Local SEO: Meaning, Essentials & Best Practices

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Updated 2/3/2024

Want to show up more and perform better in local search results and Google Maps listings? Then you need to learn about Local SEO. Find the basics here.

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Search engine optimization (SEO) has many branches and subcategories. Local SEO is the type that focuses on improving listings in search result pages (SERPs) for local keywords and map tools like Google Maps. This quick guide covers what you need to know.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is optimizing a website for search engines to improve its ranking in local search results. Local search results appear when a user searches for a business or service in a specific geographic location.

Local SEO involves optimizing a website for location-based keywords, creating a Google Business Profile, and building local citations that help pages rank higher in local search results.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO is important for businesses that want to attract customers from a specific geographic area. By optimizing their online presence for local search results, businesses can improve visibility to potential customers in the area. This can lead to increased traffic to a business’s website, more foot traffic to a physical location, and more sales.

The strategy is particularly important for small businesses relying on local customers for revenue. By optimizing for local search results, small businesses can compete with larger, national brands that may not have a physical presence in the area. In addition, local SEO is becoming increasingly important as more users search for businesses on their mobile devices while on the go.

Key Components

Here are the main factors that affect this strategy.

  1. Google Business Profile: A free tool from Google that helps manage your online presence across the search engine, including Search and Maps.
  2. Online Reviews: Reviews are a crucial local ranking factor. The number, quality, and diversity of your business’s reviews all play a role.
  3. Local Citations: Local citations refer to any mentions of your business’s NAP (name, address, and phone number).
  4. On-Page SEO: Keyword optimization, meta tags, content quality, all of these play a large role in your listings in search results.
  5. Backlinks: High-quality backlinks from reputable, local sources can boost your local search rankings.

Common Local SEO Tasks

Local SEO tasks are focused on optimizing your online presence to attract users from relevant local searches. Here are some common tasks:

  1. Google Business Profile Optimization: Claiming and verifying a Google Business Profile listing, then optimizing it with accurate information, categories, business hours, photos, and posts to improve visibility in local search results and Google Maps.
  2. Local Keyword Use: Finding and incorporating local keywords into your site’s content, titles, meta descriptions, and URLs. For example, we created a landing page for “los angeles seo” to target the valuable search term and build local relevancy signals.
  3. On-Page SEO: Ensuring the website is optimized for search engines, including proper title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and internal links, focusing on local keywords.
  4. NAP Consistency: Maintaining consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information across all online platforms and directories. Inconsistencies can confuse search engines and reduce visibility.
  5. Local Link Building: Acquiring backlinks from local sources such as chambers of commerce, local business directories (if they’re legit and worth it), and other local business websites to boost relevance and authority in the local area.
  6. Customer Reviews: Encouraging and responding to online reviews on your Google Business Profile and other review platforms. Positive reviews can support performance and entice more customers to visit.
  7. Mobile Optimization: Ensuring the website is mobile-friendly, as many local searches are performed on mobile devices.
  8. Local Schema Markup: Implementing structured data markup (Schema) to provide search engines with specific information about local business services, ratings, locations, and more.
  9. Social Media Engagement: Engaging with the local community through social media platforms to increase local visibility and brand awareness.
  10. Content Marketing: Creating local-specific content that resonates with the local audience, such as blog posts about local events, news, or activities.
  11. Monitoring Performance: Using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor website traffic, user behavior, conversion rates, and making adjustments as needed.

Regularly performing these tasks can significantly enhance your visibility in local search results, making it easier for nearby users and customers to find and engage with you.

How to Improve Your Local SEO

Let’s focus on the most critical steps for optimizing your site and building local search traffic. Do these five things:

1. Set Up and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

First, you need to set up your Business Profile. Once it’s ready, fill out all the information accurately and as completely as possible.

2. Collect and Manage Customer Reviews

Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews. Respond to these reviews to show you value your customers’ feedback.

3. Optimize for Local Keywords

Include local keywords in your website’s content and meta tags. This means naturally including your neighborhood, city, or region throughout your site.

4. Ensure Consistent NAP Across All Platforms

Ensure your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all online platforms and directories.
Use tools like Moz Local to assess your local listings or even help you optimize and update them.

Get other local businesses, organizations, or bloggers to link to your site. These local inbound links should help boost your site’s authority and organic search performance.

Bottom Line

Local SEO is a crucial strategy for any business with a local presence. By optimizing for local SEO, you increase your chances of reaching potential customers in your area, ultimately driving more traffic and sales.

As with all SEO, results take time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. Keep improving your listings, site, and services, and you’ll passively reap the benefits. ?

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