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What is Local SEO and how does it work?

You must consider local search engine optimization (SEO) if you want to increase your online visibility to nearby customers. It is obvious that enhancing your local search presence could be advantageous for your company given that local searches account for 46% of all Google searches.

What is Local SEO and how does it work?

Through the use of local SEO, local businesses can increase their visibility in Google’s local search results. Businesses that want to be found online by local customers more readily engage in it. You should be familiar with local search marketing if you want to market your goods or services to customers in a specific town or city. .

To perform SEO for a local business, you’ll take a number of steps to improve local search visibility. The following are examples of best practices:

  • Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) 
  • Reputation management
  • Website optimization
  • Citation building
  • Adapting to Google search changes
  • Local link building
  • Spam fighting

If done correctly, this kind of SEO enables a local company to show up more prominently in the Local Pack, the Local Finder, the localized organic results, and on Google Maps.

Local Pack

On a local search’s search engine results page (SERP), the Local Pack is displayed at the top. Listings are displayed next to a map that has pins indicating each business’ location.

Being featured in Google’s Local Pack is highly beneficial. These three top-ranking results naturally enjoy the most clicks, which can lead to higher sales and profits.

Results from the Local Pack are based on the Business Profile rather than the company’s own website. To rank in this position, you must have a properly setup and optimized business profile.

Local Finder

The Local Finder is a long list of Business Profiles for nearby companies that are relevant to the search.

The Local Finder will open when you click the “More places” button at the bottom of the Local Pack:

Localized Organic Results

The localized organic results appear below the Local Pack:

The local search algorithm determines the listing order based on a number of ranking factors, such as on-page optimization, customer reviews, and inbound links.

Google Maps

You’ll see a much longer list of local businesses on Google Maps.

Results appear in a list on the left of the page with business locations displayed on a map to the right:

To explore different areas, you can move the map around and use the “search this area” feature.

What are the benefits of local SEO?

Increased visibility in local search results is a result of local SEO marketing. Therefore, if you want to expand your clientele in your neighborhood, draw more foot traffic, increase conversions, enhance your reputation, and expand your business, it can be helpful.

1. Reach More People

More people are probably to find your business if it has better visibility in local search results. From here, the searcher might visit your website, give you a call, or make the decision to come into your store in person.

2. Drive More Conversions

Taking steps to improve search visibility will inevitably result in more people visiting your company’s website—and more web traffic can lead to more conversions (such as sales, subscriptions, or service inquiries).

Online users won’t always need to visit your website because they can frequently find the information they need in the search results.

A searcher can call the company and get driving directions, as shown in the image below, all without ever leaving Google Search. In addition, they can view information about the business, such as its opening hours.

3. Enhance Your Reputation

Having a good reputation is necessary for long-term success in any type of business. You can build a favorable public image by engaging in local search marketing.

One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining a positive online reputation is consistently acquiring new reviews, as they are known to influence consumer choice. This is a win-win situation because a consistent influx of new reviews is also a recognized local SEO ranking factor.

More details on the advantages of reviews are available in our guide to Google Business Reviews, which also offers advice on how to obtain more of them.

How does local SEO work?

To improve your local search visibility, you need to carry out a series of marketing activities regularly.

Managing and Optimizing Your Business Profile

Any effective local SEO strategy must include the creation of a Business Profile. It won’t be possible for the company to appear in the Local Pack, Local Finder, or Google Maps if its free Business Profile hasn’t been claimed.

Initial profile optimization tasks, like adding photos and creating a keyword-optimized business description, need to be finished once the profile has been created.

Going forward, regular optimization tasks and ongoing GBP monitoring will be needed:

  • Keeping information up to date
  • Adding new photos and videos
  • Sharing regular Google Posts
  • Asking and responding to GBP Q&A
  • Requesting and responding to Google reviews

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Developing Your Reputation

As we have just seen, reputation management is a key component of a strong local SEO strategy. This is largely achieved through earning reviews and expressing your brand personality online, such as through your social media activity and email marketing.

When it comes to earning reviews, this starts with consistently delivering excellent customer service. If you know that you don’t truly deserve five-star reviews, then you shouldn’t expect them!

Your social media and email marketing activities also power your brand reputation. Make sure your brand and your message are always front and center, and that you maintain a professional but friendly tone when interacting with your online community.

Optimizing Your Website

It’s crucial to make your website local search algorithm-friendly. You’ll need to in order to:

  • Create valuable content
  • Build internal links
  • Have a mobile responsive design;
  • Optimize image and content metadata; and
  • Provide a positive user experience.
Creating Valuable Content

Local SEO is heavily dependent on the creation of relevant, high-quality content for your website. Your content can be presented in a variety of ways, including blog posts, movies, podcasts, animated gifs, and more. It should be beneficial to your audience, so you should conduct some keyword research and be aware of what they need from you before writing anything.

Another factor in local search ranking that can be improved with quality content is the creation of inbound links to your website.

Building Internal Links

A straightforward but effective action that is all too often overlooked is creating internal links throughout your website. Links that lead from one section of your website to another are referred to as internal links. They make it simpler for Google to understand your website, which makes it simpler for Google to accurately represent your website in the local search results pages.

Make certain that each internal link you add has appropriate anchor text and leads to a relevant page on your website.

Mobile Responsiveness

A mobile responsive site is one that looks good and works perfectly across all screen sizes, including smaller cell phones. 

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check how responsive your site is on mobile.

In 2021, Google rolled out the page experience update, which considers a number of factors relating to the user experience. Site owners should check their ‘page experience score’ within Google Search Console. An important aspect of this update is Core Web Vitals, and this should be prioritized when considering mobile responsiveness. 

Optimizing Image and Content Metadata

Using attractive images makes your website visually appealing. As well as choosing high-quality, relevant images, you should always optimize your images for search.

Image optimization involves using keywords in the file name, as well as adding helpful alt text and a description—this is great for search discoverability and helps with web accessibility. You’ll also want to make sure your images are the optimum size and format to avoid slowing your website down.

Content metadata helps to explain your site content to the search engines. This involves the use of attributes such as title tags and meta descriptions.

It’s a wise idea to spend some time going through your website to make sure you’ve optimized your images and your content.

Providing a Positive User Experience

Providing a positive user experience should be at the heart of everything you do on your website. This isn’t just beneficial to your local SEO campaign. If someone can’t find what they’re looking for on your site because the layout is confusing, for example, they’re almost certain to return to the search results and visit a competitor instead. 

Building Local Citations

Local citations are mentions of your business name, address, phone number, and website (NAPW) on third-party sites such as review platforms and business directories. 

In addition to helping Google verify certain details about your business, you may also get a potentially beneficial backlink to further boost your local search engine visibility.

Local citations can drive more traffic to your business too. As you can see in the image below, these listings provide a range of useful information, such as reviews, driving directions, opening hours, and images. This helps a business to create a more comprehensive profile and helps a searcher find the best fit.