What is local SEO? Everything you need to know

Natalya Stecko
October 5, 2023

7 min read

Share this post
What is local SEO? Everything you need to know
Table of Contents

As business owners and marketers, recognizing the significance of establishing an online presence and creating brand recognition within our local communities becomes crucial. While many businesses concentrate on refining their websites to secure better rankings in broad online searches, they often disregard the potential advantages of enhancing visibility and attracting fresh clientele through local search engine optimization (SEO).

Local SEO involves refining your online visibility to attain higher rankings in location-specific inquiries on platforms such as Google Maps, Google Search, and Yelp. By implementing local SEO tactics, businesses can enhance in-person visits, foster credibility, and amplify revenue.

This comprehensive guide delves into what local SEO is, why it's so important, and offers practical suggestions for refining your local search rankings and engaging with a broader pool of potential customers in your vicinity.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO, short for local search engine optimization, enhances a business's online presence to boost its visibility and rankings in local search results.

This encompasses a range of strategies to ensure that when users search for location-specific products, services, or information, the business's website or details are prominently displayed in the search results.

Local SEO aims to attract local customers and drive them to physical stores by simplifying the discovery of relevant businesses nearby.

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO uses various ranking factors to enhance your business's visibility and prominence in local search results. These factors include:

Google Business Profile

• Local keywords

Localized content

• On-page optimizations

• NAP citations

Reviews and ratings

• Social signals

• User experience

These elements collectively signal to search engines that your business is relevant and trustworthy for local queries, leading to higher rankings in local search results.

Do I need a local search strategy?

This is a crucial consideration for business owners. A solid local SEO plan brings big benefits, especially if you run a local store.

Creating a local SEO plan is like planting seeds to grow your online presence. It's essential because the internet greatly influences how people find and choose businesses today. By focusing on local searches, you can attract customers specifically looking for what you offer in your area. This saves you time and money by reaching the right people.

Think of local SEO as building trust with your community. When your business appears in local search results, it shows you're a relevant and trustworthy choice. This is important because people want to support businesses that care about their neighborhood.

If you have a physical store, local SEO is even more valuable. It's like putting up signs that guide people right to your door. People who can find you easily online are more likely to visit you in person.

The importance of local SEO

Enhancing your business's visibility and fostering connections with potential local customers are the core advantages of local SEO. Research conducted by BrightLocal reveals that a staggering 98% of consumers turn to online searches when seeking local businesses. Failing to secure a prominent spot in local search outcomes translates to missed prospects for drawing in fresh customers.

A strategic emphasis on local SEO tactics can bolster your standing within local search rankings, expanding your engagement with a broader local customer base. While maintaining and enhancing your ranking demands consistent effort, the potential payoffs for your local business are substantial.

The benefits of local SEO

Prioritizing local SEO offers significant advantages for business owners. Through the optimization of websites and online profiles for local searches, the potential to enhance visibility among local customers is substantial. Local SEO guarantees prominent visibility in local search engine results and maps, especially for inquiries concerning specific products and services.

Here are just some of the benefits:

Increased local visibility

Utilizing local SEO techniques enhances the visibility of business listings and websites among prospective customers in the vicinity who are searching for relevant offerings. Businesses can secure higher rankings in local search results and maps by strategically optimizing for local search. This amplified visibility has a heightened potential for attracting a larger customer base.

Higher conversion rates

Prospective customers conducting local searches clearly intend to engage with businesses in their vicinity. By directing your efforts towards these local searchers, you can effectively capture the attention of potential customers actively seeking your products or services.

Utilizing local SEO strategies enables you to establish a meaningful connection with these local prospects, consequently driving up the volume of phone inquiries, in-person visits, and, ultimately, sales.

Bypass competition

Local SEO can help you distinguish yourself from national rivals and chain establishments within your vicinity. While corporations might secure commendable rankings for general search queries, they often struggle to fine-tune optimization for each distinct location. Embracing local SEO presents the chance to outperform competitors regarding location-targeted keywords, ultimately amplifying your presence among local clientele.

Increased traffic

Optimizing for local SEO leads to an influx of nearby customers who discover your business on the internet and translate their interest into physical visits to your brick-and-mortar establishment.

Through improved rankings for local keywords and a finely-tuned local profile, the process of locating your address, operating hours, and contact information becomes seamless for potential customers. This convenience significantly facilitates their ability to engage with your store or office personally.

Free advertising

Diverging from paid search ads and comparable advertising techniques, local SEO emerges as an invaluable avenue for cost-free marketing. By committing to the optimization of your website and profiles for local search inquiries, the potential to naturally drive local traffic is high, incurring minimal expenses, if any.

Gain more local reviews

Local reviews provide a powerful boost for businesses and local SEO. These user-generated opinions offer valuable insights into the quality of products and services, establishing trust and credibility. Positive reviews act as social proof, influencing potential customers and driving higher conversion rates. They also foster a sense of community engagement as customers share their experiences and connect with the brand.

