Local SEO is not new; it has been around for years. However, local SEO has become a buzzword within digital marketing during and since the pandemic. Local SEO services are in demand as people have a newfound interest in shopping within their local communities.
In many Western countries, during the lockdown, many local businesses and services were vital in keeping their communities functioning during difficult times.
Local SEO focuses on increasing your visibility within your local and catchment area. In this article, we will look at what bases need to be covered to see an increase in traffic and leads to your website.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
Something you may have subliminally noticed is that when you type in a search term in Google, the words ‘near me’ are prompted. The use of this search term has risen dramatically since 2020. Hence, businesses are keen to cash in on this new interest in local businesses.
Let’s look at the most important ranking factors in local SEO.
With multiple ranking factors being considered by all the search engines, on-page SEO contains many of the top ten aspects that rank you well or the opposite.
Nevertheless, keyword research is still the building block of SEO. Conducting thorough keyword research is the starting point for all organic and local SEO businesses.
Your aim is to analyse the search trends of web users and identify what keywords are popular and what keyword phrases can get you ranking higher quicker.
Internal and External Links
Your website should have a healthy amount of internal and external links. These help manoeuvre users around your website and should form part of a ‘Sales Funnel’ that is intended to engage, inform and ultimately guide the user through buying online for eCommerce sites or making an enquiry a lead. More internal links also help keep a user on the site longer, which is another ranking factor with Google.
Google loves content, and so do users. Content is one of the main ranking factors. Thin content is not appreciated by Google’s crawlers when indexing your pages, so you want to write engaging, informative copy for your site and blog.
Writing your keywords throughout is also essential, but the goalposts have moved with Google. Too many unnecessary keywords will now be penalised, so remember to make your copy readable and don’t force keywords. Write naturally and get people following and sharing your information.
A vital cog in your ranking with Google is your page speed. In April 2022, Google announced statistics on bounce rates from users. They stated that the likelihood of a user bouncing increased 90% when the site speed went from one to five seconds.
As part of local SEO services, you must ensure to conduct a site audit and fix up any images or pages that are slowing you down.
Around seven years ago, Google announced that mobile searches had overtaken desktops, and that trend has widened yearly. Google’s crawlers now index your mobile version, so it’s paramount. If you are a start-up or have been having ranking issues, get professional help to establish that your website is mobile-friendly.
Your collection of backlinks is also at the top of the list to enhance local and organic SEO.
Backlinks are the authority you gain within your industry, proving your website is trustworthy. You are constantly looking for high-quality and relevant websites that have high domain authority (DA) to link with.
Outreach to webmasters and write quality content that is engaging and relevant. If published, you can get a ‘dofollow backlink’; this is known as ‘guest posting’. The more dofollow backlinks you have, the more Google will identify you as trustworthy and an authority for what products or services you provide, boosting your rankings.
Also, when writing content to be published elsewhere, it is good to understand the mechanics of ‘anchor texts’ as this further uses your keywords. At the end of your content, hyperlink your website to a keyword phrase you are targeting. Continuing to do this will build you clean and valuable backlinks.
Right behind keyword analysis, on-page fixes, and optimisation comes backlink building; these are the three most fundamental aspects to getting yourself locally visible.
Google Business Profile (GBP)
The next crucial step is creating or updating your Google Business Profile. At first, you may not recognise the name; it has changed from ‘Google My Business’ but is the same service.
This is where you enter all your local information, opening hours, images, catalogues and more…
Providing the user with additional information before clicking on you is a significant step forward for your local business.
Suppose you optimise for local SEO and can get onto the ‘3-pack’, the top three results on the first page of Google that get highlighted in their own box. In that case, your orders and enquiries will skyrocket.
Linking up with Google Maps is the final piece of the puzzle to help people with your proximity to them. Ensure your NAP information is consistent throughout to ensure people know where you are and what you do.
Organic SEO and local SEO are similar, but there is a significant difference in localising the searches. There are many more ways to influence local SEO rankings. However, this article has covered what foundational work needs to be laid out using local SEO services to take advantage of this healthy new online trend in 2022 and beyond. Good luck.