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What is Local SEO & Local SEO Tips for Beginners
Published on November 16, 2021
SEO is a vital part of your business’s digital marketing efforts. It is the process of optimizing your website and content connected with it to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). When this happens, you get more organic traffic, leads, and sales without needing to advertise.
SEO helps companies, both small and large reach their customers at the right time when they are looking for a certain service or product. If your website ranks higher than your competitor’s sites, you are likely to get more business.
As simple as SEO sounds, it can become quite tricky for anyone who is new to the world of digital marketing. However, if you’re looking for ways to increase traffic and improve your online presence in your specific location, this article is perfect.
This simple guide to Local SEO will give you tips and tricks that work.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO can be defined as a method of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher on localized search engine results pages (SERPs). This SERP optimization is based on several factors, such as the geographical location and language of the person searching for your products or services, proximity to them using their search engine location setting, and even time of day.
For example, if you’re looking up a dry cleaner on Google Maps during lunchtime, then some businesses closer to you would be displayed first than those who aren’t as close by.
This is why you should pay attention to the keywords and phrases that your customers use when looking for certain products or services.
How Does Local SEO work?
So, now that we know the basics of what local SEO is let’s dive into how it actually works. You can think of local SEO as an advanced version of traditional SEO (Search Engine Optimization). With traditional SEO, marketers try to make their website rank higher in all search results. However, with local SEO, businesses concentrate on ranking higher only on localized SERPs. These are search engines like Google Maps, Yelp!, FourSquare, etc.
To make things clearer, let’s look at this example:
You own a business, and you sell handbags.
Let’s say someone is searching for “handbags” on Google at night (when most people use the internet), and they are in London. The results will show different websites depending on their geographical location, search history, and the time at which they are searching. For example, if it’s London and it’s around 8 pm, then search results will show websites from companies with a physical store in London only.
Another critical factor among local SERPs is your customer’s search history. For example, let’s assume someone living in New York City regularly searches for “NYC Bag Company” whenever they want a new handbag. The results will show that person specific websites related to the search history of that customer only, which means that person will be shown web pages from businesses that have a physical store in New York City.
So, harnessing this method can give you a huge benefit over your competitors.
What are the Benefits of Local SEO?
There are many benefits to doing local SEO. Some of them include:
More targeted traffic – You’ll get more customers who are closer to your store physically or who have a similar search history.
You can check your rankings in real-time, unlike traditional SEO, which takes months to see results.
You can track your business analytics easily – You can set up goals for your website, view reports on user behavior, and check which keywords work best for you.
You can use other tools – There are several SEO tools available to help you with local SEO, like Google My Business that lets you manage your business on Google search.
You can easily monitor your competition – There are tools available to help you track and view information about other companies in a given niche.
How Do I Know if My Website Is Ready for Local SEO?
The first thing you should do is check if your website is ready for local SEO. Here are a few steps to take:
Make sure that your business and all of its pertinent information (address, phone number, etc.) are listed on the top pages of your site. Avoid having this info on just one page while leaving other important pages without it.
Get a Google My Business account (if you don’t already have one). This lets you establish yourself as an authority through verified information like hours of operation, contact number, and photos. Basically, everything that customers will need to know about your store/business to get in touch with you.
Create unique citations across the web – make sure that your business name and contact info are listed with consistent NAP (name, address, and phone numbers) across different sites.
Optimize your site with geo-specific keywords – make sure that at least a few of the most critical pages on your website have content filled with local keywords. This will help you rank higher in localized SERPs.
Get reviews from past customers – these directly impact your ranking in SERPs, so ask clients to leave a review every time they visit or buy something from you.
Make use of Google Analytics – this is a powerful tool for tracking demographics and traffic data. It can be used to track customer behavior on your site, which helps create better-optimized content for user engagement.
Go mobile – Google ranks sites that view well on mobile devices higher than those that do not. To check this, access your site using a smartphone and see what happens when you try to scroll down or click on certain links/pages.
If your website is ready for local SEO, the next step would be to get started. There are many strategies to choose from, but they all require a combination of two major things: building a local search engine optimization campaign and creating unique content for users in different geographical locations.
Local SEO Tips for Beginners
Submit Your Website to Google
Don’t forget to submit your site to Google. All it takes is a few minutes of your time, and you don’t have to pay anything. You can do this by simply typing “site:mywebsite.com” in the search bar followed by an address or place name relevant to what your website is about. For example, if you’re running a blog about New York City, just type “site:myblog.com New York City.” If results appear, then you need to fill out a simple form that asks for specific details like the official title of your business, its URL, contact number, business hours, among others. Submit the form, and once approved (which should not take more than 3 days), you’ll be able to see your official listing in Google search results.
Geo-targeting is one of the best local SEO strategies out there because it lets you do simple but significant things like show up in localized SERPs and get recommendations from Google based on where you are located. To get started, sign up for a Google My Business account (the process is pretty quick and easy). Once approved, you can specify your location, which will help users find information about your business near their area without entering specific keywords. You should also enable other features like store hours, customer support contacts, photos, or videos that give potential customers more reason to visit/call your place of business.
Localize Your Keywords
Long-tail keywords are usually more effective than general ones, so you should try to use geo-specific information in your content. For example, instead of just using the keyword “sugar baby” in your content that would be relevant to all kinds of businesses, try to combine it with words like “Sugar Baby Tampa” or something specific to your location. This lets Google know that your site contains information that people will find useful when they’re looking for (in this case) services in Tampa.
Not all keywords are created equal, so you have to take time, plan your strategy well and perform extensive research before settling on one. However, you can find lots of geo-specific data by using keyword tools like the Google Keyword Planner, which is entirely free to use.
Localized Content Creation
Having a blog is one of the best local SEO strategies because it provides rich and unique content for every geo-location your business targets. Since Google ranks sites higher when they have lots of information on them, more pages equal bigger chances to rank better in SERPs. Not only will this help get people familiar with your brand, but it will also increase traffic which is beneficial even if you don’t sell anything online.
I’m not saying that having more than 100 or 200 blog posts is enough to beat out big brands and companies who offer professional services, but creating unique content for different areas might just be the push your website needs to get noticed by more local customers/clients which could eventually lead to conversions.
Optimize your Google My Business Listing
When it comes to local SEO, you need to remember that people mostly rely on search engines when they’re looking for services in their area. So, if your Google My Business listing is not optimized properly, you will miss out on lots of opportunities that might translate to conversions.
Here’s what you should include:
A complete and accurate business address (include details like zip code or city)
An official phone number with the correct extension (this is critical because most users tend to call businesses instead of sending emails).
A detailed description of your business along with its official logo(s)
There are many other things that you can do to optimize your Google My Business page, but these are some of the major ones that can help your site appear higher in results. As time passes, you’ll figure out which additional steps are necessary to take for your website to remain competitive.
In a world where everyone uses search engines to buy/sell, finding new customers or clients for your local business might be very challenging. Fortunately, if you’re willing to put in the work and effort, there are many ways to help give your site a chance to rank higher on SERPs, which will eventually lead to more conversions.