May 6th, 2015
Search Engine Optimization, Tips, Tools and Tutorials
Mobile technology and the search for local products and services have given birth to a whole new SEO niche–local SEO. This article provides all the information you’ll need to get started and take full advantage of local search engine optimization opportunities for your business.
Local SEO aims to give search engine users results that are relevant to their location. For example, potential leads looking for a “restaurant in Austin,” will get a list of websites owned by restaurants or pages that discuss the different possibilities for eating out in Austin.
Local SEO gained prominence on July 2014 when Google introduced its Pigeon algorithm update. Among other things, the updates sought to alter Google’s algorithm such that it gives users more geographically-relevant data. The specific update to local SEO is called “local algorithm” because it mainly considers the metrics that affect the quality of the local listings of a website or blog.
A 2014 study by Google tells us that 50% of users visit a store within one day of conducting a local search on their smartphone. This statistic speaks to the fact that the increased use of mobile devices for accessing the internet has propelled the importance of local SEO. Individuals often find themselves in an unfamiliar city or neighborhood where they might want to locate a bank, a restaurant, a shop, etc. So what do they do? They use their smartphones to conduct searches on topics of preference using geographic terms that relate to their current location. In turn, 18% of these searches lead to a local purchase within a day of the initial smartphone search.
Local Searches Are on the Rise: According to results from that same 2014 Google study, “4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.”
Pigeon Updates Require It: After rolling out their Pigeon update, Google started providing more consistent results that connect web and map searches. Search engines use numerous approaches to combine business information from your site, listings, maps, and social media profiles. If you ignore local SEO, Google will question the authority of your site and rank you lower in search results pages. On the other hand, if you invest in local SEO, you will be telling Google that your site is credible and relevant to the people in your local community. Google will pick up on that credibility and rank your site higher, resulting in a higher quantity and quality of leads for your business.
Google is constantly updating their search results algorithms which affect local SEO (learn more about this in our slideshow, The Evolution of Local SEO). Here we have compiled the most relevant and essential local SEO ranking signals that you should take advantage of for your business.
Google will consider a website’s mobile-friendliness as a key factor in ranking for local search phrases. For the best results, use responsive site design and easy-to-read content.
Keywords remain an important factor for better search engine ranking and organic traffic. Use long-tail keywords that will win you leads that have a clear intention of buying. Focus on keyword research for phrases of preference and local terms.
Having a profile on Google My Business is a must. Make sure your business information is accurate to establish a strong online presence. Mention your company’s address, and add information about your working hours and the payment methods you accept. You can also use specific keywords that are geographically-relevant in your description. Finally, request your customers to leave a review of their experience on your page.
Include your business on other directories like Whitepages, Yelp, Foresquare, and Citysearch, and more.
Use Meta descriptions for local SEO purposes. The H1 tags, title tags, and description tags should all be included in the local keywords that you’ve identified.
Use social media to increase your business’ conversion rate and keep in touch with customers. Social media is a useful source of information, and it adds good social signals to your traditional and local SEO strategies.
Monitoring your local search engine presence is crucial for your overall digital performance. Here is our list of the five most effective tools for you to utilize in your local SEO strategy and digital marketing campaign.
Bright Local offers seven different tools to keep you ahead of the curb when it comes to growing and monitoring your local SEO. Take advantage of the free 30-day trial and use the following tools to beef up your local campaign.
GeoRanker offers three local SEO tools that will help you determine your current local ranking. Access the tools for free by creating a GeoRanker account, or purchase a premium package to access additional benefits. Check out the basic features below:
RankAce reports show your local position in Google and Bing as well as reviews and ratings. The various tools provide ranking reports on popular platforms and search engines, sitemap builders and generators, backlink testing, and HTML validation—to name a few. Take a look at the three different tool packages offered through RankAce, and identify the plan with the features that meets your business’ needs.
The WhiteSpark tool will monitor your local and organic search results in order to help you understand how users arrive at your site. This tool uses data from all search engines and provides detailed information about your local SEO campaign in every city. You can customize reports by location, time-frame, occurrence, and more. WhiteSpark’s Local Rank Checker is a paid tool with a four different plans to choose from.
ZoomRank monitors your keywords and metrics in Google and Yahoo. This tool is subscription-based and does not offer a free-trial. However, their featured clients are quite impressive (ADP, Yodle, and Allstate), as are their raving testimonials.
The future of local SEO is strongly connected to the future of mobile technologies. The number of leads relying on mobile gadgets will continue to grow, and local companies (regardless of their size) will benefit from the opportunities offered by local SEO to promote their brand name. In other words, the future of local SEO is bright, and it doesn’t seem that that trend will be letting up anytime soon. So what are you waiting for? Adopt some of these techniques to utilize local SEO for your business, or talk to one of our Digital Marketing Executives to develop a more in-depth strategy.
Have you used any of the local SEO tools we have listed above? Leave a comment below to discuss your favorite ranking tool and how you use it.
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