Do you have a local business, restaurant or offer a local service and have long wanted to know what local SEO is all about? What is so important about it and how can you benefit from it?
If so, then this article is just right for you, because I will show you all the important information about it.
Plus: 9 tried and tested tips for a better ranking in local search results.
All hot and up to date.
Tips 1 and 2 are particularly quick and easy to implement and quickly bring the first results in the rankings. Tip 8 takes a little longer but is a local SEO turbo booster in the long term and tip 10 is really big.
Let’s get started right away.
What is Local SEO?
The term local SEO, or local search engine optimization, means the procedure to position a website as far ahead as possible in the local search result of a search engine.
The aim is to achieve the best possible placement for relevant search terms in a specific, locally delimited area and to appear on the user’s first search results page (SERP).
Local SEO is for all shops and companies with a physical location (such as doctors, restaurants, hairdressers, supermarkets, etc.) or companies that offer their services in a certain region, so-called service area businesses (such as Key emergency services, plumbers, painters, etc.), important.
According to a study by Google, more than 70 percent of search queries could be made via mobile devices by 2020 . That is why Google classifies search queries in the local SEO sector as disproportionately important .
Why is local SEO important?
Locally related search queries have become part of everyday life these days. Especially when the smartphone is always close at hand .
A study by Google came to the following results:
- Nine out of ten consumers use search engines to find services, reviews, and/or products in their area.
- Locally related search queries are particularly frequent when you are out and about.
- On this occasion, most users look for directions, company addresses and opening times.
- Consumers who are looking for their smartphone to search for services or products in their area are usually just about to make the actual purchase decision.
Most users enter specific search queries when looking for information about local service providers in their preferred search engine. Hardly any one-word search queries are sent. On the other hand, it happens more often than the selected keywords are supplemented with the city name or the desired district and thus specified.
Who can benefit from local SEO?
Every company with a fixed company location (shop, office, branch, etc.) benefits from Local SEO – regardless of the size or the branch of the company. The only thing you need is a fixed location that customers can visit or from which you can offer your services. If this is the case, local SEO also makes sense.
The users have long recognized the possibilities of local search. For example, when looking for an Italian restaurant or general practitioner in the area, the Google search engine is the first port of call.
According to a report from Hitwise, nearly 60 percent of all Online Searches are now carried out on a mobile device, with some sectors (Food and Beverage) reaching 72 percent. Tourists or those unfamiliar with the area, in particular, use their mobile phones for local searches. This enables even hidden shops away from the big shopping streets a chance of spontaneous walk-in customers.
This makes Google one of the most important marketing tools for local businesses. The better the placement in the local search results, the higher the number of potential new customers that can be generated by the hits on Google. Local SEO ensures that these good positions (rankings) are achieved.
The challenge: More and more companies are realizing how important local search is on Google and are therefore investing in local SEO optimization of their websites . That makes the competition for a good position tougher than it was a few years ago.
So that you too can take part in this race for the top places in the local search results, I give you 9 valuable and proven tips for local SEO optimization to improve your rankings.
9 tips for local SEO optimization for TOP rankings in local search results
Basically, Local SEO is very similar to classic search engine optimization. The ranking is determined by special ranking factors (OnPage and OffPage), as well as the respective Google update.
But here is a list of the most effective measures that will improve your local SEO significantly:
Tip # 1: Google My Business
Create a Google My Business account . The Google My Business account is incredibly important. It is the link to well-known services such as: Google Maps, Google Street View .
In your Google My Business account, you enter primary company data such as NAP, company type, a brief description of the company, photos, opening times, etc.
You can also create free contributions that can then be advertised, such as current promotions, events and offers.
Google gets the information it needs from the My Business Account, as well as ratings, opening times or photos, and displays them in the local search results.
The only requirement to create an account is a Google account.
Tip # 2: NAP – Company data
NAP stands for N ame, A dress, P hone Number.
This information is crucial for Google. It is important that this company data always looks the same in your Google My Business account, on your own website and on all platforms on which it appears .
For example, if a company provides different information on its Facebook page than on the company website and the My Business Account, this is irritating not only for the search engine but also for potential customers.
This is how the company data should ideally be structured:
- Company name (your name + your service + / or your location)
- Address (important, always the same spelling)
- Telephone number (always the same format)
It is also important not to change the address too often. This could lead to Google classifying you as dubious.
