Reputation Defenders

What is local SEO?

What is local SEO?
Barbara Worley

13 min

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What is local SEO?

Local SEO optimizes your business listings in the Local Search Results Pages (LSRP). These are the little boxes that appear next to map searches and when someone types in a location like "coffee shop near me."

Google's mission is to provide the most relevant information to people based on what they're searching for. When you type in a location into Google Maps, you want to find the closest coffee shops, restaurants, gas stations, etc. You want to avoid seeing a bunch of national chains because they need to be relevant to where you live.

So how do we ensure our businesses are showing up in the LSRP? We optimize our business listings.

We use keywords and phrases that describe our business, along with images, phone numbers, hours of operation, addresses, reviews, ratings, social media profiles, and more.

The goal is to help Google understand that your business exists within a certain radius of a particular place. This helps us appear more frequently in the LSRP.

Why Local Search Is Important

Local search is still very much alive and well. 76% of people who conduct a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hours, and 28% of these searches result in a purchase, according to Google. And while many people think of local search as something they do once a month or less often, a recent study showed that 61% of consumers say they use local search daily.

Google says that 30% of all searches it processes are about location, and another recent study found that 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses during a local search. So what does all this mean? Local search is here to stay, and you better optimize your site for local search.

How Google Determines Local Ranking

Google doesn't reveal exactly how it determines where you appear in local searches, but we know some things. There are three main categories of local rankings factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. These are based on the quality of the information in the listing itself, the proximity of the location to the searcher, and whether the listing is prominent enough to catch someone's eye.

  • Relevance: This category includes things like the accuracy of the address, the number of reviews, and the amount of information displayed in the listing.
  • Distance: This category measures the physical distance between the location and the searcher. If you're looking for a restaurant near me, you want to see restaurants nearby.
  • Prominence: This category looks at how visible the listing is on the map and how many people have clicked on it. You might think that having a lot of reviews would help your chances of showing up in local listings, but that is only sometimes true. Sometimes, a high volume of reviews could indicate spammy behavior.

Improving Your Local Search Presence

As consumers become increasingly mobile, it's no surprise that local searches are becoming more important for businesses of all sizes. To compete effectively in local search rankings, you must understand how local search works and what factors influence local search performance.

In 'Local SEO: The Definitive Guide to Improve YourLocalSearch Rankings,' you'll discover:

  • What local search is and how it differs from traditional online search.
  • Local search is critical for small businesses, franchisees, retailers, and others serving local customers.
  • The top local ranking signals that matter most include location, reviews, citations, and social media presence.
  • How to create a winning local SEO strategy.
  • Tips and a process for evaluating the competition in local search.

What are the benefits of local SEO?

Local SEO marketing raises visibility within local search results. This makes it easier for potential customers to find businesses near them. It helps increase the number of website visitors and the likelihood of conversion.

The main benefit of local SEO is that it allows you to target specific areas. You can use location targeting to show relevant information to searchers based on where they live. For example, if someone searches for "restaurants in New York City," you might display a list of restaurants near Times Square. If they're looking for a place to eat in London, you could show listings for nearby pubs.

You can also include reviews, ratings, and photos to make your listing stand out. And because you're showing up in local search results, you'll likely receive more clicks and visits.

1. Reach More People

More exposure in the local search results increases the likelihood of someone seeing your listing and clicking through to your site. Once there, they may choose to contact you or visit your location.

2. Drive More Conversions

To get more visitors to your website, improve search engine visibility. More visits mean more opportunities for conversion.

Because online shoppers can often find the products they want within the search results, most usually wait to visit websites.

As you can tell from the image above, a user can get directions to the location of interest, view its opening hours, and even make a reservation directly through Google Search.

3. Enhance Your Reputation

Whether your company is small or large, a good online presence is essential if you want to succeed. Local SEO helps you to develop a positive public image.

Acquiring new online review websites is one of the most effective ways to improve your online presence. It's also a proven way to boost your local SEO rankings.

Our guide to Google business reviews explains why they're important and gives some helpful advice on how to get more of them.

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing because it allows businesses to target customers within specific locations. Local SEO helps companies reach potential clients and increase sales.

Using multiple channels is the best way to optimize your local presence online. You can start by optimizing your listing on Google My Business. This ensures that people find your business easily. Then, add reviews and photos to make sure your business stands out. Finally, connect your social media accounts to your website.

Managing and Optimizing Your Business Profile

Setting up a Business Profile is one of the most important parts of any successful local SEO campaign. If the business has yet to claim its free Business Profile, it will be impossible to include it in the Local Pack, the Local Finder, or Google Maps.

