What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a discipline of search engine optimization that focuses on results based on your geographical location. This has obvious value when searching for products or services online. If you need a plumber, for example, and live in Seattle it is of very little help for Google to recommend one in Austin. Local SEO is a powerful tool for small businesses that wish to attract more local business.

You probably already knew that Google places top priority on geography for search results. No matter where you are, Google tracks your location in order to feed local, and inherently relevant, results. But how does Local SEO actually work and how can your business benefit from building a strong local presence? This is our discussion for today’s post.

What does Local SEO look like?

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Local SEO shows up in both search result pages and map pages. As you can see in the screenshot below, DEEPBLUE is listed twice on the search engine results page (SERP). The first listing is known as organic placement and is considered to be traditional SEO. The second listing is a grouping of results with a map that pinpoints company location. This is referred to as the “Local Pack”. An effective SEO strategy will generate results for both categories, but the Local Group is definitely the place you want to be if you operate a small business with a limited geographical reach.

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The Maps results page on Google is very similar and is of much greater importance when people search online using their mobile devices.

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What are the factors that drive Local SEO?

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Based on research and and in Google’s own words, we know several factors that influence Local SEO:

Google My Business

Google My Business is the most important factor when establishing Local SEO. Google My Business is a free listing provided by Google that allows you to connect with customers across Google Search and Maps. Once your account is set up, Google My Business allows you to post photos and special offers, as well as provide customer reviews. It also has a neat Insights section that shows you customer behavior and analytics. In order to set up your account, you must first claim or register your business with Google. This is a fairly simple process but you must first have a physical location as Google will snail-mail you a letter with a verification code you must enter to complete the process.

Mobile-friendly

Is your website mobile-friendly? 61% of smartphone searchers are more likely to contact a business if its website is mobile-friendly. Make certain that your website uses a responsive layout.

Backlinks

Backlinks are simply other external web pages that link to your website. Google places high priority on how many backlinks your website has as a factor in establishing its quality score.

Domain age

This is as simple as it sounds. The older the website domain is, the higher it will rank on both Organic and Local SEO.

Website’s technical SEO

Technical SEO is a critical factor in both Organic and Local SEO. Google rewards websites that are technically sound and that follow W3C and ADA web-standards. Learn more about Technical SEO by clicking here.

Name, address, and profile (NAP) on the website

This seems like a no-brainer but you would be surprised to know how many websites fail to list their name, address and profile on every page of their website. It’s important that the name and address on your website match exactly the name and address you set up in Google My Business. For example, if you list your suite number in GMB as Ste. 101 make sure that is how you spell it on your website.

Content

Evergreen content is simply good business. By keeping your content fresh and plagiarism-free you feed Google with a reason to view your website as relevant. The best way to provide evergreen content is through your website’s blog.

Citations

A citation is any mention of a business on the web that includes any combination of its name, address, phone number, website address, etc. Citations are a key factor in improving your Local SEO.

User clicks on a local pack result

The quality and quantity of users that click on your link within the local pack will elevate and maintain your position within the pack.

Distance of the business from the user’s search

This is perhaps the single most important factor in Local SEO. If your business is not physically located inside the geographical range of a user search it will not get displayed.

Conclusion

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Local SEO is a powerful strategy for small businesses to reach customers within their geographic reach. If you are interested in Local SEO as well as other areas of search engine optimization you might want to check out this article regarding what to look for when hiring an SEO company. To speak to us regarding your local SEO strategy feel free to call us at (415) 228-6861 or contact us online.

Antje Knott

Antje Knott is the Social Media Manager for DEEPBLUE. She has over 10 years of industry experience as a wordsmith, social media manager, SEO/SEM specialist and digital advertising executive.

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