What Is Local SEO?
SEO has been around for a long time and there are many different factors that you need to take into account to improve your search ranking using various SEO techniques. Local SEO is a more specific type of SEO where you are looking to improve your search ranking position for local searches.
How Do Google Determine A Local Search?
Google do this in a couple of different ways. Firstly they will look at the search term you have entered, and if they think it is a local search they will display local results based on your location. However, you can override this if you enter a location within the search query.
Let’s look at two examples of searches where your own location is in London in both examples. First here are the results for a search for a “vegan restaurant”.
As you can see from the search term Google has assumed you are looking for a local restaurant and has pulled up the local results just below the paid Google Ads. Now let’s see what happens if we add a location into our search query like “vegan restaurants manchester”
Now the local search results have changed to that of restaurants in Manchester. So what Google do is first decide if you are looking for a local business, then they check to see if you have specified a location within your search query and if you haven’t they will display local search results based on your current location and if you have they will display the results based upon the queried location.
What’s The Difference Between Normal Search Results and Local Search Results
Take a look closely at the first example above for vegan restaurants. You will see the results can be separated into three sections, first the paid Google Ads, next the local results and finally the organic results. The importance of local results from a marketing perspective is huge as you can effectively leap frog the entire organic search results! This can be illustrated by doing a search for something that is not a local business, for example “vegan burger recipe”, where you can the paid Google Ads if applicable and then the organic search results, but this time no local results.
How You Can Improve Your Local SEO
Aside from normal SEO practices there are some specific things that you should be doing to improve your local SEO. You need to understand that Google want to provide the best and most relevant search results, and therefore the first point of call would be make sure Google know where you are located. In order to appear in the local results you need to have a Google My Business page and add your address there. Without this any other efforts will be essentially pointless. Once you have done this you can further establish your credibility as a local business by adding your address and business details in other locations, for example:
- On your website contact page
- On your website footer
- In local and national online directories (e.g. yell.com)
- In niche and industry directories
Once you have a Google My Business page setup you will also have the ability to allow customers to leave reviews. This is very important when it comes to local SEO for two reasons. Firstly Google will use it as a ranking factor when prioritising results and secondly potential customers like to see reviews. Positive reviews will persuade them to go with you instead of a competitor making positive reviews a huge game changer on your click through rate.
Aside from what is mentioned above you should continue to adopt standard SEO practices including adding regular, valuable content to your website as well as marketing your website online, particularly within your local community.