Your customers are on their phones, probably searching for the best place they will be getting a haircut or go have a nice dinner.
The question is, will you appear on their search results, compelling them to visit your salon or restaurant?
Yes, you can! Only with a proper local SEO strategy.
In this guide, we will show you exactly how you can use local SEO to turn the tables in your favor.
We will be diving deep into what is local SEO, its benefits, factors affecting your local se ranking, ways to implement local SEO, and tools you can use.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a set of practices that helps businesses improve their visibility in local search results. If your business has a physical location and a geographical area you can benefit from local SEO.
The general local SEO tasks are as follows:
- Improving your Google Business Profile
- Finding local keywords
- Creating locally relevant content
However, these are basic practices one can start with. While you go ahead you have to level up your SEO strategies.
Why is Local SEO important?
As per statistics around 46% of Google searches have local intent.
Let’s say you are a makeup artist specializing in bridal makeup with a studio in California. On average 2 lakh weddings take place in California each year.
The brides to be searched for the best makeup artist in California.
Imagine your business appearing in the top three. Brides will flood on your doorsteps like flies and your business will grow like never before.
That’s why local SEO is important for businesses. Don’t believe us?
Here’s some Local SEO statistics to back it up:
- The Google Local 3-pack appears in 93% of searches with local intent.
- 35% of product searches start on Google, and purchases often occur within 5 days.
- “Near me” Google searches have doubled in the past year.
- 86% of people look up a business location on Google Maps.
- 72% of consumers performing a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location.
- Only about 64% of small businesses have an online presence.
Let’s have a glance at the benefits of Local SEO
1. Visibility Everywhere
Local SEO is not just about having a website and optimizing it for local keywords. Yes, there is more!
When done the right way, you appear in several places like Google My Business, Yelp, third-party review sites, local directories, etc.
The more places you show up, the better visibility you gain.
For example, we typed in best bakery in California, and here’s what the result threw at us:
Look at the second result. Porto’s bakery and cafe.
Now as we scrolled down we found two other sites, Yelp and Tripadvisor.
Both of them had Porto’s Bakery mentioned in their top 10 list.
Imagine how many local customers and tourists they could be attracting every single month.
Incredible visibility right?
2. Better Conversion Rates
In the case of organic traffic, only those people find you, who are actually searching for your services.
Hence, you get a very specific, targeted audience on your website who are looking for keywords you have optimized your business with. These visitors have a higher probability of conversion compared to any paid ads you run for your business.
3. Less Advertising Costs
Local SEO can reduce advertising costs by providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising methods. When your business is optimized for local search, you can reach your target audience without relying heavily on paid advertising.
This is particularly beneficial for small businesses with limited marketing budgets.
A well-optimized Google My Business profile, for instance, can attract organic traffic without the need for significant ad spending.
4. Control Your Reputation
You will have both types of customers through your doors. Many people will love your services and some find it a bit lacking. Nowadays, people love to share their experiences online and they are free to post whatever they want on your business online.
If even one customer a month didn’t like your services, think how many negative reviews you will have unattended over a year or two.
A well-crafted local SEO strategy ensures you manage these negative reviews and take control of your reputation.
How does Local SEO work?
At the core, the process is the same for both normal search and local search.
Google scans through its indexed pages and reverts the most relevant page to users.
However, the main difference lies in the ranking factors.
Some ranking factors are specific to local searches.
- Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
- NAP citations
- Social media shares, etc
Let’s have a look at each local SEO ranking factors one by one.
Google Business Profile
Google takes every detail mentioned in your Google Business Profile (GBP) into consideration for ranking. From your Business Title and categories to Website URL strength every detail matters.
Reviews, both on your Google Business Profile and third-party sites, play a crucial role. Google analyses the recency, diversity, authority, and format of reviews. Positive reviews and a diverse, reputable presence ensure higher rankings.
This category assesses the strength of your website. Key elements include Domain Authority, Page Authority, NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), and Quality.
