The Definitive Guide to Local Search Engine Optimization (2021)
The Definitive Guide to Local Search Engine Optimization (2021)
The internet has changed a lot over the years. It’s now more crucial than ever for businesses to have a strong online presence, and one of the most important aspects of that is local search engine optimization (LSEO). Local SEO is what you need if your business has an offline location, or if it operates in certain areas – basically anywhere other than on the web. This means that everyone from restaurants to hair salons to lawyers needs an effective strategy for local SEO. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about how LSEO works in 2021 and provide some best practices for getting started with it!
Whenever you’re ready to dive deep into the intricacies of SEO, keep reading.
What Is Local Search Engine Optimization?
Local search engine optimization is a strategy that businesses use to rank high in local search engine results pages (SERPS). This is where people go when they are looking for a nearby business. It’s important because many people turn to these SERPS before making the decision on who or what company to choose- which means your company needs to be there! The main goal of Local SEO is attracting searchers with relevant content about your location, and showing them how you stand out from competitors by including things like differentiation, reviews, testimonials, etc.
Local SEO has a lot in common with traditional Search Engine Optimization strategies but it also differs greatly as well. For example: whereas Google Adwords only requires one ad per keyword group at most – meaning if you have a keyword group for “shoes” that spans several words, you can only target one word with your ad. Local SEO requires at least three ads per location.
Local SEO is not an easy task, it can only work if the company is willing to invest time, money, and effort.
Your local SEO strategy should include at the least:
Keyword Research: Identifying the keywords that your potential customers are using when looking for a business like yours in this area
Optimizing Your Website’s Content: Writing content about what you do with phrases that will attract searchers who may be interested in exactly what you offer. Remember Google AdWords? This is an excellent source of creative ideas!
Link Building: Creating new links on your site as well as other sites or profiles to help make it easier for search engines to find/follow them back to your page which then increases visibility at the top of SERP listings
Why Local SEO Matters
As a business that has local business affairs, a storefront, or localized service, LSEO is critically important. Local SEO can help your business rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERP) so that potential customers can find you. When a customer searches for your business, they want to see what’s close by because most people prefer not to drive long distances just to get something done or buy something. They also don’t like paying for gas and parking fees when they could have gone somewhere else closer with less hassle.
This means if Google doesn’t rank you on the first page of SERPS, then someone might go elsewhere out of frustration looking for another place that’s close enough but more importantly – has better reviews! Your competition will be happy about this and take advantage while your profits shrink as more time elapses.
To rank higher in the SERPs, you need to focus on doing three things: building a website that can be easily crawled by search engine spiders and crawlers, creating high-quality content with keywords on your site, and making sure those pages are well optimized for both mobile devices as well as desktop computers. In essence, if you want your customer base and/or clientele to keep growing, localized SEO is one of the primary methods ensuring this outcome.
Develop Local Authority
It can be challenging to develop your brand authority in a difficult overpopulated industry, but it’s critically important to your success. As a local-first business, you must learn to push your brand forward. To develop local brand authority, you must first be certain of your business image. You need to have a consistent message, and be able to convey that message clearly.
Generally speaking, you need two main things:
A website with content on it (such as pictures)
An active social media presence (that includes links back to your site or blog)
Once you have established these, then you must focus on how you’re going to promote the business effectively. This is where your local search engine optimization techniques come into play once again! If someone searches for one of your keywords near the location of one of your stores, they will find reviews about all aspects of this store including whether or not there’s enough staff present at any given time and verifying customer satisfaction ratings when applicable. It can also lead people who are looking for services or products that you sell to your store. Your job is to ensure the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to seeing your business on the front pages of the search engine.
Assessing Local Needs & Market
Further on, one of the greatest things you can do to determine if your local efforts will be worth it is to determine if there is a need for your local service in the first place. By assessing the market and needs, you can come to know if you have the capacity to meet those needs and if it would be worth your time and money. SEO for local businesses is a lot more complicated than just writing content or publishing blog posts, taking into account that there are many nuances in how different places rank their searches.
This means that if you want to make sure people can find what they need on Google, including services like restaurants or coffee shops, then you’ll need some help from experts who know exactly how this process works because ultimately – the customers will come back again and again.
