- 1 What is Local SEO?
- 2 What Influences Local SEO?
- 3 Google My Business Optimization
- 4 How Do You Get Local Name And Address Details
- 5 Local SEO OnPage Optimization Tips
- 5.1 1. Set up your website so that landing pages can rank
- 5.2 2. Optimize your title tags, meta descriptions, headers and content
- 5.3 3. State your Name, Address and Telephone Number in Schema format on your website
- 5.4 4. Embed a Google Map
- 5.5 5. Provide clear, powerful Call to Actions
- 5.6 6. Add reviews and testimonials
- 5.7 7. Mobile friendly
- 6 Get Local Listings
- 7 How To Get Local Reviews
- 8 Conclusion
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the optimization of your online properties so that you can be found in localized searches. This ultimate guide shows you tips so you can ensure that your company is clearly visible in your region. In this guide, we share a local SEO checklist and local SEO strategy for optimal local visibility and findability in the Google search engine.
When we talk about local SEO we are talking about localized searches.
This is how an average search in Google looks like:
As you can see, 100% of what you see above the ‘fold’ are advertisements. Google is increasingly pushing on paid advertising. That does not mean that SEO is no longer relevant, but it certainly does not underestimate the power of Google Ads.
After all the ads you see this:
The top three results are also called the “Snack Pack”, or the “Local Pack”. This is because you see three results from Google Maps here. The normal organic results are then under this Snack Pack.
But that is not the only place where the local SEO influences the search results.
Local SEO also affects Google Maps:
Local SEO also influences the mobile results:
It also controls the so-called knowledge graph:
Even if you search without a geo-modifier (so if Google doesn’t know your location), you can see local results.
It should be clear: local SEO is essential. Not only for companies with a physical store but also for providers of services such as roofers, plumbers, and coaches.
This guide will show you exactly which local SEO checklist you can complete for optimal findability.
Let’s get started!
What Influences Local SEO?
Local SEO can be divided into two parts:
- What influences the Local pack/3 pack rankings and other Google maps results
- What influences the organic results
Let’s take a quick look at the factors that influence local SEO in these two areas.
Local SEO via “Local Pack”/”Snack Pack”
Moz already wrote an extensive article about local ranking factors
You see that the most important ranking factor is Google My Business signals. It is another part that needs to be optimized. You can read more about this in this blog, and further on in the article, we also highlight a few things. Later in the list of important ranking factors, you can also see that links are essential, just like on-page signals from the website and reviews.
A few years ago the map results were pretty much independent of how good your website was, only proximity of the company to your location weighed heavily, but now it is no longer that simple. If you are not visible in Google Maps, it is most likely that your website is not optimal.
Website Ranking Factors For Organic Listing
If we look at the map section in the organic search results of Google (Organic Listing), then these are the most crucial ranking factors. In other words, you want to optimize for this:
As you can see, link signals are still the most important. Getting backlinks is still one of the most potent ways to get your site higher on Google.
If we look further down the list, we will also see on-page signals, meaning that it makes sense to optimize each page of your website in terms of the keyword(s) and content, user signals, personalization, and name and address data.
Bit overwhelmed? No worries, we discuss all these factors step by step in this local SEO guide.
Google My Business Optimization
Google My Business is indispensable for local findability. In Google My Company, your company data is visible in Google. It is useful for potential customers who are looking for opening times or contact details.
In this study by Moz (2017) mentioned earlier in this guide, it turned out that Google My Company signals are the most critical ranking factor for higher positions in the map section of Google (Google Maps). Don’t have Google My Business yet? Then claim it first. This is how you do it, step by step:
- Click here to request your Google My Business.
- You will now be redirected to a form to enter your company information. Your name and address details are requested.
- Also, choose the right category in which your company operates. This helps both potential customers, as well as Google’s bots, to see exactly what your company offers. It helps to show your company in relevant searches. Google state that you choose multiple categories. Be as specific as possible.
Before you can make further adjustments, you must verify your Google My Business account. There are several ways to do that.
- By post: Google sends you a verification code via the old-fashioned post.
- By phone: Google sends a verification code to your phone.
- Via email: Google sends send you a verification code via email, this is only possible if you have also provided this email address for your Google My Business account. You cannot use another email address and receive the code thereon.
Not all options are available depending on the type of company you have. The most convenient option, which always works, is to have the verification code sent by post.
Do you have questions about this process? Then also view the description that Google gives about Google My Business.
After your Google My Business account is complete and verified you want to make sure you get some local name and address citations.
How Do You Get Local Name And Address Details
The next step after setting up a Google My Business account is to obtain Google name and address listings for your company.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and phone number. Website is also part of the list.
It is advisable to get some of these citations in relevant directories for several different reasons:
- According to this study by Moz, citation signals are one of the most important ranking factors for Google.
- Many people still use directories to find companies.
- Many directories rank for local searches.
- A directory provides a relevant link to your website.
So these citations are not such a bad idea yet, they help with your local findability.
Warning: Inconsistent Name And Address Data Cause Ranking Problems
You may experience some problems if you change data, such as address or telephone number. It is essential to check from time to time whether all your name and address citations are correct. A quote is an online reference to your name and address data. This data does not even have to link directly to your website, but Google does use it to see if you have a serious company with sufficient online authority.
Inaccurate or inconsistent name and address data can, therefore, hurt your local SEO.
Local SEO OnPage Optimization Tips
Optimizing your existing pages is essential to be found locally for specific keywords.
There are several important points that you want to be in order so that your website can be found locally.
1. Set up your website so that landing pages can rank
If you offer your products or services in multiple cities, you may want to create a specific landing page for each city. This is a handy solution for companies with one physical location, but who are active in a broader region.
