Have you ever been to a new city on while traveling and wanted to find a local restaurant or business? Most of us who have experienced this ended up visiting a business or provider that showed up high up on the local search results. This is an example of how local SEO helps businesses acquire new customers.
Search engine optimization is not a new term. Digital marketers have been leveraging it for years to turn their business into a well-reputed brand. But, the innovation lies in its categorization according to the needs of a company. One of the most preferred and successful forms of SEO is local SEO, which is offering businesses an edge over the ongoing competition.
The tech-savvy audience is now more active towards local searches – the “near me” embedded hunts. Don’t you think you should start optimizing your solutions for such queries?
Also, if you run a brick-and-mortar business, optimizing your website for local searches is going to be a great head start. Wondering how? You will get it soon.
What Does “Local SEO” Mean?
Local Search Engine Optimization, as you can see from the words, refers to setting up your website to show up in the local search results of popular search engines like Google.
Local SEO aims at improving your website’s performance to enhance the online visibility of your business. At its best, local search engine optimization allows you to reach your local audience when it looks for services and products similar to what you offer.
Local searches involve a particular location. So, when your business operates a location at or close to that location, you can use local SEO to make sure that it comes up on the list that Google presents its users when they use specific keywords to search and enquire about the services available in their location.
Local SEO permits to capture new customers. It provides your web site with the capability to appear at the top of the search results when your local customers use search engines, social media, or online directories to seek your products and services.
Search engines are in constant efforts to make their users happy. The only way they could do this is by providing them with a sound user experience. And, for this, they keep updating their algorithms to help satisfy the queries of the users.
Getting relevant answers for their “near me” or location-based searches is one of the expectations of the users from search engines like Google.
So, Google and other search engines strive to achieve this by demanding the businesses to adopt and implement local SEO as their search engine marketing strategy.
What Is the Difference Between Local SEO and Regular SEO?
SEO is about generating traffic for your website. Although the different forms of SEO signify distinct technical aspects, the motive remains the same. That is, providing the audience precisely what they want by optimizing the websites according to the algorithms designed by search engines.
The only thing that labels local SEO different from regular SEO is emphasizing the way a user fires a query. That is local SEO stresses on location-specific phrases like “SEO company near me,” “UAE SEO services,” or “the best SEO company in UAE,” etc.
It modifies the content of the website in such a way that it helps the web crawlers to find your business easily when a local customer looks for your services.
Now, are you convinced yet that you need to start working on a local search engine optimization strategy? If no, continue to read on as there is much more as to why local search engine optimization is crucial for your business.
Understanding the Importance of Local SEO
Google’s Local-3 Pack Listing
Google keeps providing its users with something that enhances their search experience. The local-3 pack is just another example. When a user enters a location-based query in the search bar, Google shows up the 3 most relevant businesses that best match or answer the question. These results are then shown to the search user in the snippet view.
A while back, it used to be a 7-pack game, but it has since been refined to 3-pack. So, if you are thinking of boosting your market presence among local customers, securing a listing in Google’s local 3-pack is very crucial.
And, local search engine optimization is the best tool for adding your site to the 3-pack of featured snippets.
How can you add your site to Google’s snippets?
Continue reading on to and you will get a better clue for yourself.
Grabbing the Attention of Local Customers
Irrespective of the location, billions of people around the world depend on search engines and directories like Yelp to inquire about products and services that they are interested in. Moreover, customers living in a particular location actually prefer finding local businesses since they find comfort in terms of walking to a location or having a shorter commute rather than a long commute/drive.
In general, online shoppers look for places that are near them and match their expectations. Another example is when someone moves to a new location. In this example, they would, for sure, search on the web to discover places around them.
If you want the local customers to consider your business, you have to appear in the search results of the keywords the customer searched for. In a way, local SEO allows your business to connect to local customers.
Higher Conversion Rates
In short, when you narrow down your audience and target a more specific group, you can increase your conversions.
So, the more you specify and narrow down your target audience and the more you target a specific location, the more you increase your odds of finding the right customer that best match your products or services.
When your customer and your business are in the same geographical region, your customer is more likely to contact your business, provided that your website has undergone a thorough local SEO process. Local Search Engine Optimization is the perfect tool for you to use to ensure a significant local presence of your business and capture your local customers.
Extending Your Business
When you optimize your website for local audiences or customers of a particular area, you make it easier for them to get more knowledge about your products and services.
