Local SEO is the process of optimizing sites and increasing search visibility for businesses that target customers only in certain geographical areas.

Local SEO is a search engine optimization technique that makes it possible for businesses to get traffic from relevant local searches.  

Traditionally, people have a lot of questions when selecting a local SEO service package for their business. Business owners want to get the answers to the following questions:

  • What is local SEO?
  • What types of businesses need local SEO services?
  • When it’s necessary to use traditional SEO service and when local SEO service?
  • What are the key differences between traditional and local SEO strategies?
  • How does local SEO work? 
  • How to get started with local SEO?
  • How to improve local SEO?

And of course, it’s incredibly important for local business owners to get the answers to all these questions. 

There has been a lot of talk about the importance of using local SEO services for local businesses. Today, we’ll dig deeper into the local SEO process and describe the most important benefits of this search engine optimization technique.

So, let’s get started. 

What Types of Businesses Need a Local SEO Strategy?

Local SEO service is a cost-effective solution for local businesses that operate in certain geographical areas. In the long run, local SEO services can provide businesses with a high return on investment.     

A local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that works well for different types of local businesses.

It’s a good idea to use local SEO services to promote such businesses as:

  • auto repairs shops
  • beauty salons
  • dentists
  • tattoo salons
  • cinemas
  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • local stores
  • lawyers
  • yoga studios
  • gyms
  • fitness centers
  • real estate agents
  • plumbers
  • electricians

Actually, the list of local businesses that can benefit from a local SEO strategy could go on and on. Clearly, all these businesses are local and, therefore, they have to be promoted locally only.

Traditional SEO Vs Local SEO

Traditional SEO or local SEO, which option is better? Actually, it’s a question that’s faced by so many business owners, who take an interest in SEO services. Now, let’s dig deeper into this question and try to come up with the answer.

It all depends on your business promotion needs and your search engine optimization goals. The reality is, each option has its own pros and cons. So, you have to analyze each option carefully and then make the best possible choice.      

It makes no sense to use traditionally SEO for local businesses and promote them for general keywords in search engines. With this type of SEO service, your business will get search traffic from different parts of the world.

So, traditional SEO is not the right thing to do in this situation. People will not be able to buy your products or services if they are not located in your city or its surrounding areas. Only a small percentage of search traffic will convert into customers and sales. So, you’ll waste your time and money on SEO services.

Local SEO is one of the best ways to promote products or services locally, boost awareness of the brand, increase a client base, and grow a local business.

If you would like to improve the search engine optimization strategy for a local business, then you need to put a special focus on local SEO. In this case, you need to learn more about local SEO. Read on to get an understanding of how local SEO works.       

How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO is very similar to the traditional search engine optimization process. The main difference between traditional SEO and local SEO is that you’ll optimize your local business site for local keywords, but not general ones.

Obviously, you don’t have to do traditional SEO for your site and promote it for general keywords in search engines if you sell your products or services in certain geographical areas. In this case, it would be better to focus on local SEO.

It’s also important to note that it’s a lot easier and cheaper to promote a business for local keywords. The fact is, you will face lower competition if you choose to promote your business with local SEO instead of traditional SEO.   

Let’s assume that a person wants to find a local business that offers some products or services. A user puts a keyword into a local search and tries to get the results. So, the question is – what happens next?

A local search will provide a user with some results. In other words, a list of businesses, which are relevant to a search term, will be provided in a local search.   

Local SEO rankings mainly depend on three factors such as:

  1. Relevancy of local businesses to the keyword;
  2. Distance between a search engine user (a potential client) and local businesses;
  3. Customer reviews of local businesses.

What businesses will be displayed in a local search first? Now, let’s try to figure out how local search works step by step.

Step 1. First of all, a search engine will check the relevancy of local businesses. A business has to be relevant to a keyword to be displayed in local search. As a result, a search engine will pick local businesses which are the most relevant to a local keyword.

Step 2. At the next stage, the distance between a search engine user and local businesses will be analyzed. A local search engine will give a preference to the local businesses which are closest to a search engine user.

Step 3. Search engines will also take a look at customer reviews of local businesses. Clearly, the more positive reviews a local business has – the better. Local businesses with the best reviews will have the highest local search rankings. Local search will analyze some other factors as well. So, high-quality links from popular local sites will greatly improve your local SEO as well.                 

If done right, local SEO will help you attract a high amount of targeted relevant traffic from local searches. It’s important to note that this type of search traffic will have a higher conversion rate. As a result, you will get more clients as well as sales. The revenues of your local will increase significantly as well.

