Imagine how your local business can compete for higher SEO rankings against global e-commerce giants like Amazon. It is almost impossible! So how does your website appear in search results? Fortunately, with the assistance of local SEO, relevant customers can find you when performing a local search, thus you are still able to grow your small business. In this article, we would like to provide you with some comprehensive insights into local SEO.
1. What is Local SEO?
Local businesses like shops usually serve a specific geographic area or have customers frequently visit their brick-and-mortar stores. Whether you are targeting a geographical group of customers or trying to attract people to come to your physical store, you need to make sure that your websites are optimized so that people are able to find you. That is about optimizing your website SEO for a specific location, or Local SEO.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website for a location-specific search query. Search engines like Google decide what results to display to users by detecting their location based on their IP address or mobile geolocation. Thus, when you locally seek a product or service, the search results shown are a list of nearby businesses.
Local SEO does not only include optimizing your rankings on search results or social media strategy. On the contrary, there are several aspects that have a strong influence on local SEO such as word-of-mouth marketing and using brochures or posters. All these things contribute to our so-called local SEO.
If you own a local business, wherever you are, local SEO plays a crucial role in generating leads and improving conversions. If you are a local business, no matter where you are, local SEO plays a crucial role in generating leads and improving conversions. For any size of the business, there are numerous factors encouraging you to invest in local SEO.
2. What is the difference between SEO and Local SEO?
An essential factor in traditional SEO is inbound links. That means if you acquire inbound links from other valid and high-quality sites, your site has earned certain respect and reputation in the industry. So your website has a higher chance to rank well in global search results. Moreover, such businesses often serve customers over the world, or in a specific nation.
Traditional SEO is used by businesses that target global customers. Their websites are optimized for global searches, which informs the search engines that the website is a global competitor. Traditional SEO uses conventional SEO and SEM strategies such as on-page optimization, off-page optimization, link building, social media marketing, social bookmarking, and press release distributions.
In regards to local websites, on the contrary, inbound links from reputable companies in your area are more valuable. For instance, local small businesses expect more traffic from local customers rather than people who are far away or never use their product or service.
Local SEO is typically used by businesses that serve customers in a specific area. Their websites hence are optimized for local searches, which means they are a vendor targeting local customers. Search engines use geographic qualifiers in keywords when determining local SEO rankings. Along with the conventional SEO strategies, local SEO is optimized for both search engines and other engines such as Google+ business listing, Bing business listing, local business directory listing. It also uses a local business schema in Schema.org markup.
3. How Does Local SEO Work?
There are certain types of businesses that are almost able to serve only local residents. When performing these searches, customers need results from their current area. To solve this issue, search engines like Google include a proximity factor in their local search algorithm. In other words, your instant location is taken into consideration when you are performing a local search. The proximity factor is determined by your IP address (if you are using a PC) or geolocation (if you are on a mobile phone). Due to the dominance of mobile internet access, local SEO becomes vastly significant to the sustainable growth of any local business.
Competing for search rankings against top e-commerce giants in the world is almost impossible for local businesses. Instead, earning a high local SEO ranking in your location is much more important. Both search engines and worldwide customers, on the other hand, recognize the value of local businesses. So, local SEO can help as it does prefer relevant small businesses to international business giants. No need to worry about competing against well-known global companies: search engines have specific proximity factors to determine whether you are locally relevant to a nearby user.
Optimizing local SEO is not just for search engines. There are several things you can do online and offline to optimize your website for local residents. As mentioned above, using word-of-mouth marketing or posters and brochures also has an influence on local SEO.
4. How Do You Know if You Need Local SEO?
It is when your business owns a physical location or serves customers in a specific geographical area that you need Local SEO. However, you’ll have to do a few more searches on Google to make sure this type of SEO strategy is what you should thoroughly consider. What you need to do is choose 3 to 4 of your important keywords, those that customers would think of when seeking a business like yours, and type them into Google. If the search results display a “snack pack” box made up of a map and listings below, that means your business’s search result is powered by Google’s algorithm, and you need Local SEO.
5. How Can You Improve Your Local SEO?
When collecting data for local search, Google and other search engines rely on signals like local content, social profile pages, links, citations, etc. to decide whether your information is relevant to users’ searches, which impacts the priority of your ranking position. Based on those criteria, we suggest you follow 5 tips below to maximize your Local SEO:
Tip No.1: Claim your business on Google My Business
If Google can verify your business as authentic, you’ll stand a very high chance of getting rewarded with a space in Google local search results. The verification can take up to one week to review and process, and this is a perfect time for you to think about the data you need to submit to enrich your profile. For example, you can upload a business profile image, the area you serve, your opening and closing hours, attributes (e.g. wifi, parking lot), and a public phone number and website URL. Try to add as much information as you can to optimize your Google My Business listing.
Tip No.2: Improve local link building
Link signals such as linking domain authority are a key factor for a successful SEO campaign, which helps you rank better in local searches. The linking domains should be relevant to your target location, in other words, you should look for authority sites in your target area. Focus on major citation sites or those that have high domain authority like Facebook, Bing Maps, and Yelp to take advantage of the local link-building opportunity. Collaborating with influencers on social media is also a great way to gain valuable backlinks and improve your business’s ranking position in search engines.
Tip No.3: Ensure your business NAP consistency
When scanning business listings to display in local search results, Google considers citation signals including the consistency of NAP (name, address, phone number) across all platforms and websites it is listed on. Because misspellings, address and phone number differences, and duplicate listings can make your visibility less favored by search engines, try to detect and resolve any inconsistencies as fast as possible. If overseeing your citations manually takes you too much effort and time while may not be as effective as it should be, try a rank checking tool. Once you figure out any discrepancies on any domains, contact the site owners and ask them to correct the differences.
Tip No.4: Create content based on local issues
Google also notices the volume of traffic to your site to determine your rankings in search results, meaning that you can enhance your local SEO by attracting more audiences. This can be done by adding ideas related to local or industry news to your content. For instance, you can write about your city and its upcoming events to attract those who are new to your area or provide a map of local service providers in your industry to generate highly relevant on-page local signals. Because of its impact, building a robust local content strategy should be taken into consideration.
Tip No.5: Use Local SEO apps and tools for Shopify
Shopify has grown significantly to become a major platform for e-commerce businesses and so have its app developers. Just type “SEO” into the Shopify app store and you’ll find a variety of apps designed perfectly for SEO purposes including local SEO. For a dedicated tool like SEO Booster by Secomapp, it understands that in order to boost local SEO, your Shopify store needs to optimize multiple issues such as JSON-LD, keyword and broken link management, competitor’s website diagnosis, image ALT text for unlimited products, etc. Get one for your store to fully benefit from its power.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about Local SEO, you can start working on a comprehensive strategy to improve your local visibility. Local SEO is an essential part of the overall SEO campaign, take care of it by working step by step until you gain success and you’ll truly see how much it can contribute to your business’ SEO performance.