Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most businesses have a local presence, whether or not they have a national or global presence. Therefore, it’s no surprise that, as Google has relentlessly tried to improve the online user experience, Local SEO has become essential for any business with a local presence.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO allows you to promote your business instantly and effectively online to local customers, and it uses several strategies to get your site ranked on search engines like Google and Bing, and business directories like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Yelp.

Why is Local SEO so important?

Local SEO is important because it allows businesses to increase their online visibility in more focused markets rather than forcing them to compete on a global scale. For businesses with more resources, and perhaps a global focus, Local SEO is the foundation from which they will build upon.

Local SEO vs. Global SEO

The main difference between Local SEO and Global SEO is the type of search that the user enters into the search engine. Local search has a geographical intent whereas global search does not. For example, you may search locally for a holistic dentist in Santa Ana, California whereas you would use a global search for information describing the difference between a holistic dentist and a general dentist. In this case, the local search has a local intent (i.e., something nearby) and the global search is simply after the best possible information regardless of location.  

What is the advantage of a business ranking in a local search?

If a business has any locations, they will want to rank highly in a local search. These areas include:

  • Online Paid Ads
  • Map Listings
  • Organic Searches
  • Online Business Directory Listings

By having a local presence, it presents a business with the opportunity to outrank often larger, national brands who have higher Domain Authority that will undoubtedly win in a global search against smaller businesses.

The good news is that this is better for the user to find what they actually want.

For example, if you search for “the best Italian restaurants in Denver,” it would not help to find Italian restaurants in New York City. What most people want is quick access to nearby Italian restaurants with good user ratings. And Google is doing a great job of providing those search results.

In many cases, a search for “the best Italian restaurant near me,” will turn up a national website such as Yelp.com touting something like a Top 10 Best Italian Restaurants in Denver.

However, a proper local SEO campaign will allow a local restaurant to show up over websites like Yelp despite the fact that Yelp has a much greater Domain Authority.

But it requires a strong Local SEO campaign.

What is the advantage of a business ranking in global search results?

If a business wants to rank for a search term that is not location specific (for example, “sinusitis”), they will need to focus their campaign to rank highly in global search results. This would be optimal for businesses that don’t have a physical location, or perhaps those with an online presence that sell products or services specifically via the internet.

Can a business rank highly in both a local and global search results?

Yes, businesses can rank for local and global search results. However, local search results are enough for most businesses. A global SEO campaign would likely prove too costly without any extra return for most businesses who serve a local market.

What goes into a Local SEO campaign?

Local SEO is about creating signals across the internet that tell Google who you are and what you do in your local market. To ensure success, make sure to do the following:

  • Make Sure your business is listed accurately and appropriately throughout the internet.
  • Claim your local business directory listings on websites such as Google My Business (Google Maps), Apple Maps and Yelp.
  • Ensure your name, address and phone number (NAP) are accurate and formatted consistently throughout all directory listings.
  • Be active in your local community.
    • Get featured on local websites.
    • Publish press releases on local news outlets.
  • Optimize your content and external links for your services and  local relevance.
  • Encourage customers to post reviews on websites like Google My Business (Google Maps), Apple Maps, Yelp and other review sites.
    • Check and respond to reviews regularly.

Local SEO is about driving location signals to your website both internally and externally. By having your Name, Address and Phone number consistently listed on your website and across all pertinent online business directory listings you will achieve success in Local SEO.

How Can Local SEO Help You Attract New Customers?

Showing up at the top of first page search results, whether in online paid advertising, map listings, or organic search listings, will result in greater exposure to your website. As more people find your website, you will gain more customers.

Remember: Local SEO is necessary for any business with a local presence.

Local SEO is a necessity for any business with a local presence. Google is constantly trying to improve the user experience in online search, so it’s imperative to optimize your website to help Google provide an optimal experience for users.

If you have a local presence, take advantage of the opportunity to gain local visibility.

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Written By Airto Zamorano

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