What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is entirely different than traditional Search Engine Optimization. Local SEO is predominately for bricks and mortar style of business that take advantage of walk in traffic. Local SEO shows up under certain search aspects, in many instances from mobile devices. Local SEO has your business show up for terms such as “restaurants around me” or “best dry cleaner”. These types of searches will provide a different search result with easy “directions” and a “call” option. After the Local SEO search results are usually the traditional organic search results.
Local SEO On Mobile Devices
With approximately 1/2 of the traffic on the internet taking place on mobile devices, it is critical that your business shows up on searches performed on mobile phones and tablets. People are now using their phones to find companies to do business with far more than any other way. In the old days, we used the Yellow Pages to find a local business, today…we use our smart phones. That being said, if you own a Pizza restaurant, if someone were to type best pizza, there is a certain set of search results that populate based upon your geographic location and what Google knows about businesses in that vertical If you have a business that relies on walk in traffic, you need Local SEO possibly even more than traditional SEO. These types of searches can make or break your business.
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Dominating Local SEO
If you truly dominate Local SEO, you can end up being the only result for certain searches. For instance, if you were to Google “best hamburger” – Google will use your location from your phone and populate results of Local SEO. If one company has taken the initiative to dominate, you will only see ONE result! In this instance, upon Googling “Best Hamburger” only one result came up. It has a push to call, Directions (which would activate the navigation on my phone), reviews, open hours and more.
Although these types of searches don’t happen too much, when they do you are almost guaranteed that customer. If you have a dry cleaning business and have a strong Local SEO presence, anytime someone (in your area) were to Google “Dry Cleaners” you will be in the list, with that same push to call, directions, reviews.
What Influences Local SEO?
Local SEO is influenced by a different set of parameters than traditional SEO. Local SEO is driven by Citations which are placed on websites that specialize in being a directory service. A great example of a dominate local directory service website is Yelp. Yelp lets business owners create their presence on their site and lets your customers make reviews of your products and service. Yelp is only one of hundreds (maybe thousands) of local directory services. Having your presence (Citation) on many of these types of websites, especially with positive reviews is what creates a Local SEO presence.
How Do I Rank For Local SEO?
Local SEO takes quite a bit of work. The very first thing that need to be done is properly setting up a Google My Business account and verifying it. This will give Google all the information needed for your business listing. Next, you will want to start creating Citations on other business directories. A super important thing needed to show up in Local SEO search results is consistency of your NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address & Phone Number. If you have created accounts on multiple directory services, but have your business named slightly different, or use different phone numbers, you WILL NOT RANK. This confuses the search engines and can lead to negative results. Keeping your NAP consistent in every single Citation is critical for Local SEO.
In addition to consistency of your NAP, you want to have a citation on as many local directories as possible. For a huge list of local directories, click here. Upon submission of your citation, make sure that you place everything in the correct category so it properly shows in the search for your business. You will also want the description of your business to be as consistent as possible.
The final thing that needs to be done, especially if you are in a super competitive industry, is have people review your business on your new Citations. Positive reviews is what separates the Good from the Best. If you can get your clients to give a positive review on your Google+ account, that is best. In addition, you will want positive reviews coming from as many of your Citations as possible. Many of these Citation listings wont even get indexed by Google until they see a couple of reviews.
Local SEO Helps Traditional SEO
Just as any backlink (to your website) from a trusted website provides Google Juice — anytime your website has a link on a local directory it can potentially help your traditional SEO. This is not always the case, as many of the Citations that get posted don’t get indexed by Google. The more traffic that your Citation gets on a directory site, the better chance of it being indexed by Google and ultimately receiving some extra Google Juice.
Using an SEO Company
Some SEO Companies have a specialty in Local SEO and have a systematic approach for getting your business listed on many local directories with the exact same information. Local SEO differentiates from traditional SEO in that it is possible to “do it yourself”. It does, however, take a lot of time to get your business submitted to the most important business directories, with the exact same information and to get them indexed. Its important to understand, if you do not properly get your business submitted, it is MUCH HARDER to undo, than to do the first time! In addition, there are many aspects that connect traditional SEO with your Local SEO rankings, but that is getting outside of the scope of this article.
If you have a bricks and mortar storefront and rely on walk in traffic, you NEED to invest in Local SEO. Its as important today as being in the Yellow Pages were 10 years ago. If you do not have a physical address or a storefront, Local SEO may not be the right thing for you. If you have any questions on if your business can benefit from Local SEO, contact your local SEO Company.