Many roads lead to the destination - but why take the longest road?
Local SEO gives your customers the opportunity to easily find you and your business in your area.
According to statistics from Ahrefs, around 90.63% of existing websites receive no organic search traffic from Google. SEO is gaining more and more relevance in the online marketing world and many companies have already gained an awareness of search engine optimization.
But does Local SEO mean anything to you? What exactly is meant by it and what significance it has for your company, marketing and your online presence, you will know after this blog post. But more importantly, you will also know about the tips and tricks to strengthen your business regionally.
What is Local SEO / Local Search Engine Optimization?
SEO means search engine optimization and helps to prepare websites and webshops in such a way that through the optimization of content, technology and your online performance your website can be found among the organic search results and can be found at specific Keywords ranks on Google page 1.
On the one hand, the search engine Google must understand your website and know what exactly it is about - on the other hand, the users must understand your page and find their way around the structured interface. By optimizing you give Google the chance to position your website to the appropriate search queries and the user the chance to strengthen your site with positive user signals (ranking factor of Google).
|An important rule in SEO is, "If the user is happy, Google is happy!"|
Local SEO or Local Search Engine Optimization is a part of SEO, and therefore a part of online marketing. Under this term we understand the local or regional optimization of your online presence, to be relevant for search engines and therefore a good Ranking in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for local search queries.
Especially for regionally operating companies Local SEO is the number 1 tool.
What is behind Local SEO and for which companies is it important?
The new online generation has fundamentally changed user behavior on the Internet:
Around 52.2% of total website views worldwide come from smartphones (Statistics) - and around 30% of all mobile searches are related to location (Think with Google)
In this context, it is important to keep in mind that an average of about 3.5 billion search queries are made in Google every day - Consequently, a great many people use local search.
The trend of local search is increasing and that is exactly why Local SEO is very important for location-based businesses, such as stores or locales. Independently of the industry or the size of the company, much emphasis should be placed on the online presence.
Users have long recognized the benefits of local search, here it is up to businesses to look into Local SEO and reach these users and potential customers through Google.
10 tips to strengthen your company's online presence
Basically, only 10 places on the first Google page at the Organic search to assign. The goal of SEO is to position the website of your company on the first Google page in the search results for certain keywords. With an increased focus on Local SEO, you can achieve this goal faster and easier in your local area.
If a location is included in the search query, e.g. "Doctor in Graz", Google Maps appears at the same time with the familiar red location symbols, below which are snippets from the companies with the names and telephone numbers, the website link and the button for the classic route calculations. With a simple click on the desired company, the exact address appears. These three snippets filled with information are called Google 3 Pack or Local Snack Pack. These snippets are in turn linked to the Google My Business entry. In this way, the user receives the search results in his vicinity (in this case, all doctors in Graz) that have a Google My Business entry and preferably the best ratings.
|Tipp – Your goal should be to shine up under the Local Snack Pack.|
Approximately 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Think with Google)
Location itself is an important ranking factor
Even though this factor is difficult or impossible to influence, it still has an impact on the local search ranking. In principle, the more central the location, the better for the ranking. However, it must be said that the accuracy of this statement is highly dependent on the competition. The bigger the competition, the more difficult Local SEO is for your own website.
The start is made by the keyword research
Finding the right local keyword is essential.
Before a Local SEO strategy can be pursued, the first step must be a detailed Keyword-research . Because the right keyword is the be-all and end-all of any SEO strategy and the keyword can be found in all subsequent measures.
For this, the use of a paid keyword tool, such as Ahrefs, SEMrush or KWFinder advisable. For Local SEO, certain patterns of keywords can be clearly identified: Type of company, service or product related to your location.
It is important to remember, however, that your keyword may not have to be directly about your place of business, but it can be found in your entire catchment area - This depends on the search volume. In general, the smaller and more unknown a place, the less search volume this keyword will have.
|Tip - The trend of local search to type the addition "near me" into the Google Search bar is decreasing, because Google can now recognize local search queries very well and accordingly displays the matching websites in the search results. Therefore, from the perspective of search engine optimization, there is no longer any relevance to implement this as a Local Keyword.|
Tip #1 - Local SEO onpage optimization of your website
Onpage optimization of your website is, as in classical SEO, an inevitable point and one of the most important factors for ranking. Everyone should optimize their website in terms of technology as well as content. The content must convince the user. Not only the text and the images or videos play a major role here, but also a clear structure of the information, a coherent navigation (Bread Crumbs), internal linking of the website and optimized metadata filled with keywords.