Tip # 3: OnPage Optimization
Local SEO does not differ from “normal” search engine optimization with regard to OnPage optimization. The search queries can, however, differ significantly from those of the national search queries. Therefore, you have to explicitly analyze and select the relevant keywords and topics for the regional search .
The keywords relevant for the local SEO of a company are found out with the help of keyword analysis. Which keywords are frequently searched for in the respective region? Which search phrases are used? Do these also fit the service offered?
Once you have researched the relevant keywords, optimize your landing page for these search terms. (See also point 9. Landing page per branch).
Tip # 4: Social Media
Are there any social media channels belonging to the company? Then it should be noted that these are also active and that there is interaction with fans and followers . This sends positive signals to the search engine (e.g. brand awareness) and has a positive effect on the ranking.
If no new content is posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TripAdvisor and Co. or if there is no interaction with followers and fans, then the positive signal to Google is lost and thus the positive effect on the rankings in the search engine.
Therefore, it should be considered whether the resources are available for the effort to be made. Only if there is the time to actively operate the social media channels or the financial means to have them operated by an agency, these channels are a sensible marketing strategy with regard to local SEO.
Tip # 5: Local Citations
Local business directories, also play an important role in local SEO. For this reason, a company should under no circumstances do without entries in the yellow pages.
Entries in known, trustworthy but also thematically appropriate directories are also relevant. If there are entries in industry-specific directories , this is an important indication for Google.
It should be noted that the data entered match those on the website and other platforms.
Tip # 6: schema.org – Structured Data
Structured data help the search engine to assess the relevance of the website and to assign it to specific search queries. The structured data are not visible to the website users because they are stored in the HTML code.
Most of the structured data for Google search uses Schema.org terminology. With the help of schema.org , the data on the website, such as your contact details or opening times, can be marked so that they can be better recognized by search engines .
Google recommends using the JSON-LD format for structured data whenever possible. Conveniently, there are already guidelines for this that can be used either by Google or schema.org.
Tip # 7: Backlinks and Local Links
Backlinks are also important outside of local search engine optimization. In contrast to the “normal” backlink, however, the locally related backlink should be locally relevant .
These links can either come from local bloggers / influencers, from local company and industry directories (Herold, Yelp, etc.) or from local news channels, for example associated chambers, suppliers and dealers.
The more mentions and external links of thematically relevant pages, the better for the ranking.
Tip # 8: Reviews
For most consumers nowadays, authentic and personal evaluations are crucial when making a purchase decision.
Who has never read the reviews on Amazon or other online sellers before making a purchase decision? Probably very few. This is especially true for larger purchases.
Good ratings or reviews have a positive influence on local SEO. Here the saying applies: “the more the merrier”.
But be careful, if a company only has five-star ratings, this could be an indication of manipulated ratings. It doesn’t have to be, but it should be checked carefully.
Trustworthiness is an important factor in customer acquisition and an equally important ranking factor.
To get an average star number from Google, you need at least six ratings.
How do you get these reviews?
Either you wait for them to be handed in by customers (this can take time) or you actively address them and ask for a fair rating if they are satisfied with your product or service.
Tip # 9: Landing page for each branch
If it is a company with multiple branches or stores, i.e. multiple locations, a single website is not enough. It would make sense to create a higher-level landing page from which the local landing pages are linked .
In order to achieve the best possible position in the local search results, a separate landing page should be created for each individual location. It must be ensured that the following information is included on the landing page:
- Location data in the meta description, on subpages, important headings, in the URL and in the body text
- Location map z. B. by integrating geolocations such as Google Maps
- Contact options e.g. B. with telephone number or contact form
- Services or products offered at the location
- Pictures of the location
- Description of the location
- Presentation of the site team
- Social media buttons
For those companies that offer their services locally or that own stores, local SEO is an important part of search engine optimization .
Since smartphones are a big part of our everyday life, the user is enabled to become aware of services and / or products while on the move.
Not only search engines have to be considered, but also the optimization of map services. If your company’s website is optimized for these local searches, you need to show the user the most relevant content related to their search. Then there is a great chance that this user will become a customer.
Here are the most important points from our point of view for a good ranking in local search:
- A website optimized for local search queries (Local SEO)
- A neat Google My Business entry
- Further entries on industry-relevant directories
- Mostly positive ratings/review
In your opinion, what are the most important points of local SEO? Write it in the comments. We look forward to your feedback and constructive dialogue with you.