Semalt Explains How Local SEO Works
Local SEO is interesting when your customers come from nearby. If someone is looking for a store or service provider in your area, you should then come up. Thus, your local findability must be good.
If people don't know you, you should become the first provider that someone close to you finds after searching on Google or Bing. Local SEO marketing ensures that you are found by a potential customer.
What is Local SEO?
An example: you have a leak, but you don't know a good plumber to reach quickly. That's why you start a search on Google with the term "plumber +your place of residence". Then several plumbers from the neighbourhood come upstairs.
If you want to be found for a search that is so specific to a city, then you have to optimize your online presence with local search engine optimization.
A local search is a search via, for example, Google or Bing, with the intention of finding something in a specific place or region. So, you have a local search intent.
A local search can be done by someone from the relevant city or by someone from the other side of the country. Imagine you are going away for a weekend and looking for a good hotel in the region you want to go to, then a local search is also very relevant.
In addition, search engines like Google now also use your location to make searches as relevant as possible. Just type the word "supermarket" into Google on your phone and you will see that only nearby supermarkets are shown, without having entered your location in the search bar.
The local search results consist of two parts:
- Localized search results.
- Local 3-pack.
Google always shows the "local 3-pack" for local searches. This is a section in the SERP (search engine result page) with a map of the region you are searching in, and three companies that are relevant to you.
The local 3-pack shows the three most relevant businesses near your location. This way you can see where these companies are located and all important data about these companies are available right below the map.
The local 3-pack used to be a local 7-pack because seven results were first shown in this section of the SERP.
To appear in the local 3-pack, you must register your company and/or location with Google My Business.
Google My Business
The starting point for optimizing your local SEO is Google My Business. Without a business listing on Google, it becomes a lot harder to optimize local SEO.
Because Google increasingly wants to fulfil the visitor's needs on its platform, it will become more difficult to send people to your website. That's why all the information a potential customer needs should be immediately visible on Google.
You share this information with Google by creating a business profile in Google My Business.
Difference Between Normal SEO and Local SEO
The difference between normal SEO and local SEO is determined by the intent of the search. Does the location of the company, service or product matter? Then local results are displayed. If the location doesn't matter, focus on normal SEO.
Normal and local SEO are not mutually exclusive but complement each other. You can imagine that you would like to be found on general searches as a company, but also want to be at the top when it comes to local searches.
For whom is local SEO relevant?
Local SEO is not only important for companies with a physical business location. Most websites benefit from it because it increases your findability in an area. If you do not have a business location, but the area where you operate is limited to a certain region, it is still important to attract customers from that region.
Local search engine optimization is important for:
Companies with a physical business location
As a dentist, restaurant, locksmith or therapist, you receive customers based on location and your customer base consists of local and/or regional visitors. It is therefore important to be found in this environment.
Companies that provide products/services on location
As a contractor, cleaner or repairer, you visit people in your area to carry out your work. The area in which you operate is often limited and the customers come from a certain region. Using SEO locally is therefore important to be found by potential customers.
In principle, online companies can work throughout the country because they mainly perform their work with computers. Nevertheless, it is often important for customers to have personal contact. This builds trust and makes local customers more likely to do business with you.
Examples of these types of online companies are marketing agencies, copywriters and designers.
The importance of local SEO (trends)
Several trends are making local SEO marketing increasingly important for businesses.
Don't leave Google anymore
Google wants to optimize the results in such a way that you can find all information directly within the SERP. This reduces the need to leave Google and go to another website.
Local search results are a clear example of the information Google wants to show so that users don't leave the search engine. In the local 3-pack, you will find all the information you need to contact or visit a company. You no longer have to go to the company's website for this.
It has, therefore, become essential to optimize your business listing in Google My Business. This way you know for sure that you have a chance to be shown in the local 3-pack.
More and more local searches
According to Social Media Today, in 2019, 46% of all searches were focused on finding local information.
In addition, a Brightlocal survey shows that in 2020, 93% of all consumers searched online for a local business. Star rating and legitimacy are given in 2020 as the most important factors in assessing a company.
