Fact: Local searches, account for 46% of all Google searches, while 56% of local businesses are yet to claim their Google My Business listing and in this post i’m going to show you how to do local SEO from start to finish.
If you’re not getting enough traffic and customers from local search, you and I are going to fix that right now with a jam-packed local SEO session. Keep reading
I’m Chris from search-pilot, the SEO blog that helps you improve your search traffic and dominate your niche.
I’ve put together a really comprehensive explanation on how to perform local SEO for you, so even if you’re just getting started, this post should help you gain visibility in local search.
Let’s get started.
what exactly is local SEO?
It’s the process of improving your internet presence in order to attract more business from local searches that are relevant to you.
For example, if i Google “finest Chinese restaurant London”
you’ll notice that the top of the search results is dominated by the “Snack Pack,” a box of local listings on Google Maps. Then there are the standard organic search results below that.
Because they produce 33% of clicks on the search results page, gaining a position in the “Snack Pack” is quite significant.
However, because organic search results receive 40% of all clicks, ranking in them is equally crucial. So, what’s the bottom line? It pays to be ranked in both places, which is where local SEO comes into play.
In the United States, Google now has an estimated 87 percent market share, implying that the majority of consumers use Google to find local companies.
As a result, in this post, we’ll simply cover local SEO in Google. Let’s get on the same page now and sketch up a scenario.
Let’s pretend I’m building a new coffee shop in downtown London for smart, hardworking individuals such as SEOs and entrepreneurs.
Because our target demographic works around the clock, we’ll be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And, of course, fiber internet will be available because nothing is more aggravating than slow public WiFi.
We’ll be offering virtual office services for a set monthly charge to distinguish ourselves apart from other coffee shops and earn some great recurring revenue, Bottomless coffee, your own private cubicle, and incoming mail service are all included.
I’ve put a lot of money into my concept, but no one knows about it because they’re discovering other coffee shops similar to mine in Google searches.
How to do local SEO
So, let’s start with step zero, which is something that every local business should do. And that’s to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
According to a study conducted by Bright Local, 61 percent of mobile users are more inclined to contact a local business that has a mobile site.
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly.
Simply type in your domain or URL, and Google will let you know whether or not your page is mobile friendly.
Now it’s time to claim and enhance your Google My Business listing, which is the first step. This is, without a doubt, the most crucial aspect of local SEO. And it’s actually fairly simple to accomplish.
Simply go to google.com/business and sign in with your Google account. The first step is to enter your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number.
If you have a multi-location business or bought a franchise, start putting in the name of the company and you’ll see a list of firms that have already been registered in Google’s database.
High Quality Coffee is the name of my coffee store, so that’s all I’ll write and click next.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that your company name isn’t intended for keyword stuffing.
So, I won’t write “Coffee Shop Downtown London 24/7 – High Quality Coffee,” It won’t help you rank, so don’t waste your time. After that, we’ll type in our address.
Because we’re a coffee shop, we’ll obviously have a physical location, but if you’re a freelancer like a photographer or a work-from-home consultant, your regular client meetings might take place in their workplace or at a coffee shop like High Quality Coffee.
If that’s the case, input your home address, check the box that says “I deliver goods and services to my customers,” and then opt to hide your address because it’s not a store.
When your firm appears in a Google search, it will now only display the city and province/state where you work.
Let’s go on to the next stage, which is to pin the marker on the map, since that doesn’t pertain to our firm.
Google is quite good at this, but you should double-check the map to make sure it’s in the exact location of your store.
Simply drag and drop it into place, then click next when you’re finished. Don’t use several categories to display all of your items and services, as Google recommends.
Instead, concentrate on this statement: “My business is/are …..” rather than “My company has …..” so in the case of High Quality coffee, our business is a coffee shop even though it has virtual office space.
Simply begin entering a description and choose the most suited option from the drop-down menu.
Then go on to the following stage, which is to provide your phone number and website, all of which are rather simple.
This is an optional step, but I recommend doing both. Now you must complete the procedure and verify the website, which can be done over the phone or by mail.
Simply follow Google’s instructions, and your My Business listing should be up and running in no time.
Before you go any further, you should make a few more changes to your listing. The info menu in the sidebar can be accessed by clicking on it.
Then you may use the pen symbol to make changes to various elements of your listing. As a result, you can, for example, add more relevant categories.
Set your hours of operation, add particular URLs to crucial pages, a description of your business, and images of your actual location are all things you should accomplish.
Let’s go on to step 2,
2. Keyword research
now that we’ve laid the groundwork for local SEO.
“Coffee shop near me,” “high quality coffee,” “what time does high quality coffee open or close,” and “high quality coffee phone number” are all obvious terms to rank for.
Google pulls information from the Google My Business listing for these types of local search queries. For example, if i enter in “what time does KFC close,” I’ll get a list of results.
Google will locate the nearest KFC in my area and display the hours of operation for all of the shops on the map.
