Every Local Business needs Local SEO. And this tutorial tells you everything about Local SEO.
If a Business depends on the Local Market or on the audience that belongs to places near your Business, then that business is a Local Business.
It is the process of optimizing your website and local profiles like Google My Business to rank higher on Local search results.
Let’s do the Brainstorming. Just think about the searches that you made on Google, and you’ll discover that nearly 50% of your searches are made with the Local Intent. By Local Intent, I mean to say that we want that particular service or a product in the areas near us.
So here are some of the examples.
Restaurants near me, Dentist in Pune, Mobile Repair Shop near me, Local SEO Company near me, etc.
According to the Survey, 50% of the people who made a local search on their phone and checked a particular business, actually visited the Business within 24 hours.
Also, 34% of the people who made a Local Search on desktop visited that business place within 24 hours.
So, here we can find that if we don’t get the Local SEO right and if we don’t show in the google snack pack we might lose customers.
Also, known as Local 3 Pack, it is the ranking based on the local search.
Let me explain you with the help of an example.
So, let’s assume that a person is searching for “Digital Marketing Courses in Pune.” Here is what Google shows as a Local Snack Pack. These are the results from the first page right below the Google Ads.
In this image, we can find that Jaksh Institute of Digital Marketing is ranking at the top and the best part is that it is my Institute. So, this is the excellent news for me, Isn’t it?
Local SEO strategies are constructed for two critical things.
Can you do the Local SEO optimization without a website?
Yes, you can! This can be done by optimizing your Google My Business profile. But if your competitors have a website and Google My Business Account both, then they’ll have a competitive advantage. You’ll be left behind. Do you want that? Of course Not!
So, we need to optimize both, website and Google My Business.
And how to do that?
I’ll tell you. Keep Reading.
Before starting to optimize, first let us check how to create Google My Business account.
It is the Free Business Listing Platform by Google. This Business Listing appears on Google Search and Google Maps while searching with specific keywords.
The complete information about the Business can be uploaded on the profile which is helpful to the customers while making decisions.
Step 1: Visit Google My Business
Step 2: Click on Start Now
Step 3: Enter the Name of Your Business
Step 4: Enter the complete address of your Business. Make sure the address is correct because Google is going to verify this business by sending the verification code on this address. If the address is not correct, you will not be receiving the code.
Step 5: Drop the Marker at the exact spot on the map where your Business is located. This is important because people will follow this while visiting your place.
So, make sure that the marker is pointing at the correct location.
Step 6: Select the Business category to which your Business belongs. This will be helpful to google to show your business at your search query or on the related searches.
There will be one primary category and multiple secondary categories.
Step 7: Enter your correct contact information and the website URL. This information is shown to the customer upfront by Google to make sure the contact number is active, and the link is not broken.
The NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) information is priceless to Google, and it will mess it up by penalizing you if the information is incorrect.
Step 8: After the completion of the process, you will receive the code through a post. And when you enter that code in your profile, then Google will verify the place and start showing it on the maps as well.
This update was released in the year 2010.
With this update, people now started creating their Business Profiles on Google Places. If optimized correctly, the business started showing up on the Google Maps section of Google.
This is when the revolution of Local SEO began.
It was released in the year 2012.
Google started looking for the documents and queries having the local intent in response to the search query.
Eg. If a person searched for “Plumber” in Google Search.
Google showed two results.
The Hummingbird update was released in the year 2013.
This update focussed on the knowledge graph and semantic search.
This update improved the focus on actual meaning and intent behind the search so that accurate results can be shown. Also, the results were given faster.
The wait of SEO community was finally over in the year 2014.
And this update was the major shift in the local SEO industry. The rankings of local listings were increased by google. On the basis of distance and location, the rankings started to show up.
The person who is very new to the SEO world thinks that getting the maximum number of reviews in Google My Business will get the Business at the top of Local Rankings.
No, this is no true.
Because The rankings of Local SEO are based on several factors.
So, let us check all these factors in details.
The most critical factor that decides the ranking of the local businesses is Google My Business Signals. It has almost the share of 19% in the total SEO ranking score.
So, if your GMB signals are working fine for you, then you get this 19% share of all the 100% score.
The essential elements in this process are
Proximity is the nearness or closeness regarding the distance of the person searching the business from that Business place.
So, yes, the distance here counts.
But thank god, that’s not the only factor.