In turn, it leads you to update your website and its content uniformly to keep your visitors satisfied with your services. You start extending your business concerning useful information, articles, news, and everything that helps your audience to reach you without any issue.
Local SEO makes this process smoother and quicker as it automatically improves the visibility of your business if done right.
Networking and Building Social Relationships
Social relationships and local networking is a crucial part of brick-and-mortar businesses. You need potential clients who can help you make your business popular among your local network of businesses. To make this possible, local SEO has a significant role to play. When you optimize your website with local SEO, you increase your businesses’ likelihood of being found by other businesses which will help your business with networking while promoting social sharing.
When you connect with local bloggers or similar website owners, you will have a chance to getting introduced to their audience as well. Also, if you pursue your relationship with these bloggers and website owners, you may acquire backlinks to your website which can substantially increase the number of visitors to your business while positively impacting your domain authority (DA) and SEO potency as well.
Local search engine optimization works well if you adopt an intelligent SEO strategy. Targeting a specific segment of your audience, based on their location, needs a comprehensive plan, prepare, and execute the right tactics to best leverage your local SEO game.
In order for you to make your strategy work, you must be clear as to what it is you are trying to accomplish.
In order to achieve the optimum local search engine optimization results, you may consider working with a professional local SEO agency. But in case you are a DIY kind of person, we are going to provide you with some actionable steps for you to follow to do Local SEO like a pro!
Tips for Doing Local SEO Like an Expert
1. Google My Business Should Be Your Top Priority
Your local SEO efforts are worthless if you have not listed your business on Google. Google My Business, is a service provided by Google and it is a one-stop solution for you to enhance your business’s online visibility.
Google My Business provides you with a roadmap for you to follow in order for your business to show up on Google search, Google Maps, and Google+. But first, you must verify and authenticate your business via mail with Google. Once you do so you can appear on the sidebar space of Google Search and Google Map’s search results. Therefore, claiming a listing on Google My Business is the first and principal step to kickstarting local SEO like an expert.
Follow these steps to optimize your Google My Business listing:
- Get your business listing verified. Google will need to confirm your email address and may also require you to receive a postcard from Google to then type the code mailed to you in GMB to verify your mailing address as well.
- Make sure you provide the correct and up-to-date information to GMB. Also, make sure that there are no discrepancies in the data entered.
- Add details like the name of your company, business address with the correct zip-code, your website URL, along with your business logo, contact phone numbers, working hours, payment methods, and other photo images and videos that best describe your business. You should also try and make frequent posts as well.
After you create and validate your business with Google My Business, you will need to work on optimization.
- Foster your customers to leave a review for your business about their experience of your products and services. It’s also important for you to try and capture your customer’s feedback towards their customer experience as most of your prospects will want to know about the quality of your customer service.
- When your customers post a review, respond to them sincerely. Handle negative comments (if any) with a humble note. Do not get into confrontations. Try and take the matter offline if you have the chance to or kindly ask them to contact you so that you may look into their issue and solve their problems. Also, if your customers provide you with positive feedback, thank them kindly and professionally.
- This one is very important. Create appealing Google posts, on a regular basis, to grab the attention of your local audience. Your posts will show up on Google’s search results so they can potentially play a very important role in your customer acquisition.
Google My Business is not limited to just images and videos. You can win through local SEO by adding different types of content to represent your business.
Some of the posts you can make could be the latest updates about your products or services, promotion of events, discount coupons, good deals, booking site links, local blog posts, etc.
As of recent, you can now add menus into your GMB dashboard as well. Add on a menu to define the areas in which you offer your services, especially if you are adding multiple listings on GMB.
2. Make Customer Reviews Your Winning Policy
Small business trends state that 97% of customers who look towards shopping, read online reviews before making a decision.
Now, can you see how important it is for you to leverage online reviews and make them work for your local business listings?
Customer reviews directly influence the buying decision of other customers. Customers could either reject a brand entirely, find another brand or service provider, or if they’re satisfied with the reviews of your products and services, can become persuaded to purchase for you immediately after reading your existing customer reviews on your Google My Business listing.
The more reviews, especially positive and highly relevant reviews, that you get for your business, the higher are the chances of getting a response from and engaging with your new customers.
Among the top local ranking factors, the quality and quantity of your customer reviews play a significant role in your success at achieving the best local SEO.
