By Shanon Roberts, on 30 January 2020
Local SEO and traditional SEO may both have the same acronym in their names, but they’re not exactly the same strategy.
Local SEO is the act of optimizing your local business or service online so that search engine users can easily discover and find your business in their local area. When you search in Google “local cell phone repair”, “cell phone repair in Atlanta”, or “local cell phone repair near me” the results you see are the work of a Local SEO strategy.
In this article, we’ll give you a beginner’s guide to Local SEO, including what it is, how to do it, and how to make sure your business finds its way to the coveted top 3 spots on Google.
What is Local SEO?
When you consider that 46% of Google searches are local, it’s not hard to understand why Local SEO marketing is so important. Local SEO is the strategy of optimizing your website and citations to ensure your business appears in the top results for searches about your product or service. Local SEO is important when conducting traditional searches in search engines, like Google, and in map search engines, like Google Maps.
While Google may be the largest, it isn’t the only search engine you should pay attention to. It’s important to ensure you are also optimizing on Bing and Yahoo as well.
So how does a search engine know your business is local? They all have slightly different parameters, but Google mostly looks for local content, social media activity, links, and citations (which we’ll explain further down.) Ideally, the goal for your Local SEO strategy is to show up on the top 3 rich snippet results in Google.
There are a few different tools and methods you can use to ensure you stay on top; let’s dive into them!
Local SEO Solutions
Local SEO Citations
Local SEO Citations are any place your business’ name, address, phone number, and website (NAPW) appear together on the internet. Popular citations include, Google My Business, Bing Places, Apple Maps, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Citations can also include online press coverage or blogs that mention your NAPW. Essentially, if it has your NAPW, it’s a citation.
Because Google wants to guarantee that the information they’re displaying to their searchers is as accurate as possible, it is very important to ensure that your NAPW information is consistent across all platforms and websites. If Google has any doubt about your information they are less likely to position it in a high ranking.
Google My Business
When it comes to Local SEO, Google My Business (GMB) is your best friend. No Local SEO strategy is complete without a thorough understanding of GMB.
Essentially, Google My Business is your company’s public profile on Google. This is where you can input all essential information about your business, like services, photos, address, phone number, hours of operation, business description, website URL, and industry. If you position well on Google, this is where they pull their information for the rich snippets and side bar information. However, note that information like reviews and Q&As are user-generated, and often not editable by you.
When you consider the fact that 92% of searchers will pick businesses found on the first page of results, then you’ll understand that the information you input into GMB is super important because it shows up all over Google. That means that it’s also essential to maintain that all of the information in your GMB is as updated and correct as possible. Not only does this help Google to rank you higher, but it also makes your business look more trustworthy and attractive to users.
Remember to not put your eggs in just one basket. While Google My Business is extremely important and should ideally be your 1st step in Local SEO optimization, do not forget about other citations like Bing Places.
While we’re talking about NAPW, make sure that you’re including this information on your own website. It should be “crawlable” by search engines, meaning search engines can analyze your website and collect information necessary for positioning. Ensuring that you include your NAPW in the footer and header of your website helps your crawlability.
Another way to localize your website is to include your city, county, region, country, and postal code, throughout your website. This can be in the same spots as your NAPW information, as long as it is natural. If your business has multiple locations, be sure to create individual pages on your website dedicated to each location, and include the relevant local info and citations on the pages.
On many structured citation websites, users who have interacted with your business are given the option to leave a review on their experience. While keeping track of your reviews is good practice for your general business, it also serves a valuable role in Local SEO.
First, Google My Business keeps track of your overall review score and considers it in its ranking. Second, responding to negative reviews gives you the opportunity to show potential readers how you respond to feedback and to set any future concerns at ease. Always be courteous and thoughtful when leaving a reply to a negative review. In reality, you are responding to the review for the benefit of your future customers and those reading the review in the future, not the person who wrote it.
Inbound links, or backlinks, are links on established websites that lead back to your own website. Just like in traditional SEO, inbound links are crucial for establishing relevance and authority on a topic. In terms of Local SEO, backlinks tell Google that you are in fact a legitimate local business.
There are many different ways to get backlinks such as writing guest blog posts on other websites, news and press coverage, influencers and bloggers, sponsorships to popular local events, and getting your website linked on local community websites. At Cyberclick we have written many blog posts about how to build backlinks and about overall traditional SEO strategies, including Content Marketing for SEO and What is SEO (which includes information about internet link structures.) Quality over quantity - ensure that your content is always relevant to your buyer persona, and not just fluff.
Strong Website and Landing Page
Having a strong website and landing pages are another key aspect of traditional SEO that carries a lot of weight in Local SEO solutions. A strong website not only gives you more domain authority with search engines, but it adds to your business’s trustworthiness. You can optimize your website’s SEO by including a blog, having a modern design, and using keywords. Clearly explain your services or product, and make sure your customers know how to contact you or locate your business.
And don’t forget to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly! 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours, so do not forget about this valuable audience.
We hope this Local SEO beginner’s guide helps you build your strategy! By starting with these tips and tools, you’ll get your business one step closer to landing in the number one position.