What is Local SEO? Your Guide to Ranking in Local Search Results

on 31 May, 2024

When it comes to getting more customers from your local area, the first step is knowing “what is local SEO” and how you can leverage it to increase your visibility in online searches within your community. Local SEO is critical for local businesses and those who have a brick-and-mortar presence (or service) in a specific geographic area.

It’s all about being there for your online searchers exactly when they need you most. This comprehensive guide will teach you what local SEO is, why it matters, and how to start ranking for relevant keywords in your local area without getting bogged down in the terminology.

Key Takeaways

  • Local SEO targets a business’s online presence to increase visibility in local search results and is crucial for businesses with physical locations or those serving specific geographic areas.
  • Key local SEO strategies include maintaining NAP consistency, optimizing Google Business Profile listings, and engaging with local community content on social media to increase relevance and visibility.
  • Regularly monitoring local SEO performance with analytical tools like Semrush and Google My Business Insights is vital for assessing effectiveness and adjusting strategies to improve local search rankings.

Exploring the Fundamentals of Local SEO

image of a local seo strategy

Local SEO is the process of optimising a business’s online presence specifically for the community it serves, increasing visibility in local search results and attracting more foot traffic. Businesses with physical locations or those offering local services in specific geographic areas significantly benefit from local SEO as it improves their visibility in location-based search results and local business listings.

In fact, 76% of people who perform a local search visit a business related to that search within 24 hours, highlighting the massive impact that local SEO can have on driving in-person traffic to your door.

Think of local SEO as the bridge between a business’s physical location and its online presence, without it, you’re likely not as competitive in the digital space.

Understanding Local Search Rankings

Local search rankings are determined by three main factors according to Google:

  1. Relevance: How closely a local business listing matches a user’s search query.
  2. Distance: How close a business is to the location term used in a search query or the location where the search is being made.
  3. Prominence: How well-known or popular a business is, based on information from across the web.

Prominence looks at the popularity of a business based on web-based data like the count of reviews, ratings, and public feedback about the business. Google looks at the intent of the user’s search query to determine how to display local results, with the goal of making those results as relevant and helpful as possible.

The Importance of NAP Consistency

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number and is a critical factor that can negatively impact a business’s ability to rank in the Local Pack. Local search citations are business listings that contain a business’s NAP on various external websites.

NAP citations can be easily kept consistent using tools like BrightLocal, allowing for the effective distribution of business information.

Local citations should be regularly checked and monitored to maintain accuracy and consistency for the best local SEO performance.

Building a Killer Local SEO Strategy

image of an identifying relevant local keywords

In order for a business to rank in local search results and better compete in their geographic area, they must build a Killer Local SEO strategy aimed at attracting local quality traffic. This strategy includes optimising website content, metadata, and URLs for local keywords, an essential part of local SEO, which can be achieved through keyword research aimed at understanding which terms your local customers are searching for.

Optimising for local SEO also means creating localised content, maintaining NAP consistency, and providing content for mobile users who are searching on the move.

Let’s take a deeper look into each of these strategies so you can better understand how they can help improve your business’s local SEO performance.

Identifying Relevant Local Keywords

An essential part of any local SEO strategy is keyword research. Leveraging keyword software is imperative to identifying relevant local keywords based on volume and competition data. When performing local keyword research, you’ll want to optimize for phrases that have high search volume and aren’t overly competitive in order to maximize visibility. At our agency we love using Semrush as our go-to keyword research tool for local searches.

Once you’ve identified those relevant local keywords, they can be inserted into your website content, metadata, and URLs to drive quality local traffic and increase your competitive footprint.

Google My Business Profile: Your Local SEO Powerhouse

image of a google my business profile

Google My Business, recently renamed to Google Business Profile, is an online tool that businesses use to manage their online presence and boost local search rankings. Optimizing your business profile on Google My Business is essential; it allows for better discovery by users on the platform.

Including links to your business’s social profiles in its Google Business Profile listing helps complete the online information, which can improve the credibility and ranking of the listing on search engines. Effectively managing your Google Business Profile is a key step in enhancing your local SEO efforts.

