A Comprehensive Guide to Improve Your Local Search Rankings

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Local SEO Guide

Technology advancement has changed the way we do our business. The informational needs of consumers have grown.

If you run a business that serves hundreds of locations, you may not be sure whether your products or services are reaching out to the right local audience.

That’s where local SEO comes into the picture.

If you want to generate sales and reach new customers, then optimizing your local presence is important.

In this post, we’re going to discuss how you can optimize your website to make it relevant to particular locations and enhance its prominence among local competitors.

Ready?

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO services are a pool of multiple Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies that empower businesses to boost traffic, generate leads, enhance online presence and be more visible in local search results on Google.

Common plans executed by an SEO Service Company are around local keywords, Google My Business profile optimization, structured data, and NAP” citations.

Also Read: How To Make The Most Out Of Local SEO In 2021

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO allows your businesses to get found on the search engine result pages when someone searches for services related to your offerings nearby. It increases your website rankings, drives more traffic, allows the highest conversions, and increases your online visibility, especially to neighboring customers.

The below data contains a few enthralling figures to assess how great local SEO service is for your businesses.

  • Almost half of all searched are local. (Hubspot).
  • Nearly, half of the search queries are local. (Search Engine Land).
  • 76% of consumers that search for something local on their phone visits a store that day (Google).

Given the above stats, it’s right to say that local searches reserve a wider realm in the SEO world. If you don’t invest in the local SEO services, you miss a large number of target audiences.

How does Local SEO Work?

At a high level, local SEO acts like a “normal” Google search, according to Backlinko. When an individual searches for something online, Google scans through its index and provides the best results for that individual query.

Google considers various factors to rank local search results. That’s what makes Local SEO a unique approach.

A set of unique ranking signals for local SEO includes NAP citations, Google My Business profile, keywords in the GMB profile, the sentiment of online reviews, number of “check-ins” at that location, Google Maps star rating for that business and so on so forth.

Also Read: Local SEO: Enhancing Your Search Engine Rankings

To get your local SEO success, follow this helpful local SEO guide.

  • Create Local Landing Pages
  • Use Structured Data
  • Create or Optimize Google My Business Profile
  • Build NAP Citations
  • Manage Online Reputation
  • Monitor Trends & Find Local Keywords
  • Get High Quality Links
  • Voice Search & Mobile Optimization
  • Track Local Ranking

Create Local Landing Pages

If you serve many different areas, create separate landing pages for all that locations.

Say you are a SaaS Development Company based in San Jose, but you also provide services in San Diego and Los Angeles.

In this case, having different landing pages for each location makes sense – in fact, something like this:

  • www.example.com/san-jose
  • www.example.com/san-diego
  • www.example.com/los-angeles

The goal of landing pages is to let visitors land on your page and entice them to make a purchase easily. Here are local landing page checklists to make sure your page is creative.

  • Optimize for mobile and keep it clean and easy to navigate
  • Include a unique headline and sub-headline (Add location and main key terms).
  • Highlight description of offers for that particular location
  • Include supporting images or videos
  • Create a clear, streamlined URL structure that is easy to understand
  • Update name, address, and phone number (aka NAP)
  • Embedded Map to find your physical location

Use Structured Data

Within the world of Search Engine Optimization, a local business schema is a ‘Structured Data Markup Code’ that allows Google to identify what type of organization you are.

An SEO services agency adds this Markup Code to clients’ websites to help Google better understand the website content and interpret what is on the page.

For instance, if you post a recipe, you should tag each ingredient, calorie count, cooking time, and so on. This enables the Search Engine Giant to find the information on your page and use it to create rich snippets.

This is a major ranking factor and helpful for optimizing a website for local SEO. The technique also increases clicks, impressions, and conversions.

An SEO service company uses different types of structured data, depending on business objectives. Local Business structured data is one of them.

SEO professionals use it to tag your business information, such as company name, address, and contact details.

This way Google can rest assured that your business is relevant to a specific area.

Google My Business Profile Creation & Optimization

If you don’t use and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile, you miss an incredible opportunity to get your services visible where it requires the most.

During optimization of your GMB profile, fill in all information, including services/products, images, descriptions and service lines. Be assured to list your business in the right category.

What else? Keep your information up to date.

For example, if you have a restaurant in San Jose and have updated your GMB profile with great reviews, but you miss out to update the opening time of the restaurant, it will have a bad impact on your customers.

Let’s dig deeper.

Suppose a person searches for a ‘restaurant near me,’ he/she will find your restaurant that appears to be open. The customer drives there and finds that the restaurant is temporarily closed. He will have a bad user experience.

The same person will hardly give your restaurant another chance when it’s open again.

In another case,

If your restaurant is still open for takeaway, use local search to inform your customers that the dining area is closed but the kitchen is still open.

You can do this with Google “displaying store operating status” attributes within maps.

Use this feature to update:

  • Takeout Hours
  • Pick-up hours
  • Department hours
  • Drive-thru hours
  • Visiting hours
  • Delivery hours

Build NAP Citations

In local SEO services, NAP citations are like backlinks. Though they’re super challenging to create, they’re super essential too.

