Local SEO: The Complete Guide
The term “local SEO” refers to optimizing your site for people searching within a certain geographic area. This includes things like optimizing for your city name, state, county, zip code, or even specific address. There are many different ways to optimize your site for local searches, including building out your physical address presence on your site, creating local citations, and making sure your contact information is correct.
In addition to optimizing for local queries, there are several other important things to keep in mind when optimizing your site for local search. For example, make sure your phone number, hours of operation, and address are accurate. Also, don’t forget about your social media profiles; include your location information here too. Finally, consider adding a map to your site since maps tend to perform well organically.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of increasing your visibility on Google Maps and Google Places listings. This helps you rank better for queries like “restaurants near me,” “bars near me,” or “hair salons near me.” You can use keywords related to your location and optimize for those terms. For example, if you’re looking to open up a restaurant in New York City, you might want to target phrases like “New York restaurants” or “NYC bars.”
You can also do things like add reviews and photos to your listing. The more information you provide, the more likely it is that people will find you.
Why is local SEO important?
Local Search Engine Optimization (LSEO) is important because it helps you rank well for things like “local pizza delivery,” “pizza near me,” “pizza restaurants near me,” etc. When someone uses a search query like that, they’re looking for a place to eat. They want to know where pizza is delivered, how much it costs, what toppings are included, whether there are gluten-free options, etc. If you don’t optimize for those types of queries, you’ll miss out on potential leads.
Google says that 30% of mobile searches are related to local needs. People are increasingly relying on smartphones for everything from finding directions to ordering food. And they’re doing it more often than ever. So why aren’t you optimizing for local keywords?
How does local SEO work?
Local SEO is a game of different halves. There are two types of search results you’ll see for local queries on Google Maps. One type is called map packs, which show up above the regular blue links. They look like little maps with pins on them. The second type of search results is called organic blue links, which are just what they sound like — blue links that appear under the map packs.
You can rank on both of these types of search results. But it takes some planning.
1. Map search results in map pack are one of the most important features on Google because it allows you to see what businesses are near you. This helps you find nearby restaurants, coffee shops, banks, etc.
The map pack is different from the Google My Business listing, which shows information about your business. You can use both together to show up in the map pack and on the GMB listing.
Google uses data from several sources, including Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, and others, to determine where to place businesses in the map pack.
2. Organic search results “regular” search results are the ‘blue links’ that we’re all familiar with. These are the ones that appear above the map packs and below the ads. Organic results are based on relevance and authority, meaning that it takes into account the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a site. This is why some sites rank high while others don’t — sometimes even within the same niche.
3. Local Keyword ResearchWhen you look up something like “restaurant near me,” you probably type in the name of the restaurant along with the location. However, there are many different ways to find information about restaurants, including searching online, reading reviews, asking friends, checking out social media, etc.
There are three major components to doing keyword research for local businesses:
- Types of keywords
Find service-based keywords
If you’re a plumber, it’s important to know how people might search for your services. If someone types “plumber,” you want to show up in the first few results. However, if someone searches for “drain cleaning,” you want your site to come up near the top because that’s where most people start their search.
So, what does this mean? You need to make sure that you list every possible keyword related to your services. You can use tools like Keyword Planner and Google Trends to see what terms are popular and how often they’re searched. Then, go out there and build sites around those terms.
For instance, let’s say you’re a plumbing contractor and you specialize in drain cleaning. So, you could add the words “cleaning drains” to your domain name. Or, if you just want to focus on one type of service, you could add “clogged drain” or “garbage disposal repair.”
List long tail keywords
Once you’ve found the service-related keywords, it’s time to expand your reach even further. There are certain phrases that tend to lead to long-tail keywords. These include things like “how to” and “what is.”
When someone uses a phrase like this, they’re usually looking for more information than a simple answer. They’re trying to understand something better. And, since they’re not quite ready to buy anything, they’ll keep researching.
That’s why you want to target long-tail keywords. They’re less competitive, so you won’t have to spend much money to rank well for them. Plus, they’re more likely to convert visitors into leads.
- Check search volumes
Keyword research tools show you how many people are searching for certain terms. They don’t tell you what those people are looking for. You might think that it doesn’t matter whether someone searches for “airline tickets” or “car insurance,” but it does.
If you’re trying to rank for airline tickets, you’d better make sure that people are actually searching for airline tickets. If they aren’t, you won’t rank well. Similarly, if you’re trying to rank car insurance, you’d better make damn sure that people are searching for car insurance. Otherwise, you won’t rank very high.
You can check keyword search volumes for specific regions, cities, states, countries, and even zip codes. But there are limitations. First, some regional search engines like Yandex and Baidu don’t provide data about local search volumes. Second, some of the major search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, do provide data, but they group keywords together into broad categories like travel, finance, entertainment, etc.
That makes it hard to know exactly how popular each category is. Instead, you’ll have to figure out what percentage of searches fall under each category. To do that, you’ll need to use a tool that provides exact search volumes. Luckily, there are several options.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planer is free, easy to use, and gives you search volume estimates for broad categories. However, it doesn’t give you exact search volumes. In fact, it gives you a range of search volumes. So, it’s good for comparing broad categories, but it isn’t great for getting precise search volumes.