If your website appears on the first page of Google's local search results, then your website must also convince potential customers of your services or product.
Google Snippet for local SEO
In the classic search query - in addition to the ads - the organic search results appear and then it is important that the snippet is convincing. This consists of title tag and meta description, while the title tag is one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to onpage optimization.
Tip #2 - Offpage Search Engine Optimization: Structured Data - Schema.org
Schema.org was founded as a joint project of Google, Mircosoft, Yahoo! and Yandex. With the help of the freely available code snippets you can structure your HTML data semantically. This means that you can define your address, opening hours and phone number as such on HTML level. Schema.org offers all webmasters a common or uniform "vocabulary" to clearly define this data for search engines.
Structured data helps the search engine to better assess the relevance of the website and provide the user with more targeted answers to their local search query.
Tip #3 -Optimizing the NAP - the company data
The abbreviation NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number - This means the name of the company, the address of the location and the phone number of the office. What is meant here is that this data should match and be complete throughout your online performance.
This does not only mean your own website and your Google My Business entry. Consider that your entire Internet presence can also extend across business directories to social media channels.
Here it is relevant to make sure that the same spelling is used.
Tip #4 - Google My Business Optimization
In local search, Google My Business listings are the first port of call for potential customers. Everyone who has a business and a Google account can create a GMB (Google My Business) entry and this factor is essential in Local SEO. Especially considering that 90% of all Internet users in Europe use the Google search engine. Your GMB is linked to the well-known services Google Maps, Google Street View and Google 3 Pack.
An optimized GMB profile can help your company gain more visibility in local search. It is important that all data and information are correct and match:
- Company name: Here it is important to enter the correct company name and not add any additions (except to include certain keywords). This contradicts the Google guidelines and will be warned.
- Address: The proximity to your business is crucial for many potential customers. Therefore, this is one of the most important information and the address must therefore be clearly visible.
- Opening hours: Here it is necessary that the opening hours are always up to date. To consider are possible differences in summer or winter.
- Phone number
- E-mail address
- Website linking: If a customer already knows you and appreciates your products or services, the business data is enough to make a purchase. However, the long-term goal of Local SEO is to gain more visibility for your online performance in order to attract new customers. This linking directs more traffic to your website and, furthermore, the generated Backlink your domain as a whole.
- DescriptionA short, efficient description of your company, filled with your keywords, will give the user an insight into what you do.
- The right categoryGoogle My Business gives you the option to assign your business to an industry or category. It may not always be easy to find the right category for your business. Unfortunately, there is no overall list of categories available to you. However, you have the possibility to transform your company into a Primary category and in other categories to integrate. So you have the chance to cover your activities completely.
- Photos: Your logo must appear here - best as your profile picture. The logo is essential because of the recognition value. Otherwise, depending on the industry, the type of photos changes: For a restaurant, for example, the food and the place are in the foreground, for a doctor you should focus on the practice itself and on the team. The photos have the goal over the distance to build trust in the product or in the people behind a service.
- Share news via GMB:Keep your Google My Business account up-to-date. Use the posts feature and display your news directly from GMB. Thus, you can direct users to your website via the interesting posts.
- Reviews: Basically, the increasing importance of reviews is nothing new. That is why Google My Business offers a rating option. This must be used and can give you an advantage over your competitors.
|Attention - Google is hostile to any attempts at manipulation and may even issue warnings. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the reviews, even if they have a natural origin, have a natural course or increase. Bad recessions can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Likewise, it is hardly possible to remove the entire Google My Business entry again.|
If the entire Google My Business listing is convincing, then the local search turns into a potential purchase.
Tip #5 - One landing page per location
If your business has multiple locations, then a separate Local Landing Page for each location is on your website mandatory. For a good overview, a superordinate landing page is useful, which links to the subordinate local landing pages. With different or individual landing pages, you have the possibility of for multiple locations to position well and thus focus on several keywords.
Important to consider when doing Local SEO for Local Landing Pages:
- Your Keyword and alter your Location must be reflected in the title tag, meta description, URL and headings.
- A location map should be integrated on the landing page, in the best case with a link to Google Maps.
- Images on your website have a certain relevance. On the one hand for the user himself, to build a personal connection, and on the other hand the keywords must appear in the alt and title tags of the images - This is a necessary measure in search engine optimization.
