Most every one has heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But, what is different about local SEO? SEO is about getting your website to rank for what you are marketing and have written your content on. While, local SEO is specially targeting your business and a geographic location. Let me take a few minutes to explain what local SEO is and why it is vital to local businesses.
If you are a brick-and-mortar or a service based business, your primary customer base will be customers that are physically close to your business. In some cases, this could meal <5 miles and in other cases a few hundred miles. So when a customer searches for your type of service, they will be looking for someone local. Local SEO helps them find your business and positions your business ahead of your local competition.
To give you a better understanding of how local SEO works, I am going to provide you with an example; say you, as a customer, are looking for a dry cleaner in your town. Say that town is Los Angeles, California. You type in the search query“Los Angeles dry cleaner” or using a typical voice search on mobile; you say “dry cleaner near me.” Google will then display the businesses that it determines the best fit for your request. Since it knows you are looking for a local service based company, you will get results in Google’s map pack. Also, you will get paid and organic listings.
So how does Google determine the best results for a local search?
The searcher’s physical proximity to your business’s location plays a significant part in Google map pack listings. Google knows a mobile users location by using the GPS location on your smartphone to locate their exact location. On an ethernet or wi-fi connection, google can see the IP address and determine your precise location. Most people looking for local businesses typically have an immediate need to purchase the goods or services they are looking for, and Google will display the closest locations first, in most cases.
Having a lot of high ranking reviews on your Google My business listing will help you rank higher in local map listing. High-quality reviews can also help you outrank businesses that are not as close to the searcher, in some cases. Google feels that companies with a lot of high ranking reviews will offer better service than one with fewer or lower ranking reviews.
The description you give your business, in your GMB listing, will help Google determine what types of searches it will rank for and where it will position against similar companies in your area. Using the correct keywords and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords will help Google better understand what your business is about and increase your rankings.
Google recently started allowing posts on your GMP listing. These are great for making announcements or special offers or promotions. Having your advertisements showing up in your search results will help you get an advantage of attracting customers, but when you use SEO optimized content, it will increase your local rankings.
Citations and NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Consistency
Citations are mentions of your business on directories, social media sites, and other places on the internet. When Google crawls the web, it will find your business name, address and phone number and website address or any combination of these and be able to associate it to your GMB listing, if the NAP match. The more of these mentions you have, the better it will help you rank as long as you keep the NAP consistent.
Organic Rankings of Your Website
The organic rankings for your website will also help to rank you in local search results. Google wants to make sure that they are delivering the best results to your customers. So if you are ranking for local search terms, it will help you rank better in local search results.
Local SEO for Organic Search Results
By only having your business address or your city on your website it may rank organically for your location. But creating a city landing page for your city will help you rank higher in the search results. With the use of city landing pages, you will also be able to rank in locations outside your physical city. This tactic can be beneficial for service-based businesses where the business travels to customers, like plumbers, electricians, etc.