It is important to understand local search engine optimization if you need a local audience helping you in finding your online business. Local SEO is part of search engine optimization and the focus is optimizing a website, to easily found in the local search results. Below is the example of term people use to search for local items, for instance;
- Eyes specialist in (name of the city)
- Post office in (name of the city)
- Eye specialist near me
- Post office near me
Hence local SEO is a strategic process whose focus is to emphasize local brick and mortar business optimization efforts. Link building, on-page optimization, and content are all a major part of this effort. However, whenever it comes to localizing the link acquisition, then the focus is not the same. And then, the change in focus makes it sure that local signals across the local search landscape of google are correct and consistent. Search Engine Optimization is a very crucial part of any online business’s marketing strategy. It is especially true for local businesses who are looking for ways to gain more exposure and increase sales. Unfortunately, search engines’ algorithms are constantly changing, which means that the last year’s strategies may not work for years to come.
Why local search is important?
Below stats will help you in proving how much the local search is important for your business;
- Half of the people (50 percent) making local searches on their phone searched about a physical store in a day.
- The 34 percent of the people who did local searches through PCs or tablets searched for the same thing.
- In a single day, about 18 percent of local searches from mobiles resulted in a sale.
- On smartphones or tablets, 60% of American adults searched for local product information and services.
- Half of the local searches (50 percent) conducted on a mobile phone are about the addresses of some local businesses.
- About 78% of the local searches result in offline purchases.
- A survey says that 71% of local searches are to find the address of a local business to confirm if it exists.
- 1 out of the 3 searches are from smartphones just before going to the store.
- In 2017, about 97% of the consumers tried finding local businesses online, where 12% of the daily searches were about local businesses.
Who takes advantage of local SEO and why?
· Law Professionals and Firms
Let me share a tip if you are new to doing SEO for lawyers. The greatest benefit of local search engine optimization is that Google provides a designated button for call in the local search results on a cell phone. Thus, it makes it easy for potential clients to reach a local attorney when they search for an attorney in their local area.
· Medical Professionals
It is very common for someone to search for a doctor in their local area, and many people do it. A big reason for this is that people do not have time to travel for hours to see a doctor, so they search for a nearby doctor to whom they can go on a regular basis.
· Plumbing works
Let us make a scenario in our heads that a person is facing a plumbing problem in his house and it is an emergency, and he will not have time to go to the store; instead, he will conduct a search on Google to find a plumber nearby.
The restaurant business is the one that benefits the most from local search engine optimization. They get swift reviews from their customers and provide, and people can see their address directly in the search results. All this makes the reach of the restaurant much faster.
Do you do local search engine optimization?
As SEO professionals, we want to see everyone getting a lot of benefits from local search engine optimization, but some businesses do not go for local search engine optimization. For example, some online businesses like local authors, ecommerce shops, and private online sellers who want to keep their information private and some businesses who do not want to share their local information are not good candidates for the services of local search engines optimization.
Important parts of local SEO
Local search engine optimization is not different from organic SEO like the on-page technical search engine optimization, links, keyword research, and content. The only difference is that local search engine optimization has a local focus; that is it. The most important part of local SEO is optimization, and the thing that you can do when optimizing for local search engine optimization is: choose local keywords. There are thousands of different keywords in your city, and you should only be targeting the ones that work for your business.
When choosing keywords to target, think about your competitors and how they’re ranking with their business listings. Chances are they’re already using some of the same keywords that you’re targeting, and it will be tough to rank organically without incorporating these into your strategy. When looking for keywords, use the “default” keyword tool rather than asking Google; they’ll give you more accurate results this way (the default tool will give you rankings based on a wide variety of Google searches).
The keyword research for the local search engine optimization is not different in anyway; only a few paints are different, a little bit of them. Stats show that now, people use a lot of devices like google home, smartphones, amazon echo, and many more. And for the primary avenue of local search, all of these devices cover the voice search way. Rather than typing, “find a restaurant near me” or “find an eye specialist near me” for a lot of people, it is easy to say all of this. Try those keywords that include questions if your company is service-oriented.
Some tools help in seeing those questions that people are looking for with their search volume, and these research tools are AnswerThePublic, Keyword.io, and Ahrefs topic research tool. And this is the best way used for targeting low intent keywords. Use conversational tone keywords for local brick and mortar industry, restaurants, lawyers, and attorneys also. When you follow this keyword research, you will be shocked after seeing the search volume.
