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What is Local SEO? Your Complete Guide

local seo

For small businesses with physical locations, local SEO is a significant factor. In addition to helping a brand become more visible on the web, local SEO also helps a company optimize its website to be useful and relevant for local readers. Unfortunately, many small business owners are confused about what, exactly, local SEO is and how to use it. Read on to learn more.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the series of steps a company goes through to optimize its website to produce higher search rankings. While the numbers vary from year to year, a significant percentage of Google’s searches have local intent (50% in 2014 alone). When a company optimizes its content for local SEO, it makes it easier for that company’s content to rank well in Google and become easier for users to find.

Local SEO often entails things like keywords, blog content, third-party profile pages, and customer reviews to help businesses build an online presence.

What is a Local Search Pack?

When you type a local search query into Google, you’re met with a series of local results called a “local search pack.”

Local search pack bozeman screenshot

This is Google’s traditional display of local businesses related to the search term. These results are returned with a local map and are based on a series of complex ranking variables, including the site’s domain authority, link quality, proximity to search point, and presence of important information, such as the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of the business.

Appearing in the local pack is an in-demand position because the top few spots of the local search pack earn the most click-throughs and feature most prominently to customers.

How to Optimize Your Business Website for Local Search

When it comes time to optimize your own company website for local search, there are a few important things to remember. While SEO is used by search engines to locate and match websites with user queries, it’s also important to bear in mind that search engines are getting smarter and, nowadays, it’s as important to optimize websites for people as it is for search engines.

Follow these tips to start optimizing your company website for local search:

Include all of your information across all sites

When optimizing your site for local SEO, one of the most important steps you can take is to ensure that your NAP information appears on each page of your website and that it is the same everywhere it appears. This makes it easier for users to find your contact information while also making it easier for Google to index you according to your physical address.

Describe your products and services

In today’s SEO climate, it’s not enough to just list your products or services on your website. Instead, you need to describe each of them in detail, using relevant local keywords (such as “coffee shop Bozeman”) throughout. While this may seem like a simple step, it’s an important one when it comes to helping search engines locate your content and helping people find the products they’re looking for.

List your site in local directories

Local directories are a huge factor when it comes to performing well in local SEO. In addition to giving your site a good chance of appearing in the local pack, listing your business in local directories also makes it easier for Google and would-be customers to find you. A few great directories to start with include Dexknows, Foursquare, Merchant Circle and, of course, Google My Business.

Nurture customer reviews

When confronted with a list of local businesses and no prior knowledge about any of them, most customers will choose based solely on customer reviews. A business that has plenty of customer reviews certifying it as friendly, proficient, and exciting will draw more customers than a company that has bad reviews or no reviews at all. Because of this, it’s important to ensure that your company has plenty of customer reviews to help searchers make decisions. Sites like Yelp are fantastic for reviews and can be a valuable way to spread the word about your company and help new customers realize what makes your business unique. If you have a Yelp page but you’re still not getting the reviews you want, check out this resource for tips.

Local SEO: The Foundation of Your Business

In today’s world, it’s not enough to have a good website and solid products. You also need to know how to optimize your content for local SEO so that search engines and consumers can find you quickly and easily. Local SEO is only going to continue to grow in importance in the coming years, so companies that master it today will be ahead of the curve in the future.

To learn more about local SEO or for assistance building a local SEO plan that helps you get found online, contact Quantum Point Strategies today!