What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is about informing the search engines that you or your company is the best resource for a particular product or service located in a particular location or geography.
Example: Type in “Best guitar classes near me”
As you can notice google gave a set of verified result of results matching to my search query. This is the Local SEO search result. The listing appearing in the Top 3 results gets the enquiries, leads and possibly business. So, the entire struggle is to get your listing in the top 3 position.
The detailed benefit of ranking your businesses for Local SEO search terms are as follows
- It bring Enquiries, Leads and Sales to your business
- It gives chance to your Business brand to flourish, even beyond Local areas
- Google does all this Free of Cost, you just have to be good in your business and optimize for Local SEO.
You may think why only worry about ranking on Google for Local SEO terms? The answer is around 80% of the Local searches happens on Mobile devices, out of which 91% of the devices uses Google as their primary search engine and also, majority of the rest 20% on desktop PCs uses Google as their default search engine.
After Google its the YouTube which is 2nd Largest search engine. So a business can also not ignore, YouTube search results for Local SEOs.
1. Areas to concentrate to rank or boost your Local SEO?
Certain element must be present for your website to rank for Local SEO keyword and phrases. Local SEO not only ranks your website on search results but a complete local SEO increases the rank of Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Lets have a look at the element affecting your Local SEO and how they affect your website ranking?
Local SEO ranking and Local Business listing ranking, both depend on your website. It is estimated that GMB has around 20% effect on the Local SEO.
Following are the elements which should be present in the website to enhance its local SEO ranking
1. Optimize Meta Title for Local SEO
Correct meta title: It is the Name of Webpage, appearing just once. It is present in the header of the webpage file. It is important for viewers and for search engines as it appears before meta description.
In Search result the meta title appears before URL. In order to rank your website for local SEO it is essential to have the following mentioned in the meta title without any spelling mistake is expected and naturally readable when read in combination with the heading.
Note: Meta titles should be limited to 40 to 70 characters.
If you have a bigger website, pages dedicated to different regions or cities then, you can have different city or region names in your meta titles (probably long tail ones) for the category pages. This will help your website to rank for different number of local keywords. Example: Best Garage in California, Best Garage in New York etc.
How to insert Meta title?
For HTML websites simply use this code <title>Your title here</title>
For WordPress website use Yoast plugin or AIOSEO plugin go to edit snippet and you can add or change your meta title (Post title) or Meta description as shown in the picture below.
2. Optimize H1 tags for Local SEO
Although recently in an update Google made it clear that it can use any Header tag as a heading into its search engine pages results. That does not demean the importance of H1 tags when it comes to notify Google about the keyword you wish to rank. You can add city, states or region name in the H1 tag to notify google the information or the presence of your business in those cities, states or regions.
Make sure you use these H1 tags only once in a page and should be limited to 40 to 70 characters and not to spam keywords unnecessarily.
3. Optimize Schema Markup for Local SEO
Google and other search engines favors the website with data in a schema format, mainly because it eases the work of the search engine to sort the data, as the data is arranged systematically the webmaster or business owner.
Have the following schema markup and make sure to add local address or city name or area name in it.
Google My business listing (GMB)
This is the heart of Local SEO as GMB listing should have your detailed address, Name of your business, its pictures, phone number, company address, review, rating, Facebook review, company data, office timings, Q&A etc.
The reviews of the Local customer in this schema will boost your Local SEO. Besides the review, the pictures, the enquiry about your phone number or website also gives positive signals to Google on your Local presence.
This can be used to indicate Google your correct business location and presence to put index request in the webmaster console once you update or prepare new schema markup.
4. Embedded Google Maps
Use embedded Google maps at least on couple of pages on your websites. These pages might be the Home page and Contact us page. Make sure the location of you company has been pinned correctly. People are used to searching Business addresses on these two pages of the website.
As per Moz-D testing, home-pages and footer should have these maps with the pin locating the business. This enhances Google listing on GMB. While the map in the Contact us page enhances ranking of the business on the search engine page.
Make sure you do a proper Geo tagging of your business. This means providing Google the Lat and Long information in text format or schema format, thus if the pin is set incorrectly Google will auto correct it using the Lat/Long information about the business. Geo tagging should be done to eliminate any error related to your location in the map.
