One of the most important things to understand about digital marketing is the challenges that come with a local business campaign and that of a non-geo specific brand. People often confuse Local SEO with an average SEO campaign. The reality is that local search results are changing faster than any other is.
Local SEO is the optimization of your online business in order to be found in local searches.
We are talking about the group of techniques directed to increase the visibility of a webpage in the searches of relevant information for users according to their current geographic location. It involves any type of searches that are being localized.
One of the purposes of Local SEO is making the website of a company that has a physical business location or provides a service in a specific geographical area, be found by potential customers who are in that zone and perform searches related to that business.
This does NOT mean that local SEO is not compatible with the implementation of measures to position our website in a more global environment.
However, it’s a little bit ironic to talk about a local SEO strategy when most of the results after a search like “Beauty Salons in Detroit Michigan” are ads.
In this manner, as a marketer, you need to know that Google has been including more ads for local search results over time. Try it and observe the structure of the results. You will see two different sections when we talk about local SEO:
- Local 3 Pack, Map Pack or Snack Pack, which is referred to the 3 listings.
- The organic search’s results.
However, local SEO influences more than Google Search because it also involves other scopes such as:
- Google Maps
- Mobile Results:
- Knowledge Graph.
Why Working on Local SEO?
If our business doesn’t have a service or product that we can distribute more globally, these techniques that help us to geolocate our results in searches, become almost indispensable for the good performance of any company.
This geographical component and proximity to the user who is conducting a search it’s beneficial for all businesses when competing for the first positions with other results, making it visible in platforms such as Google Maps.
In order to rank and position your business in the 3-pack listing, you should talk to your SEO company about considering designing a strategy with the following aspects:
- A definition as accurate as possible of your activity and the commercial sector to which it is dedicated.
- Definition of the geographical area of influence.
- Definition of the Target Audience and Buyer Person.
- The keywords (keywords) that best define this activity.
- Selection he keywords that contain our location parameters.
- Detection and analysis of the competence, whether local or not and whether it’s direct or indirect.
- Registration of the business profile in Google My Business.
- Identification of available resources such as time, budget, tools and human resources.
We can mention different factors that influence your visibility in the 3-pack listing. According to a MOZ study case, the main factor is My Business Signals, which means that you will need to focus your efforts on optimizing your Google My Business Profiles. As other ones, we can mention reviews, OnPage signals, referred to the optimization of your website with the appropriate keywords and content, and one of the most important; citation signals.
On the other hand, when it comes to Localized Organic Ranking Factors, the same study affirms that linking signals is in the first position, which means that links remain a vital part of ranking organically. As other important factors, we also have OnPage signals, behavioral signals, personalization and NAP citation signals.
If we could collect the 10 most important factors for an optimized Local SEO positioning, we have to mention:
- The physical address of the business in the city where the user performs the search.
- The category in which the business is associated (the idea is that you look for the most accurate category that can identify your business).
- The number of citations (pages in which the name and the telephone of your business appears).
- The quality / authority of the citations (authority of the websites in which a citation of your business appears).
- The correspondence between the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) of your website and the NAP of the directories or websites in which your business appears.
- The product / Service Keyword in the name of the business.
- The authority of the domain of your website (number and quality of links pointing to your website).
- The proximity to the place where the user performs the search.
- Count with a verified page on Google My Business.
- The proximity to the center of the city where the user performs the search.
Let’s talk about Google My Business
If you want to start working on the local SEO of your website, the first thing you should do is create a page of your business in Google My Business. However, you need to be extremely clear about the information you show to potential customers. Keep in mind these essential points if you want to get the most out of this tool. If you need help setting your Google My Business page up, consider talking to your seo optimization company to avoid any possible pitfalls that could actually hurt your listing results.
Related post: How To Fix Common SEO Issues
Complete the profile in the most detailed way possible.
This is essential for the positioning of your company in Google My Business. Think about creating a long, unique and detailed description of your business with content and information such as:
- Photos that represent your business.
- Opening hours, payment methods you accept, etc.
- The keywords that best describe your business.
- Local phone number.
The more information you complete, the better your chances of improving the local positioning of your business in Google’s local business results. An important detail to keep in mind is that when you create the page of your business, make sure to select the category that correctly identifies the business or type of service / product that you offer to know exactly what your company does. This is vital to display your business in the right search results.
In addition, make sure to enter the same NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) info that you displayed on your website.
If you can be the most specific possible, great, because Google allows you to use multiple categories, so feel free to use the most relevant for your business. To add an edit a wide amount of information in your page you need to verify your account by following different steps such as:
- With a postcard: Google snail-mails the verification code to your listed address.
- Via phone: Google sends the verification code to your phone.
- Via email: is the fastest verification option that will be available if you use the same login details in your Google Search Console for your My Business Account.
Consistency in your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number)
It’s very important to remind that you must ensure your full NAP across each page of your whole website. In addition, you need to use the exact same details or format when you mention your address in other pages.
This is a very important point in local SEO because it identifies your business unequivocally and a potential client needs this kind of information to find what they are looking for.
For example, if you are looking for “lawyers in Miami”, the only information you need is:
- Name of the business
- Physical address
- Telephone number if you want to consult some information
It’s very important that you always use the same NAP for Google to consider your business as local. In fact, the inconsistency in the use of the NAP (use different phone numbers or addresses in different NAP) is the main cause why a website fails to improve local SEO positioning.