Optimizing for the Local Pack and Organic Results

There are two main ways to optimize for the Local Pack and organic listings, by enhancing your business’s Google My Business Profile listings and by maintaining a healthy amount of customer reviews. Businesses can increase their ranking in Google’s Local Pack by filling out their Google My Business profile with accurate business information, high quality images, and relevant business categories.

Customer reviews heavily impact user decision making from search results and businesses can enhance local search visibility by having a sufficient volume of reviews, high customer review scores, and by promptly and consistently engaging with reviews. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these optimization strategies.

Optimising Your Google Business Profile Listing

image of an enhancing google business profile listing

Setting up a Google Business Profile is key to effectively managing your business’s visibility in local search results and Google Maps. To authentically represent your business on Google Business Profile, upload genuine photos of the store, staff, and products while avoiding stock photos to give potential customers a true sense of what your business is like.

Always engage with customers by replying to reviews on Google Business Profile and keep tabs on engagement performance using Google Business Profile Insights. Make good use of social media to engage the local community and post regularly on Google My Business which helps gain relevance on Google search.

Local Citations and Why They Matter

Local citations play a vital role in local SEO as they:

  • Help establish credibility
  • Provide potential customers with accurate business information
  • Help a business gain credibility in the eyes of search engines

Knowing why local SEO important is key to local SEO success.

Keeping consistent and accurate local citations ensures customers can easily find your business’s correct information online. The blend of establishing credibility in the eyes of search engines and providing accurate information to customers amplifies the impact of local citations in local SEO efforts.

Engaging the Local Community Online

image of an engaging the local community online

Engaging the local community online is a vital aspect of local SEO. Location-based targeting on social media allows businesses to connect with local audiences by aligning with their interests and challenges. Social media facilitates timely interactions such as responses to comments and messages, which builds trust and a communal feeling with the local audience.

Experimenting with different content types, post times, and engagement strategies can help your business stay relevant on social media to your local community. Creating content that mentions local events and businesses can help your business develop an emotional connection with the community, generating loyalty and interest.

Publishing Local Events and News

Publishing information about local events, news, and activities is a great way to engage the local community and keep them in the loop while connecting on a more personal level with a local audience. This tactic can also help your business gain better visibility and valuable networking opportunities.

Additionally, social media profiles and activity can impact local search rankings indirectly by providing social signals like shares and likes which help search engines to understand if the content is resonating with an audience. Overall, publishing local events and news can help businesses leverage local events and news to connect with their local community and boost their online presence.

Building Relationships with Local Sites

Building relationships with local sites can boost local SEO by improving search rankings. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Identify well respected local businesses and influencers
  • Collaborate on content or events
  • Exchange guest blog posts or social media shoutouts
  • Offer to write testimonials or reviews for local businesses
  • Encourage customers to leave positive reviews for your business

Positive reviews improve a business’s online reputation and encourage more local customers to choose the business over competitors, which can improve local search engine results.

Building partnerships with local influencers, entities, and organizations can help a business broaden their reach and strengthen their presence in the local community. This tactic can also help your business gain better visibility and valuable networking opportunities.

Monitoring Local SEO Performance

image of monitoring SEO performance

It’s necessary to monitor the performance of local SEO campaigns to distinguish effective strategies from those that aren’t producing results. Using local SEO tools for reporting and optimization, such as:

  • Local Falcon
  • Google My Business Insights
  • Moz Local
  • BrightLocal
  • Localo (our favourite)

Alongside metrics like organic traffic volume and conversions, is crucial to measure the how effective the strategy is.

Keeping up with your progress allows for implementing strategic adjustment, leading to optimal results over time through the tracking of keyword rankings and traffic fluctuations. Monitoring the success of local SEO campaigns includes understanding key metrics such as:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Changes in keyword rankings
  • Keeping an eye on potential competitors.

Using Analytics to Measure Local Traffic

Semrush’s Position Tracking tool, which monitors keywords and rankings at a post code level and within local packs, plays a vital role in assessing local SEO effectiveness. Using analytics tools is crucial to track the performance and effectiveness of local SEO strategies.

