local SEO guide

The Ultimate Local SEO Guide 2021

Having your website optimized to appear on Google’s first page takes considerable time and investment. If you are a local business and only require to appear on top when your customers from surrounding areas enquire about similar businesses, local SEO is the way to go about it.  

This local SEO guide will help you reach out to your target audience faster in an efficient manner without having to invest much time or effort. From questions like “what is SEO and how do you do it” to “how much does a local SEO cost”, we will provide you with all the answers. 

What is local SEO? 

Local SEO helps your business or service become more visible to your customers residing nearby or within the same geographical area. It is similar to the result that pops up when someone searches for something “near me”.  

For example, if you own a café and someone who lives near the cafe searches for “cafes near me”, the name of your café will pop up on the first page for them.  

Google map pack

It also works if the specific geographical area is mentioned while searching. For example, if your café is at Bhandup in Mumbai and someone searches for “cafes in Bhandup”, your café will pop up in their search results. 

Why is local SEO so important? 

It may occur to you that if you optimize your website on a large scale, will Local SEO be important? Local SEO is a subset of SEO and is only advantageous to local businesses. Here are a few reasons why: 

1. More Visibility 

According to a survey by Google, 76% of people who use the keywords “nearby” or “near me” while searching for a particular type of service or business, visit one such business within a day and 28% of those searches result in purchasing something from such businesses hiring their services. That is because your business appears to customers who are looking for a similar service at that particular moment. 

2. Online Searchers can be Offline Customers 

One big plus point of being a local business is that people can drop by to verify the product quality or talk about their doubts and concern regarding your service in person. However, for this to happen there must be a physical location of the business. This increases the rate of conversion.  

3. Cost-efficient Advertising 

Local SEO can be performed with free tools available on the web. It takes less investment in terms of finance, time, effort, and maintenance. This form of SEO can target both mobile and desktop users for the same amount of money or no money at all. 

Suggested Read: Top Instant Approval Guest Posting Sites in 2021

How to do local SEO? 

There are several ways to use local SEO to attract your targeted customers who are living nearby. Here is a three-step method to rank fast on Google through local SEO : 

1. Register yourself on Google (For Free) 

Go to Google My Business (GMB) and register your business. Make sure to incorporate your industry, geographical area, and a few other related keywords in the business description.  

Goolge mu business page

2. Online Directories 

Register yourself in online local business directories such as JustDial.comSulekha.com. The more you register yourself on such online directories, the more Google prefers you. Make sure to enter the same set of information (Name of business, contact details, and address) everywhere including Google My Business. Avoid spelling mistakes and use one phone number wherever you list your business on the web. If Google gets confused about such foundational business information, it may decide to not show your business at all in the search results. 

3. Testimonials 

Reach out to your existing customer base or reach out to every customer a few days after they have availed your services to leave a rating and review on Google. Make sure to engage with the review even if it is negative. Local SEO blooms due to positive reviews and high ratings, but it is equally important to interact with customers who were unhappy with your service. 

4. Share your GMB profile on your social media platforms 

Google takes into consideration the posts you share on your social media networks. Share the GMB profile on your networking platforms to further nudge the Google algorithm to give you preference. 

5. Avoid uploading important information via images 

Images cannot be crawled. So, make sure that the important information such as name, address, and Phone number are provided in text format everywhere on the web.  

Local SEO Ranking Factors 

Parameters that are observed by Search Engines while dealing with local SEO: 

1. The location from where a person is searching  

2. Consistency in citations (Name, Address, Phone number) across the web 

3. Presence of GMB profile 

4. Targeted keywords in GMB profile 

5. Ratings and Reviews 

6. “Check-ins” in your store/business 

7. Social media shares 

8. Google map rating 

Local SEO Checklist 

Here are some additional tips you may consider to make the best out of what local SEO has to offer to you: 

1. Treat Google My Business (GMB) as a low-maintenance social media platform 

  • It is a great way to connect to your customers one on one as well as showcase important business updates.  
  • By activating the messaging feature on GMB, your customers will now have the option to directly SMS you. This will help in lead generation and provide you with more conversions. 
  • GMB provides an option for posts. You can update about the business hitting a milestone, or announce a new line of products, or highlight an upcoming event. These posts also come with call-to-action buttons such as “buy”, “learn more”, “get offer” etc.  
  • However, the posts will no longer be visible after 7 days. 

2. Pay attention to Insights and perform an SEO Audit 

  • GMB comes with analytical tools that can help you understand your audience better. Google My Business Insights will help you track an audience’s actions on the GMB page beginning from the source through which they discovered you to what actions they took on your page and other related details such as the geographical area they belong to and the frequency of customers calling you directly through GMB. 
GMB Insightes
  • Understanding the insights provided by my GMB can help you strategize your SEO application better. 
  • Perform a local SEO audit to observe how a customer views your business on Google and what are areas where you can optimize further. 
  • Compare the results with that of your competitor’s to analyze if there is any aspect that you have missed out on. 

