To understand what local SEO is you need to know what SEO stands for. SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is a strategy that enables your business to become more visible in local searches on Google. All businesses can and will benefit from local SEO. When someone searches Google for any important keywords, and they are related to your business, it will map out three listings. You want your business to be one of those three listings because then your business will grow.
The Beginning of Search Engines
For those who can remember when the internet first became accessible – it was easy to navigate around the web because there were very few websites. However, once the internet got bigger, more websites followed, so search engines were needed because users could find the correct sites that best suited their needs.
When you type anything into a search engine, it would then match the websites to those keywords. Google used that same idea, but it ended up dominating the search engine market and because it was the very first one to use links, users knew which websites had authority and were trusted.
Now, Google looks at many aspects on and off your website domain to see if it’s relevant to be a search result. That’s right, Google makes that decision, so it’s all about winning Google’s approval. It uses your ‘digital footprint’ – where each factor has a different value and weight, thus allowing the search engine to create its results. If you want to be a top result on Google then you need to have the right digital footprint to do so.
Google, How Does It Work?
When a phrase is typed into Google and searched, it looks for that same pattern in various websites, so your website needs to be relevant for it to appear on the list of sites that come up in the search. Keep in mind, Google is not doing a live search every time you search for something. It’s actually going through at the websites that it has stored and this can be found in the Google Index.
How is the Google Index made, you ask? Well, it was made by ‘spiders’. No, not real spiders, but virtual ones that crawl across the internet and take note of what’s on every single page. These spiders work overtime in order to crawl over the trillions of websites that are available, so they can be added to the Google Index.
Google Search Results
There are many ways that Google ranks thousands of sites in a millisecond and how it’s done is by using algorithms. When anyone Googles something, the algorithm goes through the index and brings back a compiled list of websites that match what you wanted. These websites are chosen based on their prominence, relevance, and popularity. As previously stated, the algorithms look at the one and off-site factors in order to determine which websites are best suited for your search. All of the sites that match are then added to a list and then ranked.
Making sure your website has all the necessary on and off-site factors is key in order for your result to come up higher on the Google list. In order to do this, you need to make sure that your digital footprint is optimized by making sure your SEO shows prominence, relevancy and links to popularity factors.
Now, let’s discuss what local search engine optimization is. Google analyzed what trillions of searches were about and what the users actually needed. The team at Google realized that users need to have search results that are relevant to their local area. This is why Google created a local algorithm that uses a proximity factor because it gives the user results that are close to them whether or not they put a city name in their search.
If you want to grab a burrito then you could type into Google, ‘Burrito place’ and it will show you a list of nearby places that sell burritos. You don’t need to put in your location anymore because Google already knows where you are. That’s why if you did this same search in a different city then you would get different results.
Local searches have been around for quite a while, but they were limited because people only had their desktops to use. However, most people have a smartphone and quickly Google something all the time, so now local searches have become more important for users. You will be able to find the best burrito place near you, wherever you are, with just a few taps on your phone and into Google. It’s really quite remarkable.
Now, if you want to use phones to help with gaining traffic on your website – you need to build a phone-friendly website. This means you need to have large text that is easy for the person to read, your website should not take longer than three seconds to load and it needs to be short and sweet. No one wants to read large amounts of text all the time when they search for something on Google. They want their answer and that’s it, so make sure it is short and sweet.
Why Does This Matter For SEO?
If you’re a search marketer then this is important for you because what you do next will heavily influence what you are searching for. Google has a local map pack that creates the organic listings, but there are separate algorithms that are the main source for Google’s results when it comes to the local map pack and the local rankings. When you have a local business, you have to ability to appear in the main search and the local map pack search simultaneously.
When you’re new to this, you should definitely take time out to learn about the challenges and how to overcome them. A good place to start is by looking at Moz, a marketing analytics software company. It posts a survey that tells you what the local search ranking factors are while including 35 to 40 of the top experts in SEO worldwide. Looking at this information will help you figure out which factors will make you more visible in the search results.
How to Gain Popularity
Localized searches are linked to content and popularity factors, just like the standard Google algorithm, but it’s important for you to make local pages for each of your locations for your business – especially when you have multiple locations for your business. You want to make sure you don’t just have the name of your business, but also the address and phone number because this local SEO practice will help Google put you higher up on the list when someone searches your keywords. For added local SEO, add Google maps to your website to show the exact location of your business because that will really help bump up your website.
For additional help, you want to use things like Google My Business, local citations and reviews that have been made by customers that live in the area. These are all collected and stored in the index, so the more information you have that places your business in a specific location – the more likely your business will be found closer to the top of the search results.
However, if you feel like you need a little help then look into SEO tools that are made to help you focus on developing local SEO audits. They will create keyword research that will be focused on your target audience, so you will be better prepared to create local SEO content on your website. This will ensure a highly successful website. To go even a step further, a professional SEO agency can boost your results with local SEO services.
Another top tip is to write posts about what is happening in your local area. Think about it, local SEO will get your customers in your area and the only way to do that is to write about your area because then the spiders will gather that information and place it in the Google index. If you write a blog post about a local market coming up and how you’re going to be there with a stall selling product then that is you using local SEO. If you write a post about the parade that is happening in the town next weekend and how your product will be perfect for that day then that is you using local SEO. Writing about what is happening around you will help Google put you at the top of the search result lists.
Now, you have a better understanding of what SEO is, how Google uses it and what local SEO is. You will now be able to harness this knowledge to help you build a website that will have a positive digital footprint, so you can receive more traffic. This is how you can scale your business upwards because the more people that visit your site, the more likely for you to gain new customers.
The ultimate trick is to work smarter, not harder, and local SEO services from a local SEO agency can help you with that.