Without understanding your local market, you are left to your own devices. Guesswork is not something that goes well with marketing or SEO. Take matters into your own hands, find out what the customers want and how you can help them have it. Gather feedback from existing and potential clientele, and then work with them to make sure that the needs are met. When you’re looking at this process from a marketing perspective, it’s all about running tests to see what works best for your business as well as the customers on either side of the fence. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to local search engine optimization because every city has different rankings depending on who they want their clients or visitors to be.
Change Is Imperative
Be careful not get too ahead of yourself – change can happen overnight and if you don’t have protections set up by tracking metrics like how many people visit your site each month (or even something more specific) then you may find that your hard work was wasted without ever really understanding why. Once you have a good idea of what’s working and what isn’t, it becomes much easier to make changes because you aren’t wasting time with things that don’t work as well.
Experimentation is a crucial process if you want to be successful with local search engine optimization, and the best part about it is that even if an experiment doesn’t go well or isn’t as effective as it could have been, at least we’re learning from our mistakes instead of making them blindly! The next time you try something new and find out it didn’t work so well – don’t give up on experimentation altogether just yet! There are many different ways for your business to leverage this type of strategy to learn what does get results over time (and hopefully before 2022!)
Reviews Are Not for Show
When it comes to running any type of business, reviews matter, especially if you sell a product that is expected to deliver quality. As a means of local SEO, reviews matter because it is one of the top three qualities that Google values in a business. Reviews are not for show, but instead, they should be treated as an opportunity to provide feedback and insight on your experience with a certain company or product. To encourage people who may have had similar experiences you also need to ask them what would make their prospective experience better next time around. Another way you can get reviews from past customers is by asking for testimonials which will only help increase trustworthiness score while improving page rankings when it comes down to search engine optimization.
To avoid getting fake reviews (some companies pay others to post positive reviews about their products/services) try to offer incentives like discounts, freebies, etc., so long as reviewers follow the guidelines. Another way to help inspire others is by opening up channels of communication on social media like Twitter and Facebook where people can share their stories as well as post pictures or videos for customers to see what will happen if they purchase a certain product/service from your company.
This type of marketing indirectly helps with search engine optimization because it provides more insight into how you do business which in turn reduces any uncertainty over the quality of service that awaits them should they choose to make a purchase. Lastly, always take constructive feedback seriously! Even though some feedback may not be positive towards your company there are other lessons you can learn about yourself and improve upon for next time around so don’t just brush off criticism without thinking about its impact on your business.
Target Keyword Geotagging
One of the most important strategies in local SEO is geotagging your keywords. In essence, this means adding a location to your targeted keywords to attract localized clientele. Keyword geotagging is important for businesses that operate locally because it will help you get found on Google Maps and other search engines.
Additionally, if your company is running a promotion or having an event in the area, this strategy can help promote these offers as well.
To optimize keyword geotagging make sure your target keywords are specific enough to represent what you’re trying to do without being too vague so people understand exactly where they need to go usually with a location tag of “in” or “near.” The difference between geotagged and non-geotagged keywords is drastic. When geotagged, search engine results produce a map with the exact location of your business. This is also helpful for mobile searches as they will bring users to you if they are nearby and need what you have to offer.
Building your links and backlinks is important for any kind of SEO, even for localized efforts. The priority of your business should be to get links from local directories and websites. This is because you want to rank as high as possible in the search results for local people. It can take a lot of time and work to set up these relationships, but it’s worth it if your goal is ranking higher on Google or other major directories like Yelp. The first step would be to find out what sites are indexing your business information by doing a simple search using “site: my city name”.
This should bring up all the indexed pages that contain your business’ name. From here you’ll have an idea of which websites might link back appropriately with content relevant to their site. Next, create a spreadsheet listing each website you found during this quick research phase and fill in any contact information available such as email address, phone number, or URL. Next, compose an email with a personalized introduction followed by the following:
A sentence about your company and what you do. Link to one of your best blog posts if applicable (addendum)
An ask for a link back on their site in exchange for linking them as well via review and/or listing of their business location information
Ask them to also share this request with any other relevant employees that might be involved with managing listings on websites like Yelp or Google Maps because they will then have more insight into how these sites operate than most people would.