3. Optimizing your website  

  • Local searches are mostly performed on mobile phones. Make sure your website is mobile optimized and has a fast page loading speed. 
  • Update your website with some local content to help search engines associate you with the geographical area. Write about an educational topic or you can write about an event related to your industry that has taken place in your surroundings or something similar. 
  • Add Google Map to your website pinpointing the location of your store/facility. 
  • Pay attention to URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and keywords in your content and optimize according to the targeted geographical area.  
  • Have a clear internal linking structure. Work upon improving site architecture to make it easy to navigate. This will help search engine crawlers index your pages. You can use Google Search Console to audit your website and check for errors that are obstructing during indexing. 

4. Digital PR 

  •  Collaborate with other businesses in your locality. Hold an event together or sponsor an event of an NGO working in your geographical area. Such collaborations help to build brand awareness both digitally and in the real world. If you can create a buzz around such an event on social media, you may even be covered by local media. Articles by news sites on the web will boost your relevance on the search engines. 

5. Guest Blogging 

  • Another means to build your presence on the web is through guest blogging. Guest blogging is having your articles published in someone else’s blog. It mainly has two advantages: backlinking and attracting a new audience to your site. Backlinking helps build authority for your website which will not only help in Local SEO but is also an important technique for SEO in general. By publishing your content on someone else’s blog you attract their audience to your site and some of them could be your potential clients. Collaborate with local bloggers to attract a local audience, or bloggers who deal with your particular industry to carve a name for yourself in the business niche.  

Suggested Read: Display Advertising: The Ultimate Guide

FAQs: 

1. Who needs local SEO? 

From local businesses to freelancers, everyone can take the advantage of Local SEO. If you run a bakery or provide repairing services or have a tutoring center or handle any form of business that is local, you can take advantage of local SEO. 

2. How much does local SEO cost?

Local SEO can be performed with zero costs with the help of free tools such as Google My Business and online local business directories. 

3. What are local citations SEO? 

Local citations refer to the mention of your business details on other local websites such as the online local website directory or blog etc. Local citations will help in SEO if all the platforms mentioning your business have the same set of information (Name, contact details, and address). The consistency in the information helps to win Google’s trust.

4. What is the difference between organic SEO and local SEO?

Organic SEO refers to the non-paid efforts made to rank higher on the Search Engine results page. Local SEO refers to methods that help your business reach customers living in or around the same locality. Local SEO can be both organic as well as paid.  

5. How to SEO optimize essential details? 

Structured business listings require certain information that must be filled keeping into consideration consistency and keywords. Keep your audience as informed as possible.  
1. Title – usually has the name of the business. You can optimize it by using a geo-tag. For example, if you have a bakery named ABC in Thane, you can give the heading “ABC | Bakery in Thane” or “ABC – Bakery in Thane”. 

2. Address – Do not put fictional elements in your address. The address should be consistent on all platforms. 
Phone number – This is extremely important. Even if you have two numbers registered to your business, mention only one of them on all the platforms. 

3. Categories – Equivalent to keywords. Be as specific as possible within the options provided to you. 
Description – Sometimes you need to describe your business within one sentence while in certain cases you can provide a lengthy description. Make sure to pack your description with your business name, phrases relevant to your niche, and keywords targeting your geographical location. 

4. Social profiles – Mention your profile links on as many platforms as possible provided they are clickable. 
Images – Images help to improve the click-through rate. Do not overcrowd any platform with images. However, do provide them on the platforms which provide an option for the same. 

5. Payment format – Certain platforms enquire about the payment method. Do not leave out such details even if they are optional. Inform the customer as much as possible. 

6. How to optimize the website for local SEO?

Include blogs that focus on local events or content that uses your targeted geographical keywords. Collaborate with local bloggers or publish guest posts on local blogs to attract new local audiences. 

7. How to find local SEO clients? 

If you are a freelancer looking forward to providing such services, begin with applying local SEO for your services. Once your profile is optimized and ranks on Google for your niche, reach out to local businesses who have a physical store, a website, but do not rank in Google’s search results for their targeted keywords. Explain to them in simple terms without using technical jargon and use your optimized profile as an authority to strengthen your proposal.  

8. Do local citations help SEO?

Yes, Local citations work as backlinks and boost your local SEO. But make sure you use the same NAP details in every local citation for best results.

9. How to use schema markup for local SEO?

Go to https://technicalseo.com/ and click on schema generator. Now choose schema type “local business” and fill out the all information. Copy the generated schema markup and put into your website header through the header footer code manager plugin. 

10. Can I use virtual address to do local SEO for my business?

Yes, you can use virtual addresses while optimizing for local SEO for your business but it is against Google’s guidelines. If Google finds that you don’t have a physical location then they will remove your listing.

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