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Local SEO Made Simple: A Complete Guide for 2019

Local SEO. One thing is sure, local SEO is not that same as normal SEO, but where and how to start? What is Local SEO for?

Local SEO is an act of optimizing your local business website so that you are found for the local searches in Google that are most relevant to your business.

Even a more relevant question would be, what is local SEO actually?

Local SEO is all about optimizing your website to rank better for local customers. It’s an effective way to market your business online. But how? How does local SEO help? It works by promoting your products/services to the local audience at the same time when they are looking for them online.

Local SEO has its own set of best practices. If not implemented in the right way, it will make things difficult and stops your site from performing well in search. For anyone wondering how local SEO differs from normal SEO, the former is all about building relevant signals around a specific location whereas the latter is the practice of getting higher SERP (search engine results pages) rankings for relevant keywords.

Local SEO Store

See the difference in SERPs when we do a local search and general search. I’ve used the keywords ‘Turkish towels’ and ‘Sydney Turkish towels’.

citation listing

You’ll see the two SERPs to be different. Local search will have the “local pack” and map like the below;

local seo pack

By implementing local SEO strategies, you’ll have your local website show up in SERPs and enjoy several benefits including increased traffic, and improved online visibility and brand authority. But then you will get another question, Why Local search is important?

Look at the below stats;

  • 4 out of 5 consumers use local search to find what they look for
  • 50% of people who did a local search went to a physical store within a day
  • 78% of mobile-based local searches end in purchases
  • 1 out of 3 smartphone searches was done just before arriving at a store
  • 50% of mobile searchers are looking for things like local business address
  • 59% of consumers use Google to find a reliable local business

With more and more customers going online, looking for the best products or services near them, they are more likely to engage with the business they searched for within a day. To get maximum visibility, your business should be at the top of the list when someone queries for the product or service you offer. But getting on to the top of local search results is not that easy, especially after Google changed their local pack to the new 3-pack listings, like that of the above image.

What Local SEO Looks Like?

A better question will be ‘what will local SEO look like in 2020?’ With almost 50% of searches on Google already having local intent, the importance of local SEO is and will be on the rise in the coming years. So, coming to the key takeaways for local SEO 2020, see the below listed points;

  • User engagement will always be the topmost factor in local SEO. The businesses with maximum engagement will be the ones prioritized by Google in its SERPs.
  • With voice search getting familiar with smartphone users, it’s essential that you need to go for real-time keywords. Long-tail keywords and the ones in the form of questions will work!
  • Reviews and ratings are another factor that will play a greater role in influencing local SERP rankings

What Factors Affect Local SEO?

According to a local SEO case study by Moz, the factors that influence local SEO can be divided into 2 parts; factors that influence the local 3-pack and map rankings & those that influence organic search rankings.

ranking chart

Source: Moz study

You can see that both the local 3-pack and organic listing rankings require Google My Business signals, Citation signals, Link signals, Reviews and OnPage signals as the major factors. Let’s discuss them in detail.

Google My Business

Having a well-optimized and verified Google My Business (GMB) profile is very important as it is considered to be the topmost factor for ranking in map results. Update and secure your GMB profile so that you have your own online identity, and the chances for your business to appear in Google’s local search is more. Make sure to be as specific as possible when adding information to your GMB profile.

NAP Citations

As you can see from the above image, citation signals account for 13% of the ranking factors. For anyone unfamiliar with citations, they are online references of your business in relevant directories around the web. And NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. The more consistent NAP citations you have for your business, the more are the local SEO benefits. But, keep in mind that inaccurate or inconsistent citations are likely to negatively affect your local SEO. If you have done citations in the past that may seem to be inconsistent, get a citation audit done through a professional to fix the NAP variations.

Onpage Optimization

From website structure, optimized meta tags to mobile responsiveness, there are a few local SEO onpage aspects that you need to concentrate more when it comes to ranking your website locally. Ensuring these important onpage factors are in order will definitely improve your local SEO.

Local Link Building

If you wonder, how local link building differs from general link building, here it’s explained. Local link building is more about placing links in locally targeted listings, blogs and news sites, and event pages. Create an effective link building strategy and keep on building relevant and useful links to your site. Having quality backlinks not just improves your site’s visibility but also drives relevant traffic to your site.

Reviews & Ratings

Getting positive reviews and higher ratings benefit your business in local SEO. Local reviews not just boost your company’s local reputation but also brings in potential new consumers. If you take a look at the local SERP, you can see ratings and reviews having their place within the local 3-pack. The quality of reviews is more into impacting your local search rankings.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have understood the major aspects of local SEO, it’s time to get started. If you want a local SEO strategy for your business, we can help! We are in this industry for more than a decade, and we know what works and what does not. Get an idea of how we can help you by signing up for the FREE local SEO audit below;

FAQs

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is an act of optimizing your local business website so that you are found for the local searches in Google that are most relevant to your business.

What is the difference between local SEO and organic SEO?

Organic SEO is the practice of optimizing your business website to make it search-engine compliant, and get it ranked in SERPs for the relevant keywords. Local SEO is more about building relevant signals around a particular location. Organic SEO has its goal to get ranked as high as possible for a set of target keywords whereas local SEO aims to get into the local listing packs.

Why Local SEO matter?

Local SEO helps people to easily find your local business online. It helps your business to become highly visible online, and rank high in local SERPs making it easier for customers to find you.

What is the future of local search marketing?

With more and more people using smartphones, iPads, etc., and voice search usage on the rise, the future lies in local mobile marketing. Having an SEO-compliant website and a strong local SEO strategy will get your website on to Google’s local listing pack.