What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is an SEO marketing strategy that helps businesses improve their online visibility within their specific geographic area or location. In short, it helps businesses connect with nearby customers who are the most likely to use their services.
But, before we dive in any further, let’s quickly go over a bit of SEO 101.
SEO, a Refresher
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a strategy or process that increases traffic to your website or social media channels. With an SEO strategy in place, you can:
- Improve overall web traffic
- Increase the rate your business name appears in search for a given keyword, and
- Boost the quality of visitors
Organic vs. Local SEO
Garnering organic search results, or implementing organic SEO, is a strategy focused on increasing internet traffic as whole, regardless of a potential customer’s location. Meanwhile, local SEO is specifically directs traffic based on a specific region, county, or city.
Organic SEO is typically the route a company would use if their overall objective to increase a larger reaching sales or brand awareness, such as an online-only boutique or ecommerce business who wants to expand their reach either nationally or internationally.
But, for small local businesses, such as a natural pet food store, hair stylist, or florist, local SEO strategy is usually the most effective.
So, in short:
- Local SEO. Web optimization which targets specific geographic regions.
Organic SEO. Web optimization which uses content to reach users, regardless of location.
Understanding SEO Goals
When it comes to building an SEO strategy, it’s important to have a goal in mind. This could be increasing conversions, optimizing your internal link structure, or increasing your visitor’s time on the page.
With local SEO, the goals are relatively simple:
- Finding and attracting more local clients
- Encouraging nearby customers to shop your local products and
- Bringing in more customers to your physical location
So, why does local SEO matter?
Local SEO uses SEO strategy in a very specific way by optimizing your site and increasing your Google search ranking factors. So, why is this so important? If you want to stay competitive in your area, local SEO helps improve your local search visibility so you can attract and retain more nearby clients and customers.
For example, let’s say you provide hair styling services and specialize in working with curly hair. As a small business, you’ll want to make sure that when someone in your area Googles “hairstylists near me” or “curly hair styles” your business name and all relevant business information including, address, phone number, as well as online reviews and photos are easily visible and accessible. The better your local search performance, the more likely someone is to book an appointment with your salon.
Local SEO Tactics
So, what are some local SEO strategy tactics that will help improve local search results and ensure search engines tie your business directories to specific, local searches?
Here are just a few strategies to help you improve your local search engine visibility:
#1 Do Local Keyword Research
Understanding what your customers are searching for (and how) is critical to your local SEO success.
When executed effectively, local keyword research can:
- Stimulate more leads and conversions
- Boost local search results
- Increase website traffic
- Use reviews to build stronger trust and credibility
A marketing agency can help support keyword research, but it’s also something you can do on your own as well.
For example, you’ll want to consider:
- The phrases associated with your product, service or industry
- The category (or categories) your small business may fall under
- The demographics of the people your business serves
You may also want to try a keyword research tool, such as Semrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, and Keyword Surfer.
All of this information will help you to begin crafting keywords you can implement and use in your local SEO strategy.
#2 Complete Your Google Business Profile
Google My Business or which is now called Google Business Profile) is one of the best local SEO tools you can use. A Google Business Profile uses local citations, or online local listings, to centralize all your most relevant business information in one place.
The citations which a Google Business Profile uses works with Google’s algorithm to ensure searchers are only shown the most relevant and trust worthy local services and local business listings.
Your Google profile also helps put you on the map…literally, by linking your business info with Google maps so local customers can easily find you. This is an important feature for local business marketing you don’t want to miss out on.
#3 Manage On and Off-Page Optimization
Aside from your Google Profile, local citations, and business directories, it’s important that your web content supports your SEO strategy. Optimizing your on and off-page optimization includes:
- Updating web content (e.g. blog, strategic titles, and website verbiage)
- Optimizing internal links, local links, and URL text
- Using social media to support off-page SEO
- Link building
- Building shared content directories, and more
Not sure where to start? An SEO consultant can make sure all your marketing streams support your short and long-term goals.
#4Use Google Business Insights
Google Insights is a powerful tool which can provide valuable information about how customers find your business, search queries, customer actions, and more.
This detailed data can help you improve your Google My Business page and your local rankings and is an excellent companion tool to any local SEO work.
#5 Manage Online Reviews
You likely already know how critical online reputation management is. More than ever, customers rely on online reviews to determine who they most trust with their business, which is why it’s incredibly important to never neglect customer reviews — good, bad, or ugly.
If you don’t yet have reviews, you may want to start incentivizing your customers to leave a comment on their experience. If possible, consider asking customers to leave reviews on industry-specific websites (e.g. Yelp, OpenTable, HealthGrades, The Knot) which also provide backlinks and more traction when it comes to Google’s algorithm.
Looking for help with organic SEO or local SEO
Our digital marketing partner and SEO guru, Local Blitz is a pro with a wide variety of marketing strategies and game plans.
If you’re looking for help with your local search engine optimization or want to dabble in Google Ads (or social media ads for that matter), Nick Bennett at Local Blitz is one of the co-founders and happens to be one of our fav people. Give Nick a shout and tell him we sent you.