For example, Google Keyword Planner says that “travel” gets around 10 million monthly searches across the United States. But it doesn’t say anything about the number of searches per day or week. So, if you wanted to find out how many people are searching every single day for “travel,” you’d have to go somewhere else.
Check for local intent.
Local SEO is about targeting keywords with local intent. This means that you’re looking for customers within a certain radius, such as 5 miles. For example, if you run a plumbing business, you might look for queries like “plumbing near me,” “plumbers near me,” and “local plumber.” These types of searches indicate that people are searching locally. They don’t necessarily mean that they want to buy your product; however, they do indicate that someone wants to find a local provider of that type of service.
If you see a lot of queries like this, it could be because you’ve been successful in attracting traffic to your site. People are coming to your site, and they’re doing research into what you offer.
You can use tools like Google My Business or Bing Places to determine whether or not people are actually shopping locally. In addition, you can use Google Trends to see how often people are searching for terms related to your industry. If you notice that people are frequently searching for “plumbing near me” or “plumbers near me” but rarely for “plumbingsmithnearme,” that might indicate that you have a good chance of success. However, if people are searching for “plumbing near my house” every day, you probably won’t succeed.
Assign keywords to pages
Your homepage is unlikely to rank well for all your service keywords, so you’ll need to target specific ones with separate pages.
To assign keywords to URLs, consider what services they map to – are they similar enough that they could go on one URL? Or do they differ too much that it makes sense to put them on separate pages?
If they map to very different types of services, such as “boiler installation” and “burst pipe repair,” assign them to separate pages because it’s likely they’re targeting different audiences.
If they map to the same type of service, such as “drain unblocking” and “drain unclogging,” assign them to the same URL because it’s likely they serve the same audience.
Local SEO Tips
Google recently announced it would begin penalizing businesses that don’t use Google My Business. In addition to being able to manage reviews, photos, hours, and directions, GMB allows you to optimize your listing across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Bing Maps, and more. This includes adding a profile photo, updating your contact information, and optimizing your description, among others.
The goal here is to make sure that every piece of data about your business is accurate and up to date. If there is anything missing, like incorrect addresses or outdated phone numbers, it could negatively affect your rankings. You want to make sure that everything looks natural and authentic.
You also want to ensure that you’re engaging with customers on social media. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can respond to customer comments, ask questions, and even answer queries directly. These interactions show up in Google Search, which helps boost your visibility and authority.
Finally, you must optimize your listings and citations. Local SEO refers to how well your business appears in online directories and citation sources such as Google Maps, Yelp, Bing, TripAdvisor, and Foursquare. By improving your presence in these places, you increase your chances of showing up when someone searches for nearby businesses.
The Local Review Ecosystem
Reviews are one of the most powerful tools in marketing today. They help people make buying decisions, and they provide a great way for businesses to build trust with consumers. But how do you go about earning those reviews?
There are plenty of review platforms out there, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some allow you to post reviews directly onto a site; others require you to submit your review via email; some let you choose whether to write positive or negative reviews; others don’t even ask you anything. And while many review platforms offer different ways to earn money, some pay less than others.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best review platforms out there, including the pros and cons of each. We’ll also take a look at what sites syndicate reviews to which sites and why it matters. Finally, we’ll show you how to earn reviews across multiple platforms and explain how every review platform works differently.
Understanding Review Filters
Review filters are a way to prevent fake reviews from being posted on your site or app. They work by allowing certain types of reviews and blocking others. For example, some apps allow five-star ratings while others require four stars. And some apps limit reviews to specific categories like food or travel. But what happens when someone tries to post a negative review in one of those protected areas? You might think it gets blocked, but it doesn’t always. Read on to learn why and how to avoid having your reviews trapped in review filters.
Do You Need Professional Reputation Management?
If you are running a small business, chances are you don’t spend much time worrying about how people perceive your brand online. However, being aware of what others say about your business is crucial to building trust with customers and potential clients. If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to start thinking about how your business appears online. This includes things like reviews, social media posts, and even customer complaints.
A good reputation management strategy involves monitoring negative mentions, responding quickly to issues, and making sure your brand doesn’t suffer from a lack of credibility. In addition to helping build your brand, a reputable reputation manager can help improve your marketing efforts. For example, many companies use reputation management software to monitor mentions of their brands across the web. They can identify opportunities to respond to comments and increase sales leads.
There are several types of reputation management tools out there, including some free options. Some offer basic features, while others provide extensive functionality. Before choosing one, make sure you know exactly what you want to accomplish. Do you just want to monitor mentions? Or do you want to respond to specific problems? What type of data do you plan to collect? How often will you check up on your brand? These questions will help narrow down your choices.
Get Regular Reviews from Happy Customers
Getting customer reviews is one of the most effective ways to improve your local rankings. In fact, according to BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumers Review Survey, 85% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth. So why aren’t we getting enough positive reviews for our businesses?
BrightLocal conducted a study of nearly 50,000 people across the United States to find out what types of actions prompt consumers to leave reviews. We found that regular contact with customers — whether sending a follow-up email or phone call after purchase or simply stopping by to pick up a product — increases the likelihood of a customer writing a review.
Sending a post-purchase follow-up email or text asking customers for a review. Screening customers prior to contacting them about a review request.
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