The search engines consider the number of reviews, the frequency, type (positive or negative), the quality of the reviews with keywords and images, etc. when they rank your website for local searches. This, in turn, influences the local customers too while they are making a purchasing decision.
Therefore, you must ensure a steady review management process to handle your local SEO in the right way. Whether you are working with a local digital marketing agency or not, make sure you respond to all the reviews, positive or negative.
If there is a positive review, respond with a “Thank you” note along with related keywords. Do not over stuff. Try to be as natural, genuine, and kind as possible.
For a negative review, you can respond by addressing their problem and solving it if possible. You can also reply with other services that are best in your collection.
You may also ask the customers in person to post a review, but before that, you may want to confirm that they have had the chance to give a fair shot at your product or service.
Providing your customers with a quick and easy guide to leave a review for your business would be beneficial.
3. Properly Use Name, Address, and Phone Number in Your Listings
Name, Address, and Phone number, (NAP) as we call it, is the information that you have embedded in your website or listings to help your local customers reach you quickly.
Using the NAP listings, your prospects and future customers can know more about your business, your products, and your services. Your customers need these details to locate your business and call you if they find your services or products useful. Local SEO works well when you provide your NAP to online directories and websites. When these directories list your NAP details at relevant places, you will get a citation.
The citation refers to the listing of your NAP on sites that collect information about businesses. Citations are crucial for your local search optimization strategy as they allow you to appear in front of your potential customers.
For example, online directories and social media networks like Facebook can give your citations whenever their user searches for services similar to yours. Your NAP will be listed with relevant information to respond to the user’s search queries.
Therefore, for effective local SEO, you must ensure that you provide complete and accurate information to those directories. Inaccuracy in the details could lead to misunderstanding or direct your customer to some other business.
Google Maps and other websites provide their users with citations to guide their user’s find the best answer to their search query. Whenever someone does a location-based search, Google looks for these citations to provide them with relevant details.
You can opt to build citations manually or automatically. But first, you will need to collect a list of sites that offer NAP listing for your type of business. A data aggregator or a citation building service can help you achieve this.
4. Maintain Consistency in Your NAP
Adding NAP details to the listings is not enough. You need to take care of the accuracy and consistency of the data you provide to the online audience.
You cannot take local SEO for granted. If you fail to implement the right functionality, it may result in a blunder. For relevant citations, you must provide consistent information across all the sites you select for your business listings.
Make sure that you cross-check all the information like name, address, and contact details exactly the same on every single directory or website. Even a slight difference in any of the sections can lead to incorrect information and leave your customers in confusion. It may lead them to the wrong address or contact someone else.
For example, if your address reads “3001 Red Hill Ave.”, then on every website you list your business or get a citation from, must have the same address. You cannot afford to misplace even a single letter or a number. It misleads a customer and may create a false reputation for your business too.
Contradictory and inaccurate data about your business can directly influence your rankings. Local SEO demands consistency across all the websites. The reason is Google Maps algorithms, which look for errorless and consistent data about the local businesses to help the users.
If your data fails to meet the standards, Google is not going to rank you on the desired position. You will lose on your efforts to present your business at the top of Google’s local-3 pack.
5. Include a Map to Your Location on Your Website
When someone has recently moved to your neighborhood, they almost always use an app like Google Maps to find their way around. Also, whenever people visit a new place, they use Google Search and Google Maps to find a local favorite place. Google Maps helps customers locate the desired place on their desktop and mobile phones quickly.
So, if you want to leverage this and utilize this feature of Google, you must get your local SEO done effectively.
What do you think will attract your customers to your store in the first place? We talked about including your NAP but what if your customer is new to the area and they cannot locate your address accurately?
This is why just adding your address to your website is not enough.
Google Maps helps solve this problem. You just have to incorporate their map by integrating it into your local SEO strategy in an appropriate way.
To include a map to your location on your website, you can integrate and embed an iframe of the map directly onto your website. Your local customers can use this map to reach your store. Using it, customers can find your exact location without any confusion. You can add this map to the contact page of your website. Maps show precise directions to the customers. Following the instructions, your customers would not find any difficulty to reach you.
Also, the Google search engine algorithm can improve your local search rankings if you embed the right code for the map on your website.
Get your local SEO practices in the right direction to leverage significant results.