Citations are online mentions of your business. Google considers both structured citations from formal listings and unstructured citations from several platforms. The major factors affecting your rank include Accuracy, Distribution, Quality, and Relevance of citations. Accurate, authoritative, and industry-relevant citations positively impact local rankings.
Internal and inbound links impact both local and organic rankings. Your website’s Domain Authority, Page Authority, Quantity, and Relevance play a strong role in SERP results. Ensure you build quality links from authoritative, relevant sources, both within and outside your site.
How to to boost your Local SEO strategy
1. Build a Google Business Profile
Optimizing your Google listing (aka your Business Profile) is perhaps the most effective way to rank higher on Google Maps as well as gain visibility in Google Search local results. To get access to your Business Profile to make these optimizations, however, you need a Google My Business account associated with that profile. Once you provide all of the requested information in your Google Business account dashboard, all of that information will be added to your Business Profile, which appears in Google Search local results, the Google Search Knowledge Panel, and Google Maps.
To optimize your Business Profile on Google, ensure that you:
Create a Google Business account and verify ownership of the business
Provide accurate and up-to-date information
Include your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, the product or service you sell, and plenty of images
Encourage your customers to review your business online
Respond sincerely to customer reviews
Publish posts (announcing products, events, and special offers) to your Business Profile using the Google My Business dashboard.
2. Improve NAP Consistency
NAP simply refers to your business’s name, address, and phone number. These details should be consistent across all your online citations.
Citations are one of the top 5 ranking factors for both Local Pack and organic search results.
What do we mean by proper citation?
Have a look at an event venue in LA:
Here’s the same business on Yelp:
Look at the difference in address.
The same goes for the phone number. Although they are the same, the formatting is different.
This might seem like a small mistake, but when it comes to SEO it can turn into a huge problem.
Tips for proper NAP consistency
Prioritize Major Directories: First go after the big directories like Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp. Everything you mention about your business should be 100% accurate and consistent.
Integrate Local Schema Markup: This is a tricky one for beginners. Try to integrate local schema markup into your site’s code with NAP details within the schema markup. This will provide search engines with structured information about your business location and contact information.
Avoid Duplicate Listings: Take proactive measures to identify and consolidate or remove duplicate business listings. Duplicate listings not only dilute the integrity of your NAP information but can also lead to confusion for both users and search engines.
4. Optimize for Voice Search
As per data by Synup, more than 58% of mobile users use voice search to look for local services.
It’s high time you invest in voice search because experts predict more than 80% of voice searches will be conversational in 2024.
That said, you cannot ignore voice search optimization for your local business. It is a process in which you have to optimize your online presence so that you can appear on your target audience’s voice queries.
Here are a few tips to optimize for voice search:
Target Long-Tail Keywords: Include highly specific long-tail keywords in your content. Generally, when a person speaks the query length is way more than what a person types. So, make sure you align with the detailed nature of voice search queries.
Include Question Keywords: Always try to incorporate keywords starting with question words like “how,” “what,” and “where” to mirror the way users phrase voice search queries.
Let’s say you have content on the topic, “ 3 ways to ace bridal makeup.” You can use keywords like “How can I perfect bridal makeup?” or “Tell me three tips for flawless bridal makeup.”
Analyze SERP Features: Thoroughly analyze search engine results pages (SERPs) and prioritize content that aligns with common SERP features, as voice search often retrieves answers from these featured snippets, people also ask for blocks, local packs, and rich snippets.
5. Optimize Your Business for Mobile
Before we move ahead and brag about why mobile optimization is so important for any business especially local ones go ahead and read the stats below:
- 58% of people search for a local business on their smartphone daily.
- 50% of local searches on mobile lead visitors to a store within one day.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
- 60% of Americans use smartphones and tablets to search for local products and services.
Need we say more? If you want to crawl ahead of your competition and rank on top, you cannot ignore mobile optimization.