Because, if the person is looking for a surgeon, Google wants to show him the best surgeon in that particular city and not just the one who is very near.
Thus, all the other factors are well considered too.
What happens if the person is searching away from the city or from outside of that city?
Well, in that case, Google geo-locates the search by the centroid.
The proximity of any business from the centroid decides it’s position in that case.
Another important parameter in Google My Business signals is Categories.
By setting up the proper category as the primary category and related categories as the secondary categories, Google understands your Business better.
And by understanding the intent behind the search, it starts to show your Business when a customer looks for a Business like yours.
This is one major hack, through which you can use to get hold of 19% from GMB Signals.
So let us say the name of your Business is ‘ABC Media’ and the keyword for your Business is ‘Advertising Agency’. Let us assume that your Business is in Pune city.
So the name of your Business in Google My Business can be written in this way.
‘ABC Media – Advertising Agency in Pune’
The next important factor in Local Rankings is Link Signals.
It has a share of 17% in the total SEO Ranking score.
Here are the essential elements of this Ranking Factor.
To check how well a domain can rank in Google Search Results, it is essential to check the DA or DR score of that domain.
DA is Domain Authority, and it scales between 1 to 100. Higher the value, better are the chances for that domain to rank.
DR is Domain Rating, and it is similar to Domain Authority.
So, it is necessary that the DA or DR score of domains referring to your website should be good.
Probably, it should always be higher than your DA or DR score.
Along with the DA and DR score of the referring domains, the ratings for your domains should also be as high as possible.
Backlinks have always been crucial for Google. So you should always try to get these links in significant numbers.
Also, while doing this, make sure that these links look natural to google because it doesn’t look natural Google will penalize you and hurt your rankings.
To make it look natural, you need to make sure that you get both types of links, follow and no-follow.
Similar to the link diversity, it is essential to maintain diversity in Anchors as well.
Make sure that you do not use the same anchor text everywhere. Find the right number of long tail keywords and try making use of those in anchor texts but again, don’t over-use any particular anchor.
The most important metrics related to a particular page or URL are PA or UR.
PA is the page authority whereas UR is URL rating. Both these metrics indicated how well a page or URL could rank in Google.
So, the PA or UR score should be as high as possible.
PA can be calculated in Moz and UR can be evaluated in Ahrefs.
While providing the website in Google My Business, you should prefer providing a location page as compared to the home page.
For, eg. Instead of providing https://www.jaksh.co.in, we are proving https://www.jaksh.co.in/digital-marketing-courses-in-pune as our website URL.
This landing page is designed keeping all the location related parameters in mind.
So, it is essential that the Domain Authority or the Domain Rating should be as high as possible for this landing page that you provide.
As we can see the example above, the landing page URL has the phrase like “Digital Marketing Courses in Pune.”
Also, it is a keyword, so I can use the same keyword as my anchor text.
This anchor text has the Location included in it.
Now, let’s talk about the third important factor, which is On Page Signals. It has 14% of the SEO score share.
The landing page that you have designed and assigned as a URL in Google My Business website section needs to be worked here.
It should have the correct NAP information of your Business.
N stand for Name of the Business, A stands for Address and P stands for Phone.
Before starting to write the content, make sure that you have done the keyword analysis for your page.
Now, when you have the list of keywords, start creating your page.
Also, make sure that you add the essential and relevant keywords as the headers.
The Focus keyword or the main keyword will be in the title of the page.
The Domain Authority of the landing page has to be good to get On-Page Signals.
Google is always interested in checking how popular your Business is in your city.
And to check this, it looks for the citation signals.
After On-Page Signals, the next important Local ranking Factor is Citation Signals.
It takes 13% of the total ranking share.
So, here are the crucial parameters to be considered while going for the Citation Signals.
IYP’s are the internet yellow pages. They provide basic information about the businesses.
Similar is the job of Business Directories.
So, you need to submit your Business listing on these Directories by providing the information about your Business.
The information would be like the name of the business, address, working hours, business description, contact details, etc.
While doing this, you need to be extra careful that this NAP information matches to what you have submitted to Google My Business.
This will make NAP consistent everywhere.
Now, when you understood what a citation is and how you can submit your business.
It is essential that you get these citations in significant number.
While creating them in significant number, it will be essential to make sure that you create them on quality websites.
There are important SEO metrics related to the citations.
