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What is Local SEO? The Definitive Guide to Improve Your Local SEO

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What is Local SEO The Definitive Guide To Improve Your Local SEO - One Search Pro Digital Marketing Agency

If you have a business that targets a specific geographical location, then this guide is for you. To begin with, let’s look at what local SEO is. SEO stands for search engine optimization.

It is the concept of using specific keywords to optimize the appearance of a page on the search engine. Very simply, using certain SEO keywords on your business site will make them appear when a term related to your business is searched.

For example, if you sell home appliances, the SEO keywords you want to use on your site include washing machine, vacuum cleaner, fridge, and the like.

To bring the usage of SEO one step further, there’s local SEO. Let’s look closer at what this means.

Local SEO pairs geographical locations with relevant product or service terms related to your business. Source: Google

What Are The Benefits of Local SEO?

If you are a business with a local presence, such as a restaurant or store in a specific city or town, or provide services to the residents of a geographical area, then local SEO will definitely benefit you. 

Local SEO includes keywords that are geographically specific as well as including terms related to your business.

For example, if you’re a home appliance shop in Subang Jaya, SEO local terms would include things like ‘Subang Jaya washing machine’, ‘air fryer Subang Jaya’ and the like. 

What can you gain from local search engine optimization? The benefits are manifold.

Benefit #1

Boost Local Traffic to Your Website

Using local SEO marketing will target those living near to your business, and make you more visible to them and your local search engines. This way, you’ll specify your marketing targets to your neighbourhood and won’t have to compete with larger, international brands.

Benefit #2

Get More Leads

Attracting more local residents to your business gives you more effective leads with a higher chance of conversion, since you’re conveniently located. In simple terms, leads can come in the form of calls, bookings and enquiries online.

Benefit #3

Increase Footfall

Targeting your local SEO marketing towards those in your vicinity helps attract them to your physical brick and mortar store too.

Benefit #4

Generate Brand Loyalty

Local business SEO is able to generate repeat customers, meaning those who continue to patronize your business even after the first visit. As a business that’s within the same vicinity, you’re at an advantage and can offer them the convenience of being nearby.

What’s the Difference Between Local SEO and Organic SEO?

There are several main differences between local SEO and organic SEO that must be kept in mind when you’re conducting any type of SEO based marketing.

1. The Geographical Element

Organic SEO, which is also just called SEO, is a more general term. It is merely the identification of key words and phrases that are associated with your brand and business.

On the other hand, local SEO is much more geographically specific and pairs general search terms with the names of cities, towns, neighborhoods and the like.

2. Targeted at General Audience vs Local Residents

The term ‘organic’ in Organic SEO refers to strategies that don’t involve paid ads or campaigns to boost visibility. Instead it relies on incorporating as many words and phrases that would be searched by members of the public looking for that specific business.

Local SEO relies heavily on the usage of local terms and names of vicinities to attract local customers. Therefore, it targets a smaller pool of audience.

Local SEO is used to target local residents, like this cake shop that does deliveries in Cheras. Source: Cakerush

3. General Businesses vs Local Businesses

In general, organic SEO is used by businesses that are able to provide their services and products regardless of location, whereas local businesses depend on the residents living nearby to sustain themselves.

As such, businesses that depend heavily on the patronage of the local population need to specify their location so as to target their marketing efforts more effectively. Local SEO optimization means that there’s no need to target a nationwide or global market, but focus on those staying in the same city or town.

One example of a business that depends on local customers and local SEO are ice-cream parlours, like this one in Subang Jaya. Source: Fatbaby Ice Cream

Which Businesses Matter in Local SEO?

To be frank, local search engine marketing isn’t for everyone. It is not meant to be practiced across the board.

In fact, there needs to be serious consideration about whether your business really needs it or not. Only businesses that are tied to a particular location and are limited in their reach need to consider local SEO marketing.

This means that the usage of local SEO isn’t suitable for everyone. Businesses that won’t benefit from it include those that are able to deliver their products far and wide, and therefore can reach out to customers all over the country, as well as overseas consumers.

Examples of companies that do not really need local SEO include online businesses selling cosmetics, computer spare parts, dried food products, and the like.

