Local SEO | Quick Guide for 2019
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art of marketing your local business online.
This can be done through a number of aspects, some of which are fairly easy to master, and others, well not so easy.
Local SEO simply helps people find your business online from a nearby point, such as people in your local area.
If you have ever searched for a business or service online I’m sure at some point you will have used one of the terms…
+Services near me or
+Services in [City Name]
Remember, it’s not just Google that you need to claim your business on, make sure you do this on various other search engines too.
Having your business claimed on local searches will also put you on the map (literally). It will make sure your business appears as a location on Google Maps, just another way for people to find your business.
It’s said that over half of business are yet to claim their Google My Business listing. This is a tremendous error for anyone looking to increase their search impact.
And failing to do so will only result in your competitors taking those potential customers right from under your nose!
Why is Local SEO important?
Firstly, 46% of ALL Google searches are local, this is a huge amount. Optimizing your Local SEO to capitalize on this number is a no brainer.
Depending on your industry a lot of business listings on Google tend to show a “visit website” button, or even a “call now”, this can be perfect for your searchers on a mobile device.
It will give them the option to click this button directly and immediately start a call with you.
50% of local mobile searches look for some sort of business information such as an email address of phone number before making a decision, so make sure your GMB is in as much detail as possible.
As well as a phone number and website displayed, indexing your business in GMB also gives you the option to show a plethora of information.
This can be anything from opening times of your business to services you offer.
Remember to keep all this information up to date, especially phone numbers and email address so you have the highest chance possible of conversion.
If your Local SEO is implemented correctly, your business should be pushed right to the top of searchers results in your area, increasing your odds of engagement.
You will also notice when performing a local search that Google shows a snippet at the top of the SERP’s.
This is the local results that best fit the searchers query. That’s why it pays off to do your keyword research, so you can rank in both “local packs” and organic results.
With all this being said, it is essential that you optimize your site for mobile users.
The last thing you want is for your citation to pay off and then the customer to be turned away by the look and feel of your website. Make sure you also speed up your websites loading time!
On top of a huge percentage of the market share performing local searches, they also have the highest conversion rate in all channels.
So why do they have such a high conversion rate?
Well, a lot of day to day searches can be for basic information such as recipes, blog posts, instructions, etc. The list goes on.
But when some conducts a local search, it usually only means one thing, they are looking for your services.
Optimizing your business for Local SEO is the corner stone for traffic, but not to forget, you still need a funnel in place to help guide the process.
And it couldn't be easier with the mass majority of Local SEO processes being completely FREE.
So make sure you claim your business on as many search engines as you can comprehend.
So how do you implement Local SEO?
1. Keyword Research
As any SEO strategy begins…Keywords Research.
I’m not going to go into too much detail regarding keyword research here, if you want to see an in-depth article make sure to check out one of our recent posts. The Importance of Keyword Research
But, the first thing you will want to do is head over to your favourite keyword tool and type in your services.
These will bring up a list of keywords including local results.
As described above they will come out to something along the lines of “near me” or “services in [city name]”.
Once you have identified your desired keywords and phrases you will want to check their search volume.
Personally I use Ahrefs Keywords explorer, here you can simply paste in your chosen keywords or phrases and check metrics such as search volume and keyword difficulty.
If your business is situated in a small area make sure to upscale your keywords for a bigger city or county near by, this will increase your chances.
Another great tool to use is Google.
This is a quick way to give you some awesome ideas on what Long-Tail Keywords to use for your own SEO practices if you don't have access to any tools or software.
You can type in your services or business such as “Chinese Food” then let Google auto-complete give you some ideas of what people generally search for.
Lastly, you will want to check out the keywords used by your competitors in the industry.
This will give you a clear insight to where they rank on individual phrases and what you need to do to outperform them.
2. Meta Tags
As you should know meta tags are a super important aspect to SEO, and that’s the case for Local SEO too.
Title tags matter more than most people think. If you want to read more about Title Tags you can do so here.
Some say that crafting the perfect title tag is a mystic art, but for Local SEO purposes you will definitely want to focus on including your location in the tag.
When your designing your Title Tag, every character counts, and you want to make sure you are maximising your potential.
