Local SEO for Beginners

Written by: Jason Bayless | September 08, 2016
Search engine optimization goes beyond simply using a mix of keywords and phrases to boost your placement on search engines. Local SEO has become an increasingly important factor for determining the relevance of online content for browsers. If you’re a small business owner, there’s an added incentive to be optimized for local searchers. About now you may be asking, “Okay, so what does that mean exactly?” or “Alright, but how does that differ from what I’m already dong for SEO?” Read on for the answers to both of these questions and more.

Why Local Search Matters More Than Ever

With more than a hundred million smartphone users in the United States alone, more people are able to instantly access info from anywhere then ever before. When you consider that roughly half of all smartphone users are searching for something local, the picture becomes clearer, especially when you factor in the potential to reach browsers when they’re ready to make a decision. Local search comes from an assortment of sources:


Source: https://webfor.com/local-seo-ranking-factors/

Local Citations and Listings

The quality and quantity of the information available online about your business can literal determine your reputation. If a browser finds little or nothing about your business online, they’re not likely to have a compelling reason to choose it. Conversely, conflicting info about your business isn’t going to do you any favors either. As for where your business can be listed online, the most popular places include:

• Google+ Local
• Bing Places
• Yahoo Local
• Yelp

Determining Quality

The quality of the local information is determined by several factors. The first is the consistency with with your listings in local directories. If you have one listing as “ABC Enterprises” and another as “ABC,” this will be counted as two separate businesses by search engine trackers even when it’s the same one. Be sure everything about your business, including how the name of your business and the accompanying phone number, address and link to your website are listed, is consistent; think NAP+W (name, address, phone number and website). Quality is also determined by:

• Backlinks: Backlinks show both quality and relevance, as long as the source of each link leading back to your site is reliable.

• Citations: Citations are defined as a mention of your business or its corresponding info (NAP+W) on other sites even if there is no link directly back to your site with the mention.

Online Reviews

The majority of online searchers are likely to choose a business after coming across a positive review. You can’t control what people say about your business online. Although you can take proactive steps to manage your reputation. This starts with an awareness of what’s actually being said about your business. Even negative reviews can be minimized if you respond quickly to legit issues. Encouraging feedback from recent customers can also help boost your online rep.

On-Site Optimization

Your selection of keywords and terms is a big part of how local your business appears online. Achieve this goal by avoiding broad keywords and incorporating specific geographic info, as in your location or areas you serve — “Miami restaurant” over “restaurant.” This will also involve keyword research that extends to awareness of what local terms your competitors are using. Local or regional keywords can be sprinkled into your:

• URLs for specific website pages
• Meta descriptions
• Headings and sub-headers

As with “traditional SEO,” local SEO isn’t something that produces immediate results unless you consider paid local search. Otherwise, it’s a process that requires careful monitoring of results and consistency with how your business is presented online. Still wondering why going local with SEO matters? Type in the name of a business on Google and you’ll automatically get access to any available reviews on the first search engine results page (SERP) you see. How you’re presented online certainly matters to anyone seeing those results and getting ready to decide where to click next. Ready to go local now?