Local search engine optimization requires continuous monitoring of keyword performance and rankings specific to local searches. By keeping a close eye on these metrics, businesses can adjust their strategies as necessary to maximize their local SEO performance.

Evaluating Customer Reviews and Feedback

image of customer reviews from eWebsites

Customer reviews, critical for enhancing website rankings and yielding valuable customer insights, greatly sway potential customers’ buying decisions and bolster local search engine visibility. Google recommends that businesses reply to reviews to demonstrate appreciation for customers and their feedback, while addressing negative reviews shows concern for customer experience and dedication to service quality.

Negative reviews should be responded to in order to show that the business pays attention to customers and is committed to providing quality services. A good mixture of reviews on the business’s page is important because an overload of five-star reviews may cause potential customers to suspect its authenticity, which isn’t good for a business’s credibility. For improved local search visibility, businesses should manage reviews by:

  • Responding to them
  • Using high-quality images and videos
  • Keeping accurate and updated information on profiles
  • Thanking positive reviews and addressing problems in negative ones.

Integrating Local SEO with Broader Marketing Strategies

Combining a local SEO strategy with broader marketing initiatives helps businesses target and engage more local customers. PPC ads can be effectively used alongside local SEO strategies to increase ad visibility by bidding on relevant local keywords.

A local SEO strategy that includes other marketing methods contributes to the establishment of brand authority in local markets. Let’s take a deeper look into these strategies so you can better understand how they can help improve your business’s local SEO performance.

Synergy Between Local SEO and Social Media

A consistent and active social media presence can boost a business’s local SEO, improving their visibility and reputation within the local community. Ensuring that NAP is consistently represented on social media profiles helps businesses appear more cohesively in local search results.

More likes and shares on social media platforms may be seen by search engines as a authority signal which can lead to better rankings in search engine results. Networking with local entities on social media channels leads to more opportunities for recommendations and shares which increases potential local customers who will engage with the business.

Summary

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve covered what local SEO is, creating a killer local SEO strategy, engaging your local community online, tracking local SEO performance, and how local SEO fits into a bigger marketing picture. Each step is integral to establishing a strong local presence, driving more traffic, and successfully closing the gap between your online and offline presence.

A successful local SEO strategy is not a one and done task but rather demands constant monitoring, maintenance, and optimization. As businesses continue to compete in an ever more digital world, local SEO will keep being the effective mechanism for businesses to reach their local community, garner more customers, and remain competitive. Begin your local SEO journey today and watch your local business excel!

 If you would like us to help you with your local SEO strategy to boost your rankings, generate more qualified leads and ultimately increase your sales, make sure to book a free strategy call with us!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is local SEO and why is it important?

Local SEO is important because it helps businesses increase visibility in local search results and attract more traffic, closing the gap between their online and offline presence.

How can businesses improve their local search rankings?

Businesses can improve their local search rankings by filling out their Google My Business profile with accurate information, plenty of high quality images, and relevant business categories. This will increase their visibility to potential local customers.

How can businesses manage customer reviews effectively?

To manage customer reviews effectively, businesses should respond promptly, use high-quality visuals, update profile information, and show appreciation for positive reviews while addressing negative ones. This will help build trust and credibility with customers.

How can businesses identify relevant local keywords?

To identify relevant local keywords, businesses can use keyword research tools to analyze the volume and competition data for important local keywords.

What is the importance of NAP consistency in local SEO?

NAP consistency is important in local SEO as it directly impacts a business’s ranking in the Local Pack, so it’s essential to ensure accuracy across all online platforms.

Tomás Affranchino Vivanco

Tomás is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He is the founder of eWebsites, a leading SEO agency in Melbourne. Tomás has led several successful SEO campaigns in some of the most competitive niches in Australia, such as health, real estate and law.
Tomás is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He is the founder of eWebsites, a leading SEO agency in Melbourne. Tomás has led several successful SEO campaigns in some of the most competitive niches in Australia, such as health, real estate and law.

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