And if i use a single location business or specify a location, you’ll receive a fast answer box similar to the one in the image below
which is pulled directly from Google My Business.
Instead of delving into the “Snack Pack” or Google Maps listings, we’ll focus on keyword research for organic search results.
To begin, we’ll need to brainstorm your SiLs, or “service in locations.” I’d like to rank for terms like “coffee shops in London”, “24/7 coffee shops in London” “24 hours coffee shop in London” “London virtual office. We’d also like to rank for synonyms such as “café in London” “24/7 café in London”.
On the other hand, a photographer might want to rank for terms like “photographer in London” or “photographer in a nearby city.”
Here are a few methods for coming up with good keyword suggestions. The first option is to use Google’s autocomplete feature. Simply type in the main query you want to rank for, and you’ll notice a few good recommendations, such as “downtown,” “London road,” and “London bridge,” all of which are likely to be used by tourists or travelers.
If you’re looking for work in the services business, Craigslist is a good place to start. So I can use a seed phrase like “photography” to search in their services category, and you’ll find some intriguing suggestions like “experienced,” “freelance,” “engagement shot,” and more.
The absolute best start, in my opinion, is to locate the keywords that your competitors are already ranking for.
And the reason this is so powerful is that it essentially tells you the keywords you can rank for as well.
Enter the domain of one of your search competitors into a program like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Then, look to the report on organic keywords.
And this report will show you all of the search queries that the domain is ranking for. You’ll see that they’re ranking for a lot of branded queries, so you can use the exclude Box, and type in the brand name, which will give you a nice list of relevant keywords to target.
Let’s move to the next step
3. On-page SEO
Now that you’ve compiled a strong list of keyword suggestions, it’s time to focus on on-page SEO. If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ll see that many of the standard on-page SEO best practices apply here as well.
- include your keyword in the H1 tag,
- add your target keyword to the title tag,
- change the URL slug to your keyword, and
- utilize short URLs.
However, there are a few additional things you need do for local SEO.
These improvements will now differ depending on whether you have a single or numerous locations. So I’ll go over both of them. The first thing you should do is optimize your website’s homepage.
The homepage of most single-location firms should be optimized around their primary location. As a coffee shop in London, I’d definitely go for keywords like “coffee shop London” rather than just “coffee shop.”
So, for your homepage, here are a few on-page optimization recommendations. On the homepage, first display NAP information, which is again name, address, and phone number.
In fact, if you operate from a single place, you can put this in the footer of your entire website.
It’s also vital that your name, address, and phone number match what you’ve submitted to Google My Business exactly or as closely as possible.
You may also include customer testimonials or reviews as well as use Schema markup.
What is Schema Markup?
Schema markup is a piece of code that you add to your website to help search engines better understand and portray your page in search results.
You can save a lot of time and effort by using Google’s structured data markup assist. Simply choose a data type, such as local business in this case,
Then input the URL of the page you wish to annotate and click the “start tagging” button.
After that, simply click on the elements you want to tag.
You’re exempted from the rule of optimizing your homepage around your primary location if you’re a company with many locations.
And by several locations, I don’t mean a handful of brick-and-mortar stores 10 miles apart, but rather larger corporations such as hotels or car rentals, which may have hundreds or even thousands of locations.
Local landing pages should be optimized instead of the home page by providing crucial details such as the location’s NAP, opening hours, and related keywords targeted at that location.
Let me demonstrate how Enterprise Car Rental accomplishes it, and while we go through this procedure, keep an eye out for the URLs.
If you want to hire a car in the United States, you’ll need to start by going to their location directory and selecting a state.
The next step is to choose a city within that state. After that, you’ll be taken down to the branch level. Finally, you’ll see the local NAP data, which is intended to convert visitors into consumers.
The operation hours for this exact site can be found by scrolling down.
And if we look at the organic traffic for these pages, we can see that they all get a lot of targeted search traffic to their landing pages, which I’m sure is quite profitable.
Now over to the next step
4. Build local citation: Local SEO
Citations, on the other hand, are online mentions of your company, citations can be divided into two categories.
- Structured and
Structured citations are mentions that incorporate your NAP information and are usually presented visually structured manner.
As a result, places like company directories and social profiles would fall under this category.
Unstructured citations are mentions of your company that aren’t organized. This could be in the form of blog articles, preferred vendor pages, or other websites.
It’s also critical to create local citations. Citation signals were one of the top local ranking variables, according to a 2017 Moz study,
and this was true for both Google’s “Snack Pack” results and regular organic search results.
This is most likely due to having consistent NAP information across the web, which ensures that the information Google has in their My Business listing is correct.
Inconsistent NAP information, on the other hand, can confuse or mislead both Google and potential consumers. So you’ve got two jobs to do:
i. First double-check that your existing citations are accurate and consistent.
ii. Second, you must increase the number of relevant citations.