Local SEO Best Practices

Doing local SEO is about making your site’s pages relevant to local keywords. When doing local SEO, you have to do different types of traditional SEO tasks such as:

  • Local keyword selection
  • Optimizing site’s pages for local keywords
  • Building local links
  • Adding your local business to Google My Pages
  • Including your local business in local online directories
  • Building a strong reputation on local sites      

If you do local SEO in the right way, then your local business website’s pages will rank higher in local search and, therefore, get more targeted traffic. This will help you get the most out of your search engine marketing efforts.         

What are the Differences between Traditional SEO and Local SEO?

There are two types of SEO: local SEO as well as International SEO (also known as traditional SEO).

The question is – what SEO service is better for your business? It all depends on the type of business that you run.

Do you sell your products or services internationally? In this case, you obviously don’t need local SEO. It would be better to consider traditional SEO services.

Do you sell your products or services in certain geographical areas? In this case, you don’t need international SEO. It would be better to consider local SEO services.

It’s important to know that traditional SEO and local SEO have many similarities. Both a traditional and local SEO strategy consists of such components as:

  • Keyword research
  • Onsite SEO
  • Offsite SEO

On the other hand, there are differences between traditional and local SEO. Keyword research, onsite optimization and offsite optimization for traditional and local SEO have to be done differently.

Keep in mind that competition in local search is much lower than the competition in general search.

Generally speaking, you’ll have to optimize your site’s pages for local search if you do local SEO for your website. On the other hand, you’ll have to optimize your site’s pages for general search if you do traditional SEO for your website.        

Local SEO Checklist 2020

Without a doubt, you have to focus on local SEO if you run a business locally. It’s possible to improve local SEO in a number of different ways.

Do local SEO keyword research. It’s worth noting that keyword research needs to be done differently for local SEO. The main goal of local SEO is to find local search terms for site’s SEO optimization.

When doing keyword research for a local SEO strategy, you have to take into consideration two important things:

  • Target keywords that people use to find your products or services
  • Keywords that people use in the areas that you target

How do local SEO keywords look like? Local SEO keywords consist of the main keyword and targeted areas.

Here are some examples of local SEO keywords:

  • Main keyword targeted area
  • Main keyword in targeted area
  • Targeted area main keyword
  • Main keyword near me   

And of course, these types of local search terms have to be included in your local SEO keyword list.

Local SEO keyword research requires some preparation. You have to identify the areas that you are going to target in local SEO.

Optimize content on your site’s pages for local search. In fact, there are two ways to optimize site’s content for local SEO.

  1. Updating content on the existing site’s pages and making them relevant to local SEO keywords.
  2. Creating geo pages on a site and optimizing them for local SEO keywords.

It all begins with onsite SEO optimization. Content optimization is a part of onsite SEO.

You’ll be able to attract relevant local search traffic to your site only if your site’s pages are relevant to local SEO keywords.

Attract local links to your website. Incoming links continue to play a very important role in search engine optimization these days.

You need to know that backlinks are important both for traditional and local SEO. That means that you need to attract quality backlinks to your website in order to be able to rank high in the search.

However, links for local SEO and traditional SEO have to be built differently. When doing link building for local SEO, you should aim to attract backlinks from high-quality local sites.

Quality local backlinks will generate relevant traffic to your local business website and, most importantly, contribute greatly to your local SEO strategy. As a result, your site will begin to rank better in local search.            

Use Google My Business. Google My Business is a great online service that provides local businesses with endless marketing opportunities. Google My Business contributes greatly to the success of a local business.

  • Google My Business will allow you to get high quality traffic to your website for FREE and attract potential clients to your local business.
  • But most importantly, Google My Business will improve greatly your local SEO strategy. If you succeed with Google My Business, then you will rank higher in local search.     

That’s why it makes a lot of sense to add a local business to Google My Business. You need to take two steps to start promoting your local business with the service.

  1. First of all, you have to create a page for your local business and provide the detailed information about your company such as local business address and contact information, products or services offered by a local business, competitive advantages and operating hours on Google My Business. Finally, your local business will be displayed on Google Maps.
  2. However, it’s not enough to register your business with Google My Business. Obviously, you need to do more. You constantly have to optimize your Google My Business page to promote your local business with this type of an online service.      

It’s important to know that Google My Business is an important ranking factor in local SEO. Keep in mind that Google My Business is more important than incoming links and other ranking factors.         