Precisely speaking, NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) refers to your key business information. The more often you list these details across the web, the better for your business.

The two main sources of NAP information are:

  • Structured data on your own website
  • Your GMB listing

These two are great.

However, you can include other third-party platforms relevant to your location, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Clutch.

Or you can opt for any local directories serving your areas such as an aggregate marketplace or a city-wide review platform.

Select any of the above 3rd party platforms and create appropriate listings for your business. Thousands of citations are available across the web. But, picking all of them is worthless.

You’ll have a hard time managing these citations, especially when it comes to updating any of your information.

What more?

Every platform should have the same NAP details. If not, then Google may consider your local SEO strategy spam.

It is, therefore, important to maintain NAP consistency throughout your listings.

Consistency means, mention of your company’s name, address and contact details in the same format. Update the same phone number, same email, same code and extension formats.

Also Read: Complete Local SEO Guide For 2016

Manage Your Reputation

“Review Signals” plays a significant role when it comes to local ranking factors.

Aggregate ratings and positive reviews on your GMB and other platforms build trust and are critical to determine your organic rankings and visibility on Google Maps.

In contrast, negative reviews can harm your business.

After you list your business on Google My Business and other 3rd party sites, say it Yelp, you’ll start getting good or bad reviews.

The take away is to encourage clients to write reviews.

For this,

  • Send a follow-up email to them
  • Attach a card to the delivery
  • Or ask clients in person to write reviews

For a more aggressive strategy, offer them small bonuses if they leave reviews.

Manage reviews

Always monitor and reply to reviews – both positive and negative. It helps your local SEO efforts.

Influence aggregate rating

Managing negative reviews and converting them into positive ones is more art than skill.

These simple steps will help you attain this goal.

  • Acknowledge the issue: Even if the client is wrong, admit that it could have happened.
  • Find a solution: Promise to give solutions, followed by listing exact steps to take for solutions and giving assurance that this will never happen again.
  • Be real: Introduce yourself to show you’re committed and responsible. This builds trust.
  • Offer a bonus: If possible, offer a bonus or compensation. This will increase the possibility to perform the service again.

Monitor Trends & Find Local Keywords

Close monitoring of Google Trends can be another local SEO ranking factor. This helps understand shifts in search interest and behavior around relevant keywords and topics in your brand and industry.

  • Look for the most valuable keywords
  • See how searches are trending for those items
  • Monitor your website performance
  • Understand how users are converting during a particular  time

Tools like Google Trends can help you understand trending searches in your business niche whereas The Rank Tracker can allow you to see which keywords are missing on your page.

Get High Quality Links

Links are still important. Best SEO Services Company adds this to their Search Engine Optimization strategy.

You should also focus on obtaining high-quality links.

  • Research local and general sites, blogs, etc.
  • Replicate the competitor’s best backlinks
  • Publish “Skyscraper” Content
  • Get listings from locally targeted listings and blogs
  • Do guest posting
  • Publish guides related to your industry

Moreover, write amazing content proven to generate links. Follow the content formats – “What” posts, “Why” Posts, ‘How to” posts, Videos and Infographics.

But, it doesn’t mean you should publish a bunch of “what posts and infographics.”

Just follow this format and it will help you begin with quality content that works.

Voice Search & Mobile Optimization

The number of people who shop online using a mobile app or website is expected to increase by 0.6% annually, reaching 187 million by 2024.

In addition, users are asking questions using speech.

So, if your website is not ‘mobile-friendly’ and ‘voice-enabled,’ you’re going to lose these people.

Your website must be optimized to reply to common questions about your products and/or services.

What to do?

  • Look at your internal search metrics and analytics
  • Check what questions people are asking about your products or services
  • Use Google’s People Also Ask (PAA) feature or third-party tools

PAA is a Google-rich snippet feature. It provides users with extra information they may be looking for their initial query.

Because most local queries are taking place on mobile devices, make sure your site is optimized for mobile with high quality content, images and quick load times.

Track Local Ranking

After you make honest efforts for Local SEO and ranking at a specific location, now is the time to assess whether or not you have succeeded.

Track whether your pages are shown to your local people, actual target audience.

The regular ranking stats in Google Search Console may display country-wide and sometimes worldwide ranking positions. You won’t get the actual data.

So, use a rank tracking tool that shows rankings at a specific location. There are many tools that come with this feature. A few of them are:

  • SEMRush
  • Rank Tracker
  • SERPWatcher
  • Wincher and so on.

Use any of these tools you want to track local ranking. You’re free to add as many locations as you want. These tools are useful for online businesses that serve multiple distinct areas and have corresponding landing pages.

Over to You

Optimizing for local search is essential, especially for businesses serving particular cities, towns, regions, and even states. When done right, Local SEO allows your audience to get information about your business quickly.

The most important local SEO techniques are creating local landing pages, using structured data use, optimizing GMB profile, building NAP citations, and Managing Your Reputation.

Get in touch with us to talk about SEO!

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Now, we would like to turn it over to you.

Which Local SEO technique you would like to try first? Are you going for obtaining high quality links or finding local keywords to optimize content?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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