What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for local search. This includes not only traditional organic listings like Google, Bing and Yahoo! Local, but also local social media services, local review sites, mobile apps, maps and more.
Google My Business Optimization is a critical part of any local SEO campaign. If you want your real estate SEO to appear in local search results, you’ll need the 20-30 character title, complete description and three accurate, high quality photos. Google will not list your business if it doesn’t meet their criteria.
Local SEO also includes social media optimization (SMO). Google and Bing use social media profiles as a way of determining what your business is about. You’ll need to populate those profiles with information that will help search engines understand your business and determine its relevance.
Since local SEO is such an important part of online marketing, one of the fastest growing areas for local SEO companies is citation building. This is because many businesses either don’t know or forget to submit their website and information to major sites like Yellowpages, Foursquare and Yelp. If you don’t do this, it’s not going to show up in local search results. By submitting your site properly, you will improve the chances that it will appear on these listing pages organically. In addition to improving overall visibility, citation building can also help local SEO companies strengthen brand authority, boosting the site’s trustworthiness.
Since Google began to give priority to its own services above all others in search results, businesses have had to change their approach when it comes to local ranking factors. There are hundreds of signals that Google uses. Some are easy for local SEO companies to implement into traditional organic listings, while others require more aggressive approaches with mobile optimization and other tactics that are specifically aimed at the location where the business is physically located. The good news is that success in local rankings depends on a variety of different things instead of just one or two major criteria. While there is still much debate about what works best, it’s important for small businesses in particular to make sure they showcase their local presence on multiple platforms.
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to find businesses in their area. Google estimates that more searches take place on mobile devices than on PCs, and about 20% of those searches are for local information like “coffee shops nearby.” If your website isn’t optimized for local search results at the very least, you’re losing out on potential customers. Beyond that, it’s also critical to invest in plugins or extensions that make it easy for users to access your website via smartphone or tablet since these devices can affect not just local search results but organic rankings as well. Almost 10% of all organic clicks come from smartphones and tablets even though they account for just 2% of views on desktop computers according to a study by eMarkerter. Optimizing your website for mobile devices increases the chances that your site will appear at or near the top of search results when users are on their phones, even if they’re doing local searches.
Local SEO is just one facet of online marketing. Since it’s so important, many local SEO companies now offer additional services like social media optimization, web design and development, PPC management and email campaigns.
If you don’t want to work with an agency, there are plenty of affordable options available to local businesses who want to rank higher in local searches without having to hire a large firm. However, keep in mind that not all local businesses need complete digital marketing programs; some will be fine with working with an agency or consultant for just a few months. Many local seo companies offer monthly or yearly subscriptions that allow businesses to be flexible with how much they can afford to spend.
The bigger your website, the more likely it will have strong keyword rankings for local keywords. Because there are so many people performing local searches, you have a better chance of being found if your site has lots of pages that feature relevant information about your location, products and services. If you’re a plumber in Chicago who does residential work only, a website that stays up-to-date with news from the Chicago plumbing community as well as tips from the business owner is going to be stronger than one that offers no useful content other than contact forms and basic service listings.
In the past, local search rankings were based mainly on the authority of a website. Back in 2012, Google began to emphasize “personal” results when users performed local searches for things like restaurants, coffee shops and other establishments that are found locally. That means it’s important to make sure your company has an active social media presence with unique posts about topics relevant to your industry. If possible, you should also have photos or videos of your employees or physical location posted online so that people can get a better sense of who you are besides just reading about your services.
Google+ is another important platform for local SEO companies since it’s also used by Mountain View’s search engine to determine whether or not a business is deserving of being ranked in its results. The more active you are on Google+, the more likely it is that your company will rank well as long as the content you’re posting is relevant.
Google began to use local knowledge panels in 2014 as part of a push to present more useful and accurate information about businesses in its search results. Knowledge panels include photos, hours of operation, reviews and other pertinent details about a company, but only those with claimed and optimized profiles receive these features and appear in local search results.
If your business has been around for at least a few years or is fairly popular, customers may have written reviews about your products or services online. A strong review score can sometimes determine whether or not you rank high in local searches (depending on how competitive your market is). Reviews from notable publications can also help you establish your credibility as a local business.
The better optimized your site is, the higher it will rank in local seo. One of the easiest ways to optimize your site is by using local keywords in its metadata so that Google knows where you are located and which industry you fall under. Other important SEO elements to include on your site are contact information, hours of operation and a unique description about the services or products your company sells. These keywords and descriptions will appear next to your site link in Google’s search results.
The higher your website ranks in local search results, the more traffic you will attract from local customers. Google’s local search algorithm is constantly changing to ensure that users find relevant and accurate information when performing a lookup. It’s important for businesses to work with a proven agency or consultant who can help them stay up-to-date on these changes and guarantee their site appears where it should in local rankings.
While there are no shortcuts to dominating local seo, there are ways for small businesses to remain competitive without spending too much money on services they don’t need. Working with an agency or consultant who specializes in helping smaller companies succeed online means you won’t have as many clients as larger companies so your account can give you their full attention.