Local SEO - A Comprehensive Guide

Today, customers want the best products and services near them. Most of us search for the same over the internet and want faster answers. But, is your business capable enough to show up when the local customers search for it? Even if your business does so, will the customers choose you from the list of local businesses providing the same products and services? If you want customers to choose your business, you need to focus on Local SEO, and yes, it is important. Why? Because 46% of all searches done over Google involve local searches, 97% of the users searched over the internet to find a local business. 

The statistics state that if you own a local business and failed to have local SEO, you miss an opportunity every time a local search is conducted for your products and services over the internet. According to a study, about 89% of people use their smartphones at least once a week to search local businesses, while 58% of the customers conduct the same search daily. 

At Shrushti, we will provide your business the best guide for local search engine optimization through a strategic and targeted approach that differentiates from general SEO. To give you a better idea and understanding of local SEO’s current trend, we proposed this comprehensive local SEO guide.

Local SEO: What is it and its Importance

Before we go into the guide details, let us first understand what local SEO is and its importance. Local SEO involves optimizing websites to increase traffic, generate leads, and create brand awareness through local searches. Finding local keywords, enhancing Google My Business Profile of the business, and developing Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) citations are some of the common tasks associated with the local SEO. It is quite similar to organic SEO, other than the former contains some extra geographical components. Through local SEO services, you aim to rank your business high in the search engine result pages (SERPs) while your customers locally search for your business. 

For instance, there is no point when your apparel business in California shows high-ranking results in New York’s local searches. You will want people to search for apparel businesses in California. 

We, at Shrushti, aim to showcase some interesting and random statistics that highlight the importance of SEO for your local business. According to the study, around 46% of the searches performed over Google’s Search Engine have local intent, and 29% of the Google SERPs contain at least a single local pack in the record. According to Google, about 76% of the customers search locally over their smartphones. 

These statistics indicate that local searching comprises a large part of SEO. Thus, if you can generate your business leads for these local searches, you have implemented your local SEO successfully.

The Local SEO Guide

At Shrushti, we ensure that our local search engine optimization service helps the customers easily find your business. Here are a few aspects that you need to take into account while opting for the best local SEO solutions. 

Implementing Appropriate Local Keywords

Let us suppose that you have a local jewelry business, Ana Jewels. You will want that your business name pops up when your customers do searches like: 

  • “jewelry store near me”
  • “Ana Jewels” 
  • “when time does Ana Jewels operate?”
  • “contact number of Ana Jewels”

Remember, these are not traditional queries because they display the same information in a card-like form in SERPs. Google searches for all the information your customers ask for from the Google Business Listings. But how can you implement more traditional keywords? Worry not; here are a few tactics that we want to share. 

Local keyword research and implementation is a cakewalk. All you need to do is make a list of all the services and products you offer alongside your service locations. Now merge and formulate all the required keywords. However, if you use Ahrefs, make sure to copy-paste the keywords into Keywords Explorer and analyze the search volumes and metrics of the created keywords. You can take the help of Craiglist in having a brief idea about the local keywords. Google Autocomplete is another tool that helps in the generation of local keywords. Moreover, have a close look at the keywords that helps your competitors in getting higher rankings.

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List Your Business in Google My Business, Bing Places, and Apple Maps

Do you know what the most important part of local SEO is? Yes, it is none other than claiming and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB). What about Apple Maps and Bing Places? Yes, they are as important as Google My Business. If you think that setting these up is very difficult, you are wrong, as you need to follow the instructions proposed by Google, Apple, and Bing. However, GMB provides a better experience to the business owners, which they love to grab.

Google My Business

According to Moz, Google My Business ranks at the top for both snack pack and organic results. How to set up your business in GMB? Here’s a systematic guide.
  1. Entering Your Business’s Name
  2. Entering Your Business’s Address
  3. Entering Your Business’s Exact Location of Operation
  4. Choose the Category of your Business’s Operation
  5. Entering Your Business’s Contact Details and Website (if any)
  6. Verification of Your Business’s Listings
  7. Optimizing Your Business’s Listings
If you cannot complete your GMB profile, our local SEO specialist is always by your side to help you.

