Local SEO: What It Is, How Does It Work, And How To Do It

May 21, 2024 Local SEO: What It Is, How Does It Work, And How To Do It By Gaurav Madan

Did you know over 30% of people learn about local businesses online? Yes, that’s true. There is no longer an era of traditional marketing and people have adapted to the change by shifting their marketing strategy.

And, the more surprising part is over 80% of local searches lead to conversions. This is an eye-opening fact for all the marketers and business owners. However, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of local SEO because nearly 60% of prospective customers tend to ignore businesses without a dedicated website.

In this blog, we will delve deeper to learn about local search engine marketing. Let’s explore more below.

What is Local SEO?

Local Search Engine Optimization is a process that focuses on establishing a business’s online presence to increase revenue and conversion rates locally. Such a strategy mainly targets a particular location which not only improves business performance online but also increases foot traffic.

How Does Local SEO Work?

There are two types of searches that appear on Google for local search queries. One is “map pack” results and another is “blue link”.

Map pack or local pack is a feature where Google shows top business listings and a map at the top of local search results.

Organic search results are the blue links that we generally see for any search queries. Google shows them below the map pack results.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to do Local SEO(Local Search Engine Optimization )

1. Create and Optimize Google My Business Profile and Other Listings

Businesses get a free listing from Google called Google Business Profile (GBP) which helps local businesses to improve their visibility in the SERPs.

Here’s how you can create and optimize your GBP:

At first as a part of search engine optimization for local business, you either need to create or claim your Google Business Profile. For this, go to Google Business Profile and click “Manage Now” at the top right of the page. Please note that if your brand is listed on Google Maps, Google will create a Google Business Profile automatically and you just need to claim it. Just visit Google Maps and log in using your Google account details. Then enter your business name in the search section at the top of the page and click on “Claim this business.”

Next, you need to click on “Manage Now.”

You will then need to verify using available methods but the easiest verification method is via call or video.

Let’s move forward to optimizing your GBP.

  • Start with double-checking your basic business information like name, address, contact number, website URL, and business hours.
  • Check whether you have chosen the right business category as it is an important part of getting discovered for local searches. For example, for cafes and restaurants, there is an option to add a menu or reserve a table section to Google Business Profile. You can also choose a secondary category after selecting the primary one.
  • Include category-specific features like adding “Dine-in”, “Delivery”, and “Takeout” features if you own a restaurant.
  • Make sure to add pictures of your business as nearly 42% of people ask Google Maps for directions for businesses with relevant pictures. Besides, such businesses are also more likely to get 35% more clicks as compared to those who have no pictures uploaded in GBP.
  • List what type of products or services your business offers and prefer adding the details of all the products or services like name, description, and price.

2. Local Keyword Research

Research for relevant keywords is an important step for any SEO strategy. For local search engine marketing, you will keywords that users are using to search for that particular product or service in your local region.These keywords will help you generate relevant content for your website for content optimization and increase chances for your business to get more seen for local searches. Here’s how you can choose the right targeted keywords for your local SEO.

  • Use Keyword Research Tool: You can conduct keyword research with Google search as when you enter a phrase related to your business, you’ll get the top search phrases in the search bar. There are also other tools like Google Trends, SemRush, Ahrefs keyword explorer, Google Search Console, etc.
  • Competitor Websites’ Analysis: This will help you check what are the keywords that are helping your competitors to rank higher in the search engine results. You can do this with SemRush’s Organic Research tool.

All you need to do is enter a competitor’s website and click on the “Search” button. Then click on the “Positions” button to view the keywords that are helping your competitor to rank higher in local search results. Then, select the relevant keywords for your business and click on the “Export” tab to download all of them.

3. Generate Location-Specific Content

Content has been and will always be the main part of any SEO campaign. The same goes for local search engine marketing too. But make sure that you generate location-specific content by using the keywords your local people use to discover your services or products. For this, you first need to measure the difficulty score of the keywords you have selected on the basis of search volumes. Those with higher search volumes will be more difficult to rank. We suggest sorting keywords depending on search volumes. The next step is to create comprehensive, original, and high-quality content to drive more customers. Include crucial statistics in your content and also don’t forget to optimize it for Google.

4. Optimize Website For Local Search

If you want your business to reach more customers, optimizing your website for local searches is non-negotiable. Here are the steps you can follow for website optimization:

Check Website’s On-Page SEO Issues: You can use SemRush’s On-page SEO Checker. All you need to do is enter your website URL and click on the “Get Ideas” tab. Next, select your target location and it’ll check all your website pages for on-page issues. You’ll then get a detailed report and you can also click on the “Optimization Ideas” button to view the suggestions.

Ensure Your URLs are SEO-Friendly: Having SEO-friendly URLs is important for local search engine optimization. Make sure that your URLs are simple, and have the primary keywords in them. Also, ensure case accuracy in URLs. You should also use hyphens to separate words instead of underscores. Also, have a separate subfolder on your website to organize content.

Meta Descriptions and Title Tags: Optimize your meta descriptions and title tags to improve your ranking locally. Make sure to incorporate primary keywords in it. Besides, ensure that title tags fall within 50 to 60 characters.

