What is Local SEO?
You may have heard the term local SEO or local search engine optimization before, but what exactly is it? Local SEO is the process of improving the online visibility for your business when someone makes a location specific search. Based on the location of the user or the location that they are searching for (for example, “Restaurants in downtown Montreal”), specific businesses in those locations will show up in the search results.
Having a higher ranking will mean that your business will show up higher in the local pack of the local search results. The goal of local SEO is to improve organic traffic to your business from online searches.
Who Can Benefit From Local SEO?
So now you might be wondering, “can my business benefit from local SEO?”
Local SEO is a tool that can benefit brick-and-mortar businesses as well as businesses that operate in specific service areas. A few examples of who can benefit the most from local SEO are:
- Professional services such as lawyers, financial advisors, notaries and insurance brokers.
- Health professionals like dentists, physiotherapists and aesthetic & cosmetic services.
- Home related services such as plumbers, exterminators and HVAC contractors..
- Restaurants, retail stores, auto mechanic garages. etc.
If your business is online only, you may want to stray away from local SEO as it is not a tool that would greatly benefit your business. Instead, consider investing your time in traditional SEO to get your website ranking higher on search engine results pages.
What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
In case you aren’t convinced yet that you should be using local SEO, here are just a few ways that it can benefit your business.
- Be discovered by local consumers who are looking to buy from local businesses (more relevant traffic).
- Demonstrate your credibility based on the quality of your reviews.
- Drive more customers to your physical location (for brick-and-mortar) or get more loyal customers using your services (for service-area businesses).
- Make your website more visible.
- Get more leads.
- Get more engagement with searchers.
How to Improve Your Ranking on the Local Pack
Here are a few things you should focus on when trying to improve your ranking in the local pack:
Set up and optimize your Google Business Profile account
When it comes to local optimization, Google Business Profile is your best friend. A few ways to optimize your GBP profile is to ensure that it is complete, post on your GBP account, ask your customers to review your business online, and respond to your reviews (both good and bad). A few factors that Google Business Profile uses when ranking local listings to keep in mind are:
- Relevance: How well a local listing matches with a user’s search.
- Distance: How far a listing is from a location used in a search.
- Prominence: How well known a business is.
Make some improvements to your internal linking structure on your website
Internal linking is when you add a link on one page on your website that will lead to another page that is also on your website. Internal linking is the key to improving your SEO ranking because it will help establish page authority throughout your site, ranking power for your pages, and help define the hierarchy and architecture of your website. On top of all of that, internal linking will also help with website navigation.
Optimize your URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content
When optimizing for local SEO, you want to include your location in as many places as possible. This means your URL, title tags, headers, meta description and content. However, when doing this, be sure to include it in a way that flows naturally, not forcing it or “keyword stuffing”. By including your location in these places, it will create more opportunity for your website to come up in search results for this geographical location.
Create localized content
By creating localized content, for example a blog post about local industry events, you can focus on attracting local customers. Creating local content will help you rank higher with Google and other search engines because it is telling them that your website is relevant for people searching in those areas.
Add yourself to more local directories
The more local directories you add your business to, the more opportunities you have of potential customers finding you. Just be sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) are consistent throughout all of the listings.
Post regularly and be active on your profile
It is important to regularly update your Google Business Profile with news regarding your business, promotions you are having, new products and services. This is a great way to attract potential customers to your business and, when you post regularly, will give customers an accurate idea of what your business is all about.
One of the key features of GBP posts is that you can include a call to action button in your post (call now, learn more…) which makes it much easier for customers to contact you or find out more about your business. The call to action button can help generate more organic clicks to your website and increase your page ranking with Google.
Time to boost your local business?
If you think your business could benefit from being more visible to, and attracting, more local consumers, it’s probably time to boost your business with local SEO. When trying to improve your ranking in local search results, keep in mind the importance of optimizing your content to include your location, setting up your GBP profile and posting on it regularly.