Probably you have a business that is providing services or products in a specific area, city or a country, and still, your website is unable to rank on Google and other search engines under the related search keywords. This is because you haven’t done a proper Local Search Engine Optimization, or simply, Local SEO Marketing. I will guide in this article through the procedure of optimizing your website in order to rank higher on search engines when people in your area search for the services or products you provide. By learning how to do Local SEO, you can get a lot of FREE organic traffic that you don’t need to pay for. And this is important for you as the free traffic actually converts at a higher rate than the paid traffic.
Local Search Engine Optimization Definition
Local SEO is optimizing your website so that it appears on the first page of the search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines when people in your area search for products or services that you provide. Examples of what they might use to search are: law firm in Seattle, Plumber in Toronto, Yoga Studio near me, Flowers Shop in Manhattan …etc.
By optimizing your website to such terms, you can get your website to appear on the first page of the search engine results whenever someone is using these terms to look for the products or services you provide.
Why Is Local SEO Important For Your Business
Imagine that you have an Auto Repair workshop in New York City, and you have a website that is trying to rank under the keyword “Auto Repair Workshop”, what do you think will happen? you will be competing against every Auto Repair Workshop owner that owns a website, not only in your city, and not only in the United States, but in the whole world! and in this case forget about any chance to appear on the first page of the search results.
Even when someone types “Auto Repair Workshop in New York City”, you don’t have better chances to appear in the search results to that person because you didn’t optimize your website to appear for someone searching in your area for the services you provide.
While if you do the Local Search Engine Optimization correctly, then you are going to show up in the first page of the search results whenever someone is looking for the kind of services or products that you provide. Like you see in the following image for our example search term “Auto Repair Workshop in New York City”
This way, your website can appear in the results page for FREE without the need to use paid advertising, which means lower advertising costs. In addition, it is known that around 70% of the people don’t click on the search results that are paid results, they only go to the websites that rank organically. That’s 70% of the possible clients that you are missing in case that you don’t optimize for Local Searches.
And even those who click on the paid ads, they themselves convert better when they visit websites that rank organically on the search engine results pages.
In addition, imaging that in a specific month you couldn’t run your ads on the search engines due to financial issue, or maybe your Ads Account got suspended for some reason, or maybe your account went out of balance and stopped showing your ads and you didn’t notice that for few days. You will lose every possible chance to be found by anyone that is looking for your services or products in your area.
But with optimizing your website locally, you will not face any of these issues.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
So, what do you need in order to rank your website for the local search results?
Here is a list of the Local SEO Ranking Factors & Tools that will help you in ranking your website for local search results:
1 – Google My Business (GMB) and Bing Places for Business:
These are two similar tools provided by Google and Bing that create map listings in the search results when someone searches for something in a specific geographical area. Like in the following image:
These businesses are shown here because they are using Google My Business services. This makes it easier for the person looking for the specific service in order to see multiple businesses in one page and compare the working hours, exact addresses and reviews. Also, it makes it easier to get the directions to the locations through clicking on the “Directions” button which directs the searcher to Google Maps where they can get the instructions on how to get to the locations of these businesses.
2 – Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) Consistency:
You have to mention the Business Name, Phone Number and Physical Address on your website, preferably on the top of the home page as this will make it easier for the clients to contact you. In addition, it will be crawled by Google and other indexing services robots.
In case that you are working from home and don’t wish to mention your address, that’s fine, but it might make it a bit difficult to show up in the Map Listings more often.
Now you have to make sure that this information is the same that is used in Google My Business, Citations, directories, Social Media profiles, …etc.
3 – Backlinks:
These are the links to your website that are listed on the local community websites that might have listings for different businesses or services. These are similar to big citations such as Yelp, but more on a smaller scale, dedicated only to list businesses in your targeted area.
4 – Schema and JSON-LD Markup:
This is a piece of code that you use on your website in order to let Google know the location details of the site. This also supports the ability to show up in the Map Listings and the Knowledge Graph.
The Knowledge Graph is what sometimes shows on the right side of the search results page when you search for a specific company or business by the name. It shows the Address, Website, Ratings, …etc. as in the following image:
5 – Social Media:
Having your business profiles on the different social media platforms, especially Google+, will help your business rank higher.
In addition, you might as well have your business profile on Facebook and Twitter. This will also create more backlinks to your website.
6 – Reviews:
Having reviews from your customers on your website that shows up under your URL when someone searches for your Business Name’s + Reviews such as in the following example “Marriott Dead Sea Hotel Reviews”:
The following photo shows under the URL the rating of the business. This will increase the click through rate to your website if you have a good rating, which will eventually help improve your rankings.
In addition, getting positive reviews on Google + also boosts your rankings on Google. you might want to consider that when asking your customers for a review.
And of course, there are reviews on other places such as BBB and Yelp, which finally leads to more traffic to your website.
7 – Citations:
These are the directories that are used to list businesses based on category and area. Some might be available all over the world, such as: Yelp and Yellow pages. And some might be available in a certain country or state only.