Once the profile is set up, it needs to be optimized. This includes adding photos and writing a keywording-optimized business description. Moving forward, ongoing monitoring of your profile and optimization tasks will be needed to keep the information updated and add new photos and videos.

Developing Your Reputation

Reputation management is one of the most important components of a successful local SEO campaign. It's often overlooked because it seems like something that happens automatically once you start getting positive feedback about your business. But, while it's true that many businesses can build up a solid reputation over time, there are still plenty of opportunities to improve your standing.

In particular, earning and maintaining high ratings on review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business is critical. These platforms provide a great way to show potential customers what others think about your business, and they're also useful tools for building trust and credibility among current customers.

The best part is that it doesn't take much effort to do well here. You must deliver exceptional service, respond quickly to negative reviews, and ensure your employees are doing the same thing.

Optimizing Your Website

Local search algorithms are becoming increasingly important. You must optimize your site for the local search algorithm to rank well for local queries. This includes creating valuable content, building internal links, having a mobile responsive design, optimizing image and content metadata, and ensuring your images are optimized for Google Maps.

Creating Valuable Content

Local SEO requires creating great content that is useful and interesting to your target audience. You don't necessarily need to write long articles about how to fix your car; rather, focus on providing information that solves problems or helps people. For example, if you're a plumber, you could provide helpful tips on unclogging drains without calling a professional. Or, if you run a restaurant, you might post recipes for delicious dishes that are easy to make at home.

You can use tools like Buzzsumo and SimilarWeb to find out what types of content perform well online. Once you've identified topics that interest your audience, it's important to do keyword research to determine which keywords best describe those topics. Then, craft your content around those keywords.

Building Internal Links

Internal linking is a great way to improve the performance of your sites. This is because it helps Google understand your site better, making it easier for Google to represent your site in the local search results. However, building internal links can take time and effort. You'll often have to choose whether to build links within your site or externally.

There are some things you can do to ensure that you're creating the best possible internal links. For example, you should avoid duplicating content across multiple pages; rather, focus on providing visitors with useful information. Also, remember the importance of ensuring that each link points to something relevant. Finally, remember that the quality of your links is just as important as how many you add.

Mobile Responsiveness

Google rolled out the Page Experience Update in January 2020, which includes several changes to improve the overall user experience. One of those changes is the consideration of several aspects related to the user experience. This includes how well the page loads, whether it uses JavaScript, and what type of device the visitor is viewing the page on.

The Page Experience Score is based on these metrics and provides a visual indication of how well a page performs. You can find this information in the report if you want to know exactly why your page received a certain score.

Optimizing Image and Content Metadata

Images are one of the most important parts of your online presence. They help to convey information about your brand, products, and services. In addition, images are key in driving traffic to your website. So it's essential to ensure that your images are optimized for search and usability.

The best way to do this is to use image optimization tools like Canva. These allow you to create beautiful images quickly and easily while ensuring they're ready for upload. Once uploaded, you can add descriptive metadata to each image, including keywords, alt text, captions, and copyright information.

You can also take advantage of free stock photography sites like Pixabay.com and Unsplash.com to find high-quality photos already optimized for search.

Providing a Positive User Experience

A recent study found that providing a positive user experience is one of the most important things businesses can do to improve their online presence. It ranked above even having a great product or offering excellent customer service. A negative user experience could mean losing customers and revenue, while a positive one could mean gaining loyal customers and increasing sales.

The study looked at how different types of companies performed regarding user experience. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are known for creating products that people love. Still, the study showed that those companies could have performed better in user experience than others. For instance, Amazon had a high score for overall user experience, but it scored low in terms of ease of use and navigation.

Amazon's success is large because it offers a wide range of products and services. However, the study showed that when it came to user experience, Amazon could have done better than some of its competitors.

Amazon should still change how it does business. Instead, it highlights the importance of improving the user experience on every level. It's about ensuring that your website is easy to navigate, provides relevant information, and makes it easy for visitors to buy whatever they want.

Building Local Citations

Local citations are mentions of your brand name, address, phone numbers, and website (NAPI) on third-party websites like review platforms and business directories – where people learn about businesses and make decisions. These include online directories, social media networks, blogs, forums, and even apps.

These citations help Google verify certain details about the business, including location, contact information, and operating hours. They also allow Google to display relevant information about your business, such as photos, ratings, reviews, and maps.

In addition to helping Google verify the accuracy of your business data, you can also get a link to your site from these listings. A link from a reputable source can increase your domain authority, improve your rankings, and ultimately lead to more customers.

