Can you guess what a person looking for a plumber to fix his leaking pipe in the middle of the night might do? He, most likely, would type “best plumber in XYZ” on his smartphone and look at the first few websites that pop up.
Now, imagine if a local plumber doesn’t show up in his search results. He misses an opportunity. That’s precisely why businesses need to focus on local SEO.
In keeping with Google’s aim to create better and more helpful experiences for users, the search giant has been putting more emphasis on local search for a while now. In fact, a whopping 46% of all Google searches are local.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is basically organic SEO, but with an added element of location.
In other words, local SEO is the practice of optimising’ your web presence to attract more business from relevant local searches.
For example, a Sydney base restaurant won’t benefit from showing up on local search results for Melbourne. Instead, it would make sense for them to show up in SERPs of people searching for restaurants in Sydney.
How Local SEO Works
The impact of Local SEO is best visible on ‘local pack’ or Google Snack Pack. It is a curated block of local business listings which appears at the top of SERPs in response to search queries for products/services provided by local businesses. This particular feature is known to attract 33% of clicks in comparison to 40% going to the regular organic results.
Of course, it pays to rank in both local SEO and organic SEO results. The good news is, with a solid local SEO strategy, you can win at both.
How to Get Started With Local SEO
- Optimize website for mobile visitors: Why mobile? Well, 88% of local searches that happen on a mobile device end up in calls or visits within 24 hours.
61% of mobile searchers have a greater likelihood of contacting a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. Need we say more about why you should mobile-optimize your site? Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to know where you stand.
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business: One of the vital first steps in any local SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local Google My Business (GMB) listing, along with your Bing Places and Apple Maps listings. Claiming your local profiles and local SEO citations will not only boost your local SERP rankings but also showcase you as a credible business in the eyes of potential customers.
- Keyword research: When it comes to doing keyword research for local, all the well-known SEO techniques — high search volume, low competition, highly targeted long-tailed keywords, etc. — hold true. Plus, it has the location factor.
A good way to go about this is by creating a list of high quality keywords and all the locations that a business serves. Combine the two to form a bunch of local SEO keywords. Google’s autocompleting tool can help you with more search suggestions.
- Local competition analysis: Who are your competitors on the local level? What keywords are they using? Knowing this can help you unearth a goldmine of other relevant long-tail and relevant searches. With tools like Ahrefs Content Gap, you can find the most common keywords that many competitors might be using all at once.
- On-Page Technical SEO: Just like regular SEO, on-page factors, and user experience matter a lot when it comes to grabbing the top spot in local SERPs. Therefore, you must focus on aspects such as locally-optimized title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs, along with validated HTML and CSS coding, schema.org coding, among others.
- Content that captures local interest: Local SEO benefits hugely from content that’s designed to attract local searches and drive traffic. Use of local SEO keywords to create location-specific content, guest posting on local websites, writing about local activities that pertain to the specific niche/business it is trying to promote, and posting on relevant local groups on social media are some tips for a winning local content strategy.
- Local link building: When doing local SEO, one thing that you should absolutely not ignore is niche local sites within your industry. Building links with sites that are authorities on local-specific topics will boost users’ trust in your website.
- Get online reviews: 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. So make sure to get as many reviews as possible on your social media pages, GMB, and other review websites. Besides inspiring trust and credibility, Google reviews is also a ranking signal that decides your position on SERPs.
- Monitor results: Keep a close track of your local SEO campaigns to know what’s working and what’s not, and which areas can be tweaked to produce better results. The key metrics to be tracked include organic site traffic, leads generated, conversions, backlinks, Google map rankings, session locations mobile traffic, etc.
With local searches becoming the heart of SEO for local businesses, you wouldn’t want to miss the benefits and opportunities it offers. While these tips can get you started with local SEO, working with a Sydney based SEO Agency such as Local Digital can make a world of difference in your local SEO results.