Make sure you find what directories are popular in your area and list your business the and provide the Name of the Business, Address and Phone Number as they are on your website.
8 – Behavioral Signals:
These are more like a social proof. For example; people checking in your business on you Facebook gives you a social proof and this in turn increases the click through rate from there to your website, which will ultimately lead to higher rankings on the search engines.
You can encourage people to check-in to your business by providing discount coupons or freebies for example.
So these are the main ranking factors when it comes to Local Search Engine Optimization. Of course there are other factors that are necessary for SEO in general, such as: site speed and security, website navigability and user experience, …etc. But the mentioned in details above are the most important for the Local SEO Purposes.
Now let’s discuss the most important element that you will need for the Local SEO: Keywords.
How To Choose The Most Relevant Keyword For Local SEO?
In order to rank for the local searches in your area, you need to use the keywords your clients will use to look for. Also, it is better, as a general rule, if you use the keywords that contain the same Business Category as it is available in Google My Business + Your Location.
For example If you are a digital marketing expert that is based in Seattle, then the Google My Business category that is relevant to your specialty is “Internet Marketing Services”. They don’t have a category called “Digital Marketing Services”, which means that you should try to rank under the keyword “internet marketing services Seattle”.
However, it is recommended that you also try to find out what terms that people usually use in your area. Sometimes the term they use often is not the same that is available as a GMB Category. If that is the case, you might need to rank under both terms or the one that people use the most.
For example, they might be using the search term “online marketing Seattle”, ” Online marketing in Seattle” or “Seattle WA Internet Marketing” and so on. You can find some statistics on what people use in a certain area using Google Keyword Planner.
And in case that your business is operating in multiple locations, then you need to create a page for each location and try to rank each page under the relevant keyword. You can also set up multiple locations within the same GMB (Google My Business) Account and link each location’s page on your website to the related location in the GMB account.
How To Do The Local SEO?
The answer to this question is easy; if you are building a new website, or if you are dealing with a newly built one on which no previous Local SEO work has been done yet, then you need to go through the eight steps mentioned above and do them one by one.
While if you are dealing with a relatively old website, then you need first to perform a Local SEO Audit in order to see the current status of the website in terms of Local SEO.
What is Local SEO Audit And How To Do It?
Local SEO Audit is the process that you follow in order to measure how well an existing business website is optimized to appear in the search engine results pages when someone in the area that business operates in searches for the services that business provides.
In a nutshell, it is verifying if a business website utilizes the ranking factors mentioned above in this article, in addition to the general SEO Requirements such as Site Speed and Security, website navigability, user experience, …etc.
How to do Local SEO Audit?
There are two ways:
1 – Manually:
This is done by checking by yourself, in a step by step process, if the ranking factors mentioned above are well utilized. It might be a bit time-consuming, but you can follow this method if you are starting out or if you are doing Local SEO services for a small number of businesses or for your own business and you have enough time to do so.
2 – Using SEO Audit Tools:
There are many available tools that you can use to perform SEO Audits quickly and save time. Especially that the Local SEO is an ongoing process and you might need to perform and audit on regular basis in order to keep ranking highly under the relevant search terms. Which can be time-consuming in case that you have multiple businesses that you are doing Local SEO services for.
By using tools such as BrightLocal and SEMrush, you can set up profiles for the different business that you are managing the Local SEO for, and then, these tools will help you to efficiently and quickly perform the audits on regular basis.
These tools are NOT a must. If you have enough time and a few numbers of business to manage, then you can do the audits manually. But when you have more businesses, enough budget and less time, then you can utilize these tools in order to get more done in less time.
You can join BrightLocal for the 14-Days Free Trial from here. In any case, they have also an access to a package for building Citations only that you can keep using for free. But if you want to use the auditing tools, then you have the 14-Days trial and then you have to pay for the membership if you wish to keep using it.
How To Learn More On Local Search Engine Optimization?
I’m going to reveal to you the source from which I learn most of what I know in the internet marketing world, including the Local Search Engine Optimization and even SEO in general.
My source is Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is a complete platform that is originally developed to teach Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and even Advanced marketers.
It is a comprehensive platform that provides advanced training material when it comes to internet marketing in general and Affiliate Marketing in specific. They provide not only the training, but also the tools that you will need as an internet marketer, such as: Advanced SEO Keyword Reaearch Tool (Jaaxy), Advanced Web Hosting for up to 50 Websites, Content Editing and Checking Tool, and many other tools that any internet marketer can benefit from.
If you want to know more about this amazing platform, check my Wealthy Affiliate Comprehensive Review. Inside this review, you will find a link that you can login through to get the free membership. Try it and see how you can benefit from the training and tools. Click here to read my review.
Now that you know the importance and the main elements for Local SEO, you are well to go on your own and optimize your website or your client’s website for local searches and attract more clients.
If you have any problems performing any of the steps or using any of the tools mentioned above, or if you have any questions, please, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below and I will be happy to help you out.
And don’t forget to join Wealthy Affiliate to learn more about internet marketing. 🙂