A Guide To Local SEO [Updated 2023]

Local SEO is a term that gets used frequently in regards to SEO optimization for local businesses and if you have a physical store or offer a product to people within a certain area, then chances are it will be at the top of your radar – so here’s a short guide to what local SEO is, how it works and how you can get started.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the practice of optimizing a website and its content to increase visibility and rankings in local search results. Local search results are the organic search results that appear in response to location-specific search queries, such as “restaurants near me” or “plumbers in San Francisco.”

Local SEO focuses on optimizing a website’s content, on-page elements, and off-page signals to increase its relevance and prominence for local search queries. This includes optimizing the website’s meta tags, content, and images for local keywords, as well as building local citations, listings, and backlinks to establish the website’s authority and relevance in the local market.

Local SEO is particularly important for businesses with a physical presence or those that serve a specific geographic area, such as local service providers, restaurants, retailers, and healthcare providers. By optimizing their website and online presence for local search, these businesses can improve their visibility and attract more local customers.

How Important Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is incredibly important for businesses that operate in a specific geographic area or have a physical location, as it can directly impact their ability to attract and retain local customers. Here are some reasons why local SEO is important for businesses:

⚡️Increases visibility: Local SEO can help businesses appear in the top results for relevant local searches, making it easier for potential customers to find and contact them.

⚡️Improves credibility: A strong local SEO presence can help establish a business’s credibility and authority in the local market, which can help build trust with local customers.

⚡️Enhances user experience: Local SEO can help businesses optimize their website and online presence for local users, providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions about where to shop or do business.

⚡️Boosts website traffic: By appearing in the top results for local searches, businesses can attract more website traffic and increase their chances of converting website visitors into customers.

⚡️Increases conversions: Local SEO can help businesses target customers who are actively searching for their products or services, increasing the likelihood that those customers will convert into paying customers.

Local SEO can be incredibly important for websites who are looking to attract a local audience or for businesses where the search intent is deemed to be local.The approach can be quite different to normal SEO as well, so it’s always worth evaluating client need and situation before determining which approach is best for them. 

How Does Local SEO Differ From Normal SEO?

One of the main differences between local SEO and normal SEO is the focus on local keywords. This requires businesses to conduct extensive keyword research to identify the most relevant and profitable local keywords for their industry and location.

Another important aspect of local SEO is optimizing a business’s Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a free listing service provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search results and maps. Optimizing a Google My Business profile involves providing accurate and up-to-date information about the business, including its name, address, phone number, and hours of operation. This can help improve a business’s visibility in local search results and increase its chances of attracting local customers.

In addition to optimizing for local keywords and Google My Business, local SEO also involves building citations. A citation is any mention of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the web. Building citations can help improve a business’s visibility and authority in the local market, as well as improve its rankings in local search results. This involves submitting the business’s NAP information to local directories, review sites, and other relevant websites.

Normal SEO, on the other hand, is focused on optimizing a website and its content for broader, non-location-specific search queries. This may involve optimizing for industry-specific keywords, improving website structure and navigation, creating high-quality content, building backlinks, and more. The focus of normal SEO is to improve a website’s visibility and rankings in organic search results, regardless of location.

It’s important for businesses to understand the differences between local SEO and normal SEO to develop an effective marketing strategy that meets their specific needs and goals.

What Is NAP?

In the context of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), “NAP” refers to the consistency of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) across all online directories, listings, and citations.

Search engines, such as Google, use NAP information as a signal of a business’s legitimacy, accuracy, and trustworthiness. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to ensure that their NAP information is accurate and consistent across all online platforms where it appears.

Inconsistencies in NAP information can confuse search engines and potential customers, which can negatively impact a business’s search engine ranking, local search visibility, and online reputation. Therefore, businesses should regularly audit their online presence to ensure that their NAP information is consistent and up-to-date.

How Do I Build Effective Citations For Local SEO?

When it comes to local SEO, building effective citations is essential. Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. The more consistent and accurate your citations are, the higher you are likely to rank in local search results. Here are some tips to help you build effective citations:

Firstly, ensure that your NAP information is accurate and consistent across all directories and platforms. This means checking your name, address, and phone number for accuracy and ensuring that they match exactly across all platforms.