Businesses offering non-vicinity tied services also won’t benefit from local SEO, such as translation services, remote workers, educational institutions and certain consultants.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs that will benefit from local SEO include those that are tied to a specific locality. These businesses are limited by space and time, and cannot sell their wares beyond certain geographical boundaries.

Companies that fit this description include doctors, dentists, plumbers, restaurants and green grocers. Therefore it is pertinent to examine if your business is fit for local SEO solutions before embarking on it.

Local SEO and How the Google Algorithm Works

To understand how to use local SEO tips to your advantage, you must first understand how Google local search marketing works. Local SEO works in tandem with a search engine, and the most commonly used one is Google.

When any person types a search term into the search bar on Google, Google picks out websites containing that search term. Google has an internal system to pick and list out websites, which is called an algorithm.

The Google algorithm matches websites to your search term based on several factors, including:

Relevance

How suitable a website is to your local search SEO term and how useful it is in answering your questions.

Prominence

How many people visit that website and stay for longer.Basically, the more popular a website is with its users, the more it will show up on the list of results.

Proximity

This is the most important aspect associated with local SEO, and the Google algorithm will select websites that are tagged with geo locations matching yours. Google will be able to pinpoint your location via GPS, and list results that are close in proximity to you.

Local SEO Guide: 6 Factors That Impact Your Local SEO

Local SEO optimization is a lot more complex than just picking up random words or phrases and putting them into your website. There are many technical aspects that will determine how effective your local SEO is. Here are the main factors you’ll have to consider when planning your local SEO strategy:

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research is the first thing you should do when planning an SEO marketing campaign. This is true for any type of SEo and not just local SEO.

SEO cannot function without keywords or key phrases. It is the basic building blocks for your SEO strategy. This includes local search SEO as well. Thankfully there are many tools out there that can help you.

The first thing you need is a keyword search tool, and there are several out there. There are even free keyword tools you can use. Some of the examples of free keyword search tools include WordStream and Wordtracker.

A keyword tool like this will be able to give you the most searched terms related to your keyword on the internet. Source: Wordstream

Additionally, you can also use paid keyword services like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs. With paid services, you’ll get more insights into the keywords you want, like search frequency trends over several months or years, and how high the competition is for that term.

Now that you have a list of the most searched terms, you’ll have to see which ones fit your business the best. Here’s where brainstorming works best, and you should ideally have several input from your coworkers.

While picking keywords to insert into your website content, you’ll have to pay attention to things like SERPs ( Search Engine Results Pages) and the ranking of your competitors using the same SEOs.

Certain SEO terms you use will result in SERPs that are full of paid placements at the top, so your organic page gets pushed to the bottom. Using a different search term might remedy that.

2. Google My Business

Signing up as a business on Google has many benefits. One of them is that you’ll boost the effects of your local SEO. This happens because Google can detect that a user is interested in a product or service, and will list nearby businesses related to that key word.

Another key impact is that your business will show up on a Google results page, with your location tagged on a map and your business details clearly displayed.

Registering your company as a business on Google makes it appear as a search result. Source: Google

GMB also makes it easier for your potential customers to reach you, as they will prominently display your contact details, like phone number, address and website.

Registering as a Google business is an integral part of online marketing as a whole, and even more significant for businesses that are limited by geography and space.

The best part about registering as a business on Google is that it’s free to begin with. All you have to do is go to the main page of your personal Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you can start one first.

Once you log into your Google account, look for the section on the left called ‘Data and Personalization’.

On that page, scroll down until you find a section called ‘Business Features’. Turn on ‘Business Personalizations’ and click on ‘Add your business to search and maps’. Follow the instructions to add your business which will show up on searches.

Look up business features on your Google account. Source: Google

One useful tip to keep in mind is to optimize your GMB registration. To do this, you have to be as thorough as possible when filling in your details. Provide a business description, your full address, put a picture up, provide a working phone number and all other relevant attributes.

3. Having Local Citations or NAP

The term NAP is often used in local SEO to mean Name, Address, and Phone Number. These three are the basic details you need to allow search engines to recognize your location.

There are two main ways you can introduce NAP on your website and both are equally important:

  • Unstructured: Adding your address and contact details to social media posts, blogs, guest posts, articles on other websites, online newspapers and the like.
  • Structured: Listings on business directories, Google businesses, social media profiles and the like.

