Local SEO Guide

Written by: Jason Bayless | September 10, 2016
If you’re a small or local business, you’ve probably heard the term “local SEO” more than once. It helps you grow your business, is more efficient for small companies than a standard SEO approach, and requires unique criteria. But even if you know all of that, you may not know the best way to create a local SEO strategy or why you truly need it.

This local SEO guide can give you an overview of local SEO and its importance.
Why Local SEO?

Local SEO is important for small businesses for a number of reasons. First of all, a local search allows users to see only the companies providing a particular service or product in a designated area. This allows the users to narrow down their possible choices to a more realistic number. But it also benefits businesses the same way.

When a small business only operates in one city or location, they can focus their SEO strategy just for that city. Rather than competing with all similar companies all over the country – including those hundreds of miles away – you are narrowing down the area that your company may appear. If you can only provide your service in a particular area, you don’t need to appear in a list of results for another state or city.

By focusing just on the city you serve, your competition pool grows smaller and the users who find your page are more likely to come into your storefront, restaurant or office. Local SEO allows you to create a more targeted strategy when the majority of your business needs to be done on purpose.
How Local SEO Differs

To allow your company to create a more focused strategy, local SEO uses a different set of criteria to determine where your business should appear on the list of results. Here are some of the major points of a local SEO strategy:

Reviews: The reviews left on your local website pages, including Yelp, Google My Business, or even Facebook tell potential customers if your establishment are worth visiting, but they also tell Google if they should recommend your company. If you want to appear towards the top of the list for a Google local search, encourage customers to give you a positive review.

Keywords: Keywords for both a local SEO strategy and a standard SEO strategy will be important, but the keywords for a local SEO strategy will need to include the city and state name. You will want your location to appear alongside keywords if you hope to appear in a local search results list.

NAP Information: Your NAP information includes your company’s name, address and phone number. This information is crucial for a local SEO strategy because it allows Google to connect each of your pages to your website, including your Google My Business and social media pages. Your NAP information also makes it easy for customers to contact you if they need to.

Google My Business: When you conduct a local search on Google, Google will first display the My Business pages that meet the criteria. While some individuals will skip over these listings to find the websites listed for the results, more will choose to browse through Google’s recommendations of pages. If you want to appear in the My Business results, you’ll need to claim your page and update it with the necessary information.

Each of these components will work together to allow Google to connect your services with your city. In addition to the standard components of an SEO strategy, including link building and keyword research, you will need to include these unique points.

A local SEO strategy doesn’t need to be difficult, but it is important. With a clear understanding of what local SEO can do for you and your business, you can start seeing more individuals come through your business doors and stop wasting your time competing in national searches.