner-verified listing. You'd want to take control of your My Business listing so that you may include all of the information that potential customers require. You may claim your listing by going to Google Business Profile and looking for it. You can claim your business if it is listed on the page. You may create your own listing if your business isn't listed.
After you've claimed your listing, you may boost its visibility by filling it out as completely as possible. Your business's address, contact information, and hours of operation should all be included in your listing. Many individuals are seeking for this information when they perform local searches. Customers will look for another business if they can't find it. You may improve your position and reach more local clients by enhancing your Google Business Profile listing.
Another crucial local search ranking component is keywords. If you want to rank for a certain term, you must demonstrate to search engines that your site is a relevant result. This necessitates the inclusion of that term on the desired page. Crawlers are used by search engines to examine each of your pages and decide what they're about. Keywords are crucial in this process since they decide which searches your pages may rank for.
Keywords are what cause your organic listing to appear. People enter in certain keywords, and the search engine returns results that contain those terms. This is a crucial initial step in using SEO. You should concentrate on long-tail keywords while choosing keywords. Keywords with three or more words are referred to be long-tail keywords. It would be "electricians in Harrisburg PA" or "veterinarians in Harrisburg PA" for a local company. Long-tail keywords are preferable to short-tail keywords. Short tail keywords are less useful than long-tail keywords since they don't generate quality leads for your company. These are broad phrases that don't describe a user's intent.
After you've chosen your keywords, you'll need to include them in suitable locations across your website. They work well in title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and body content.
However, be cautious not to overdo your terms. Keyword stuffing is when you use terms excessively in order to enhance your ranks. This might lead to a Google penalty, which will hurt your ability to rank in search results. Make sure that you only use keywords where they make sense organically, and that they don't interfere with your visitors' reading or site experience.
Links are another local SEO ranking consideration since they play a vital part in enhancing your website's ranks in organic search results. When another website connects to yours, it sends traffic your way and tells search engines that the other site trusts you. Your rankings are heavily influenced by the quality of these links. When high-quality sites connect to yours, search engines understand that your site is also reliable and trustworthy. This increase in trustworthiness aids in the improvement of your search engine results.
Creating content is the most effective approach to building links. Blog entries, videos, and infographics are all examples of content. Blogs, news sites, and other business websites can link to your work as a source for their viewers. To get your work reviewed, you'll need to contact industry editors, bloggers, and other websites. Backlink monitors can help you find out who is connecting to your website as you develop your link-building strategy. This is a fantastic method for you to network with other businesses.
Your rankings may be affected by how people engage with your site. Their actions give signals to Google about whether or not your website is useful to visitors.
While none of these characteristics has a direct influence on your ranking, they all aim to provide a good user experience. To encourage people to spend longer time on your page, you want to provide them with a great experience. More time spent on your page by users can result in favourable effects.
Let's wrap things off with a couple of local SEO tools you could find beneficial.
Your Google Business Profile is managed using Google Business Manager, previously Google My Business. It's entirely free to join, and it's something that every local company owner should take advantage of.
Google Search Console is a free tool for tracking the search performance of your website. It shows you how much search traffic you have, where it's going, and what keywords are driving it.
Rank Tracker from Ahrefs allows you to track up to 10,000 keyword ranks for "normal" organic search by nation, state, city, and ZIP/postal code.
Grid My Company displays the map pack rankings for a term in the vicinity of your business. It's a freemium app that can help you figure out if and where local searches will find your business.
Yext is a service that syncs and manages company data across numerous listings. Although you may do this manually, it's beneficial for keeping citations consistent.
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool for keyword research. It's a good place to look for search volume ranges on a local level.
You should now have a decent knowledge of how local SEO works. Local SEO is distinct in that it also necessitates the usage of Google Business Profile. As a local business, you'll want to concentrate your SEO efforts on attracting local customers. All of the other aspects of SEO apply to local SEO as well, so if you already have a plan in place, you're well on your way to attaining high ranks for searches in your region.