With more than 1.6 billion local searches being received by Google every day, local SEO has become one of the most widely used techniques for attracting local clients.
It allows you to stay relevant for products and services needed in your area. As a business owner or junior SEO specialist, you may be wondering…where do I begin?
The following Get-Found guide is designed to help local businesses and beginner SEO professionals understand exactly what Local SEO looks like, and the tips and tools used for successful, organic results.
We will also highlight the significance of optimising your website for local searches for a better chance of brand awareness and increased profit.
How Do Search Engines Work?
For those unfamiliar with the term, a search engine is an online platform that helps people find information through specific keywords or search phrases.
They provide users with relevant information on the internet that search engines deem as the most beneficial solution for the user.
Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to improve user experience, however, this can have a negative effect on your website’s ranking performance if not considered.
In today’s society, Google and Bing are the most popular search engines. Their main focus is to provide users with the best service that can fulfil their needs.
Their aim is to understand how and what users are searching for in order for them to provide the user with reliable, high-quality and trustworthy pages.
In order to determine whether a page is relevant to a user’s search query, search engines must follow three steps. These are:
Crawling – Search engines scour the internet using programs called spiders, bots, or crawlers. This is how they determine how relevant and reliable your website is for the user. They crawl your site every few days
Indexing – Through keyword searches, websites are categorised and understood by search engines. Your content is more likely to be understood by search engines when a successful keyword strategy is implemented on your site.
Ranking – There are several factors that determine how local search results are ranked. A few examples include improving keyword density and page/site speed, creating killer content and gaining backlinks.
To provide the most relevant results, search engines aim to provide users with the information they require.
What Exactly Is Local SEO?
Local Search Engine Optimisation – is the process of optimising your website to rank highly across local searches in the attempt to target highly-qualified leads from customers nearby.
Implementing Local SEO strategies onto your website can generate more leads and increase sales through searches performed by customers in nearby locations.
To simplify, Local SEO improves search engine visibility for local businesses in specific regions.
Why Is Local SEO So Important For Local Businesses?
To fully understand the significance of local SEO, it is necessary for you to take note of the following facts.
- A Purchase Follows 28 % Of All Local Searches
- 97% Of Users Searched Online To Find A Local Business
- 78% Of Local Searches On Mobile Result In An Offline Purchase
When searching for local content, links, and citations, search engines use a variety of signals to determine the most relevant local results to provide to the user. We will dig a bit deeper into each factor as we go along.
Through Local SEO, businesses can target prospects and customers searching locally for their products and services. By doing so, competing against your local competitors can be far more achievable.
It’s a great way to stay relevant within your local community and increase your chances of becoming a well-renowned business in your area.
This will enable you to put your business on the frontline of local SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), bringing them one step closer to converting into new customers.
Who Can Benefit From Local SEO?
Local SEO can be used for a variety of businesses of all sizes looking to enhance their brand recognition. This includes hotels, dental practices, restaurants, plumbers, industrial companies, retail stores, law firms, and many more.
With that being said, Local SEO may not be as beneficial for other types of online businesses.
If you own an eCommerce store, then eCommerce SEO may be a better solution for you.
This is due to most eCommerce stores wanting to reach out to potential customers on a national or global scale.
An exception would be if you own a physical store and would like viewers to have access to your store.
Or, maybe you offer a particular in-store service such as “Click & Collect”, which enables customers to find information on your company’s location for specific reasons.
Likewise, private online sellers and businesses that don’t want to share their local information, are likely not good candidates for local SEO marketing.
First, Perform A Technical SEO Audit.
Analysing every page of your site for areas for improvement can take a lot of time.
By performing a Technical SEO audit on your website, you’re able to highlight which factors may be negatively affecting your site’s overall performance and ranking ability. This could be based on factors such as having duplicated content or coding errors on your site which may cause your business to fall behind.
Why You Should Also Perform A Local SEO Audit.
Performing a Local SEO audit can help determine marketing goals. For example, you can begin to create a content schedule based on what you wish to rank for in the near future.
You may notice that your Headings (H1’s & H2’s) have not been optimised correctly or aren’t targeting specific areas you wish to target.
Developing a short- or long-term strategy to create more opportunities for your business will help boost its online presence in the most effective way possible.
A Successful Local SEO Audit Usually Consists Of The Following:
1. Analysing Keyword Performance on SERPs
If you want to determine how your business compares to your competitors, you should start with search engine results for the terms and phrases you want people to find you for.
Research helps you identify keywords where you can establish authority and momentum for future campaigns, as well as keywords that are not beneficial.
2. Website Analysis
You must ensure that the keywords you’re already ranking for on your website are relevant to the target audience you wish to attract.
