Local SEO: Definitive Guide for Local Businesses
Local businesses require local SEO to rank the businesses on the internet.
The abbreviation of Local SEO is Local Search Engine Optimization.
Probably you have heard about business profiling or business listing. Optimizing your business profile to rank on top for local search is called local SEO.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
If you are a local business owner or a digital marketer then this article will help you or your client’s local businesses to rank higher on the search result.
- Understanding the difference between SEO & Local SEO
Local SEO is a process of ranking a local business profile on Google based on location-specific keywords in a specific geographical area.
When you search location-specific keywords like “Computer Shop in NYC” you will see a different result on google.
If we separate this keyword, we can find three parts of this keyword. “Computer”, “Shop”, and “NYC”
“NYC” is a direct location specific search term and “shop” is an indirect location specific search term because as we all know that without location, the shop doesn’t exist.
Now, what about “computer”? It was not a location-specific search term but the majority of people search this word with location-specific keyphrases like “computer shop near me”, “computer repairing near me”, etc. Therefore it became a location-specific search term.
If you search any of the first two search terms from your local area, you will see the nearest relevant local shops in the search result.
SEO and Local SEO are almost similar to each other. SEO is the process of ranking a website on Google based on general search terms.
The process of Local SEO is a little bit different from general SEO. In general SEO, We simply do on-page optimization and create backlinks for off-page optimization.
But, when it comes to doing local SEO, we need to put an extra effort into it. Doing local SEO is much easier than general SEO but people get confused and make it harder.
- Best practices in Local SEO
Whether you do SEO as a service or you have your own small business, you should follow this guide.
The Internet is a crowd of different types of people. Where different people promote their businesses to others.
These people are divided into different communities by different platforms. These platforms are different social media, different directories, different forums, etc.
Ranking local business is not possible without your presence on those platforms. Means, you will have to do some activity with your business profile.
- Listing Settings & Optimization
To set up your business profile, create an account on Google My Business. It requires a Gmail account only.
Choose a brand keyword that has enough search volume. Put it in your business title if possible otherwise optimize your business description properly with this keyword.
Select the right category for your business. Add your business logo and images. Don’t forget to add geotags in your images.
Also, add as much information as you can such as business hours, holidays, address with proper directions, permanent contact information, etc.
You can see a website link option on your business profile. I will explain this later below.
- Business Listings or Citations:
Citation or business listing is one of the most important ranking factors of local SEO. It is quite easy but will not work if you don’t go in the right direction.
Citation means putting your “Name Address and Phone Number (NAP) in different directories properly. Only putting the NAP is easy but when we talk about putting NAP properly then it takes a little bit extra effort.
Put your same details on every directory. Never and ever should be different any of your information on business directories. Such as your phone number, business address, and categories.
It might be possible you have different contact number but remember, having the same contact number on different directories build trust in your potential clients.
- Reviews Generation:
Generating reviews from people is a difficult task. Therefore people choose the blackhat method. They purchase reviews from freelancers.
What freelancers do is, they have a lot of fake email id, so that they just randomly place reviews with their fake Gmail accounts.
I never recommend you to do this kind of activity, because Google is smarter than you.
To generate natural reviews, you can embed your business page on your website. I will explain how to set up a website in a jiffy in the next step.
If you have an email list of your followers or if you have fans on social media then simply you can share your business profile link to them to get reviews from them.
Reviews help to boost your ranking on Google and build your authority as well,
- Setting up a Website:
Doing general SEO must require a website but while doing local SEO, having a website is optional.
To boost your ranking fast, you should have a website.
To set up a website, simply go to wordpress.com and purchase a plane or you can hire a developer to do this job.
Once it has done, add your website link to your business profile.
There are a few plugins available in WordPress to set up a google map/GMB on a contact form of your website. Make sure that you have added your google map in the right format on the contact form.
When both of your website as well as your business profile interchange with each other, it will give your brand a link juice which will help to rank your brand.
- Optimizing pages for each product:
Create separate pages for each of your products/services listed on your website.
Search engines/bot consider each web page as a website. Therefore, optimize your every page separately for your targeted keywords.
Add a link to your every optimized web pages pointing to your contact form.
Your service or product pages will work as landing pages, so, it should be well written and well optimized for your targeted keywords.
- Blog Set up:
Once everything has done, set up a blog section to your site. Write daily/weekly/monthly basis related articles and publish to this blog section.
Remember, every blog post should target keywords that have not been targeted before. Add a link to the related landing page of your site in every blog post.
Don’t forget to add geotags and alt tags in every image of your blog posts.
Basically, geotags works based on Longitude and Latitude data of the google maps. When you add this data to your images, it helps the search engines to recognize the exact location.
Similarly, alt tags help your audience as well as the search engines to understand what the image is about. Mind it, when you will add alt tags, don’t forget to add your targeted keyword there.
When you add both tags properly, your chances will increase to appear on the search result because search engines will connect your location data to the search terms included in the images by alt tags.
Overall optimize your every blog post and if you can’t handle your time to write then simply hire someone from Fiverr.com.
- Submitting to the search engines:
Now it’s time to submit your website to the search engines to get fast results.
Create accounts on different search engine webmaster tools like Google Webmaster, Bing Webmaster, Yandex, etc.
Create sitemaps of your website and submit to those webmaster tools.
- Effect of local SEO:
Effect of Local SEO is faster than general SEO. Your business website may not appear, but you can see a snippet box of your business will appear on the right side of the search page.
- Reach through Local SEO:
If we talk about business reach online, then reaching through General SEO is quite huge than Local SEO.
Basically, it depends on your business category. If your business category falls in digital business, selling digital products or services then Local SEO is not for your business.
Local SEO helps businesses that have a location and physical products or services and their target audience is geographically limited.
In Local SEO, you can generate super niche-targeted visitors that can easily convert into your profitable customer.
Conclusion: Local SEO is all about the process of ranking your local business in location-based search terms.
Local SEO includes a few steps like creating a business profile, optimizing this profile, running a citation campaign, generating real reviews, Creating a website and setting up a blog and promoting it in different ways.
To reach your super-niche targeted audience limited to the specific location, Local SEO is the best choice for your local business.