Local SEO is a sub-specialty within the field of SEO that focuses on improving organic search rankings for content aimed at searches in a particular geographic market or group of markets. This article will answer the question, what is local SEO marketing, and discuss why local SEO is important to a wide range of marketing situations.
What Is Local SEO Focused on Versus Regular SEO?
In some ways the difference between local SEO and regular (national) SEO campaigns is simply a difference in emphasis. However, many activities go into a local SEO campaign that are not particularly relevant a national campaign.
The primary focus of most local SEO campaigns involves:
- Making sure NAP (name, address, phone number) appears and is consistent on all pages of the website. Google takes this as a strong signal that an organization is seriously committed to the geographic market in question. As with most SEO activities, consistent NAP display is also great for website visitors and conversions — a lot of organizations err by forcing visitors to hunt for addresses and phone numbers, thwarting efforts to make contact and become customers!
- Creating and optimizing a Google My Business page. Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s “yellow pages,” and companies with listings, especially robust ones, get prime real estate on Google SERPs (search engine results page). GMB is integrated with Google Maps and other Google features that help potential customers find a business and confirm a business’s credibility. Remember that a business must have a physical address for a GMB listing; attempts to circumvent that rule can put an organization in hot water with Google.
- Cultivating and monitoring customer reviews. Google considers positive customer reviews a very important ranking signal, and Google looks at customer reviews that appear on the organization’s website and other review sites. Managing a customer review effort is complicated. The organization must abide by review site policies (all reputable review sites prohibit paying for positive reviews, for example), as well as monitor the Internet for negative reviews and respond to them when possible. Nevertheless, positive reviews not only help local SEO, they also persuade prospects to start doing business.
- Mobile website optimization is important for SEO for any business, but local businesses must deliver a solid user experience for mobile site visitors. The vast majority of mobile searches on Google have local intent: If a local business drives customers crazy on its mobile site, it will lose conversions on a grand scale. The most cost-effective approach to mobile optimization is to initiate or enhance a responsive web design — a design approach that enables web pages to adjust automatically for optimal display on any size screen.
- Getting citations and links from websites in the local market(s). Google puts a lot of emphasis on an organization’s profile in the focus geography. Mentions in local online newspapers, local blogs and local user review sites carry a lot of weight. Links from local businesses, chambers of commerce, local trade organizations and local charitable associations also signal to Google that an organization is seriously committed to the community.
Traditional SEO activities, particularly link building, keyword strategy and on-site optimization, are also important.
For What Is Local SEO Used?
Obviously, local SEO is important for businesses serving a local community, such as a restaurant, dry cleaner, landscape service or general contractor. But local SEO can be used with great success in many other business situations. Here are important examples:
- A national business trying to penetrate a strategic local market can supplement its national SEO campaign with a local campaign. This will give the company much better exposure in the SERPs and build its credibility as a member of the community.
- A business trying to test market a product or service in one or more geographic markets can run local campaigns, not only to ramp up sales more quickly, but also to test different content and calls to action, and identify different customer preferences in different parts of the country.
- A national business being challenged by strong local competition in a major local market can implement a local SEO campaign as a method of counterattack.
To learn more about why local SEO is important and discuss a campaign, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.