What is Local SEO? Why is it important for your Business?


Optimize your Website using Local SEO

Local SEO involves marketing methods for optimizing your website so that you rank higher in the local searches. Businesses that have a lot of local customers or clients like a restaurant, store, health clinic or an ad agency can consider going for Local SEO.  If you have a business that has a physical address then you need to optimize your website for that location.

Local SEO Vs National SEO

Most of the elements like on-page factors, links, search engine indexing, social media, etc. that affect National SEO also affects Local SEO. In Local SEO you would be using geo-keywords; keywords that are specific to your area, business and target audience. Whereas on a national level, you will be targeting a bigger audience and multiple areas. Local campaigns will take lesser time to show results than national. When considering national campaigns the competition is more and the costs are more.

Why Local SEO?

The advantage of Local campaigns is that your website not only shows in the search results, but also gets added to the Local Carousel and the Map Pack. The Carousel is a local search result that displays about 20 results of restaurants, hospitality and travel across a black background at the beginning of its search results page. These results include images, ratings and reviews. The Map pack shows a list of results with the locations when you search for a business with a physical address.

Featuring in the Local Carousel or the Map Pack is extremely important if you want customers to visit your business from the specified location.

Modify your Site Elements

There are some important elements that you should add to your landing pages to appear in the Google local listings. In case your business has more than one location, you should consider adding a specific location landing page for each local listing. If you have a single location, then add these elements to your home page. Add your city and state information in the html code of your page. Add city and state to the title tag, H1 heading, Url, content, alt tags and meta description. You can also include an embedded Google Map.

Factors affecting Local Listings

The three important factors that affect your local listings.

1.    The first important factor is your local profile on Google. This is what appears in the local search results so create a good profile with your correct address and business name.

2.    The second thing is citation. A citation is a mention of your business online with or without a link. A complete citation includes your company NAP (name, address and phone number). It is important to be mentioned with complete information.

3.    The third factor for your local ranking is reviews. The more the reviews the better. Also the reviews should be positive.

Positive reviews will lift your citations so encourage your customers and clients to add good reviews on your local page.

How do Citations Work?

Citation is your business info that appears in the local listings. A complete citation includes Name, Address and Phone number. A few SEO experts claim that citations are not that effective nowadays as they were earlier. But citations are very important even now. According to search engines like Google, local businesses will benefit if they have their NAP information on important websites. Make sure that your info is correct as it affects your business in the rankings.

It takes time and effort to make your citations work. Here are steps that you must follow to make your citations effective.

 

1.    Moz Local is a great tool that creates and maintains business listings on websites, apps and directories. Using this tool, its easy to update your listings, manage location details and find and resolve duplicate listings. You can update incomplete citations using this tool.

2.    The Local Citation Finder from Whitespark helps you to identify other citation sources by researching the key phrases. It gives a list of citation sites for the top ranking sites. This way you can find potential citations. The tool Citation Builder helps you build citations that will increase your rankings.

3.    Using tools from Brightlocal you can classify citations as active, pending and potential ones. You can write notes about each citation to keep a tab on your efforts. Add the pending citations from your Whitespark list and when you run the report again the pending citations that have become active will move to the active list.

Keep track of your citations and look for new opportunities and update incorrect NAP. Refer your notes in Brightlocal to maintain your citations.

Get Positive Reviews

Reviews play a major part in click-throughs. Google displays reviews in a separate popup, this way users can read your reviews before they see other information about your business. Your business might get many reviews, but it is the positive reviews that will benefit your site.

Here we have steps to follow to get more positive reviews.

·      You can set up a review page on your website. For example, domain.com/reviews. It is easy to remember and users don’t have to search for you to write their reviews. Give your users instructions to write a review for your business. Users need to create a Google account inorder to write reviews.

 

Add the string ?hl=en&review=1 at the end of your Google Plus Local link.    When users click the link to Google Plus Local Page, a pop up window shows the review window where they can write reviews.

 

·      You can give handout cards to the customers who come to your store asking them to go to the link, domain.com/reviews page and write a review about your business. Create a well designed card to hand out to your customers. You can’t force them to write reviews, let them know that you are a good business and would like know their opinion about your services. Whitespark has come up with do-it-yourself review handout generator that lets you create and print review cards.

 

Another option that is trending is the Postcard and Pages also called P&P.  These cards are created with your brand information and includes a simple link- domain.com/reviews printed on them. Customers can go to the links whenever possible and write a review. When customers leave your store, you can hand over the P&P card to them. Below the link there is a note saying the Google account is needed and a few steps to follow to create the account.

These are some of the tips you can follow to optimize your website using Local SEO.  As a result you will find your website among the top local searches with a good flow of traffic.