Local SEO .
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What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is an important aspect of general search engine optimization. It has only been implemented systematically for a few years, as Google was initially overwhelmed with local search queries. Search queries such as “pizzerias near me” could only be interpreted with the improvement of the search algorithms and more data. Small shop owners have the opportunity to attract additional walk-in customers to the shop through local SEO. As early as 2014, Google emphasized the relevance of local search queries in a study:
In the mobile search queries, Google now classifies local SEO as disproportionately important. According to another current Google study, by 2020 over 70 percent of all search queries could be made via mobile devices. The study also states that the demands for responsive design in the B2B sector have increased significantly and are based on private user experiences.
Each search engine has different indexes for websites such as news, images, videos and for local businesses. Within each index, there are several factors that affect a webpage’s position. Local search engine optimization includes all measures that can be used to improve the placement of a website in local search results.
Each website can be optimized for the local search requests (queries) of potential customers or for local visitors. On the one hand there are queries that have a unique local term. “Downtown Macon” would be an example of this.
Google and other search engines recognize that there is a local search intent behind these terms. For example, if a user only searches for the term “pizzeria” and does not enter a suitable city, Google still understands this as a local search query. The search engine recognizes the respective location based on the IP address of the user or via their Google account and outputs corresponding local search results.
Why is local search engine optimization so important?
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important and there are several reasons for this. On the one hand, mobile search queries are increasing and these mostly have a local connection. Also, in January 2018, Google announced that “ Mobile First ” will be a very important ranking factor throughout 2018. This includes the maintenance of the local structured data, the maintenance of customer agreements and a very fast mobile loading time.
The local search results are only displayed within the organic results on Google for a local search query. If the website operator limits himself to classic SEO without additional local optimization, his website will only appear in the organic search results without the relevant local results. Local SEO is most important for companies and businesses that offer their products and services exclusively or primarily offline.
Fashion stores, restaurants, cafés and car repair shops are the ones who profit most from this trend. Google has conducted a smartphone study in the past. Almost 80 percent of users become active through the local search results found and, for example, make a purchase or contact a local company directly. Almost 44 percent of mobile users search for local information with their device at least once a week. A full 16 percent even do this every day.
For which companies does local SEO make sense?
In general, every company that operates one or more branches or shops on site benefits from local SEO. Neither the size of the company nor the industry play an important role. A local search engine optimization of the website makes sense for, among other things
To put it simply: businesses that are visited by customers should rely on local SEO.
What are the most important ranking factors in local SEO?
On the one hand, the page should rank in the generic search index and, on the other hand, in the local search results. How well a website ranks in these areas depends on various factors. The US SEO tool provider MOZ interviewed many specialists in the industry for this purpose.
Google My Business Company website (My Business Signals)
Mentions on external websites (External Loc. Signals)
Reviews on the Internet about the company (Review Signals)
External links or backlinks from other sites (link signals)
Signals via social networks and portals (social signs)
The use itself, including mobile use (behavioural and mobile signals)
The personalized search in the search engines (personalization)
An important factor in local SEO is the proximity to a desired location. The closer a store is to the center of a city, the better its position for local SEO rankings. A disadvantage in this context is the existing local competition.
Which onpage factors play a role in local SEO?
Each branch should have its own landing page with the company name and city name in the title. The company should definitely enrich its website with local content – photos, employee pictures and local blog articles reinforce the local reference for Google. The driving directions are particularly relevant; it should be clearly visible.
As with classic search engine optimization, the content (content) on the website plays a role in local SEO. It is best to have unique and well-structured content on the website that brings an advantage or added value for every visitor. With this content, the company should stand out from the local competitors and make itself interesting for the customer.
It is particularly helpful if a branch operates a blog and updates it regularly. Local events and reports about self-organized events also push the local ranking. Interested visitors can access the company’s website and online shop directly via the blog.
Relevance, distance and notoriety
The better the company data is prepared , the better Google can assess whether a company is relevant for the local search results. This data should be up-to-date at all times (e.g. shop opening hours, hotline or directions).
Google differentiates whether the person searching is located locally (“nearby pizzeria”) or intends to visit this location (“fish and chips in Macon” and the user is in Atlanta). One is looking for concrete directions, the other is more about the informative aspect of the search.
Using the usual SEO measures, the small shops can improve their position compared to the world-famous brands. Google gets relevant information about every business through every article, directory, and link on the web. The more information found, the better. With local information and reviews from customers and positive ratings, small shops can significantly improve their position compared to global companies.
Having your own account in “Google My Business” is immensely important for local SEO. This site includes many well-known services such as Google Street View, Google+ and Google Maps. Google pulls ratings, photos or opening times from it.
Every retail store that relies on local customers should definitely have its own Google My Business page. Such a page can be created without much effort. The prerequisite for this is an account with Google. To verify the address and account, Google may send a card with a verification code in the old-fashioned mail.
You can also create free posts in Google My Business. For example, you can advertise current promotions, offers and events.
Since many potential customers own an iPhone or iPad, the map service Apple Maps is very popular. For this reason, companies should register with the map service and enter their company and all important data. You should also register your company with Microsoft’s “bing places for business”.
Nowadays, personal and authentic reviews play an important role in the purchase decision. This is especially true for larger purchases. More and more people are deciding on a specific holiday destination because there are correspondingly good ratings for the location on the Internet. The same applies to buying real estate, cars and many other things. With local SEO, ratings in the form of reviews (company ratings) are particularly important.
Smartphones and tablets are particularly important for local SEO. The website should therefore score with very fast loading times, little data consumption and responsive web design. Responsive web design is the case when the display of a website adapts to the display size.
The page should also be clearly laid out for the user. An additional factor for mobile web design is voice search. The structuring of your data is particularly important for the language assistants, as they can immediately access the information they are looking for.
Any business that offers local services should use Local SEO. The advantages are obvious. Good local creates a high added value compared to your competitors and increases the potential for better rankings and thus new customers. Since search engines take the location of the user into account in the search results for local SEO, even small companies with a small budget have the chance of a top ranking on Google & Co.
If you have any questions about Local SEO or need help with this topic, please feel free to contact us at any time!