In the present context, where mobile phones and smart phones are expanding their reach and consumer base, local SEO plays an important role. It is becoming one of the essential components to every business that wants long term success across search engines. In this blog post, we shall explore local SEO in depth and also explore why it is important. Read on to know more.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO has seen a significant growth in last few years, especially with the expansion of smartphone usage and better internet connectivity. Even though it has a lot of similarities with organic SEO, Local SEO is still a different ball game altogether.
Local SEO is based on providing results that are relevant to a user based on their current location. For example if a user searches for ‘best hamburger joint’ then all the food joints will be listed that are nearest to the user by Google.
Why is Local SEO important?
In a study of 2011 it was discovered that over 40% mobile queries have local intent. According to a study conducted by Fresh Egg in 2013, four out of five people use smartphones to check local information. Two in three take direct action as a result and one in three people went on to make a purchase. This shows the potential of local SEO.
Google has also recently revealed that one in three US mobile queries is now ‘local’ and 87% of people use their phone when on the go. Google also revealed that 95% of mobile users look up local information on their phones and the primary functions are calling or visiting a business. Couple this with the recent mobilegeddon update by Google, and things become clearer. Google is clearly giving more emphasis on mobile search.
Thus, for mobile search, for the search engines to serve users with the most relevant information, local based results will become more and more prevalent.
How do you optimize for local search?
Google Places for Business is one of the best ways to optimize for local search. You should construct your Google Places for Business page and make sure that your contact information, opening hours, address and contact details are complete. You should make sure that your entire profile on this platform is totally completed. In addition to this, providing category information about your site gives Google a better understanding of the field of your business and this ensures that your presence is felt in the local searches.
The next step will be to link your Google Places for Business page with a Google plus local page. This page is more geared up for social interaction. Through this page, you can get reviews, information about your business, images and posts. In addition, users will be able to access images, videos and comments. While creating a Google Plus local page, ensure that you do the following:
- Optimize the information copy by referencing keywords. The page’s title should include the brand name, the keyword being targeted and the location. However, don’t go overboard with the keywords and if it happens your description may look like stuffed and unnatural.
- Reference your keyword in the title.
- Make sure you associate your listing with the right category.
- Add rich media for enticing more and more potential customers.
- Add your address in a consistent format with whatever else you have mentioned it. NAP (name, address and phone number) citations are a key ranking factor in local SEO. NAP citations from relevant and authoritative websites provide more value, just as happens with the links.
- Clearly stating your NAP will work as a significant signal that your business is located at a particular location, improving your visibility.
- You should encourage your customers to leave reviews. Reviews are one of the biggest local SEO ranking factor and are often compared to links in organic SEO. Listings with reviews also stand out, so encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews will increase your chances of success.
- Placing a map on your contact us page or local place pages can help local SEO rankings too, as it gives a concrete proof where and direction towards where your business is located.