As a quick overview, this is what a good Title Tag should look like.
You will want to manage your efforts to also include your keywords in your title, all this carefully placed will enhance your Local SEO.
Although Title tags aren’t the only meta tag you use, it is the most important in this case, closely followed by your meta description.
Due to this appearing right beneath your title you will want to make sure this is just as appealing. Briefly describe what your page’s content is about and hook your visitors in with something that has that human touch to it.
3. Map Listings / Citations
I have already covered why your Google My Business listing is so important but it actually isn’t difficult for you to setup either.
It is a free tool (which is always a bonus), all you have to do is click here Google My Business and follow the onscreen instructions.
Firstly you will be prompted to type out your business name, or if your business happens to already exist, Google will give you the option to claim that listing.
Following on you will need to enter information such as your address, phone number, business hours, etc.
Although some people do tend to get confused if they work from home, my recommendation is to still include your address even if it isn’t a physical one.
After you have finished setting up or claiming your business listing on Google, you will want to navigate over to other search engines and do the same.
Remember, consistency is key, make sure each listing you create has the exact same information on it.
If your worried you missed something there are tools out there to check your listings and make sure everything is identical.
The more information you can include on your local business listing the better. You will want everything from the services you offer to your website address and even include some photos if you can, to completely maximize your potential.
The same process goes for business directories.
There are thousands of directories out there ranging from the high DA sites such as the Mirror or Yell, to smaller business with very few listings.
You should really focus on the bigger fish, but if you have time to spare, get listed on as many as you can.
The best way to do this would be to conduct as search like so – [City Name] Directories.
Again there are tools out there to help make sure your information is consistent. I tend to use Moz Local
If you do fail to do this, Google will be unsure of which information is correct, and may in fact display in the improper address.
4. Schema Markup
Schema markup is added to your sites code, it is a way to provide search engines with a little extra information about your business such as the services your offer or the reviews you have etc.
Typically Schema markup confuses a lot of site owners as it can be a little technical, in fact, around 70% of business are missing out.
So why bother?
Using markup gives Google that little bit extra, and as we know, that works in our favour.
On top of your business standing out from it’s competitors it is said to have an influence on rankings. So implementing markup into your site could potentially give you the edge over your competitors.
As I mentioned Schema Markup can get a little technical, so if this puts you off don’t worry, there are plenty of tools to help you out, one specifically from Google themselves... Structured Data Mark-up.
Once you have visited the link above you will notice your are presented with various categories. Simply select the most relevant for your site and start tagging away!
Google will give display the data items on the side of your screen in a sort of visual editor, where you can literally click and “tag” what’s what on your page.
After you have finished tagging your page you’ll want to click done and then the amazing Google will create the HTML code for you.
After you have tested this code using Googles Structured Data Testing, just paste this into your sites code.
Your online reviews are of incredible importance. These are usually the selling point from a searchers perspective, with over 80% of people trusting online reviews.
That being said, it is getting increasingly easier to buy fake reviews. (which is strictly against Googles guidelines)
However, companies are still sprouting up selling “fake” reviews to local businesses. These tend to consist of random people writing bias reviews without ever actually interacting with your business.
This is a problem for those of us that trust reviews.
No matter what review your business gets make sure to respond to all of them, ask them what went wrong? Or right? Not to mention it shows other visitors that you care about your business and the customers.
With the fact Google is now plagued with fake reviews a lot of searchers turn to social media as they are often more true to their nature.
Getting great reviews on your Facebook page is a great step to improving your engagement.
I imagine your reading this, thinking why do they matter from a Local SEO prospective?
Well, with your Google citation, along with the abundance of information you now have on there ;) It also displays your reviews.
If your business has a lot of negative reviews on it’s snippet then this is definitely going to turn a customer away, but having an overwhelmingly positive review base only increases your strength for it’s Local SEO appearances.
In conclusion you can see that there’s a lot more to Local SEO than meets the eye.
Making sure you have accurately followed the steps above will no doubt dramatically increase your Local SEO results.
Hopefully you can also see the importance of a Local SEO strategy, and why you need it.
If you do, your well on your way to increased traffic.
As always, if you need any help or information, please don't hesitate to contact us!