For example, did you know that there is no such thing as “Yelp Partners” but instead it’s just a user that happens to have some review or link on their site? Make accounts on local directories and register your business on them. If you can create content and interact with users on the platform, that’s even better.
Local SEO is heavily dependent on mobile optimization. Mobile traffic accounts for the majority of local traffic because people are always on the go. Mobile optimization of websites is a must to ensure that local SEO is effective. To do this, you must optimize for three primary things: the use of mobile browsers, touch screen navigation, small screens and their capabilities.
You must also make sure that you are optimizing your site content to work effectively on a smartphone or tablet, like using more images in place of text where it’s appropriate. And finally, ensure that any forms included on your website have fields large enough to be completed without needing typing (or tapping) so much information with such limited space.
Local Business Schema
Even though not a direct ranking strategy, structured data has a direct effect on your local SEO. It helps Google better understand your data and be able to pull it when required to do so. By using LocalBusiness Schema as a markup, you can control the information that Google displays about your business on their search results pages. You can also control how you want to display contact info, photos, hours of operation, and other pertinent location data in a way that is easily understandable for searchers looking up your local store.
This helps with both organic ranking as well as paid ads when it comes to displaying maps or ad campaigns since this data will be pulled from Google already if they are aware of what’s available through markup.
The downside here is that not all businesses even know how important structured data really is for SEO purposes now and may not have ever heard of it at all so there could potentially be some confusion before understanding its importance arises.
This issue would most likely be resolved after more time passes, but it could be a hurdle in the meantime.
Google My Business Optimization
One of the greatest tools for local businesses is a well-optimized Google My Business profile. When users search via their browser, they will come across your listing locally through the means of this tool. The quality of your results and the likelihood of your business appearance on their device are heavily dependent on how well you optimize the profile. Some of the things you can do to optimize your GMB is to make sure your address is correctly listed, be clear about the hours of operation and what you offer customers, use up to five photos that are all high-quality (including one professional photo), have a descriptive headline with your business name, include keyword tags for keywords related to your business to increase the probability of being picked up by search engine crawlers.
Lastly but most importantly, add rich snippets where applicable! Rich snippet information allows Google Search users additional details around their queries like phone number, reviews, or operating hours without having to click on any links. Optimizing your GMB will ensure that your business appears in the Map Pack, which means your business is more likely to show up in Google Maps when a user types keywords related to your industry.
TIP: If you run an online store, make sure to set up Google Shopping Feeds by following Google’s instructions and using their free toolkit here.
This will allow stores to feed new products into the system at regular intervals with very little effort from the merchant. The product feeds can be done automatically through API integration or manually via spreadsheet uploads as often as desired.
Google Map Pack
If you don’t understand what Google Map Pack is, this part is for you. In essence, the Google Map Pack is a way for Google to show local businesses that are properly ranked for that area. For example, let’s say you type in “pizza” in the search bar. Now if there are two pizza places on Google Maps that rank for the keyword “Pizza,” which is best? Well, it really depends on what your preferences are and what you’re looking for. However, when only one of these restaurants ranks within the Map Pack (meaning they appear as a thumbnail with their review stars), then this means that the restaurant will be ranked higher than another competing restaurant without rankings within the Map Pack.
This last point ties back into local SEO strategy: The ultimate goal here is not just to rank for a keyword, but to rank as high and prominently as possible on the search engine results page (SERP). It’s also worth mentioning that Google does not publish how it decides which businesses are shown in its Map Pack. That being said, there is some speculation based on anecdotal evidence that having your business reviewed by Yelp or TripAdvisor might help you get into the map pack. As another example, if your website is indexed with Google Webmaster Tools then this will likely lead to higher rankings within Google Maps’ Map Pack too.
Publishing Local Content
Another very important aspect of local SEO is the ability to public localized content on your blog, social media, and other channels. If you are not publishing local content, you might as well run your business anywhere. Localized articles, video content, and posts will ensure that your business is indexed in Google’s Map Pack. To create localized content, you should look at the geographic location of your business and use keywords that are relevant to people in that area.
