What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of achieving higher website rankings in Google. Businesses rely on local SEO to get more qualified leads from their website.
In the restaurant world, they say location is everything, for Internet marketing, the same holds true in the Google search engine. But instead of physical location, Local SEO gives your small business a digital presence online.
The higher the rankings of a website, the more website visitors the site will see. It’s like placing that restaurant at a busy road, it will get more door swings because of the sheer traffic in footsteps.
So how exactly do you get your website to appear on main street and have people flocking to your website from the search engine?
To start, you need a website. Local SEO does not work without a website. At one time, you were able to set up a quick website with no authority and begin to rank the site using spammy black hat SEO tactics.
Unfortunately, things are not the same anymore. Not only do you need a website now, you need a solid strategy for higher rankings.
This is simply the reason I have created this website – to show you the no B.S methods of ranking a website on Google.
The process takes time and you have to be aggressive due to the competition, but once it’s done it is worth it. Let’s get started with the basics of local SEO
Local SEO Rankings Factors
“SEO is like the Wild Wild West”, is what came out of the mouths of one of my good clients, Eric’s tree service.
When I came to Eric, he was already working with SEO’s who were doing nothing but wasting his money, and worst of all, time.
Eric knew the basics of Local SEO but he was being told from several search companies different things.
Some were saying that backlinks were most important, others were saying site speed, and some were saying content and on and on.
The reality is, everyone has their own beliefs as to what ranks in the search engine. So why not use all of the beliefs? Why not optimize a website for all of the ranking factors?
You see for SEO to work you need to be dedicated and understand it is a long-term process. But by over optimizing all of the search engine metrics, you can pretty much guess your rankings because you’re going so above and beyond the search engines will credit your site more than the other guys.
Let me be very clear that if you focus on these core KPI’s, your website will rank:
- Content quality and depth
- Relevant backlinks to your website
- Branding & custom site graphics/speed
Now you may be wondering, why isn’t Ruan mentioning sitemaps, rbt text files, on page SEO, social signals, web 2.0’s and on and on? The reality is, none of that actually matters in SEO.
If you want to learn more in-depth about website SEO ranking factors, feel free to click here and learn more about the individual ranking factors.
But for now, you need to understand how the search engines work. In it’s simplest form, search engines deliver relevant results to the user that Google sees fit
This means if Google thinks your website is relevant, it will display it in the Google search results. If it thinks your website is not relevant, it will bury it in the depths of Google’s search engine.
Take note, for example, the Google Heatmap is shown below, this heat map shows developers where Google traffic is clicking on and based on the image below, you can see that 33% of the search traffic is spent on the first result in the search engine.
Even more of the clicks go over to the Google maps, where Google will show a localized business as it sees it the most fir for the user searching with a local intent
Understanding Search Intent
When a user makes a search in Google, it is often that their intent is to accomplish a goal. Whether that goal be:
- Doing research
- Checking for reviews before purchase
- Making a purchase online
The user has a goal in mind and it is the SEO’s job to understand the intent and optimize for the intent.
Many keyword phrases entered into Google trigger “intent”, algorithmic changes. For example, a search for “near me” would result in the local map pack. But if you were to make a search for a phrase such as “how to”, Google would likely display a video instead of a map.
When doing keyword research, search for the phrase in Google and see what Google is displaying at the top of the search result. If they’re displaying a video, create a video. If they’re displaying an article, then write an article.
By serving the users intent, you can bet on higher website rankings as well as an increase in sales.
How To Engage In Local SEO
Now that you understand a little more about local SEO, it is time you understand how to engage in local SEO. The first step to engaging in local SE is by creating a high performing website that reads clearly to the search engines. An easy way to do this is by building a website that is SEO optimized.
You can use tools such as WPengine to ensure that you have fast hosting with your website. The faster the speed of the website the higher you will rank on the search engines. To engage in Local SEO, ensure you’re covering these important foundations within your SEO campaign:
Directories: by ensuring your website is listed consistently across the search engine, you need to optimize directories for more search engine traffic. You can do this by using automation tools that will help you or you can do them manually. You can get started by optimizing your local rankings by getting on some of the more popular directories such as Yelp, yellow pages, hotfrog, manta, google my business and much more. Furthermore, if you’re a more niche-specific business, you may want to consider getting on some niche specific directories. For example, if you’re a lawyer, you may want to get into avoo or if you’re a home improvement contractor you may want to get into home advisor.
Structured website content: people are often searching for phrases in Google and it is your job to ensure that your website appears properly throughout the search engine. This is why it is so important to conduct proper keyword research for your website project so you can create the content accordingly to the keyword research. If you’re a small business offering automotive repair, you may want to rank for keyword phrases such as, “auto repair Hartford ct”. This keyword phrase is indicating that the searcher is looking to repair their broken car. So you need to ensure that you have the proper heading tags on your website, image alt tags, and website content to go along accordingly to the search phrase.
Social media presence: social media is becoming more and more popular throughout the web. Because of this, you need to ensure your business or brand is more active on all social media profiles. By doing this, you’re creating a seamless system of social proof and signals for your local business. Google would rather rank a website with higher social signals rather than a website that is absolutely dead on social media. You can achieve this by implementing an RSS feed on your blog so when you schedule a post on your website, it will share on your social media. This creates a social relevancy on your website and often leads to higher rankings in the Google search engine.
Network with other local businesses: one of the most important ranking factors is the ability to get backlinks from other websites. By doing this, you can create local relevancy and link equity by building powerful local backlinks. If you’re in a town or city that has a chamber of commerce, it is always best to start there. You can get a do-follow local link from the chamber of commerce helping your site appear in the search results. In my time’s marketing for clients, I would often reach out to the client’s friends or colleagues and ask for a link back to their website. This is often very powerful as a roofer may know a painter in the same town or city giving each a ton of relevancy and power in the local search. Google loves to see when a website is referred to by another website in the same local area, especially in the same topical niche.
Keyword Research Is Your Next Step …
Now that you know what local SEO is, you can now start preparing to embark on your local SEO campaign. To do so, you’re going to need to implement keyword research on your website. I cover how to perform in-depth keyword research for local search engine optimization by clicking through here. Keyword research will allow you to rank for the keyword that has an impact on your business and will ensure that you’re not targeting phrases that are too hard to rank for. There are many tools to use for keyword research, and in the next post, I am going to show you exactly how to find low hanging fruit keyword to start seeing search engine rankings immediately.
If you’re ready to take your local SEO strategy to the next level, I highly recommend you register for the webinar where I cover exactly how to rank a local business website within 30 days or less using search engine optimization. If you want to learn more about my digital marketing agency and want someone to do the work for you, visit DeveloMark.