6. Relationship With Local Businesses Can Improve Your Local SEO via Backlinks
When you go to a new locality, you meet new people. You try to build relations with them, get to know everyone and look forward to establishing trust.
Why would you do this?
People often network with their local peers in order to increase trust in their local businesses and find comfort in knowing that they are in good company. Also, the people who network with other businesses can find help easier whenever they need them and vice-versa.
But, how is business networking important to SEO? Your local SEO efforts have a direct connection with building relationships with local businesses in your area. When you introduce your business to the other local businesses and get to know them, you can create relationships with them that may enable you to receive backlinks from their websites to your website.
Building local links from reputed local websites enhance your visibility in the local-3 pack. When you get backlinks to your website, Google’s algorithm for local searches considers them as something like “votes” for your website. The more the number of votes you get for your website, the more likely you will be to be featured as your location’s top 3 providers in your area of business. Link-building is at the heart of local SEO, especially when you switch from organic to local optimization tactics.
You have to establish strong relationships with local businesses to make them link back to your website. You need to prove to them that your business deserves support and that it provides quality service to customers. You can do this with the help of high-quality content, guest blogging, and social media influencers of your locality.
Giving something in exchange for backlinks also works well. You can ask for backlinks to your website while allowing them to get backlinks from you for their own website in return.
7. Create More Localized Content
To win with your local SEO strategy, create and publish localized content on your website, blog, and social media pages. As we discussed before, when you develop content specific to a location, your local customers are more likely to connect with you. Localized content allows you to build your notability in your area. So, people will start trusting your business and find your services relevant to their needs.
Now the question is what content types should you focus on?
- You can include local news in your content. Creating blog posts based on current and local news can work very well.
- Consider publishing about the local events and activities that are going on in your locality. The audience will get to know more about your business.
- If your business is engaged in charity purposes, it would be great if you record them and post them on your website, blog, and social media channels.
To extract the true potential of local SEO, focus your endeavors on a regional keyword strategy.
What is a good regional keyword strategy?
If your content lacks local keywords that your local audience is using while looking for your business, Google may not show you in the local search results. Therefore, your business’s website won’t come up in the local-3 pack. Also, it will fail to gain the required rankings as per your local SEO tactics.
To avoid it, find local keywords that suit the best for your area as well as your business. It would help to incorporate the right content on your website and, in turn, target the potential local audience for your business.
A couple of readiliy available tools from Google can help you with this. First, Google’s Keyword Planner helps you discover the most relevant keywords that are specific to your region and business. Second, Google Analytics can help you monitor the incoming traffic to your website so that you can find the high performing pages and create local content based on that.
8. Aim for Mobile-Friendly, Easy-To-Use, and Fast Loading Websites
People find picking up their smartphones and using Google search more comfortable and quick in comparison with booting a laptop and tapping around the screen to type their query.
That means that the next tip for an advanced local SEO strategy is to make your website most compatible with mobile and smartphones.
You can expect massive traffic to your website from mobile phones and tablets. In fact, more than 50% of all web traffic is done via smartphones. Given such a situation, you can imagine the consequences of not optimizing your website for mobile-friendly behavior. Of course, no one wants to lose their potential audience!
When it comes to optimizing a website for mobile search, there isn’t much to think about. Instead, you should think of a utilize a bottom-up approach. Design your website, blog, and social media pages for smartphones and then make them compatible with desktop and other platforms.
The second thing you should keep in mind is the navigation on your website. How quickly a visitor jumps from one web page to another without being struck anywhere in the middle? Look into your website page speed optimization to increase your website’s load time.
Well, this is very important because if your visitor is not able to use your website with ease, they are less likely to consider buying your products and services.
Therefore, an easy-to-use website is another key to perfecting a local SEO strategy.
Do your best to not make navigation on your website tedious for the visitors.
The next thing you should take care of is the loading time of your website. Simply put, slow websites have higher bounce rates and are less likely to keep their visitors and customers.
No one likes to wait for slow loading web pages (that takes more than a few short seconds to load). Especially, your local visitors prefer a must faster response when it comes to filtering out local results. Wasting the time of your customers can cause them to leave your site without completing any affirmative action. Also, if the web page is not able to load on time, they won’t even try to give it a second thought.
9. Win Over Social Networking Platforms
Social networking sites provide an excellent platform for businesses to showcase their products and services to their audience and build relationships with them.