The importance of embedded maps on these pages is because it makes the visitors job convenient to locate you business location easily as he/she can set direction on Google maps from his/her place to commute. This also builds trust on Google’s side about company’s location.
4. Social Media to optimize for Local SEO.
Google displays Facebook’s rating on its Google My Business(GMB) listing. Using Facebook you can create a Business page with your business profile inside it. These rating and reviews are not limited Facebook alone, Pinterest, Twitter, Indiamart, JustDial, Zomato etc. reviews also appears on GMB page.
5. Website speed
Website speed matters for Local as well as Mainstream SEO. You can check your website speed on this website. If your website takes more than 2.5 sec to load then you require optimization for speed.
There are different ways to optimize for web page speed Image SEO, upgrading the hosting, reducing redirects, Leveraging browser caching, Improving server response time, enable compressions etc.
2. Citation for Local SEO
Citation is used as a hint by Google while ranking for Local SEO on Google my business (GMB) Listing. Unlike backlinks citation doesn’t required to establish link from one website to come to the other website. Citation is actually just mention of one websites (Name, address, phone number) on other relevant website. We will get this in detail, but remember.
For Local SEO’s, Google relies heavily on citations. The GMB listing with more citations ranks ahead than the other.
Google looks out for 3 things while ranking a listing of Businesses on Google search results.
1)Relevance : How much the search term is matching the listing?
2)Distance : How far is the person searching is located from the Business?
3)Prominence: How renown or prominent the business is?
This data is pulled from the review section, pictures, posts by bloggers, news website etc etc. where people searching the name of the restaurant online, looking out for its address and phone number etc.
Name, address and Phone number (NAP) of the business is essentially required citations. Whenever this NAP is present in a website it is counted as 1 citation. This could be any type of website giving citation, classified website, business directory, government portal or BlogSpot or WordPress blogs, website or even social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube etc.
This is different from backlinks, because the purpose of backlinks is to create trust for the websites. Google searches relevance, distance and prominence in citation. For Backlinks, it is necessary to have website’s URL and the anchor text. For Citation, just NAP information and not the URL.
In short presence of Name address and Phone number (NAP) on any website is counted as a citation and it Google takes this input as a popularity or prominence index while determing the ranking.
More the citation more better it is for the local ranking. Every Local SEO stride to get the citations for the businesses they wish to rank.
Criteria for quality & better citations
- Business information on your listing should be proper and detailed with every basic things mentioned about your businesses.
- Pictures should be of good quality
- NAP should be consistent across every website giving citations
- Citations on reputed websites gives boost to rankings.
Website sources for citations
US, European country has a good presence of websites dedicated to citation they are moz.com, brightlocal.com, yext.com
For Indian businesses there are websites such as whitspark.ca They provide citation for some fees ($40) for 10 citations.
How to prepare citations on Indian websites for Indian Businesses
1. Use all social media sites (Facebook fan page, Instagram business profile, twitter, Pinterest business page, LinkedIn business page. Fill in your business details in these profiles.
2. YouTube channel description and YouTube video page discerption with NAP details
3. Business directories such as Justdial, Indiamart, Sulekha, Quiker, Yellow.place, Callme Zoompo.com, grotal.com, Bharat listing, AskLaila gives option of creating your business profile and create listing on these websites. Search for create listing button on this
4. Search on Google with the term “add a business listing” click ‘search’ then go to tools and select country as India. Google will display all the website giving you the option of business listing
Local SEO signals checklist
Keep the things mentioned below in check t0 rank better on Local SEO terms.
1.Domain Age & Authority matters
Higher the domain authority, higher the ranking for Local SEO terms.
Its not just high authority backlinks required to enhance domain authority, but it is also essential to disavow toxic links to enhance Domain authority.
Another factor is domain age, the new businesses to have a higher domain authority should know that their domain age should at least be a year old for them to show some good results in the Local SEO. Focusing on content is the key, the backlinks will follow and that will boost your domain authority.
