What is Local Search Optimization?
The internet has been piled up with questions by digital warriors, as well as brick and mortar titans, related to local search optimization. So, what is local search optimization? Local search optimization basically means making use of a website, specifically for activity related to search engine optimization, related to a certain area, such as a city or state. Although local search engine optimization has relevance with national search engine optimization, there are a number of differences, which most people might not be properly familiar with.
The Kinds of Local Searches:
Let’s kick-start our discussion by listing the different types of local searches and the results which are drawn by the search engines:
Most keywords, which do not include a city name rely on the organic and traditional ranking factors, however, in some cases, they might contain local results. For example, a divorce attorney or website designer can consist of such keyword based searches.
Location and Keyword:
Relying on the true local ranking elements, the keywords which include a city name will most likely be pulled from the local listings such as Google+ or Google My Business pages. For example, a Detroit auto repair can be listed in such searches.
Searches Based on Mobile:
One of the most frustrating things for all the marketers out there is the difference they witness when they search for the same phrases from their mobiles and desktop computers. The results can vary a lot, regardless that the phrases are changed and such searches do not need a geographical term added to the search engine, to come up.
The Essential Ranking Factors for Local Search Optimization:
One of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that everything that applies to the local and national searches is the same. However, the local searches might differ in a few areas as there are some ranking factors, which are more important than those inquiries or results, taken out through national searches. Let us discuss some of the most important ranking factors, which can help you in deciding when to make use of local searches.
Optimizing Your Page:
Similar to national searches, the website or business domain and the density of keyword in the content holds great importance. However, in local searches, the presence of the NAP (name, address and phone number) and all the contact information on the website is significant. The NAP needs to be included in the header of each website page, so it automatically pops up on each page the user views. However, you do not need to stuff the page with headers as it is a traditional SEO technique. Instead, you need to use a phone number with an actual area code, which can help the search engine to relate the area code with the website’s local area.
The Back Links:
The local and the national searches both rely greatly on the quantity and quality of back links or inbound links of their local business website, to all other external websites.
Social Media Profiles:
In business descriptions, the social media profiles such as Google+ or Google My Business should have accurately optimized categories and related keywords. These influences help in affecting your search for the nearest business, rather than the place where you are searching from.
You need to make sure that the NAP is available and accessible on other external directories as well, for example, Yelp, manta, Merchant Square, TripAdvisor etc.
The Behavior and Mobile usage of Users:
The mobile usage of users and their behavior are both very important factors. These considerations include the users click through rate from searches etc. and the calls made by the user to a business.
Search personalization is basically the results provided by users, according to their physical location or their search interests and likes.
The real and positive reviews made by users, on legal websites are few of the most important factors affecting your local search optimization. For example, the variety and number of rankings and reviews you get are included in the evaluations made by users.
Social Media Feedback:
The authority of Google+, Twitter followers and the likes on Facebook also play a major role in sketching out the performance of the local searches made.
Google Suggestions to Your Local Search:
The search results made by Google Maps are basically based on three of the following aspects, which join to aid Google in finding the best results for your search.
Relevance is basically the intensity of similarity between the local listings, and what the user is searching for. If the user adds the complete business name, it makes it easier for Google to sketch out search results, according to your niche.
As the term implies, this is basically when Google determines how far is each of the potential search result, from the location mentioned in the search. If there is no location mentioned in the search, Google provides results closest to what it knows about your current location.
This is basically the popularity of a business, which Google has knowledge about due to the links, directories and such portals of the online world. Some of these businesses might have an offline presence, which is brought online by Google.
The Reasons for the Confusion of Search Engines:
Mistakes are deemed to happen as all the marketers and website owners are humans as well. However, certain measures should be made to reduce the effect of these mistakes as much as possible.
Below are some of the mistakes which can affect your local SEO negatively.
- The difference between the physical address of a business and the digital address of the business.
- Identical listings in the external search directories.
- Contradiction between (NAP) on online directories.
- Non-certified listings in the local directories.
- Improper listings used in local directories such as Google+.
Are you familiar with Google offering the ‘bring your local business online video series’?
Google has come up with several videos, explain the concept of local search engine optimization. Although these concepts are basically formed keeping a small-scale businesses in mind, large organizations with multiple locations can also benefit from these videos.
The Steps to Enhance Your Local Search Results:
The small-scale business who are in favor of using a DIY method of local SEO make one common mistake – mentioning their location throughout the content. This technique of SEO is traditional and not fit for today’s search strategies. Hence, if you using this method for your local SEO, make sure to get rid of it ASAP!
Here are a few things you ca do to avoid making this mistake.
- Add the address and phone number in header and footer both, so Google can link your local area with the pieces of your content.
- Do not use an 800, instead of your local area code.
- Make an account with Google+ or Google My Business.
- Use social media platforms for local SEO.
- Use a single format for information and address.
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews on social media websites.
- Use keywords in business descriptions.
- Make sure to add your business in local directories. You can use a service like Yext’s PowerListings for that.
- Make sure your existing local listings are correct.
If you do not have an account with Google My Business, make sure to make one. Just go to https://www.google.com/business/, and make your account now!
Want to Know How to Improve Your Local SEO?
There are two main things you can do to improve your local SEO. One, you can hire a professional to do that for you, or you can learn to optimize your local search engine yourself.
If you are looking to hire a professional to handle your local SEO, we offer efficient and effective SEO consultancy services. Find out and learn more about our services and team and then contact us to work with the best in the business!
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)