- The information of the company or the NAP details must be clearly evident and correct.
- Direct contact options should be given with the help of a contact form.
- A Site description has the advantage of lifting the special features beforehand.
- Depending on the location, the team also changes depending on whether your company offers a product or service, it is advisable to introduce the team and give users the option to get a picture of the team, in order to build up sympathy and trust towards the team in the best case.
- Depending on the location, the offer may also change - Use the opportunity to offer the user an overview of your products or services on offer.
- Here it is also important to have a CTA (Call to Action) to set. This way you shorten the path of the buying process for already convinced potential customers.
- The landing page can also be a springboard to the social media platforms so linking is advisable. With the help of social media, users can be easily and quickly informed about news and are kept up to date by subscribing or "liking". Through the marketing and outreach gained, other users can be convinced of your activities, which will drive traffic back to your website.
- Also on the individual pages for the local sites there is space for the Reviews.
|Caution - While you can optimize better with multiple sites and thus have more influence on Google's ranking factors, you must be careful not to create too many.|
Tip #6 - Reviews
The topic of ratings is becoming more and more important, and even though this tip can be found in other tips here, the strength of ratings should not be underestimated. Therefore, the ratings in detail deserve their own point.
The ratings do not directly have anything to do with search engine optimization, but have more influence on the users themselves. Users place a lot of value on the opinions and experiences of other users - especially when their own experience in this area is little to nonexistent.
Here's an example: You're in a foreign city and want to go out for dinner - you're by the sea and have a culinary preference for fish or seafood. You find two places to eat, both near you. One has a beautiful, top website, but bad reviews on Google My Business or TripAdvisor about the food. The other eatery has only the menu on its website, but the reviews online describe it as a culinary epiphany with a small, refined ambiance or make similar sounds. Which one will you choose?
Interaction with the customers who write the reviews is important and confirms other users of the hospitality of the establishment or the professional work of the company.
Tip #7 - Social Media
In this day and age of the smartphone generation, there are few people in Europe who are not represented on the social platform and precisely because of this, these networks are an important ranking factor for search engines. Especially in Local SEO it is necessary to have a well-maintained social media presence, be active and interact with users. Here the goal is to be authentic, build trust and convince the potential customer about the products or services and inform about the news.
Tip #8 - Be Mobile friendly - Optimize mobile version of the website
To optimize your website also for smartphone or mobile devices, such as tablets, is not only important for local search, but especially here even more important. More than 90% of Internet users also search for local businesses with your smartphone.
It is therefore all the more important that the data is also clearly visible to users in the mobile version. Of course also the fast loading time and the minimized data consumption better for your website and is relevant for the ranking factors. Therefore, a responsive web design should be considered. The mobile version of your website must also offer the user added value.
More and more popular is the use of the voice assistant, so the good structuring of the data is of particular importance, this is to optimize and to make sure that mobile users can use this function easily and without problems.
Tip #9 - Entries in directories - Backlink
An entry in local company or business directories is the next tip. This has two important advantages: On the one hand you increase your Visibility on the Internet, as you can be found well through these platforms. On the other hand, you have the possibility to generate a backlink, even if a backlink of the directories is not one of the strongest backlinks.
In addition, you give Google more information about the industry and the environment in which you are located, if you are in topic-specific or local business registers in.
Tip #10 - Local Citations and Local Link
Basically, it is known in SEO circles that backlinks strengthen your domain, this influences the rating of your website and thus backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors.
In addition, it is about thinking local - Local Citations means local quotes. The links to these Local Citations should come from local bloggers or influencers, or from the local news and regional magazines. This is about using backlinks, to build trust with users, which are also gladly seen as recommendations to the websites in the digital world. This link building must have a natural growth (no link farms!), otherwise you run the risk of violating the guidelines of Google.
Conclusion on Local SEO
The goal of Local SEO is the search engine optimization of your entire online performance on the Internet for local search queries. Especially location-based businesses, such as stores, pubs or massage studios, should take advantage of this opportunity. To appear on the location-based search query on the first Google page among the search results, the first step is to create a detailed keyword research. Only after that, factors such as the entry in local directories or the subject-specific business registers or structured data or the optimization of your GMB profile are relevant. For local search engine optimization, a content strategy, as known in marketing, is necessary and the basis for this is the keyword.