Local SEO Guide
9th September 2018
Local SEO is one of the most beneficial SEO disciplines for a small business. Being found by local consumers and generating in-store traffic has a direct impact on a local business’ bottom line.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the optimization of your website and online properties so that you can be found in local search.
Why Do You Need Local SEO?
Local SEO is important as it increases local search appearance and brings online users into the store.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
There are a number of different factors when it comes to Local SEO. These factors also change depending on where you show up. Each year Moz provided a complete breakdown of Local SEO factors. Here are the top 10 ranking factors for Google’s 3-pack and Localized Organic Rankings.
Local Pack Ranking Factors
Localized Organic Ranking Factors
Google My Business
Your Google My Business page (formerly Google Local) is the first thing you should set up. This is the most important factor for local SEO and will establish how your business information is displayed on Google Maps. Once you have set up your Google My Business listing you will need to optimize it.
The first thing you will need to enter is your business information. You will want to use the same NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) that is on your website. After this is completed you will need to select a category for your business. It is important that this is correct as it tells users and Google exactly what your business does. You are able to select multiple categories but only select all that are relevant.
Once this is completed you will need to verify your listing. This can be done a few ways:
- Email: This method is instant if you are using the same login details for your My Business account and Search Console
- Postcard: Google will send you a postcard in the mail which will have your verification code for your listing
- Phone: Google will send the verification code to your phone through an automated message
Once your listing is verified you will want to further optimize your profile. Be sure to fill out every section available, upload photos and use posts consistently to increase search appearance,
Build Local NAP Citations
Once you have set up your Google My Business listing it is time to start building out your NAP citations on local directories. It is important to build your NAP citations for a few reasons. According to Moz, citation signals account for 11% of the Local Pack ranking factors and over 8% of the localized organic ranking factors.
Business directories themselves are a great source as well as users use these to search for businesses. In addition to having the citation from here, your website will benefit from increased exposure, leverage the directories search performance as it will rank locally, and your site will get a relevant backlink. We discussed the importance of these in our Off-page SEO article.
It is important that your citation NAP matches your Google My Business listing. If the citation does not match, there is a chance that it could cause ranking issues and a loss of potential traffic.
Claim Your Locations
The first place you should look for your listings is on consumer review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook.
You should prioritize which listings to claim in order of importance. Depending on your business’ industry one site may be more important than another. For example, TripAdvisor is a good start for restaurant owners.
Now that you have your Google My Business and local listings set up you can work on building reviews. Review signals are important ranking factors for local search engines. Online reviews also influence those who are searching. So it is important to build positive reviews and address the negative ones. The better your reviews are the more likely users will choose your business to visit and spend their money.
To help build reviews business will often include them on their website and have widgets that enable users to leave reviews. Displaying these on your website will make it easy for users to leave a review.
Local On-page SEO
To help your website rank locally there are a few things you should do on-site.
Create Designated Landing Pages For Each Location
This is important especially if you have multiple locations. By providing each location with its own landing page it gives them their own opportunity to rank, independently of each other. This is also useful if you serve in multiple regions, even if you do not have a physical location.
Include Your NAP on Your Website
Be sure to include your business NAP on your website. In the footer of your website include your Name, Address, Phone Number and business hours. To further improve this, follow the Schema format for displaying this. Google’s Structured Markup Data Helper is a great tool to get started.
Embed a Google Map
Including a Google map on your location pages will make it easy for users to find your location.
As mentioned above, including reviews on your website is a good way to help users build confidence in your business.
Now you are ready to be found locally! Be sure to monitor your Local SEO and stay ahead of your competition. If you have any questions regarding the topics we covered in our guide, you can reach out to us anytime. We are happy to help.