Bing Places 

Bing Places is equivalent to Google My Business. Most of the small business owners inquire whether it is as important as GMB. The answer is no, as Bing only has 7.81% of the US market share, which indicates that completing a Bing profile is 1/10th as important as completing your GMB profile. However, you must complete your Bing profile as it helps to complete your Google My Business profile. Here’s how you can create it hassle-free.
  1. Check if you are already on the list
  2. Select the type of your business
  3. Enter all the basic information related to your business
  4. Choose the segment and category your business falls in
  5. Add the contact details, website details, social media accounts, and other such links

Apple Maps

Apple’s iPhone holds a 32.9% share in the US market, including half of all the smartphone users. However, while you apply for local SEO for small business, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. First, millions of users prefer to use Apple Maps, as it is a default application on iPhone. Secondly, Siri and spotlight searches contain Apple Maps. The latest statistics show that over half of the billion devices have activated Siri.

Local Citations

The citations include your business’s online presence, which displays your name, contact details, and address, collectively known as NAP. There are two types of citations – structured and unstructured. In a structured citation, you can visually see the NAP information in a structured form, which resembles that of a social media site or business directories. On the other hand, you can notice the unstructured format on blog posts, newspaper websites, and business blogs. 

However, you need to ensure that your business’s NAP citations are consistent and accurate. Why? According to Moz, the citation signals for your business form one of the top local ranking factors. Moreover, Google is not the only place where people search for local businesses, as customers search do so through social media platforms such as Facebook and business directories. When it comes to local search engine optimization, you need to carry out a two-fold job. First, ensure that all the existing citations of your business are correct and consistent. Second, you need to build more relevant citations. Are you worried about how to manage the citations about your business? Worry not; we have a team of experts who will cater to all the citations your business requires.

Monitor Organic Rankings for Local Business

If you have a local business, you need to have its online presence in The Map Pack. This said, you could not completely ignore all the local results, which usually appear at the bottom of the local pack. We came across people who think it is full and final if you have your business’s presence only over Map Pack. 

Your business also needs to rank in the local SERPs with a strong intent for your local searches. The local results remain as they are for any Google SERP. If you are optimizing your site for organic rankings for your local business, use your keyword in the URL, title tag, and all the traditional on-page SEO stuff.

On-Site SEO for Your Local Business

You need to write 100% unique content for every page of your site. If you have your small business in different locations, you need to have separate content for each of them. However, you can create several landing pages for the cities where you do not have any physical presence with not opting for duplicate content. However, this will not help you gain a rank in the Map Pack; rather, your need to have a GMB profile for the same location. You can easily rank in the local organic results for several keywords. 

When it comes to local SEO, you need to have Schema-markup. According to the experts, there is an entire category of Schema-markup for local businesses. For instance, you can use Schema to markup your address and phone number.

Focus on Local Link Building

When it comes to building local links for your business, remember it works even for non-local websites. You can use it for building links for local dentists, pizza shops, and even for locksmiths. It keeps getting better. Because local businesses have a strong bond with a specific city or state, with unique backlink opportunities that non-local sites fail to tap.

Follow the Advanced Local SEO Tips and Strategies

Thumbtack Suggest is a great way to find local keywords for optimizing local SEO for small businesses. For instance, when you search for decorators, it provides you a list of suggestions such as: 

“decorators for wedding”   

“decorators near me”

“decorators for home”

 “decorators for birthday party” 

The results also include a bunch of super specific terms perfect for creating around the landing pages. If you have a website for your business, do not forget to include a Google Map stating your location on the “About Us” page. The map shows your location on a specific page. Are you afraid to embed a map on your page? Worry not; at Shrushti, we have a team of experts who are proficient in embedding your business’s location on your website. Last but not least, you also need to have a closer look at the backlinks associated with your local business. 

Moreover, using Link Intersect is a better option than building citations, which you can use to find common links used by your competitors. It is best to perform the same with the top-ranking sites for the terms you target. Experts state that every nine of ten times, the process uncovered several directory links. With the help of a tool, you can use a better way to discover more NAP citations. However, doing so would also uncover forum links, guest posts, and other unique links. 

Follow the Advanced Local SEO Tips and Strategies

To run your local SEO for small businesses effectively, you need to carry three most important activities with Goggle My Business. These include: 

  1. Responding to customer and client reviews regularly.
  2. Check if your GMB profile underwent some wrong edits.
  3. Inform your customers and clients through Google Posts.

Ensure that you publish new content regularly, informing Google that your site is active and well maintained and attracts other links. 

Remember that you need to keep track of all the conversions at the best level; else, you might not know whether your efforts produce effective results.

About the Author

My name’s Semil Shah, and I pride myself on being the last digital marketer that you’ll ever need. Having worked internationally across agile and disruptive teams from San Fransico to London, I can help you take what you are doing in digital to a whole next level.

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