In this article we will cover most asked questions about Local SEO, which are as following :-
What’s local seo?
What are local seo citations?
How local seo works?
How to do local seo Marketing?
How to improve local seo rankings?
And many more.
So, Let’s get started.
What is Local SEO ?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website to increase search visibility in Local Searches. Everyone, optimize their business for Local SEO to attract more leads and brand awareness.
A Business which has a Physical Location like Grocery Store, Doctor’s Clinic and which serve their customers face to face often spend their money and time to get more local customers.
People Search for local businesses on different Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yelp.
According to research, Instead of other search engines most people use Google to do a local search. Which is not shocking.
According to another study from GoGulf 46% Google searches are looking for information about a Local Business.
So, that’s why in this guide we will focus on Google.
Why Local SEO is important to your business ?
Some say that Google is new and updated Yellow pages. Before 2014, business users added their name and address on Yellow pages and then waited for customers to visit or call them.
Today, most people use Google to find local businesses online.
Local SEO is an equal level game, which is a good thing for small businesses. All you have to do is best practices for Local SEO and gain more reviews, which take your business listing on the top in searches. Here are some important stats about it:-
97% people learn more about a local business from online (Source: SEO Tribunal)
Another study from Chat Meter stats that “Near me” and “Close by” type searches grew by 900% over two years.
Even Google states that 74% users which perform a local search visit a physical location of a business within 24 hours.
How Local SEO works?
Some experts say that Local SEO works the same as normal search but some of them are against this statement.
Dan Scalco once said in his article that “Local SEO doesn’t just increase traffic to your website; it increases targeted traffic” which is absolutely true.
For the support of his statement he further said that there is a difference in a searcher’s behavior when he searches for “home security” and “home security miami”.
If he searches for “home security”, he might want to know about home security more and when he searches for “home security miami” then he looks for local business.
Which makes perfect sense and proved that Local SEO works differently from SEO.
When it comes to ranking factors, Here are some ranking factors for local search results :-
- Presence of GMB (Google My Business) listings
- Keywords used in Listing
- User reviews (Bad or Good)
- Keywords used in user reviews
- Social Shares
- Star rating in Google Maps for that business
What are local seo citations(also called NAP Citations)?
Local Citations are generally the mentions of your local business name, phone number and address on the web. Citations usually show name, address and phone number which is why it is called NAP Citations.
Components of Citations:- With three main (name, address and phone number) components of Citations, one can add a link of the website. There are some more elements of citations :-
- Business Type
- User Reviews
- Business Directions
- Email Addresses
- Alternate phone numbers
- Hours of Operation
- Links of Social Media Accounts
Why Are Local SEO Citations Important ?
Here are two reasons why NAP citations are important :
According to Moz, citations are one of the ranking factors for Local Searches. They can either make or break your ranking. If citations of your business are accurate and have more citations than your competitor, it will influence your ranking.
On the other hand, if your citations are not the same on different platforms or inaccurate then Google will not likely rank you higher.
For example, If your business has two different phone numbers in two different mentions, or an Old address on your first mention, it may confuse Google and to prevent poor user experience, Google may break your ranking.
Local Citations can affect your Customers. Inaccurate citations not only affect your ranking but also affect your customers and leads.
If your phone number or email address is not correct, you may lose some customers and leads because of the inaccurate citations.
So, I think now you got the idea that, how important are Local SEO citations? And, I know the next question which comes in your mind, which is “how do I correct my business citations” or “how to check, if they are accurate or not”?
Let’s find out how to do that..
Well, there are two ways which can help you to find inaccurate data of your business. Here I gonna give you some of them :
- With Tools:- There are several tools which are used to find Incorrect citations but these three are recommended by the experts WhiteSpark, Moz Local and Loganix.
All you have to do is just open any tool and fill out accurate and updated information about your business and the tool will give you a report of your business listing. Now, check the data in all the mentions and correct or update if need.
- Manual Citations audit:- It also may be possible that these tools can’t catch all the citations and some of them are still outdated or incorrect. So, the next technique to find them is Manual citation audit.
Use the advanced search option of Google to do a citation audit. Here are some examples :
- “Business name” + “partial address” -”correct phone number”
- “Business name” + “correct phone number” -”partial address”
- “Correct phone number” + “partial address” -”business name”
Sometime, you can correct the data yourself but sometimes you need someone (website owner) to change the citations. In that case, you have to inform them with an email one-by-one.
How to improve local seo rankings ?
Now, it’s time for the most important question, which is “who to rank higher in Local Searches”?
Obviously, which business don’t want to rank higher. Like normal SEO, there are some ranking factors for Local SEO and by applying a few tips, you can improve ranking in Google Local Search.
Here are some ranking factors for Local SEO which works great for ranking:-
Google My Business:- In the case of Local SEO, GMB is the most important ranking factor and it is proved by Moz’s study.
Means, it is important to focus on Google My Business if you really want to improve your ranking. First of all, verify your business on Google My Business.
Then check the address you filled in GMB is the same as your website has because Google checks this very deeply.
Google collects data from your website, GMB and from other places like yelp, match them to ensure that the Information you are giving is correct and real. So, it’s best to have a look.
The next best practice you can do is add photos of your business, staff, products to show your business more realistic and trustworthy.
Did you notice that what’s your profile score on GMB? If not, then you should because profile score is also very important.
By keeping your profile score high enough, you can give more chances to Google to understand your business deeply.
Hence which can help you to rank high for your target keywords.
Reviews:- I think there is no need to prove that reviews are important for ranking but if you still do not agree, let me explain with a simple formula.
More reviews means more people use your services or products and a customer only gives a review if he/she really loves your services.
And, if more people like your services as compared to your competitor, Google will automatically like your business rank you higher.
So, it’s very important to get as many reviews as you can and most of them should be positive.
The other thing you should do is, reply to all the reviews especially negative reviews because it shows that you really care about your customers.
But there is another problem with reviews that it’s so hard to get more reviews until you ask them for reviews and make it easy for them.
The first way to make it easy for them is by using this link. All you have to do is open this page then enter your business name and it will give you “Place ID” for your business.
Then use your “Place ID” after this URL
When you open the URL with Place Id, It will give your customers a chance to post a review.
The second way to generate the review URL is by using Get more reviews card from GMB account.
After generating the URL, you can send some emails to your happiest customers with the URL and request them for reviews.
Schema Tags:- When we look at the definition of Schema tags, it says that these tags are used to give some additional information to Google about your business
Or it helps Google to better understand your business category and services.
I know you are thinking about “LocalBusiness” Markup. Yes, you can add one with updated citations of your business but review start markup can do far better to improve your Local Ranking.
So, it’s a good idea to add review markup.
Website SEO:- Once, Google confirmed that your ranking in Google SERPs will also affect your Local Search ranking.
Means, If your website ranks higher in Google then it will automatically go higher in Local Businesses.
And for website SEO you need to create new content, build backlinks and optimize your pages.
[Note : For better results try to build backlinks with local authoritative websites with local keywords.]