Now, what does mobile optimization include? Here are 4 major sections you must cover while optimizing for mobile devices:
- Responsive Web Design
- Mobile-Friendly Navigation
- Performance Optimization
- Content Optimization
How to Optimise your local business for mobile devices?
First of all, create responsive design using media queries to ensure consistent content across desktop and mobile devices. Avoiding accusations of cloaking and duplicate content concerns.
Make sure you use micro-moments with up-to-date, accurate, and easily accessible information for mobile users looking for instant results.
Include coded elements instead of images. Only use images wherever necessary.
Adopt a “Top Down” development approach. First design for mobile devices so that you can avoid issues in the final design. It will help you prevent scope creep during the development process.
6. Local Backlinks
Link building for a website is like networking at a professional conference.
To establish yourself as a leader you have to make valuable connections in different conferences. Slowly after attending several conferences people will notice you and take you seriously.
The same goes for your website. For Google to even consider your website credible, you will need some sort of acknowledgment from other websites just like networking with other people.
Backlinks are a major ranking factor by Google. Here’s what Google says about quality backlinks:
“Participating in the community surrounding the topic is an excellent approach to market your site if it is relatively new and unknown. Participate and add to blogs and forums. Just remember to contribute constructively instead of spamming or begging people to visit your website.”
Not only that!
For local businesses, Google prioritized local backlinks. Hence here’s what you must do to get local backlinks:
Build relationships with websites in your area in a similar industry.
For example, if you are a wedding choreographer, find contact wedding planners, venues, and other related service providers and see if they can provide backlinks from their websites.
7. Be Active On Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms are free, so it’s not breaking news that they can be a great way to stay in front of your audience. Google will crawl and pull search results from your social platforms, such as Facebook profiles and reviews, your business’ LinkedIn or YouTube, and even your Twitter account and your recent tweets.
5 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Local SEO
Duplicate listing is the classic amateur mistake businesses make while optimizing their businesses locally.
Why is it BAD BAD?
Not only does Google get confused, you also confuse your customers. As you know nothing matters more to Google than its user experience. In no time your ranking will drop.
Why does it happen?
Simple reasons. It might be because you have changed your business name or location. It can also happen if you change the person who used to handle your listing.
- Audit your profile listing regularly and make necessary updates.
- Have a standardized listing process in place.
Keywords Not Localized
Businesses take the general keyword optimization process as the best way to optimize keywords for local ranking. They fall into the trap of targeting high-volume keywords with less competition.
Yet in the case of local SEO, those two criteria won’t suffice alone. You have to find keywords that people in your area are looking for.
- Find keywords that match your audience’s needs.
- Tailor them to your location by adding your city or community. This will help you capture local searches and ensure your business is visible to those looking for specific products or services in your area.
No Audience Targeting
Not every person who has access to the internet and Google is your customer. Hence, you need to stop trying to show up on everyone’s search results.
Instead, be super specific when you target your audience. Research the people who will be interested in your product. Know their age, professional, behavior, etc.
- Segment your buying stages
- Find long-tail localized keywords
- Study search habits and optimize accordingly.
Not Building GBP Integrations
Google wants you to create a seamless customer journey. Hence, it offers multiple integrations and tools such that your customers can directly convert.
Yet, time and again we have seen businesses missing out on the integration. What happens is that customers have to visit multiple sites in order to book a call or book your services. They will most likely choose a competitor over your business even though you provide far better services.
- Make sure you create a seamless customer journey.
- Integrate your GBP with:
- Social media
- Booking systems tools
- Use proper action-provoking CTAs like “Call” or “Book now.”
Not Choosing Categories & Attributes
Before Google puts your website in front of users its algorithm tries to understand your businesses using different factors. Attributes and categories are one of them.
Incorrect categories and attributes confuse Google which leads to poor ranking and less traffic.
Choose the most appropriate categories and attributes.
Update your listing with new attributes that come up.
