Local SEO is a special form of search engine optimization that aims to make businesses appear higher in search results within a specific geographic area. While there are some general SEO practices that can be applied to any website, local search ranking factors are a little different and more complex. The goal is to optimize the website and its content for local searches, which will drive highly-targeted traffic that converts into customers.
When people perform a search on Google, the top three results are shown in a boxed section called a ‘Snack Pack’, alongside paid ads. Then, under that is a regular list of organic search results (the ‘organic’ listing). Search engines take many things into consideration when determining the rankings for both the Snack Pack and the organic listings. These include local citations, business NAP consistency, reviews, and the number of shares on social media.
Searches with local intent are on the rise, with 70% of consumers visiting a physical store after researching a product or service online. That’s why it’s more important than ever to optimize your website and its content for local search. Local SEO will help your business stand out to potential customers and grow your revenue.
Creating a list of keywords that searchers would use to find your business is the first step to optimizing for local SEO. Keyword research tools like Semrush can help you create a list of relevant keywords for your niche and location. Once you have a list of keywords, start adding them to your site content. Use these keywords in title tags, headers, meta descriptions and body copy. You should also consider adding them to your URL, site map and blog posts.
In addition to optimizing your site for local search, it’s also important to claim and optimize your GMB listing. You can do this by entering your business information and photos, and managing the reviews that others leave about your business.
You should also focus on getting a good amount of reviews from reputable sources. In addition to your own website and GMB listing, try to get reviews on sites like Yelp, Thumbtack, Foursquare and Angie’s List, among others. These reviews will help your business rank better in both Snack Pack and organic results.
It’s important to note that a high quantity and quality of backlinks are just as vital for local SEO as they are for regular SEO. Getting links from authoritative websites in your niche is the best way to boost your local SEO. These could be sites related to your industry, government agencies or trade organizations. Other ways to acquire quality backlinks include partnerships, scholarship programs, guest posting and social media promotion.