2. Have Backlinks from Local Websites
It is essential that you have the backlinks from local websites(websites from your city or state), it signals google about the geography or the region of your business. More better, if these links are from the website covering your business topics.
Search for the local websites covering your business topics. Some of the examples if these websites are Local Merchant chambers, Local Directories, Classifieds, Business Association etc. Create a profile in these websites, get actively involved in helping members there, then send links or you website referral in a subtle manner.
Another important thing you’ll gain from getting local backlinks is that you’ll start ranking for intent based keywords in your field.
Use Correct anchor text
The Correct anchor text is as important as a backlink from correct website. Make sure your backlink has correct anchor text that is keyword with your locality or city name (along side your other details)
Have Good quality Backlinks
They are the High Quality and relevant backlinks. This will not only increase the Local listing ranking but will bring traffic from these website to your websites.
Generate Localized content
The content in website, article, blogpost, guestpost, social media post should include localized topics, topic related to local event, exhibition or incident related to your business. You can also include Example: 60% Off on Men’s ware. Sale near Chandni Chowk Delhi
Perform On-page optimization
Use Keyword and location where every you would have place your keyword(meta title, meta description, headline tags etc.). Please take care that, it should all make sense, hence not to over do it.
Higher CTR, higher the Local SEO ranking. To enhance click through rate you can spice up your meta description and header. It shouldn’t be too spammy of salesy keep it clickable but not clickbait.
4. Mobile responsive website
Your website should be responsive to mobile/tab as more than 80% of the Local searches happens on Mobile or on the go. It is critical as Google has already defaulted Mobile First indexing which means the mobile version of your website will be considered for indexing your page on google.
5. Positive reviews
Obviously more the positive reviews the better the ranking of your business on Google listing. Reviews are located below GMB listing besides Google Map location of your business. The only criteria for review is that it should be authentic and genuine, that means generated without paying any review or customer. If google finds out the reviews are not genuine or natural or has been generated in favor of something, they might penalize your site.
If your reviews are genuine and contains your product name or keyword, alongside the office place name or city or the name of the locality name, then the it is very helpful for local SEO. If any reviewer asks you a question make sure you answer them. That is a good signal that you are responding to your audience.
6. Negative Reviews
Like positive reviews increase or enhances your ranking, negative reviews declines your ranking on Google Listing. Things could turn more bad if you are not replying to negative review, in that case Google may penalize you further by reducing your ranking. So try to get less negative reviews and if someone gives you negative reviews, you see through it that you reply to their grievance and try to address their problem.
In some cases it is observed that if you successfully solve the problem of your audience they will remove or change the negative review. So make sure you solve the problem of your customer, if they are not happy with your service or if they have any problem.
As spoken before, citation matters, the more citation the better the ranking. Citations from the a good or authoritative website will fetch you good ranking. The websites giving citations should have NAP (Name Address and Phone number) of your business mentioned consistently without any change in the spelling change or address variations.
8. Use high quality images for GMB listings
Please note But here we are dealing with Google My Business listing (GMB). Use best quality images with optimum resolution and brightness used on the GMB and on social media can actually get your ranking higher.
9. Social Media Profile
Have your company profile made on every social media platform. This will improve citation, will boost GMB ranking and will give your website traffic from these social media platforms. Social Media profiles also helps to build trust about your business in the eyes of Twitter. At least have your company’s profile made on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram websites.
10 Google My Business Listing
This is a must, have your business registered on Google My business listing. It is important to fill every details asked with authentic and consistent information across the listings. Another important factor is the ‘category’, if you mention everything correct but registered your business in the wrong category, Your listing may not appear for the relevant search terms or may even get de-registered. So, make sure you register properly. Visit this article to know more about how to successfully register your business on Google My Business.
As you noticed with so many things to do for Local SEO it is no more limited to registering your business on GMB or social media. There are many places where you can sign up and in many ways you can optimize your listing. If you follow the above mentioned steps and do what is being asked, you will be ahead than almost 80% of the other businesses. This is crucial when it comes ranking in a very competitive space. Hope this article helps you and may improve your Local SEO. Please subscribe to our email newsletter for more.