They are Citation flow and Trust Flow.
Majestic gives both these metrics.
The quantity score can be checked in CF while the quality can be determined in TF.
Since not all the citations will be of the same quality, the TF score is generally less than CF score.
While looking for the citations make sure the citations are locally relevant. Because we are trying to rank locally.
Also, see if you get the industry-relevant citations.
If the citations are not related to the niche, Google considers that as spam and penalize us for the same.
Almost everybody before calling that local business or asking for the directions first checks the reviews of the business.
Google shows these reviews up front. And if you have some wonderful positive reviews on your Business Page, your potential customer would become your customer in no time.
Thus, Review signals are very critical for the business. It has a share of almost 13% in rankings.
There are three critical parameters to watch out while getting hold of this 13 %.
You should try to get as many as reviews possible from your customers.
Because they’ll be serving as Trust signals to the people who are searching for your product or service.
Also, Google wants to show those businesses first who have the good number of reviews to the people doing searches.
So, don’t forget to ask people to review your business if you are providing any service to them.
While you are trying to get many reviews for your business, make sure that you get them at regular intervals.
If you are getting 100 reviews on day 1 and then not a single review for the next 100 days is not right according to Google.
So, getting reviews at equal intervals and naturally is essential.
You can check our reviews on our Google My Business profile.
Google want to check how people are responding to your business when they see it in the results.
And this is what Behavioural Signals are.
They contribute 10% to the total local SEO ranking score.
Here are the critical elements to consider while working on behavioral signals.
Now, when a person discovers your business for a particular keyword, he clicks it or not. And what are the other people doing? This is what click-through rate is.
It is the percentage measure of clicks per impression.
So, the CTR should be high in order to get right behavioral signals.
When a person searches the mobile phone, the person finds Call icon just before the name of your Business.
So, if many people are reacting to that button and making calls to your business then, it is an excellent behavioral signal.
The other mode to contact will be when the person would physically visit the business place for the inquiry.
So, to reach your place safely, the person asks for the driving directions in google, it is considered as the positive behavioral signal.
The next crucial Local SEO ranking factor is Personalization.
It adds up to 10% value to the total local ranking score.
The parameters that are important are
Where do you rank at the various places of that city is something Google wants to check.
So, if you are getting discovered in the multiple locations in the city, then that is a good signal. And you may be offered a better position in local search results.
If your website is responsive, then you don’t have to worry about this parameter of Personalization.
The last but not the least important factor in Local SEO rankings is Social Signals.
Though this ranking factor only has 4% to share in the total SEO score, this cannot be ignored.
It provides signals to Google about how popular your website is on Social Media Platforms.
So, you need to get proper engagement on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
As per our discussions about the ranking factors, let us now optimize Google My Business.
First Login inside Google My Business Account.
This is how the Dashboard looks like after logging in.
Let’s optimize the info section first.
Name of the Business – Add a Primary keyword, along with the name of your business.
Use tools like Ubersuggest, Keywordtool.io, Ahrefs to find the right set of keywords for your business.
Category – Here you can set a primary category and related secondary categories as well.
Working Hours – You can enter the correct information about your working hours here.
Contact Number – We’ve already discussed a lot about the NAP information.
So, make sure that you enter the correct information here.
Website URL – Instead of entering the homepage URL, enter the landing page for a specific location.
Description – Try to complete these 750 characters with some good description of your business. Try to put some keywords with the name of the location inside your content.
Photos – Add some pics of your office building, office interior, team, functions, meetings, etc.
Reviews – Ask your customers to leave valuable feedbacks in the form of reviews.
Use the location name inside your page title.
Assign an H1 tag to the main focus keyword consisting location.
Give H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 tags to other relevant keywords.
The images should have the alt tag having a local keyword.
Create multiple local pages and provide internal links to them. Use location name in the anchors used while giving the links.
Make sure all the internal link are Do-follow links.
There should be a couple of links which are referring to some other domains or websites.
Embed a video and provide that video the same name as your focus keyword with location.
Provide the NAP information on this page as well. Maintain the consistency. You can also make use of Schema.org
Embed a Map of your Location.
The growth of the local business depends on the local market.
So if your business gets discovered to the people who are making these searches, you’ll be getting good leads.
A good number of leads can give better conversions.
And conversions bring Business.
So, to make this into reality, Business needs to do Local SEO.