We begin by taking a quick look at why Local SEO is important before highlighting some of the core ranking signals that pertain to local search.
In this section we’ll cover the basics of local SEO. First, you’ll learn why SEO is essential for local businesses before exploring some of the core ranking signals for local search.
What Is Local Search?
The aim of local SEO is to strengthen your online presence for location-specific keywords such as “coffee shop in covent garden” by making yourself relevant for people looking for products and services your business delivers in their area.
The results for local searches are generally seen with the “Map Pack” of results, showing the three most relevant results – we’ll explore each of these later in the module.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
If the two statistics above didn’t convince you, here are several more that prove how important local search is and continues to be for brick-and-mortar businesses:
- 50% of people who did a local search on their phone went to a physical store within one day.
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day compared to only 7% for non-local searches.
- 78% of local-based searches on a mobile device end in purchases being made offline.
- 76% of consumers that search for something local on their smartphone visit the business within 24 hours and 28% of those result in a purchase.
- 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day.
From the above, it’s pretty clear that local search shouldn’t be ignored or underestimated as it makes up quite a huge chunk of the SEO landscape. If you’re able to rank your local business at the top of these searches, you’re ensuring that people will be walking through your door and getting in touch with you straight after.
Components of Local SEO
Local SEO isn’t all too different from general SEO optimisation.
In this section, we’ll briefly explain how to approach keyword research, content, link building and technical SEO with a local focus.
Approaching keyword research for local SEO is largely the same, with a few tweaks here and there.
More and more people are making voice searches on their mobile devices or via products like Amazon Echo, and Google Home. For example, it’s much easier to say “find a coffee shop near me” than to type it.
It’s therefore important to consider variations of keywords that have a more conversational tone or focus, especially if you are a local brick-and-mortar, service-oriented business like a restaurant or lawyer.
We will show you how you can adapt our Ontological Keyword Research process for local websites later on in this module.
It goes without saying that content that has a local focus will significantly increase your chances of ranking for local queries.
As with any content, it’s always about understanding what the search intent and purpose for the query you want to target is – simply stuffing your pages with lots of targeted content will not be effective.
We’ll go into much more detail on how to optimise your content for Local SEO later on in the module – the key thing to note here, is to aim to write custom local content with the end user in mind.
Although the general forms of link building do apply to Local SEO, there are a few specific differences that cater purely to local campaigns.
A quality local link profile should have links from the following categories:
- Citations – these are websites where you submit your business details (name, address, phone number, website), in order to increase its local search presence.
- Local Directories – adding your business’s website to local directories will help increase your link authority for local search queries.
- Industry-related Local sites – securing links from local businesses, schools, newspapers etc will further increase your profile significantly.
As with every component we’ve mentioned so far, the majority of the technical aspects of a local website are the same for any other site.
However, there are a few aspects of technical SEO that you can optimise to specifically enhance your local SEO.
- Schema Markup – there are several schema markups that Google have specifically created for Local SEO. We’ll go into more detail on how you can do this later on in the module.
- Mobile Optimisation – with the majority of localised searches made on mobile devices, it’s more important than ever before that your website is mobile friendly. You can find more detail on how to optimise the mobile version of your website here.