While optimizing your website for local searches do not forget to share your content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These are the places where your local audiences are most active and keep hunting for exciting experiences. Therefore, you can use social media to capture new customers.
Consolidate social media content in your local SEO practices to reach your customers at the right time when they look for you. Post images, videos, stories and content alike on the social platforms where your local customers are likely to see you. When they get introduced to your products and services, prospects who are interested will comment on your posts. Be quick and sincere to respond to them with relevant offers.
Therefore, when your customers find out that you are a local business, they are more likely to contact you.
One of the ranking factors which Google considers while ranking business for local listings is prominence. The more significant esteem your business owns, the higher the position it gets on the Google search results. So, to boost up local SEO, engage with your local audience on social media platforms.
You can also link your blog posts, articles, or ebooks and whitepapers in your social media posts and vice-versa. Try to use different images or content while linking so that your followers do not get annoyed seeing the same content over and over again.
For example, you could tell a small story related to your content and link it to your website. If the viewers got to develop a curiosity for your services, they would contact you or click on your links.
Social media is the perfect place to find more user-generated content. Leverage UGC to create more relevant campaigns and copy for your organization.
10. Be More Clear and Precise With Your Titles and Meta Descriptions
Meta title and meta description tags on your web pages have a direct impact on your local SEO. Though they are technically involved in the SEO process, they play an especially important role in enhancing your local search visibility.
Meta descriptions can be used for grabbing your local audience’s attention while they preview all search listings and give you a chance to showcase a summary of your webpages to your visitors before they visit your web pages. Meta description tag consists of 160 character long narratives that give an introduction of your web page to your visitors at a glance.
With regards to search engines, meta descriptions work as snippets that search engines such as Google use to show up in the SERPs for its users. So, tweak your meta descriptions with eye-catchy content and local keywords while making sure they are relevant to that specific web page.
The same goes for page titles. The meta title tag is 60 characters long and tells people, in short, what your page is about. Optimize page titles with keywords that are relevant to local searches. Make them engaging because they create the first impression. If you miss on them, all your local SEO attempts start to seem trivial.
Do not try to stuff your keywords. Let them look natural and reflect your brand. Also, you cannot afford to create duplicates titles for any of the pages. It will only confuse people and point to unhappy visitors. Make your page titles unique and particular to the content on the page. Save yourselves from making them generic at least!
11. Use Markup Schemas to Increase Local SEO Results
Google’s search engine is speedy and effective in providing search results to its users. Google’s powerful AI, along with Google’s increasingly powerful computation power, precisely understands what the search audience is looking for.
For example, if a user searches for the address of a particular shop, Google will include the exact address and a map to the location of that shop without having the user go through any of the search results.
Also, when a user searches for the working hours of a popular company, Google’s search snippet will show the operating hours of that company.
How does this happen? How can Google provide such relevant and accurate information?
While everything we have mentioned so far shows you how you can start and grow your local SEO efforts, Schema Markups or Data Markups give you direct control over what you want search engines such as Google to include in your local business listing. Google gets these markups via a code that you can place on your website, which tells Google and other search engines a particular piece of information about your business.
So, in this case, the information that you provide via these schemas, are in the form of snippets collected by Schema.org, a vocabulary that Google uses to show the search results.
Structured markup tools can help you to provide search engines specific data about your organization, web page, events, people, products, or services. Therefore, while generating and implementing Markup Schemas and Data Markups requires a bit of technical know-how, it is the best SEO practice that you can implement to leverage local SEO and improved online visibility.
When creating your Markup Schemas, make sure you provide specific and accurate information. You should also update your schemas whenever possible to show Google that your website is well maintained and that you value the accuracy of the information that you provide your customers.
12. Optimize for voice
Voice search technology is quickly taking over the search trend.
Look into how you can implement voice search optimization for better local SEO.
Final Thoughts on Local SEO
You should now have a better understanding of what local SEO is and how you can leverage the many tools available to you to further improve your local search rankings on Google and other search engines. With enough time and by providing accurate information on your social media profiles, web pages, and business listings, you can expect to win over through your local SEO strategy. Local customers look for comfort and expect quicker responses when dealing with local providers. So you will have to provide quality and accurate information to them if you want to win the local SEO game.
When working on your local SEO, keep in mind that SEO is a long term strategy and results take time. Be present where ever they are so that when they look for you, you can grab their interest before they turn to another provider.