Content and local search engine optimization
Content is very important local search engine optimization efforts with a local focus. The content with local focus, knowledge, breadth, and depths works well according to your company. Best results depend not only on the long-form content but also on the nature of query results. If you write custom local content by keeping that query factor in mind, it will help you get the quality content that Google returns for local results. The worst type of content that you can write is Wikipedia-type content, and it is the worst type of content because it contains thin content and such little value content show little SEO efforts.
Link building for local search engine optimization
Link building for local SEO is different than of organic SEO. Before acquiring the links, you must consult the guidelines for Google’s Webmaster. It will save you from getting a penalty from Google. All the links that are against the guidelines of Google Webmaster will be detected eventually. It can result in the removal of your website from search results that appear organically.
Where to link for local search engine optimization?
There are a lot of link categories in local search engine optimization that help you in creating a high-quality link profile of local SEO.
- The local chamber of commerce sites
- Local newspaper sites
- Citation / NAP sites
To increase your local search presence, the sites where you submit money are these websites. In addition, these citation sites are focused on NAP. What is the meaning of NAP? It is the abbreviation of Name, Address, and Phone. This data is of the business which you want to show on these sites. Therefore, your NAP/ citation presence on Google is increased by these sites.
4) Local directory websites
After that, we recommend that you consider focusing on local directories, which act as general link categories. Your website’s link authority in the local searches will increase by building these local directories.
5) Industry-related local sites
Some local sites offer local link opportunities like:
- Government association
All these local sites related to the industry will help you in increasing your local link profile value.
6) Local partner sites
These sites are commonly in partnership with the business. It is not discouraging to get links with the help of your local business partner, but Google has forbidden excessive links exchange.
Changes in the Evolution of Google Local Algorithm
In the early days, google updates its algorithm on an almost daily basis. Below are some updates that have shaped the current local search algorithm of google:
1) Universal Search: May 1, 2007
Big updates were done in the overall algorithm of Google in 2007. It had a big effect on the local SEO and was not just a normal algorithm update. Contrary to that, Google connected all stranded results with images, verticals, local videos, and news.
2) Google Places: April 1, 2010
Google places were released in September 2009 and became part of google maps. The local google business center was rebranded after this launch, and then local ads options were added with some other good features.
3) The Venice Update: February 27, 2012
This update was part of the monthly update of google. Whenever you search something on your computer or your smartphone for some local things, you will notice that a targeted google automatic list of local items will appear. This update improves two things: the first was the result ranking, and the second was the improved local results. And it was done by focusing on the site ranking by using SERPS as local signals.
4) The August / September 65-Pack Update: October 4, 2012
It was not just a single update; it was a group of about 65 updates that took almost a month to roll out. In addition, these updates had more complex 7 items SERPs.
5) The Hummingbird Update: August 20, 2013
This update was released a month earlier than its announced date, which was September 26. Many people compare Google’s Caffeine Algorithm update released in 2010 with Hummingbird update because of the improvements in speed and preciseness.
6) Pigeon: July 24, 2014
In the local search engine optimization world, this update was a major shakeup for everyone. In this algorithm change, the main focus was on serving more accurate, useful, and relevant search results. And these changes were completely visible in the results of google maps and also in google web searches.
7) Pigeon Expansion: December 22, 2014
Specifically, this update of the Pigeon algorithm was applied in UK, Australia, and Canada. As a global change in the algorithm of Google, it is the first implemented update of pigeon.
8) Possum: September 1, 2016
Google never confirmed that they made any changes in their algorithm, but a major change in the search results was seen, indicating an update released.
Future of Local Search optimization
There are many industries changing and evolving. Advertising, social media, and search engines are currently adapting to these changes as well. With a new product called Google Home, a lot of information came out about how the company plans on approaching this market with their voice-controlled device. It can be described as a personal assistant that allows people to control their home appliances and other devices remotely. For example, with a simple command, a person can tell Google Home to switch off the lights or increase the temperature of their home. Some critics have described this product as creepy. However, Google’s strategy of getting its voice-controlled device in homes will eventually impact search engine optimization significantly.