Local SEO is more important now than ever. Many small business owners are not still aware of this term but for some business, this is the key to succeeding online. In this article, we are going to explore what is local SEO, How it works, optimize your website for local search and our comprehensive local SEO checklist for small business.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is all about optimizing your website for location based keywords so that it will be listed at the top of search engine result page in major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Here are some examples that help you to understand local SEO better.
Example: Car Service Melbourne
While searching for a service or products, if a user includes the location in the search query. Search Engines try to list businesses that are familiar in Melbourne. (Car Service provider registered in Melbourne)
Google is very keen to display local business for location based search terms, especially in local search pack (local search result box). Businesses that are listed at the top of local SEO pack with getting higher CTR and traffic.
If the user wants to find a business detail (address, telephone number and operation time), in particular location defined by a search query. The search engine wants to delight user by offering precise information matching the search query.
Who Requires Local SEO?
From the above explanation, it is obvious that business that has a physical address and offers it services in the certain area need local SEO. Some of the local business that falls into this category is Hotels, restaurants, law firm, auto repair shop, pest control, barber shop, doctor, retailer, etc.
If you are one of them, it is the time to optimize your website for local SEO. With the expansion of the Internet and portable devices, people tend to use the internet to search a business before they visit the store. If you are not listed, it is obvious that you are going to lose potential customers. Your competitor is going to take advantage of the situation.
Advantages of Local SEO for Small Business:
Higher Rankings: If your business is optimized for local SEO, your business will appear higher in the SERPs. Businesses that are listed in the Google Local Results (organic search and Google Local Pack) tend to have more visits and traffic.
Increased Conversions: Local Business that is listed at the top will receive more traffic that leads to more conversion.
More Brand Visibility and Awareness: People tend to know about your business and it makes your business more recognizable. In near future, it tends to increase more direct visitors to your business.
Increased ROI: Businesses that are optimized for local search can generate more return on investment compared to businesses that are not optimized for local SEO.
Local SEO generates the high return on investment and potentially leads to faster growth than other business.
Difference between Local SEO and General SEO (Organic Optimization):
Local SEO optimization is for targeting location-based keywords, while general SEO applicable for global wide searches.
As we all know, SEO is all about optimizing our website both internally and externally (On-page & off-page). These factors also applicable for local SEO optimization as well.
In addition to regular optimization, you need to offer location awareness signal to search engines. We are going to explore local SEO optimization in detail in our Local SEO Checklist for Small Business.
Mobile Searches are Local by Default:
If you are browsing from your mobile or if local access is permitted when searching from the desktop, Google tends to provide results that are location based.
For example, if you are located in Melbourne and search for Indian Restaurants from your mobile, search engine tend to return same results for Indian Restaurants Melbourne & Indian restaurants near me.
The same is true for voice search on mobile as well.
Should be the Local SEO Optimization is Important for all Business?
No, and the reason is that local optimization is important for business targeting customers in the certain area. It will be more difficult to rank for global wide keywords.
For example: just take verveinnovation.com
They are Melbourne’s No 1 Local SEO company offer professional SEO services for a client around Melbourne. Here, you need to optimize my business for location based keywords.
For some businesses, you need to target for local and global wide search queries.
Local SEO Checklist for Small Business:
We have discussed the importance of local SEO and how it works. Now, we are going to explore about how to optimize your website for local search.
Optimize Your Logo:
One of the most important things that search engines encounter while crawling your business website is a logo. Certainly, its right place to start your local SEO optimization.
Check about Logo Optimization in detail
Add Descriptive File Name: instead of using logo name as logo.png, it is better to use the keyword (or) business name as file name.
Include ALT Text: Search engine recommends using location based keyword as Alt Text for all keywords side wide. Also, avoid over doing it.
For example, You can use SEO Company Melbourne, Victoria as the ALT text.
<img src=”https://www.example.com/images/seo-company-melbourne.png” alt= SEO company Melbourne, Victoria”>
Add location in Title Tag Link:
<a href=”https://www.example.com/images/seo-company-melbourne/” title=SEO Company Melbourne”>
Use the Same Logo Consistently across all Channels:
It is recommended to use the same logo across all channels like a website, social profiles, local listing sites, etc. It leads to strong brand awareness and reputation.
Optimize Your Title Tag, Meta Description and URLs:
Title and description play a significant role in local SEO optimization. As mentioned in my SEO Tutorial for Beginners, title and description help search engines to understand what our site all about is.
- The optimized title should be between 50 – 70 characters.
- Include location along with keywords in the title.
- Add the collection of keywords along with location and phone number in Meta description.
URL Structure: when comes to URLs, you need to make sure that you has SEO friendly URLs optimized with keywords and location.
Include Name Address And Phone Number (NAP) On Home Page:
On your home page, you need to include detailed information about your business. It includes Postbox number, building number, street address, location, state, country, postcode, telephone number, mobile number, fax number, email as text. You can include these details in the footer.
Note: include your phone number with area code (tel:+61xxxxxxxx). Also, include location based schemas and social profiles for local signals.
