We all have heard or seen the term local seo on the internet or elsewhere. But what really is this much talk about Buzzword? In this article you are going to understand this term and it’s importance for local businesses. But hey! Before you dive deep into local seo, let’s understand seo as a whole. It will be much easier to understand local seo if you have some knowledge on seo.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engines optimization. This is the act of improving a website’s quality to rank higher on search engines. There are a lot of factors to consider when trying to improve your website quality. You can find an article about top ranking factors for seo here. Now that you know the meaning of SEO, let’s dive into what Local SEO is
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is just the act of improving your website or business listings to rank higher in your local area on Search Engines Local Listing results. The rankings can be in your local area, city, or state level depending on where your customers are.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local seo is extremely important for local businesses to succeed online in getting unlimited free leads on search engines like Google and Bing. Take a moment now and visualize yourself as someone in urgent need of a plumbing service. What do you usually do in finding such service? I don’t know about you, but I always do a Google search to find a local plumbing service provider. Once you search on Google or Bing, you will find the search result as shown on the image below.
Depending on the competitiveness of the search query, the top 3 to 5 results are ads. From the local organic result section, you will find the top 3 plumbing service providers in your local area. You will likely call one of these businesses to request an immediate solution for your plumbing issues.
Local businesses showing up on this local listings space on search engines, generate high quality leads on a daily basis. So imagine your business listing is placed on this section where customers can easily find you. With local seo, you can acquire super targeted leads who are in the consideration phase. Such leads tend to easily convert into paying customers if your business has a great offer.
When Should You Consider Local SEO Solutions?
Local SEO is great if you have a service based business. Although businesses that sell physical products can benefit from local seo, service based businesses turn to be more successful. This is because when someone searches for a service, s/he is 3 times more likely to convert into a paying customer than searches with physical products. If you are looking for a physical product, you would want to do more research on the best dealers available. This is not the case with services because you would love to solve that immediate problem you have.
Businesses That Shouldn’t border with Local SEO efforts:
Businesses selling products that can be bought on amazon and ebay shouldn’t waste their efforts on local seo. This is because people like to order such products online or go to the physical location to try them out before buying. You should instead concentrate on Google shopping and Bing Shopping seo efforts. If you do a search on the product ‘winter jackets’, you will find listings mostly from online stores. See the image below.
How To Do Effective Local SEO
There are 3 very important elements of local seo. These 3 elements are your business Name, business Address and your business Phone number. In the seo world, it is abbreviated as NAP (Name, Address and Phone). You have to make sure your NAP information you have on your website and business listings should be exactly the same. This is because Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo will give you an up-vote due to the accuracy of your business info. So how can you really do effective local seo? Below are the steps you need to follow.
Steps For Doing Local SEO Effectively:
Step 1: Double check your NAP
Get your NAP ready and double check it’s accuracy on all of your social accounts where you have included it. Double Check the following:
Your name should be the same across all online channels. If your Business name is spelt differently across different online platforms, you won’t rank well. It is tempting to use your brand name on one channel and your full business name on another channel. Do not fall into this temptation as it will have a negative effect on your local seo results. See below example;
Let’s assume your business name is AVADA LAW FIRM LTD and your brand name or trading name is AVADA. If you want to do well in local search results, make sure you choose one and only use that one on all your social profiles. Also make sure you only have the chosen form on your website’s contact page. You also have to double check the spelling because AVADA won’t be recognized as AVDA.
Your address is very crucial because Google and Bing wouldn’t want to send customers to the wrong address. Make sure your address also has the same form across the different channels. It might also be tempting to write part of your address in short forms. If you prefer this form, make sure to stick to it and no other form should be used. Example:
Your address is: 21 crescent avenue ce80q2 London United Kingdom. Don’t use this address on one channel and on the other channel you use something different form. Always remember one thing: ‘avenue’ is not the same as ‘ave’. Likewise ‘street’ is also not the same as ‘str’.
Search engines read numbers differently. Always use the standard phone number format to avoid confusing search engines. For example; 44-170-2845-265 is not the same as 44.170.2845.265 or 44 170 2845 265. Using the wrong format will be devastating to your local seo efforts. Either use 44-170-2845-265 or +441702845265 or 00441702845265. Make sure to stick to the format you have chosen across the different channels.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Keyword research is the act of finding the search queries search engine users are typing into the search bar to find answers to your queries. This step is super important as it can make or break your local seo results. In the past, this process of researching keywords was tedious and strenuous. Luckily for you, there are free, freemium and paid tools you can use in completing this step. The best free tools are Google Keyword Planner and Bing Keyword Planner. If you have a Google or Bing account, follow these links to access whatever you choose. Keyword Tool For Google, Bing Keyword Tool.
You can also use freemium tools such as ubersuggest by Neil Patel to find appropriate keywords suitable for your business.
Note: Please refrain from using broad and vague keywords because they tend to have a very poor conversion rate. If you are a Chiropractor, search keywords like ‘‘chiropractor services + your city’’. You will get some suggestions of keyword ideas you could use. Remember to always put yourself as the search engine user and ask yourself what you would type on search engines. Seeing yourself as the person looking for an exact service will help you in choosing the best keyword to us. Now that you have your keyword ready, its time to move to the next step.
Step 3: Claim your Business Listing on Google and Bing
Assuming you have a Gmail account, go to this link https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in to claim your business. Go through the steps on Google which is self explanatory. Google will ask you for your business name, business address and your phone number. Enter these infos and google will send a letter to the business address you provided. This letter can take between 10 to 14 days to receive it in your address.
Once you receive this letter, you will find a 5 – 6 digit code enclosed. Go to your Google My Business account and click on Claim My Business. Google will ask you to type in this 5 – 6 digit code. Just type it in and press enter. Now you are done with step 3.
Step 4: Optimize Your Google My Business Profile.
Google will ask you to choose your business category so as to customize certain features in your profile. So go ahead and choose this then proceed to enter your operational days and hours.
Do you remember step 2 on keyword research? Great! Now it’s time to craft an attention grabbing headline in your title. Use these keywords in your title and your about us section. Pay attention to the character limit you have for your title. Best practice is to always include the important keyword at the beginning of your title. In the about section, you can really express in detail what your business is all about.
Note: Remember to include those keywords in this section. But do not stuff the keywords as it wont make any sense to the users. Search engines hate Keyword stuffing.
Upload photos of either your office, work space, restaurant or service center. Google love profiles with images. Once you are done uploading the photos, you should add the various services you offer. Also add special offers you have like webinars, events, or special promotions.
Important note on Google My Business maintenance.
Post regularly in your Google My Business profile. You should post at least once a week to keep your profile fresh and upto date. Google will reward you if you continue this practice.
Step 5: Get Citations.
Citations is simply the business or local directories your NAP information and your business website is found on. Citations are like the backlinks for Organic SEO. Always start accumulating citations from local and business directories in your city before going broad with your state and country. Below is the list of top local directories to enhance your local seo:
- Yahoo Local.
Optimizing for local search results is not that difficult as some SEO’s might tell. If you just follow the above the steps in this article, you can rank at the top 5 within a Month. I know this process could be time consuming for you to manage. If you have the time and energy to do it yourself, GO FOR IT. You can do it. But if you do not have the time to manage this, our agency can rank your business at the top of Google My Business and Bing Places. For more information, you can request a free consultation here