This means that you can no longer get out of local SEO as a company. Without a good presence on Google, you miss a lot of customers who are looking for products or services locally.
Reviews increasingly important
According to Brightlocal's research, 87% of all consumers read online reviews from local businesses in 2020. This was 81% in 2019, indicating that online reviews are becoming increasingly important.
This means that you have to show that your customers are satisfied on independent platforms. One place where you can easily show this is Google.
Your Google My Business listing will contain the reviews that people leave behind. Collecting many high scores increases the confidence of potential customers in your company.
Working on your local SEO
Google takes three factors into account when compiling local search results:
- Relevance: How well does your company match what someone is looking for?
- Distance: How far is your business from the location someone uses in the search term, or from where someone is at that moment?
- Prominence: How well-known is the company? This is mainly due to the number of online listings the company has.
By optimizing your online presence on these three components (website, business listing on Google and listings on other websites), you increase the chances of being shown by Google for relevant search terms.
If necessary, engage a search engine optimization specialist to help you with this.
Citations and Structured data
A citation (or quote) is a place on an external web page where your company is mentioned. This information includes, for example, the name of the company, telephone number, domain name, address and e-mail address. It can also simply be a mention of your company name.
It's important to build quotes. If a company is mentioned on other websites, Google sees it as a more important and reliable company.
Citations can be presented as structured (structured data) or unstructured.
- Structured citation
A structured quote is a kind of formal mention of a company. You will find all the business information Google needs within a set format.
This is done by stating the company name, address, telephone number and website on the front. On the back, this information is coded in such a way that Google knows for sure how to interpret it. This way, the information can always be displayed correctly in search engines.
Your quote is therefore structured within the code in a way requested by Google. This way mistakes are prevented.
- Unstructured citation
An unstructured quote is an informal mention of your company. They are online mentions of your company in articles, descriptions, reviews, etc.
If someone writes about your company online and mentions the company name, it is an unstructured quote. There is no special format that someone adheres to for displaying all the information perfectly. Your company simply appears in a list on the internet.
For unstructured quotes to be as valuable as possible, they must appear in places that are relevant to the industry you operate in, be locally relevant and appear on websites that have authority in your field.
Reviews say a lot about the quality of your company's products and/or services. If you receive no or only bad reviews, you will be less likely to appear in the local search results.
It is therefore important to focus on collecting good reviews with local SEO. This increases confidence in a company.
It also matters that reviews are collected as recently as possible. A good review from yesterday is worth more than a good review from a year ago.
It's important to write content that is relevant to local searches. Do you sell PVC floors in New York? Then create a page that tells the story of your PVC flooring sale in New York. This page can then be displayed to people searching for PVC floors in New York.
When creating local SEO content, it is important to consider all the SEO factors on the page. So be sure to do thorough keyword research using SEO tools. The Dedicated SEO Dashboard is the latest generation SEO tool that can help you efficiently accomplish such a task. With this tool, you will have a list of relevant local keywords, as well as all information related to each of them.
Also, don't forget to make sure that META tags, titles, URLs, images, links and text are all optimized for local search terms.
If you want to be found locally, it is important that you are mentioned by websites from that area. A link from websites or companies from the focus region to the page that must be found is very valuable.
A local backlink contributes to the reliability and relevance of the page for your local search term. When it comes to local SEO, there is nothing more powerful than a good, relevant and local website that points to your business.
Furthermore, it is important to check the quality of the backlinks, as your site may lose its value if the backlinks obtained for your site are of poor quality. Be sure to use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard to check the relevance of the backlinks you want to have.
You can think of local SEO as a flywheel. In the beginning, it takes a lot of effort to get your local listings moving. You need to create local content, collect local backlinks, get reviews, and get your business listing on Google My Business in order.
After you do this, you will attract more visitors and more customers, automatically collecting more local backlinks and more reviews. The momentum ensures that you will score better in Google and it will be easier to stay at the top.
As a company, you can no longer avoid local SEO marketing. Therefore, make sure that your SEO is well organized locally.
If you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.