5 Local SEO Tools For Your Business:
You can optimize your content for local SEO far more easily with good SEO tools.
If you have come this far, you know local SEO is not a one-day or a-month thing. You need to be consistent, accurate, and updated.
And of course, staying constituent by doing everything manually is next to impossible.
That’s where these tools slide in. They make your Local SEO strategies effective and save time. However, for that, you must have the right tool to assist you.
Haphazardly picking up any tool won’t do it. You have to plan out a strategy and then find tools that cater to your strategy rather than picking the one that offers the most features.
To make the selection process easier for you, here is the list of the best Local SEO tools marketers rely on.
Semrush Listing Management Tool
Semrush’s listing management tool makes it easy to share your business details on sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Alexa.
You can edit and upload multimedia to keep your customers engaged. The tool also lets you keep an eye on reviews from various directories.
It works for listings in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia.
If you want to make sure your website does well in different places or see how it compares to other businesses, GeoRanker can help.
It’s easy to use with colorful maps that show how well your website ranks in different areas. GeoRanker also gives you detailed information about keywords and lets you track where your competitors are getting mentioned.
All this info helps you improve your local SEO strategies and stay ahead of the competition.
Grid My Business
Grid My Business is your companion tool for Google My Business. It is designed such that the tool helps the user to compare their ranking with the top rankings in SERP.
It’s a simple tracking tool that helps you have a bird’s eye view of your competitor’s ranking. What’s awesome about this tool is you can schedule when the tool runs. So, if you want to analyze once a month, just schedule it. The tool will scan automatically and send the report to you.
Optimizing your local business on Google doesn’t end with creating a Google My Business account, and a consistent NAP. Rather, you have to constantly create content. For that, you have to find keywords that your audience is searching for.
LSIGraphs is a keyword tool that specializes in finding the query intent keywords for your business. In short, LSIGraph assists you in finding LSI keywords. These are similar keywords to your content topic that strengthens your content and helps in overall ranking.
For example, if you are writing on beauty parlors, your LSI keywords can be:
- Salon services
- Hair care treatments
- Spa packages
- Skincare routines
- Makeup artists
- Manicure and pedicure
- Beauty products
- Glamour transformations
- Beauty trends
You cannot ignore the importance of positive customer reviews when it comes to ranking on Google for your business.
As your business grows manually tracking what people talk about your business online is time-consuming. For that, you will need a tool that monitors customer reviews for you.
That’s where Yext comes in! Its review monitoring tool has helped countless small businesses to rank locally. The tool integrates with data aggregators and review sites to find out your business mentions.
Once the tool finds the reviews, you can respond to them through the Yext dashboard directly.
How Much Does Local SEO Cost In 2024?
The cost of local SEO significantly varies depending on the business requirements, the saturation of the target market, the location, and your competition.
If your only focus is to rank locally, the pricing is much more affordable than ranking globally. The cost can start from as low as $250 and go up to $3,000 per month.
- Local SEO helps businesses achieve higher visibility, higher conversion rates, cost-effective advertising, and better reputation control.
- Google’s algorithm considers factors like Google Business Profile, reviews, links, and citations for local SEO rankings.
- To rank locally you have to optimize your Google Business Profile, find local keywords, and create locally relevant content.
- Avoid local SEO mistakes like duplicate listings, non-localized keywords, lack of audience targeting, and neglecting Google Business Profile integrations.
- Key local SEO tools include Semrush Listing Management, GeoRanker, Grid My Business, LSIGraph, and Yext for review monitoring.
- Local SEO costs vary based on business requirements, market saturation, location, and competition, ranging from $250 to $3,000 per month.
For businesses to do well online, having a strong local SEO plan is crucial. It helps them be more visible and increases the chances of turning website visitors into customers.
To make this work, businesses need to know how Google works, use smart strategies, and use helpful tools. This way, they can make the most out of local SEO and succeed in 2024.