From an SEO perspective, local reviews enhance search engine rankings. Search algorithms prioritize businesses with consistent feedback, making them more visible to local customers. Review sites often include location-based keywords, aligning with local search queries. This local relevance bolsters a business's chances of appearing in the coveted "Local Pack" of search results.

Increased trust levels

Local SEO plays a pivotal role in cultivating higher levels of user trust. By optimizing a business's online presence to align with local searches, it ensures that users find accurate and relevant information about the business's location, services, and reviews. This precision reduces ambiguity and fosters credibility.

When potential customers see consistent and up-to-date details across various platforms, such as Google Business and local directories, it affirms the legitimacy of the business. Positive reviews and ratings further corroborate its reputation.

The convenience of finding a nearby establishment with ease also bolsters trust. Users are more likely to trust businesses they can physically visit or those that share a geographical connection. This tangibility creates a sense of reliability and accessibility. Moreover, the prominence of Google's "Local Pack" or "Map Pack" feature, which showcases the top local search results, reaffirms the business's prominence within the local community.

Local SEO tips to improve your efforts

To improve your local SEO efforts and gain more visibility in search results, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Optimize your Google Business profile

Make sure your Google Business profile information is current and accurate. This includes your name, address, phone number, business hours, and photos. A well-maintained Google Business profile is crucial for improving your local search result rankings and map visibility.

Add posts to your Google Business profile

Posting updates, events, offers, and news can take your profile to a new level. It can create engagement, maintain customer interest and signal activity to Google, showcasing your value. Moreover, posts enable the strategic use of keywords for local search optimization.

Consider location-specific landing pages

Creating dedicated landing pages optimized for your location and the keywords you want to target can help improve your local rankings. For example, if you have multiple business locations, build a unique page for each location that includes the location name, address and phone number. Use your target location as the page title and include it in the page URL.

Ensure your contact details are consistent

Double check that your business name, phone number, address and other contact details are the same across all platforms like your website, social media profiles, directories and citations. Inconsistent information confuses search engines and customers and can negatively impact local SEO.

Perform a local audit

A local audit enhances local SEO by ensuring accurate NAP information across directories, optimizing Google Business profiles, rectifying errors, and improving website performance. Evaluating backlinks and social media presence further boosts search visibility and engagement, ultimately strengthening the business's local online presence.

Keep mobile-friendliness in mind

Mobile friendliness is a key asset for local SEO. It improves user experience, leading to higher engagement and lower bounce rates. Search engines favor mobile-responsive sites, ensuring faster loading, seamless navigation, and optimal content display across devices. This positive user behavior signals quality to search engines, enhancing rankings. Mobile-friendly sites also encourage sharing, expanding local businesses' online presence.

Keyword research

Keyword research is a cornerstone of successful local SEO. It involves identifying keywords matching local search intent and refining online visibility for nearby customers. By optimizing content and business listings with these keywords, businesses can improve their rankings in local search results and the "Local Pack."

This method taps into high-traffic, low-competition keywords, tailoring online assets for better discoverability. Moreover, it provides insights into local preferences, helping create targeted, engaging content.

Research your local competitors

See how your competitors are optimizing their local search rankings and look for opportunities to improve. Check if they have strong Google Business profiles, location pages or content targeting important local keywords. See if you can take advantage of any local ranking factors they have not yet optimized. Competitor research is key to gaining a competitive advantage with your local SEO strategy.

Link building is important

By securing high-quality, relevant backlinks from reputable local sources, businesses can bolster their online credibility and authority. These backlinks signal to search engines that the business is a trusted and valuable resource within the local community. As a result, the business is more likely to appear prominently in local search results, leading to increased visibility and website traffic.

Engage with customers

Engaging with customers through reviews, encouraging user-generated content (UGC), and fostering a feedback loop brings significant benefits to local SEO. Genuine reviews and UGC enhance your online presence and credibility, providing search engines with fresh, relevant content.

Positive reviews and active interactions demonstrate your business's responsiveness and customer-centric approach, boosting trust and potentially leading to higher click-through rates. Regular interactions signal search engines that your business is active and engaged with its community, potentially leading to better rankings in local search results.

Final thoughts

Local SEO is pivotal for local business success. By optimizing your online presence to target potential local customers, you can drive foot traffic, elevate brand awareness, and amplify revenue. Despite requiring time and resources, the payoff of engaging with the local community justifies the effort.

Focus on local SEO fundamentals such as optimizing location pages, choosing fitting local keywords, and utilizing tools like Mirador for streamlined management of multiple Google Business Profiles, including posting and scheduling.

The key is initiating and adhering to a consistent local SEO strategy. There's no need to wait; your local customers are waiting.