Add NAP Details In Other Page as Well:
For other pages, it is recommended to include information. It is recommended to include these details in all footer to get reflected in all pages.
Make Sure Your NAP Details Is Consistent Across All Channels:
When comes to local SEO optimization, most of the business owners make biggest mistakes by using inconsistent NAP (Name, Address & Phone number) across various channels. It is mandatory to be consistent across various channels like Facebook, Google My Business, Bing Places & Local Citation Sites.
Embed Google Map in Contact Us Page:
It is recommended to add your business map in contact us page. It adds strong location signal for your business. If you run business with multiple locations, you can embed maps of all location.
How to Ended Google Map:
- Google to Google Maps
- Search your Business
- Choose share or Embedded Map from the top left menu
- Click on Embed Map Tab
- Select Size of the Map
- Add the Iframe code in your website
Submit Your Business to Google My Business
When comes to local SEO, Google my business page plays a significant role. Check, how to list my Business on Google.
Once creating the account, you need to verify the account via code or telephone (based on the country). Once verified, your business will be listed in Google local SEO Pack. Check, how to optimize Google my Business page to dominate local SEO.
Register Your Business on Bing Local & Places:
Bing is second most popular search engine next to Google. It is default search engine in Microsoft-powered Windows operating system. Bing also offers the free business listing for the local business, named Bing Places for Business. Looking how to list my business on Bing, Follow these simple steps.
- Go to Google Places for Business
- Register with Bing ID (Microsoft Gmail ID)
- Add your business details (NAP)
- Verify your Business
- Link Google My Business page with Bing Places for Business (or) Vice Versa
Make Use of Structured Data (Schema):
Structured data markup or schema is a markup language used to describe your data so that Search engine can understand your website context better.
Tip: structured data markup language is about declaring web elements based on the global variable (schema), trusted by most of the search engines.
Using structured data markup language is important for local SEO. It plays a significant role in offering strong location signals for your business. Based on your business type, you can add appropriate schemas on your website. Know more about local business schemas from schema.org and Google.
Here are examples of Schema code for Restaurant Business.
Micro data Code:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Restaurant”>
<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”>
<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>4</span> stars –
based on <span itemprop=”reviewCount”>250</span> reviews
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>1901 Lemur Ave</span>
<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>CA</span> <span itemprop=”postalCode”>94086</span>
<span itemprop=”telephone”>(408) 714-1489</span>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.dishdash.com”>www.greatfood.com</a>
<meta itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Mo-Sa 11:00-14:30″>Mon-Sat 11am – 2:30pm
<meta itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Mo-Th 17:00-21:30″>Mon-Thu 5pm – 9:30pm
<meta itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Fr-Sa 17:00-22:00″>Fri-Sat 5pm – 10:00pm
Price Range: <span itemprop=”priceRange”>$$</span>
Takes Reservations: Yes
JSON –LD Code: (example code for Local Business)
“name”: “Tartine Bakery”,
“name”: “Urbanspoon iPhone & iPad App”,
“name”: “Windows Phone App”,
“operatingSystem”: “Windows Phone 8”
Schema for WordPress:
If you running your website (or) blog on wordpress platform, follow these simple tips to add schemas in your website. You can install wordpress local SEO Plugin or make use data highlighter option in Google Search Console tool.
You can validate the schema code using Google Structured Data Testing Tool and add it to your website or blog.
Register Your Business on Facebook:
Facebook offer the special category for local business. While creating a Facebook profile page, choose Category as ‘Local Business”. Update the profile with precise information such as Business name, local, address, phone number, website, description, logo, business hours, etc.
Local Business optimization also includes creating a business profile in Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
Also Read: How to Create Facebook Business Page
Register Your Business in Global and Local Business Directories
Register your business in all global and local directories. As mentioned above, it is recommended to use consistent NAP across all channels. Some of the popular citation sites include Yelp for Business, Hotfrog and Foursquare.
Also, register your business in city-based local business directories.
Quality Link Building:
Local SEO optimization is the part of generic SEO. It means you need to follow good SEO practices. Link building is proven strategy to boost your website rankings. When comes to link building, you need to acquire links from high authority websites.
When comes to local SEO, mobile optimization plays a significant role. Make sure you have a responsive website for your business that alters its display based on your screen resolution.
Also, optimize your website for location based keywords like “Hotels near Me” and Voice search.
Add Blog to Your Website:
Having a blog will add more SEO value for your website. You can post high-quality articles on regular basis and do internal linking. It is recommended to add blog URL as https://www.example.com/blog / instead of https://blog.example.com/.
Based on Google Caffeine Algorithm, Search engine loves the website that is updated regularly. It includes both page level and site level.
Can you Promote Local SEO with PPC?
The answer is yes, you can make use of Google AdWords Express to run PPC campaign targeting the local business.
Also Read: How to Run PPC for Local Business
Local SEO optimization offers greater success to local business to drive potential traffic. Hope my article on SEO Checklist for Local Business will be useful for local business owners in promoting their business.