Mobile optimization of a website. People tend to use different types of mobile devices to search for local businesses which are close to them. That’s why it’s so important for a local business to have a mobile friendly website.

It goes without saying that mobile optimization of a website has to one of the top priorities in a local SEO strategy. Make sure that your local business site looks good in all major browsers and on all types of mobile devices.      

Voice search optimization. The same can be said about voice search optimization. People use voice search to search for local businesses. They use different types of voice search queries. Words like “near me”, “nearby” and others are a part of voice search queries.

And of course, you local business has to be found in voice search for these types of keywords. First and foremost, you have to add voice search queries to your list of local SEO keywords. Plus, you have to do onsite optimization and make your site relevant to local search queries. That means that voice search optimization has to be a key part of a local SEO strategy.

Get local SEO citations. You can also use local citations to improve your local SEO. A citation occurs when someone mentions the name, address or phone number of your local business. Your business can get a lot of local SEO citations from local business directories, local sites, apps and social platforms. These types of citations will positively affect your local search engine rankings.

Using the tools for local SEO. There are many good online tools for local SEO. These tools have been designed to make the local SEO process simple. The help of these tools in local SEO is immeasurable. Among the best tools for local SEO are: Whitespark Local Citation Finder, SEO Profiler, Moz Local, Bright Local, Local SEO Checklist, Screaming Frog, Review Trackers and others.           

Getting positive customer reviews for local business. We all know that the vast majority of consumers choose to check customer reviews of local businesses prior to making a purchase. That’s why it’s so important for local businesses to build a solid reputation on the market and do reputation management on a regular basis.

Obviously, local business owners should get as many positive customer reviews as possible. On the other hand, you should do every single thing possible to avoid getting negative customer reviews.

Good customer reviews will have a profound positive impact on the success of your business.

  1. Good customer reviews positively affect conversion rates of local businesses. So, more people would be happy to purchase your products or services if they find that your local business has built a solid reputation on the market.
  2. It’s also important to point that good customer reviews will help you improve your local search rankings dramatically. There is a direct link between good customer reviews and high local search rankings.

It’s crucial for you to check the customer reviews of your local business. Pay a close attention to what people say about your business on Google and local online directories.

As I have already mentioned, local business owners should use any splendid opportunity to get a positive review about your business. Do your best to provide your clients with high-quality products or services and excellent customer service.

You should do every single thing possible to make your customers happy. All your customers have to have a happy smile on their face.

It’s incredibly important to get serious about running a local business. Obviously, you should take care of your clients and try your best to improve every aspect of your local business.

The reality is, getting positive reviews for a local business can be hard. Bear in mind that the vast majority of your satisfied clients will not leave positive reviews about your business if you don’t ask them to do so.

It would be wise to ask your happy clients to leave positive reviews about your business on Google and local directories. From my own experience, I can say that a lot of happy customers would be glad to do this for you.   

On the other hand, you have to work on negative reviews. Let’s assume that things went wrong and one of your clients has left a negative review about your business. Unfortunately, such a situation happens with every business from time to time.

And of course, it’s incredibly important for local business owners to react to negative reviews. Remember, negative customer reviews should never be ignored.

  1. If you react to negative customer reviews, then people will see that you are serious about your local business. And of course, this will have a positive impact on your online reputation and, therefore, the success of your local business.
  2. Plus, you’ll be able to improve the situation if you react to bad customer reviews and try to resolve client’s issues. By doing so, you may turn your unhappy clients into happy ones and negative customer reviews into positive ones.    

The next important question is – how to react to bad customer reviews and improve online reputation for a local business? Now, it’s time to get the answer. Below, I will explain how to deal with negative reviews and tell you what needs to be done to improve online reputation of a local business.   

– First and foremost, you have to reply to a negative review and try to figure out what exactly makes your client unhappy.

– After that, you have to do everything you can to resolve your client’s problems successfully. If you manage to provide an effective solution to client’s issues, an unhappy client can change his/her decision about your local business.

– Lastly, you should ask an unhappy client to change his/her feedback.   

From my own marketing experience, I can say that such a strategy is great and it often works very well. So, you can follow such a reputation management strategy for any type of business.

Local SEO Help

Local SEO is no easy task that requires certain knowledge, skills as well as experience. So, it would be better to leave this important task to real professionals.

At Finepoint Design, we have many years of experience in doing local SEO for different types of businesses in the city of Michigan and its surrounding areas.

If you would like to learn more about how to grow your business with local SEO services, contact us today to get a FREE service quote!                                 

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