Secondly, claim your business listings on popular directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and Facebook. This will allow you to manage your listings and keep them up-to-date.

Thirdly, optimize your business listings by filling out all the available fields, including your hours of operation, website URL, and other relevant information. This will help to provide users with all the information they need to know about your business.

Fourthly, focus on building citations on high-quality and authoritative websites that are relevant to your industry. These citations will carry more weight and help to improve your local search rankings.

Fifthly, use local keywords in your business descriptions and on your website. This will help search engines understand where your business is located and what services you offer.

Finally, regularly monitor your citations to ensure that they remain accurate and consistent. If you find any inconsistencies or errors, make sure to correct them as soon as possible. By following these tips, you can build effective citations that will help to improve your local SEO rankings and drive more traffic to your business.

How Do I Optimise Google My Business For Local SEO?

Optimising your Google My Business (GMB) account plays an important part in developing your local SEO performance – so it’s important that we optimise this as best as we can. Here are some of the best ways to optimise your GMB profile for local SEO:

⚡️Complete your business profile: Ensure that your GMB profile is complete and accurate, including your business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and business description. Add photos and videos of your business to showcase your products, services, and location.

⚡️Choose the right categories: Select the most relevant categories for your business to help Google understand what your business is about and what services you offer. You can select primary and secondary categories to give Google more context about your business.

⚡️Get more reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB page. Reviews can help improve your business’s visibility and credibility in search results. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, to show that you care about your customers’ feedback.

⚡️Use local keywords: Incorporate relevant local keywords into your business name, description, and posts. This will help your business show up in local search results when people search for products or services in your area.

⚡️Post regularly: Post regularly on your GMB page to keep your page fresh and engaging. Share updates, promotions, events, and other relevant information about your business. This will also help improve your business’s visibility in search results.

⚡️Monitor insights: Use the insights tab in your GMB account to track your page’s performance, including how many people viewed your profile, clicked on your website, and called your business. Use this data to optimize your GMB strategy and improve your local SEO.

It’s always worth focusing on GMB as a way of driving additional traffic to your website from a local SEO perspective – it can help to generate additional traffic to the website while also allowing you to collate valuable information like user reviews which can also help to boost authority and trust around your brand.

What Are Some Top Tips For Ranking In The Map Pack?

In addition to ranking well in the general SERPs, another key aim of local SEO is ranking in the map pack – the map pack is a feature on Google that displays a map with three local business listings related to a search query. Optimizing for Google Map Pack can help increase visibility for local businesses.

Ranking in the Google Map Pack, also known as the Local Pack or 3-Pack, requires a combination of various factors that impact local search visibility. Here are some tips to improve your chances of ranking in the Google Map Pack:

⚡️Create and Optimize a Google My Business (GMB) Listing: GMB is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Maps. To rank in the Map Pack, create a GMB listing, verify your business information, and optimize your profile by adding photos, business hours, and other relevant information.

⚡️Get Reviews and Ratings: Reviews and ratings are an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing, and respond to them promptly and professionally.

⚡️Ensure Consistency in NAP Information: As I mentioned earlier, consistency in your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) is crucial for local search ranking. Make sure your NAP information is accurate and consistent across all online platforms where your business is listed.

⚡️Build Local Citations: A citation is a mention of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites or directories. Building local citations from reputable websites can improve your local search ranking.

⚡️Optimize Your Website for Local SEO: Optimize your website for local SEO by including relevant keywords, location-based content, and schema markup. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed.

⚡️Get Backlinks from Local Websites: Backlinks from reputable local websites can also boost your local search ranking. Reach out to local bloggers, news websites, or other businesses in your area to see if they would be willing to link to your website.

Remember, local search ranking is an ongoing process, and it may take time to see results. Stay patient and persistent, and continue to optimize your online presence for local SEO.

Do I Need Local SEO?

If your business operates a local presence then local SEO is a great way to optimize for visitors to your store and people who are looking for your product within your area. If you are a place of interest or restaurant, bar or activity then this can be even more important as it can help to put you on the map when people are out searching. 

Even if you aren’t directly local, having a GMB listing and optimising for local can help you to gain extra space within the search results, which is always valuable from an SEO perspective.

To find out more about local SEO or for help with implementation, get in touch!