This helps to analyse both your website’s and keyword performance to ensure your website is crawlable, indexable and visible. This includes:
- Page Optimisation – Ensure Your Location Pages Have Been Optimised Correctly
- Optimising Duplicated Or Missing Headings
- Fixing Incorrect Use Of Meta Descriptions
- Adding Image Alt Texts &
- Performing An Internal Link Analysis.
3. Optimising Your Google My Business Profile
Having a Google My Business Profile can increase your chances of enhancing your online visibility and organic traffic within your local area.
It allows customers to contact you and locate your business with the use of Google Maps. It also allows buyers to leave a review based on the products and services you offer.
Let’s say you ran a plumbing service in Wirral . You would want to optimise your Google My Business profile to ensure that Google sees your services as a relevant when people search for terms like ‘local plumber Wirral’.
By optimising your GMB profile, you boost your chances of showing up in Googles ‘3 map pack’ on the SERP – An excellent way to boost leads from local potential customers.
Ensuring that your Google My Business is up-to-date is crucial for local businesses to succeed.
A Google My Business Profile audit can assist you in ensuring that the following certain components on your GMB listing are accurate and complete. Some of these components may be:
- Making Sure The Products & Services You Offer Are Up-To-Date,
- Business Information & Contact Details Are Correct,
- Location Details Are Accurate & Link To Google Maps,
- Content Such As Blogs & Photos Have Been Uploaded/Are Up-To-Date,
- Ensuring Users Have Direct Access To Your Website & Other Important Elements Of Your Online Store,
4. Local Business Listings & Citations
Citations play a huge part in local SEO. Search engines are able to identify local companies that they believe to be trustworthy and reliable through citations.
Business directories such as Brightlocal or local partner sites are important for establishing a presence in reputable local directories.
5. Backlink Analysis
The term “backlinks” refers to any hyperlinks from other websites to your website. The sources of these links remain important factors for determining the authority of a website because they lend credibility when they come from relevant, reputable websites.
Keeping track of your backlinks every six to twelve months will help you maintain a high domain authority and avoid being penalised by Google.
Local SEO Keyword Research.
In order to implement an effective local SEO strategy, you must perform a thorough, local keyword research analysis to identify the most beneficial keywords for your business.
Search engines such as Google prioritise local businesses that are able to attract visitors with the use of targeted keywords and killer content.
Performing competitive local keyword research allows you to:
- Gain A Better Understanding Of What Local Customers Are Searching For,
- Advance Your Knowledge On How To Attract Customers To Your Website,
- Launch Successful SEO Campaigns Based On What Is Being Searched,
- Grow Your Business Organically Online Without Paid Promotions, &
- Gain Trust And Authority On Local SERPs.
Let’s say that you are a dentist in Blackpool, you would want to target keywords with a high volume of searches while still being relevant to your company’s area of expertise. For example, ‘Invisalign Blackpool’ or ‘best composite bonding Blackpool’
What’s The Best Way To Conduct Local SEO Keyword Research?
You can use various SEO tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz and much more. With these, you’ll be able to gather much more data and information on particular keywords you wish to target along with their keyword difficulty and search volume.
This also tells us as SEO specialists which keywords are currently trending in your area and which are most relevant for a successful SEO campaign launch. Researching local keywords requires the following steps:
1. Recognising Core Terms.
These are keyword phrases that focus on the essentials of your business. Despite being specific, it’s broad enough to cover a wide range of more focused search terms. For example, a practice utilising local dental SEO would target the core term “dentists”.
2. Adding Keyword Modifiers.
The use of keyword modifiers can help you to narrow down the search results for your primary keyword. This is also referred to as a “Long-Tail Keyword”, most commonly known by SEO professionals to reduce a keyword’s competitiveness whilst staying visible and relevant.
Another example would be “emergency dentists” or “teeth whitening dentists”. The difficulty of a keyword reflects its organic competition.
A domain’s or page’s authority is generally calculated by taking into account its ranking in search engine results. You can optimise for more keywords when your domain authority is higher.
3. Creating Locational Content.
This method is known as local keyword ranking, which targets searched terms in specific towns, cities, regions, and even countries. Let’s use your boiler as an example.
If your boiler was to break down, you might search on Google ‘boiler repairs + location’, such as “boiler repairs Birmingham”.
Focus on creating/optimising location pages and blog posts based on locational search terms. Social Media is also a great way to reach out to your local audience depending on your type of business.
4. Identify Search Intent.
When you conduct an online search, you are trying to find something specific. This is called the Search Intent. This is what motivates someone to conduct a particular search.
As a business owner or SEO specialist, it is vital to understand the differences between specific keywords. You’re able to determine which keywords are most beneficial to your business or client.
Are There Different Types Of Search Intent?
There are four types of search intent:
Commercial – C: This is when a user intends to investigate brands or services online.
Transactional – T: When a user places an order or calls for assistance, then this is a transactional interaction.
Navigational – N: Searchers intending to find a specific site or page. Potential customers can get directed to your website by searching for the name of your brand or product.