Make sure that your NAP appears on your website, on the contact page, and in the footer. We are talking about two sections where users normally expect to find this information when searching business listings.
It’s important to know that this information must appear in HTML format and not with images. Otherwise, the search engines will not be able to track and interpret the NAP data.
Also, as a tip for your online store, it is recommended that the email address you use be that of your domain @ your-domain.com and not that of a free provider such as Gmail or Hotmail.
Building Local NAP Citations
Citations are like links in local SEO. They convey authority, sending signals to Google that the website or business that receives the citation is important, and should appear in the best search results. A citation occurs every time your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is mentioned on a website.
The more citations you get, the more opportunities you will have for your business to appear well positioned on the local business results page. If the contact information (NAP) appears on different pages on your website, it is very important that they are the same.
You can get citations to your business through your register in local business directories such as:
In this manner, local citations are mentions of your business across the web on local directories, websites or associations. It’s recommended to see them on authoritative websites or portals. As these citations are mentions of a business along the NAP, it helps that search engines collect information about your company.
We know that so many companies have the exact same name so the search engines need unique information to identify and differentiate each business. A citation is an online reference to your NAP. It doesn’t need to link to you, but Google evaluates them as a local clue to determine an entity’s online authority, which is what should interest you the most to rank your business with Local SEO.
How do citations help in Local SEO?
- Citation signals account for 13% of the ranking factors!
- Besides Google, many people use these directories to search for businesses.
- Many of these directories rank for localized terms.
- You can also get a relevant link to your site by creating a listing.
They tell search engines that a website is relevant to a specific geographic location and offering a particular service. If you want to have a basic approach on citations, learning and understanding how to find them in a beginner level, consider taking the N°1 ranking website for your keyword or keyphrase, copy the company’s NAP and place these in quotations.
Now, you need to insert this into a Google search. All the websites you see in the results are potential sites where you can place citations for your specific business. Try to check the entire list and save all the potential citation sites. Once complete, take the second competitor in the ranking, rinse and repeat the process for all the first page websites.
If you don’t want to make things by hand but you already understand the foundational concepts, you can use the local citation services of FinePoint Design.
You will save a great amount of time and effort, which is vital, as we know that losing time in the digital marketing field is not a risk no one must get into.
The FinePoint Design Lab will do the entire work for you, finding the citation and placing your business information on them as well!
Taking Care of your Local NAP Citations
The job is not done if you only identify and build the citations because this is an online reference to your NAP. It won’t be necessarily linked to you but Google evaluates them as a local signal to determine the authority of an online entity’s. In this manner, having inaccurate and inconsistent NAP can negatively affect your local SEO.
As we said before, citation’s inconsistency is the most important issue affecting the local SEO ranking. If you have many variations of your NAP scattered around the web, especially if we talk about outdated information, for your potential customers and Google it will be difficult to trust in your information.
Remember that if Google has any suspicion that your data is untrustworthy, your site could lose ranking in your local search. You must be wondering how you will make sure that everything is in order and updated with your local citations.
Auditing your business’s NAP consistency in the most complete way is to do it manually, uncovering all listings and variations of your NAP. However, if you don’t have time to make this job you can check your business listing with the FinePoint Design Lab.
Get Real Opinions and Reviews for your Local SEO
The citations and reviews are the Link Building of the local SEO. If in addition to citations you also get authentic opinions, you will have more possibilities to improve the local positioning in relation to your competitors.
Getting opinions and reviews is not easy since customers do not usually do it unless you ask them directly. To facilitate the process, include links to your Google+ business page in visible areas of your website.
In addition, at the end of each job, ask your customers to leave an opinion or review by providing them directly with the link to your Google Business account.
As with traditional SEO and the purchase of links. This is one of the most important SEO tips: do not be tempted to buy reviews for your business. It is very possible that Google detects that they are not authentic reviews and decides to penalize you.
Local SEO On-Page Optimization
Make sure to optimize your pages in order to rank for the keywords that your target is looking for. Consider these advices:
- Rank different landing pages of your website.
If your business work in multiple cities, create a landing page for each one. It will help you to rank organically in those places where you may not have a physical structure.
- Optimize the following aspects:
- Meta Description
- Display your NAP:
Don’t use images to display your NAP, as we already mentioned, you have to choose a schema format and HTML structure.
- Make sure you appear in Google Maps:
Embed a Google map to your location so users can easily find it around the world.
- Never forget the Calls-To-Action:
We know that we don’t want only awareness of our audience about our business, we want conversions. Make sure your phone number is clear and displayed, accompanied with other different ways to contact you.
- Have a responsive design on your website:
To be sure about this, you can take the Google’s mobile friendly test to identify if your website displays correctly on mobile devices. If it doesn’t pass it, you may consider redesigning or updating your WordPress theme.
Finally, in this article, we have explained some ways to do local SEO. Working traditional SEO is mandatory for any type of website, but if you are also a local business, you can take advantage of the benefits of local SEO and use it to position yourself in front of your competitors and even of big brands in local positioning.
Showing geolocated results based on the user’s location is something that has gained importance in the Google algorithm in recent months. You need to take care of the local SEO of your company, being methodical and precise with the data that you use there!
Local SEO and citations are just some of the ways to get your website found for local search. To get your site properly listed, you don’t want to cut corners and end up getting penalized. Use a reliable and reputable SEO company like Finepoint Design to get your business listed.
Don’t forget, you can get a free report of your sites NAP citations for free by clicking here.