For example, you could have multiple landing pages for different areas:
It means you can also be found locally in places where you don’t have a physical office.
All the usual OnPage optimizations are also applicable for local SEO. You also want to add your city in your title tag and on the page, so that you can be found locally on it.
3. State your Name, Address and Telephone Number in Schema format on your website
Ideally, state your company name, address, and telephone number in a Schema format on your website. Make sure that your name, address, and telephone number correspond with the data included in various listings.
Also, don’t forget to show your opening times.
4. Embed a Google Map
It is a good idea to embed a Google Map with the location of your company so that potential customers can find you easily.
5. Provide clear, powerful Call to Actions
You don’t just want people to visit your website. You want them to take action. You want them to convert. So make sure that your telephone number is displayed prominently and clearly. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you. Guide the website visitor to the right Call to Actions and tell them what they can do (eg, call, request strategy session, download eBook, etc.)
6. Add reviews and testimonials
Adding reviews to your website helps to increase conversions. After all, people get more confidence in your products or services through the reviews of others.
7. Mobile friendly
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly (responsive). This has been enormously important since 2015. Do you have a WordPress website? Then you can easily work with a theme that is mobile-ready. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your website meets the requirements. Is your website unsuccessful? Then it may be time for a website redesign.
Get Local Listings
According to research by Search Engine Land, inconsistency among local listings is the number one issue that negatively impacts local SEO rankings. It means that changing names, telephone numbers or address details must be the same everywhere on the internet.
If there are many different addresses or phone numbers roaming the internet for your company, it naturally becomes difficult for potential customers to reach you, and Google will not trust this information.
So how can you check your local citations to see if they are consistent?
How do you do an audit and optimize your local listings for consistency in name, address and telephone number
The most thorough way to do a listing audit is to do this manually and conjure up all listings on which you are listed.
Do you prefer us to take this work off your hands? Then Marketers Center to audit the options for a local SEO listing.
Do you see inconsistent statements of your company data somewhere? Record this in a spreadsheet so that you can later contact the website owner.
After you have performed the audit, you can start building entries.
Get Local Listings
Every company is different, so it is essential to get listings that match your business. Are all companies from your city or region listed somewhere in a directory? Are there collection pages for your niche or industry?
Always ensure that you complete your profile correctly and thoroughly, including a company description, opening times, photos, name, address, and phone number.
Listings are quite time-consuming and challenging to create yourself. That is why you should get the help of an excellent citation service to create citations for you.
The next step: local link building
Local link building step-by-step plan
Getting links to your site is just as crucial for local SEO. Besides, many of the traditional link building tactics also work for the local approach.
To begin with, you want to publish valuable content on your website. You want to promote this content among relevant influencers. You want to submit guest blogs to other websites.
What distinguishes local link building from an ordinary link building is its specificity. You want more local links and blogs from other parties in your region.
I assume that you already know what valuable content is, how to approach influencers, and the other things I mentioned.
Find Local Listings To Get Links From
You prefer to generate as many local leads as possible. To find listings, you can search in Google by:
[region / city] companies
[company related keyword] in [region]
Strategies To Get Local Links
Make a list of the results that you have found and put them in a spreadsheet. Prioritize this from most important to least important, based on their relevance and influence.
- Contact the website owner to add your company to the list.
- Join active organizations in your niche.
- Work with non-profits, schools, or sponsor to acquire links.
- Address your network to arrange an interview with a prominent local figure (such as a mayor), then pitch it to the local news newspapers.
- Connect with local bloggers and small businesses in your area. Maybe you can promote each other.
Multiple items from the list above are newsworthy and can be brought to the attention of your local newspapers for even more publicity.
Why is this important?
Local news sources are sometimes high in terms of domain authority.
By participating in local events, you also increase your offline local visibility. It can also help your reputation and ensure a good word of mouth.
How To Get Local Reviews
The final optimization step is to improve your local reputation. In other words: get more positive reviews!
Which restaurant would you rather go to? A bed & breakfast without an online profile or a 3-star restaurant with a lot of bad reviews or a 4-star restaurant in the center that is bursting with positive reviews and recommendations?
You will probably choose the restaurant that you can find online, and that has excellent reviews.
If you have reviews on a sales page, this can increase conversions by as much as 18% ( source ). So you not only improve your reputation through reviews, but you also get even more sales out of it.
Moreover, positive reviews also help for better SEO results, so positive reviews ensure 3 flies in one fell swoop: your reputation rises, Google loves you, and you sell more.
Now that you know how critical reviews are, it’s time to look at the process of collecting more reviews.
Claim Your Company Profiles On The Best Review Websites
Yelp. Tripadvisor. You know them. These may be interesting review websites to list your company. It is a good idea to make a list of all the websites that are most valuable and from which you would like a review. Which review websites are there in your industry?
Can’t find useful review websites for your industry? Focus on Google My Business reviews and Facebook reviews. For Google My Business reviews and Facebook reviews the process is very simple, you can just leave a review and that’s it.
Get More Qualitative Reviews For Your Company
Collecting more reviews is not as difficult as you might think. You just need a process.
- Collect responses from satisfied customers via widgets, e-mail autoresponders, and e-mail signatures.
- Handle negative responses well through your customer service. You will often see that they even update their negative reviews.
Research shows how critical online reviews are to convince people of your products or services.
The more qualitative, positive reviews you have, the better the chance that you can convince potential customers to do business with you.
Make sure your reviews are clearly visible on your website!
This is it. You now have all local SEO know-how for optimal findability. You know what to do, it’s time to get started.
Have tips, comments or questions about local SEO? Let us know via a comment below.