For example, when writing an article about a specific dental treatment that you offer, include local keywords (locations, landmarks, etc) into the article seamlessly. They should serve the reader in helping them understand that this service is available near them. When a potential client searches the dental treatment + location, your article might be of the first few to show up there because you decided to include the localized keyword. Localized social posts with geotagging will allow customers to find you view social media filters. You can also use geotag tags on your posts and articles. Not to mention, you can take it a step further and include geotagging in your metadata, allowing the search engine to naturally place you where you belong on the search results.
Analyze All Outcomes
The most important thing you can do to ensure your efforts are effective is to assess all of the data that you can gather. To do this, you must learn how to automate and connect all of your local marketing/optimization efforts to analytics software. Analytics will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts over time. By analyzing all outcomes, you will be able to determine what marketing strategies work and which ones don’t.
Some of the key performance indicators to monitor when doing local SEO are:
Keyword rankings (search engine, maps) Traffic from search engines and social media The analytics will also provide a time series of information that you can use to make predictions. For example, if your website is indexed with Google Webmaster Tools then this will likely lead to higher rankings within Google Maps’ Map Pack too. However, note that it’s important not only to monitor the number of visits coming in but also the quality of those visitors. How long do they stay on your site? What pages are they viewing? Which sections were visited before/after visiting yours? You’ll want answers to these questions because competition for keywords changes constantly. So what might have been an effective strategy last week may not work so well today.
The best way to find out is by using Google Trends. You can type in any keywords, phrases, or topics you want and see how they are trending over time – the hotter a keyword/phrase/topic is on Google’s search engine results page (SERP), the more popular it will be at that moment with people searching for options related to your niche. Combining this information about what users are looking for now with SEO analytics data from earlier periods of time will help provide insights into where to invest most effort to keep ranking well going forward.” You may also benefit if you use social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook as part of your strategy because these sites offer additional ways for potential customers to discover your business listings.
However, if you do not have the resources to keep up with these sites as well as your blog and website content, focus on what you can manage.
Marketing is an iterative process. It’s not about getting it right the first time – but making adjustments as you go along and learning what works best for your company!
Local search engine optimization is different from traditional SEO strategies due to the need for more advertisements and increasing relevance of content which includes differentiation to show off how you stand out against competitors. The ultimate point of local search engine marketing (LSEM) is to establish or maintain an organic presence in the SERPS by targeting keywords and phrases that are specific to a geographic location, such as city name, state abbreviation, zip code range.
This requires heavy investment in content creation for pages on your site with high relevance to searchers using those terms–articles including photos and videos can be helpful but may not have much value if they don’t contain what people want most from their searches: contact information or reviews about companies near them. The more attention you pay to these factors, the higher chance you’ll rank well against competitors who haven’t invested in this kind of SEO strategy yet!
Here for A Long-Time, Not A Short One
The long-term goal when doing local SEO strategy should be ranking highly on search engines like Yahoo!, Bing, and especially Google because they have more than 90% of the market share. Taking the time to do good local SEO can translate into a lot of benefits, such as more visibility on Google and other search engines’ SERPS (search engine results pages), higher conversion rates for your business, and increased rankings in map packs.
This will ultimately result in leads that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get through traditional advertising methods or social media platforms like Facebook. When running any kind of test campaign there’s always going to be some change in SEO positions – some of them will move up, and others might go down.
Don’t worry about a change in your rankings if it’s going to be only temporary – as long as you stay focused on the bigger picture and continue experimenting with new strategies or tactics that may give better results for your company!
There are many different ways to experiment when optimizing local SEO campaigns: from running PPC ads, hosting contests that require following social media accounts, adding an SSL certificate (to make sure site visitors know their connection is safe), publishing content regularly without ever repeating keywords more than once per article, using video marketing instead of text-based copy… there are so many opportunities out there waiting for us! Don’t let this year pass for anything.
The Best Search Engine Optimization Agency In New York
Now that you understand the merits of local search engine optimization, you are well on your way to getting started. Nonetheless, as a business owner, it can be daunting to take care of this on your own. Even with a dedicated marketing team, it can still be difficult, either to lack of experience or due to the size of the workload. If you’re interested in receiving a full-scale local marketing service from the best SEO agency in New York, get in touch with us now and we will happily accommodate your needs.