Informational – I: Users seek information, research, or answers to questions related to their fields of interest. Ensure to provide content based on what the searcher is looking for.
After you have selected potential keyword phrases you wish to target, you will have an up-to-date, well-researched Local SEO keyword list to use in your campaign.
It is imperative that you keep your local SEO campaign updated regularly to ensure that you are not missing any opportunities to incorporate new search terms.
Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP).
In order for potential clients as well as search engines to have easy access to your website, your Name, Address and Phone Number must be consistent across all search engine platforms.
For Google to display your NAP better based on local search results, there should be HTML text on your site that can be crawled.
Registering your business to online directories is crucial to increase your business’s revenue, online traffic, brand awareness and visibility within your community and other surrounding areas.
For example, when you’re in need of a plumber, you may search for a specific keyword such as ‘plumbers in + location’.
Why Is A Business Listing Important?
Listings are a form of backlink. This is known as a link-building strategy which can be ben
eficial to your business in a number of ways. They work hand-in-hand with Local SEO.
Let’s say you’ve searched online for a specific service using a targeted keyword phrase. Search engines will present you with a list of businesses along with their reviews, access to their web pages and contact information that they believe is most relevant to your needs.
They also help boost your website’s domain authority with search engines. The more links to your site, the higher your domain authority. This will then better your chances of ranking higher than your competitors.
Google My Business is an example of a business listing.
Does Your Website Support Mobile Devices?
More than 60% of all online searches are now conducted on a mobile device. According to Nectafy, 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.
If you’re searching for a particular product or service online, before you reach for your desktop, you reach for your mobile. The importance of a strong mobile local search strategy cannot be overstated in this digital environment.
Optimising your website to meet up to customer standards will almost guarantee your business more leads if done correctly. This includes:
1. Improving User Experience: Is your website comforting to the viewer’s eyes? Is your website’s navigation system easy to navigate?
2. Enhancing Page Speed: Does your website perform faster or slower than your competitors? Do your landing pages take a long time to load?
3. Implementing Responsive Design: Does your website automatically adjust to fit the screen of a desktop, mobile or tablet?
4. Optimising Title Tags & Meta Descriptions: As over 60% of searches happen on mobile devices, are your website’s title tags and meta descriptions optimised for mobile devices as well as desktops?
Hubspot reports that “near me” searches have increased 250% on mobile since 2017. People will search for reviews, directions to your location, and contact information on your website when using it on their mobile devices.
Here Are Some SEO Tools To Be Aware Of:
SEMRush is one of the most well-known marketing tools in the SEO industry. In addition to providing domain and backlink analysis, this tool enables you to track down your competitors’ keywords and find new opportunities for ranking.
SEO professionals around the world also use this tool to analyse a client’s overall website performance.
To simplify, SEMRush is an all-in-one marketing tool that can not be overlooked. All of the features used provided by SEMRush are guaranteed to bring you outstanding results that will allow you to monitor and achieve your marketing goals.
2. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is another marketing tool that is known to be quite useful, mainly used by advanced SEO specialists.
Screaming Frog is a desktop program which crawls and analyses Headings, website links, images, coding errors, URL infrastructure, CSS, script, duplicated content, meta descriptions and other elements of a website from an SEO perspective.
3. Google Analytics
This free web analytics service provides statistics and basic tools for SEO and marketing purposes. With Google Analytics, you can leverage your insights to drive business results with advertising and publisher products.
One of the most reliable marketing tools in today’s market is Google Analytics, thanks to its easy access to specific elements of a website such as its conversion rate, organic page views/sessions and much more.
4. Google Search Console
Business owners can use Google Search Console to monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot their site’s presence in Google Search results.
In addition to providing you with information on your website’s ranking in Google SERPs, Google Search Console also helps you optimise for better visibility in Google search results.
New websites can submit web pages to be indexed by search engines using this feature. Use this tool to analyse your site’s clicks and impressions across SERPs.
5. Agency Analytics
Make your life easier with the help of Agency Analytics. This amazing software program enables SEO professionals to monitor numerous accounts simultaneously, along with easy access to certain elements of their websites for analytical purposes.
You are able to easily track down keywords and how well they are ranking across search engines such as Google and Bing, along with a website’s overall performance.
Keeping clients informed about their website’s performance is vital to them. The Agency Analytics package provides you with all the components needed to provide your clients with a comprehensive report on their site’s performance.
Boost Your Business’s Growth With Local SEO!
Make your business more discoverable to customers with Local SEO.
It’s one thing to have an online presence, but if your website has not been optimised for local searchers, it will be harder for you to build a trusted reputation with potential buyers in your local area.
In your quest to gain online visibility and brand awareness, we hope you will find this article helpful.
If you are looking for specialists to do the work and need a trustworthy local SEO agency to partner with, book a FREE consultation with the Get-Found team today!