Monitoring Your Competitive Search Landscape

Keeping an eye on your competitors helps you understand what they're doing well and whether you want to change your strategy. Focusing on the kind of content your competitor creates, the keywords they target, and where they're getting their backlinks from will give you insight into how they rank organically.

You can use several tools to monitor your competitive landscape. You can use a Keyword tool to see what terms your competitors are targeting and how many times they've been cited in local news articles. This information can help determine whether you need to add those terms to your site. You can also use a tool to receive notifications whenever one of your competitors gets a citation.

Monitoring and Exploiting Changes in Google

Google tweaks its search algorithms regularly, sometimes without any official announcement. This constant flux can make it difficult to keep up with what's happening, especially since many different signals could indicate an update.

One way to monitor fluctuations in rankings is to look at how much traffic flows into a site over time. If one day sees a dramatic drop in traffic compared to previous days, that could mean that something big happened. You can do this manually by checking out Alexa data or automating the process with tools like LocalRank Flux.

LocalRank Flux is a browser extension that monitors the local search market and alerts you whenever there is a significant fluctuation in rankings. When it detects a shift, it sends you a notification via email. In addition to monitoring fluctuations in rankings, it also provides insight into the reasons behind those shifts. For example, if there is a sudden drop in traffic, chances are good that Google will roll out a major algorithmic update.

Local Link Building

The importance of local link-building cannot be overstated. Local SEO is about providing relevant information to searchers, and having high-quality links pointing to your site is a great way to do that. To improve your local rankings, starting with basic research into what your competition is doing is important. You'll want to know how they acquire links and why those links work for them. Once you've identified a few potential sources of links, it's time to go ahead and try to acquire them. Here are three ways to start:

1. Reach Out to Other Businesses Nearby

One of the easiest places to start is reaching out to other businesses near yours. Find out who they're linking to, and ask if you can add them to your list. This is a great way to connect with people within your industry, and it's also a great opportunity to generate some solid backlinks.

2. Check Where Your Competitors Are Getting Their Links From

Once you know where your competitors are getting their links from, it's time to start thinking about creating similar content. Make sure you're creating unique content that provides value to your audience and adding links to reputable sites. When you're ready to publish your content, include a link to your website within your article.

3. Create Citations

Citations are another great way to build links. They're like footnotes but don't require you to cite anything. Instead, you include a hyperlink to a webpage that contains useful information about your business. For example, if you run a restaurant, you could write a blog post about the best dishes to order and then include a link to each dish on your menu.

Spam Fighting

Google is constantly updating its algorithms to ensure people get the best possible experience while searching for products and services online. One of those changes involves fighting against "spam," or low-quality listings that don't provide accurate information about a business.

If you suspect a business is engaging in spammy behavior, there are several ways to combat it. First, you can report the site to Google directly. You'll find the link under the "Report Spam" button on the left side of the search bar.

You can also use Google My Business to report a specific listing. Finally, you can take advantage of Google's free tools to help you improve your local presence. These include Local Finder, Maps, and Places. All three offer features that show how your business ranks compared to others nearby.

Local SEO Reporting

If you work with local clients, it's important to know exactly where you stand. You'll want to ensure that you're providing the best possible information to your clients about your efforts so that they feel confident in your ability to deliver on your promises.

In addition to tracking your performance against your set objectives, you'll also want to provide regular status updates to your clients. These reports can show them just how far along you've gotten towards achieving your goals and give them insight into how much work needs to be done.

The most common type of report that you'll want to create involves collecting data from several sources. For example, you could use Google Analytics to collect data about your site's visitors. At the same time, HubSpot's Marketing Automation tool can tell you how many people visited your site via email marketing campaigns.

Once you have all the data collected, it's time to start analyzing it. Start by looking at the overall picture. What do you see? How does your site compare to others in your niche? Are there any trends that you notice?

Next, drill down into each piece of data. Look at the numbers individually and figure out why certain things happened. Was it because of something you did? Or was it because of something else entirely?

Finally, look at the big picture again. What conclusions can you draw from all of the data that you gathered? Can you identify any patterns? Do you notice anything interesting?

Getting Started with Local SEO

Local SEO is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing today. It's often referred to as the foundation of a successful online presence. But what exactly does it mean? And how do businesses use it to grow their brand?

This guide will cover everything you need to know about local SEO—from understanding the basics to identifying opportunities and implementing strategies to improve your rankings. We'll even show you how to measure success and identify areas where you could improve.

Updated

November 21, 2022

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