Well-Structured Content: It means using H1, H2, H3, and more in your content to make navigation easier. For example, H1 is the main heading and it’s good to have keywords in it.
Internal Linking: It helps your website to rank higher in local search results faster. It also helps Google with indexation. So, link your one web page to another relevant web page.

Ensure Fast Loading Website: A Website’s loading speed is one of the SEO ranking factors for mobile as well as desktop searches. You can boost your website’s loading speed by upgrading web hosting, using a popular Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Cloudflare, removing unwanted scripts, using compressed image files, and using a system font or opting for self-hosting fonts to speed up the website’s loading. To identify any underlying issues for slow website loading, you can use any site audit tool like SemRush.

5. Ensure NAP Citations’ Consistency and Accuracy

NAP accuracy is crucial for local SEO especially. It stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number across online listings like Google Business Profile, business directories, and social media handles. Businesses need to ensure that all of this information is consistent as Google uses them for verification. You can use the Listing Management Tool to check for any errors. There is also an option of a paid subscription for auto-correction of NAP citations.

6. Focus on Getting and Responding to Reviews Online

Most users check online reviews to make more informed decisions about their choices. For example, checking a restaurant’s rating to understand the quality of food. So, businesses must emphasize getting reviews from their customers and ask them to share their experiences. This can enhance your local SEO efforts. Here’s how you can do it:

Ask customers to leave a review: Don’t wait for customers to leave a review on their own. Be proactive and politely ask or request them to leave their feedback online. You can do this when they are all set to leave your store or send an automated review request mail or message. You’ll be amazed to see what difference this step makes for your local SEO.

Monitor Reviews: Consider automating your review monitoring process. With multiple listings, it can be difficult to monitor reviews. So, investing in a review monitoring tool can help you save a lot of time while you also don’t miss out on any reviews.

Respond to all Reviews: Yes! It’s important to let your customers know that you value them. No matter whether a review is positive or negative, you need to respond to all of them.

If a customer is disappointed with your product or service, address it with appropriate actions. While doing so, don’t lose your cool, and be respectful. Leave a thank you note for positive reviews and express your gratitude.

7. Track Your Local SEO Efforts

This is an important step for all the SEO strategies. After all, you need to know metrics to track the effectiveness of your local search engine optimization campaign. It helps you understand the areas of improvement. You can use different SEO tools to measure your campaign’s effectiveness like Google Search Console, SemRush, Ahrefs, Google Analytics, etc.

Read More: How to Avoid the Most Common Local SEO Mistakes

Top 7 Local SEO Tools Every Marketer Must Know

Google Search Console: This free tool helps in tracking a site’s search performance and lets you know the search traffic metrics. For example, which keywords are working well for bringing more visitors to your site?

Google Business Manager: Earlier known as Google My Business, this is a must-have tool for all small business owners to manage their Google My Business profiles.

Google Keyword Planner: This is Google’s free keyword research tool that can help you identify and choose the best keywords for local SEO depending on the search volumes locally.

Ahrefs Link Intersect: This tool helps you identify your competitor’s websites to find relevant local and business-specific citations.

Ahrefs Rank Tracker: You can check the rankings of up to 10,000 keywords for organic search from country, state, city, and ZIP code.

Grid My Business: This free local SEO tool displays map pack ranking positions for a keyword locally that is related to your niche.

Yext: This tool comes in handy to sync and manage business information over different listings. It helps you ensure that local citations are the same on all the platforms.

Also Read: The Essentials of Key Ranking Factors in Local SEO

Many businesses think local SEO won’t be very effective. To bust this myth, let us tell you a story. A small cafe in Chicago involved in serving lip-smacking desserts like pastries along with coffee was not doing well in their business because of extensive competition.

The cafe then started to work on optimizing its GBP and used locally relevant keywords to improve its rankings in search results as well as ratings. They saw a growth of 40% in revenue within a few months. So, it’s worth investing in local search engine optimization considering your business type.

Some of the top industries that can leverage local SEO include restaurants, professional services like Chartered Accountants, lawyers, etc., medical, hospitality, and others.

Enhance Your Local SEO with Autus Digital Agency

We hope this guide will help you learn about local SEO However, you need to hire a professional digital marketing agency to reap the maximum benefits of local SEO. Autus Digital Agency is the one you need for local SEO and other marketing services. Trust our experts to develop a tailored local SEO strategy that works the best for your business. Call us today for more information.

Gaurav Madan

About Author

Gaurav is working on various verticals like IT & Software Solutions | Digital Marketing | E-Commerce | BPO | Outsourcing | Offshoring | Global Deliveries | Exports | Education. Gaurav believes in CHANGE, which is constant throughout the LIFE so be with the CHANGE Gaurav is having, In-depth experience in IT Solutions, Offshoring, Internet Branding, Sales & Marketing, Managing New Projects & Processes, Solution Designing and Transitioning of New International and Domestic business engagements. Proficient at managing & leading teams to run successful operations & experienced in developing procedures, service standards, client satisfaction using standard frameworks for business excellence.

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