There are many benefits to having complete local citations. For starters, NAPs is the primary way that geo-targeted searches are able to find your business.

The use of NAPs, especially if it is followed by images or videos of your business, lends legitimacy and credence to your company. It proves that you are a real business that exists in real life and the general public can trust you.

The more the public trusts your business and the more traffic you attract, the.higher your website will rank in an organic search list.

This will have a cyclical effect, whereby it will increase even more traffic to your site and to your physical store as well, thereby increasing sales as a whole.

One example of non-structured local citation in a blog article. Source: MyBurgerLab

Here are some strategies to employ to build up your NAPS profile on as many websites apart from your own. :

1. List your business on industry-related directories. In Malaysia, local business related directories include Yelp and Foursquare.

2. Sign up for some social media accounts as this will increase the platforms on which your business can be found when keywords are searched with geographical terms.

3. Partner with review sites, influencers and others to incorporate your NAP into blogs, articles, videos and website content.

Foursquare is a business directory which lists businesses according to localities. Source: Foursquare

4. Optimize On-site Local SEO

On-page local SEO is one of the primary ways to ensure that your business gets recognized by local search engines. The main way to do this optimization is to incorporate local terms and geo-linked keywords into the main titles and sub-titles of your content.

These geo-linked keywords should be found in your H1 titles, title tags, meta description and in your website address. What else can you do to optimize the local SEO on-site? Here are some important pointers:

Geo-link Your URL

Keeping your URL short and simple is the way to go. Avoid long sequences of alphabets and numbers. For example, the halal speakeasy Jibril which is located in SS15 Subang Jaya, has a geo-linked word in its short and sweet website address, http://jibrilss15.com/

Incorporating geographical locations into your website address will help optimize your local SEO. Source: Jibril

Place NAP in Footer

Ensure that your site has a clear list of your address, contact number, and other sites where they can follow you at the bottom.

List as many important business details at the bottom of your site. Source: Plumbing Service (CK)

Embed a Google Map on Your Page

A Google map on your page will allow visitors to see clearly where you’re located. They’ll also be able to use the map features to estimate the distance to your business and find their way to you on the map.

Embed your Google Map location into your site for easy direction. Source: Pestsol

Testimonials and Reviews Enhance Trust

Inserting reviews and testimonies from previous satisfied customers will increase trust in your brand, especially among local residents.

Insert customer reviews and testimonials to build trust in your brand. Source: Malaysia Will Writing

Add Relevant Schema Markups

Schema markups are special codes that will push relevant portions of your website onto search engine results. Schema markups will be able to boost your visibility by promoting parts of your website content beyond just the page description and title.

Schema markups can help your page become more visible using different portions of page content. Source: Google

5. Link Building

Local link building means trying to increase links to your business on other websites. These websites can be reviewers, lifestyle sites or other businesses you partner with.

Some ways you can increase inward bound links is by partnering with another local business so both of you can feature each other on your respective sites.

Other local SEO tips for link building include sponsorships, guest blogging, inserting popular content, being part of local events, connecting with other local businesses and performing local community services like offering scholarships.

An example of an outward bound link on a food reviewer’s site that promotes a local business. Source: Spring Tomorrow

6. Reviews and More Reviews

We can’t stress how important reviews are to your local SEO checklist. You cannot have your local SEO strategy succeed without putting reviews on your site.

There are many things that reviews are able to achieve. This includes building trust in your brand and building a brand personality.

Through reviews, potential customers will be able to gauge how you operate your business, how you handle customer complaints, the quality of your products or service and how you engage with customers.

Letting customers leave reviews and ratings on your business page is beneficial for local SEO. Source: One Search Pro GMB

Local SEO Will Transform Your Business

Understanding what local SEO marketing is will be the benchmark of formulating a local marketing strategy for any business.

Marketing with local SEO will add an added advantage for your business, especially if your business is tied to a locality and is limited in terms of service.

If you face challenges in knowing where to start with local SEO marketing, come and have a chat with us.

One Search Pro can function as your local SEO guide and provide variety of digital marketing services from local SEO services, website development to social media management for the future sustainability of your business.

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