A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO – The Basics

If you’ve stumbled on this page in the hopes of learning more about local SEO and local search marketing, then congratulations! You found the right

In the beginning of this guide, you’ll learn what’s fundamentally important to know when trying to rank your business in local search. By the end of this, you will better know how to optimize your business for local search so that consumers can find and buy your products and services.

Optimizing your Local SEO can mean more traffic, leads, and conversions since the strategy is better for attracting your base of clients in a region. Think of this targeted strategy as a way to help you to compete more effectively against larger national brands that have unlimited resources to spend. Local SEO can make up for your company’s lack of brand recognition. All small businesses focus on a specific niche, so the best way to attract customers.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the process of improving search engine visibility for local businesses, primarily those with a physical presence. Local SEO best practices can help draw in customers searching for nearby businesses.

For example, Local SEO is what helps businesses surface in Maps or search results engine pages(SERP) when someone out and about on their phone types in ‘best pizza New York’ or ‘Pizza near me.

If you want more people to visit your town or city, it’s worth carefully optimizing all of your local SEO.

Local SEO might sound complicated, but at its core, it’s just another name for the tactics that improve sales through building local visibility.

To boost online visibility, there are several tried-and-true tactics that you should be aware of as a business owner. In general we want to show Google that your company is worthy of appearing at the top of search results for certain terms and searches.

1. Optimize for Google My Business.

As the most popular search engine, Google My Business is a tool to help Google provide accurate information for people searching in your area. 

To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to:

  • Create and verify a Google My Business(GMB) page
  • Use Google Posts within your account
  • Encourage your good customers to share reviews online
  • Respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”

To rank highly in local search, you need to be authenticated by Google. Important: Google can verify your business only if they have a prior interaction with it.

Not only will this boost your rankings, but you’ll also provide a better customer experience by including contact information and updating operating hours. Finding current information is important to consumers, now more than ever before as 2020 changes expectations about shopping behavior and how business operates.

2. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business.

Google’s going to want to know about you before they show your site up in the rankings.

Now that you have created a user-friendly Google My Business page for your business, make sure to share it on various social media sites so that both search engine users as well as those who use social media will learn about the company.

3. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online.

Potential customers are not the only ones who need to find you online. Search engines such as Google need to rank your site higher in response to searches so potential shoppers can easily find and visit your store. To do this, make sure that a crawlable HTML version of your NAP(Name, Address and Phone Number) is included on your store’s website with minimal links back for tracking purposes

Your phone number and address could also be included within the web page code — text that isn’t contained in an image file. A common place for the NAP is found on the footer of a web page, but it can also appear at other points on various pages. 

4. Optimize online directories and citations.

These four map data aggregators provide a large amount of the map data for Apple, YELP, Bing and Google.

Consistency matters: verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators.

Failing to include a suite number, misspelled words or inaccurate phone numbers can create challenges for business owners.

If you want your business to show up in search engines, it’s important that all information about your company is present online.

Make sure to remove any duplicate listings you find. For instance, a Chambers of Commerce membership might be appealing for potential clients looking in your area.

5. Perform a local SEO audit.

Once you have the fundamentals down, it may be tempting to put the brakes on your SEO process. But before doing so or simply launching changes and seeing which work out, consider a comprehensive audit of your website’s standing to see what improvements you must work on. One way to perform this local SEO audit is by considering the following:

  • Google My Business Audit – Is the information on your Google My Business accurate?
  • Google Search Console Audit – Does your site have any errors that would hinder crawling or indexing?
  • On-Page SEO Audit –Is your site optimized for all on-page SEO elements that can help ranking?
  • Citation Audit – Have all of your business citations been verified in the top directories?
  • Competitor Analysis – What do your customers need to find you? What features on your site make it different from everyone else’s?
  • Website Audit – How is the performance of your website?

6. Improve your internal linking structure.

Now that we’ve discussed external links, let’s talk about internal linking structure. 

The search engine crawls your site and looks at all the links on it which can both help and hurt your website rank depending on how well linked you are internally. You want to include various anchor texts in blog post titles, button text for images throughout the interlinking. 

Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:

  • Supports website navigation
  • Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
  • Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages

7. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.

When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Every time you create a piece of content, make sure to optimize it for SEO by using keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description and body. Having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content? Try highlighting customer success stories or case studies!

8. Add location pages to your website.

If you have more than one brick and mortar location, create a location page for each one. This will allow readers to find out about your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, tips on parking nearby and customer testimonials.

When it comes to content, you’re going to want to avoid duplicating what’s already on your main company web page. For local businesses, adding a locally descriptive About Us page is essential because you’ll take one step closer toward earning the trust of potential customers. As for more general information about your business, or other location pages without a detailed

9. Create local content.

Google is getting smarter, which means that you have to write for your readers, not search engines. General topics will attract more people but sometimes it is more important to be specific and write about things happening in your area or organization so that potential clients can find you.

The best way to claim local supremacy in your niche is by communicating the latest industry events and news. Dedicate a space on your blog for roundup posts from local conferences about what’s happening in your area. Over time, you’ll build credibility with potential customers as an expert who stands behind their products or services 100%.

10. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Local search and mobile search are both popular; more than half of Google searches are performed via smartphones.

For many people, looking up reviews, finding directions to your location, or searching for your contact information are the most common ways that they will use your site when they’re on a mobile device. In fact, “near me” searches on mobile have increased 250% since 2017 (Think With Google).

A mobile-friendly website is easy to explore and efficient for customers.

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