To deal with the first part, you must conduct a citation audit. Some of your citations will almost certainly be inaccurate or incomplete. You may also use Moz’s local search tool to conduct a quick search.
Simply type in the name of your business or company and select one of the auto-select alternatives from the top results.
You will see a breakdown of complete, incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate citations, which can be corrected manually.
You may also perform a manual assessment using Google search operators.
If you’re starting a new company, i recommend starting with a list of essential structured citations.
Whitespark has a great resource on places to build these structured citation
Simply select a country to view a list of places where you can add your mark.
You can then expand to niche specific websites like TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor, Findlaw, and others, as well as other relevant local directories like your local chamber of commerce and other local business groups. Allowing your competition to do the legwork for you is another wonderful way to find citation chances.
Look for the homepage URL of one of your competitors using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
Then proceed to the anchors report.
You can use the search box to seek for any of the following terms:
Common Citation Anchor.
- Click here
- [naked url]
These are popular anchor texts that you’ll come across in directories, making them easy to cite.
So if you search for “website,” then click on “details” and “referring domains,” you’ll discover a number of sites where we may create both structured and unstructured citations.
You can also use the Link Intersect tool on ahref, which is a highly effective strategy.
With these citation-hunting techniques, you should be able to keep yourself occupied for quite some time. But we can’t stop there; which leads us to the next step
5. Build backlinks: Local SEO
we still need to develop high-quality editorial links.
Link signals were the most crucial ranking criteria for local organic results, according to Moz’s 2017 survey. Links were the second most essential factor for the local “Snack Pack.”
Instead of focusing on a full-fledged link-building guide, I’d like to leave you with two tried-and-true methods that work.
A. The first step is to produce and publicize a valuable resource.
A local resource linked to your niche would be excellent in this scenario. I know I say it all the time, but people like to link to useful articles rather than salesy content such as product and service pages.
Creating local “best of” guides or content that appeals to your target audience is one possibility.
For instance, we could create content on how to make the best cup of coffee, in which we could promote our own products.
Because we provide virtual office services, we might also generate material aimed at coffee-drinking solopreneurs about the best and most affordable local places for office space.
B. Guest blogging is the second strategy.
Despite the fact that most guest articles include a link back to your site, I want you to see this as an opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert. This is especially true for persons who work in the service business.
People want to work with people they can trust and are certain will perform a good job. And they’re typically willing to pay a premium for the assurance that the task will be done correctly the first time.
You can also use Google to find local blogs that welcome guest posts by searching for any of these terms. So, if you check up “London” “write for us,” you’ll find several highly relevant local websites that are looking for authors.
To increase your list of prospective guest posting prospects, you may do this in Content Explorer as well.
Simply type in a topic that is relevant to your area. like “coffee beans” and change the search to a title search to get more relevant results.
because we don’t need to contact the same website several times, select the “one article per domain” criterion.
From here, you could simply position yourself as a professional barista who owns a cafe in London and give some useful or fascinating information about roasting beans.
The last and most important step is to manage current activity.
6. Manage current activity: Local SEO
Even if you’ve set up Google My Business and built a boatload of citations, you’ll want to make sure that everything is clearly documented. Things change in the business world. It might be that you’re moving to a new address, changing your phone number, or even renaming your company, In that situation, all of your citations would need to be updated.
As a result, the first thing you need do is make sure your Google My Business account is active. There are three crucial routine tasks that you must complete.
I. The first step is to reply to consumer and client feedback on a regular basis.
This applies to both positive and negative feedback.
ii. keep an eye out for any inaccuracies in your Google My Business listing.
Anyone can modify your My Business listing by clicking “suggest an edit,” and Google will sometimes accept these recommendations without notifying you or the business owner.
Scammers have even swapped phone numbers with legitimate businesses in the hopes of making a fast buck. As a result, it’s your responsibility to keep your listings current and accurate at all times.
iii. keep your customers informed and involved by using Google Posts.
Within Google My Business, Google Posts is a microblogging platform. All of the updates are shown in the Knowledge Panel and may be accessed with a single mouse click.
This gives you the chance to draw more attention to your listing, interact with your target audience, and increase conversions.
Within Google My Business, you may make a Google Post by navigating to the posts menu, clicking “Write your post,” and then adding an image and up to 300 words of text.
This is an excellent approach to promote special discounts or teasers for upcoming blog content.
To increase click-throughs, you may also select a call-to-action button from a range of pre-made possibilities. I urge that all local companies experiment with this tool and use Google Posts on a regular basis.
It takes little more time than a tweet, and there’s a lot of opportunity for Google searchers to notice you.
We’ve covered a lot in this post, I recommend putting these tactics into practice, which will help bring your business closer to your target audience, and increase conversions.
I recommend that you bookmark this post so you can go through it again so as to help you dig deeper into some of the topics we discussed such as link building, SEO for blogs and on-page SEO techniques. Go and get your local website ranked, and I will see you in the next guide