We got a lot of questions about Local SEO sent through our contact form, so today we decided to make a post.
Local SEO can be defined to be the techniques used to optimize and rank websites that sell products or services targeting certain local areas. Some examples of Local SEO keywords are Fort Worth SEO, Dallas PPC service.
It is obvious that many businesses want to focus on serving customers in a small area first to ensure the best possible service quality before expanding their services to larger areas.
46% of Google search results are about local businesses. This number also speaks very clearly of the local SEO needs of the majority of businesses.
Sadly, 56% of businesses do not have Google My Business .
Setting a proper Google My Business account is the foundation for the whole process of local SEO. If you’re in the 56% of businesses that are not listed in Google My Business, you’ll have more difficulties ranking your site in your local area.
Google My Business is not only a good start, but it also has a great effect when you do local SEO.
So what is Local SEO? How beneficial it is?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your presence on the Internet in order to attract more customers from related searches in the same locality. These searches are usually from Google and other search engines, like: Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, etc.
However, Google is still the most popular tool in finding local businesses. Therefore, in this post, we’ll just focus on how to optimize your website on Google.
Google SnackPack is the frame that appears at the top of the search results when you enter a search term related to a location through Google. The Snack Pack frame will usually display the names of the 3 most popular local businesses.
According to a recent survey by Moz, 33% of all users will click on the “snack pack” and 40% will click on the organic results.
Also, do not forget that Google searches are done through a variety of devices and applications.
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile visitors, as 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact local businesses if the businesses have websites that are mobile friendly.
To test how mobile friendly your website is, you can use this tool.
You also need to make sure your site layout looks clean and neat.
It doesn’t matter what position your site is in the Snack Pack frame. It is the website layout, how clean it is that counts.
Researching Local Keywords is not difficult at all.
For most businesses today, the primary keywords must be explicitly assigned.
Suppose you provide interior design services in Dallas, Texas – how to know how people will find your business information?
Just make a guess. Maybe they’ll search on Google with phrases such as:
“Interior design in Dallas”;
“Office furniture design Dallas”;
“Interior designer Dallas”
Did you notice the general format of these three phrases? This is a typical example of a SiL structure. Just list the services you provide and include the specific location you target, you’ll have a set of potential keywords.
If you use Ahrefs, you can copy and paste these keywords into the Keywords Explorer search box to see the amount of traffic and other metrics for each keyword.
If your company is located in a small district, the SEO process will be a little difficult. Specifically, the search engine will not collect enough real information to show the exact search volume for you.
But do not worry too much; we will give you a tip:
Refine your search location to a larger city nearby, and also check their search volume for these locations.
Then, do the following calculation:
(Your local population / population in the nearby city you choose) * the amount of keyword searches corresponding to the city you choose.
(You can find population data through Google).
Note: The result from the calculation is relative only.
The next step is to use Google Autocomplete to find more search suggestions.
This task is simple. You’ll just need to enter into the Google search box your main keyword phrase and record the search terms that Google suggests. Note down related keywords.
Then, continue searching for other keywords.
If you use Ahrefs, you can ignore this whole process by using the Search Suggestions report in Keywords Explorer . Google Autocomplete will then offer you a series of interesting suggestions.
We have to admit that Google is incredibly smart at understanding users’ intent. To learn about your competitors’ keywords, use the Ahrefs Content Gap tool and view popular keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Creating and verifying Google My Business is considered to be the most important part of local SEO.
The setting up process is not too difficult – just follow the instructions given by Google.
There are a few things to keep in mind that can bring significant business benefits to the business owner when setting up Google My Business (GMB).
According to Moz, GMB is one of the top local ranking factors for both “snack pack” and natural search results.
To set up your GMB, visit the https://business.google.com/create link, then follow these steps:
First, Google asks you to fill in the business name.
You have two options here:
Start typing and Google will search for your business in their system.
If your business is already registered then it will display immediately. If not, click the option “create business with this name”
Make sure to type in your business name. This field is not the right place to insert your keywords for SEO purposes.
Google will ask you to fill in your business address.
It’s simple, isn’t it? However, you’ll find this to be challenging if:
If one of those situations is right for you, do not worry too much. We’ll show you some effective solutions:
If you have a physical office, enter the address of the office.
If you and your partner both work at home, fill in the address of the person living closest to your business.
If you have online office only, do not type that address in because it is against the GMB policies! Use your home address instead.
Remember, all information you declare must be consistent. So, I recommend copying information from the spreadsheet you created earlier to make sure this is both accurate and relevant to the information on your site (or any other business listing that you participate).
If you do mobile business, check the box that says “I deliver goods and services to my clients “. This field should also be checked if you own stores, restaurants that provide additional delivery service.
Then you’ll see another box saying “Hide my address”.
By checking this box, then, even if Google knows your business location (for verification purposes), they will not show your address to the users. Address information will be kept private and unlisted on your GMB page.
This option is especially convenient for those who do business at home.
On the next screen you’ll see the map with the location pin.
You can drag and move around to pinpoint your business’s exact location.
The right category helps Google have an idea about your business and your website niche. This is the premise for you to promote hundreds to thousands of keywords in Google map that we’ll mention later on.
Fill in your phone number and website URL.
Before your GMB information appears online, you need to verify the information thoroughly.
This is usually done by phone or postcard – just follow Google’s instructions.
In addition to verifying the information you have entered, you can optimize more of your GMB information by:
The next tool is Bing Places .
Basically, the steps in Bing Places are similar to Google My Business. The only thing to remember, declaring your business information to Bing is much less important because Bing makes up only 7.81% of the US market share.
However if you target US market, Bing is still worth to try.
First, check if your business is listed in the Bing Places by visiting Bing Maps and entering your business name. If yes, then you will see it appear in the search results box as shown below:
If not, you will be redirected to the page where you can declare the ownership or add your business.
Next – you will choose the type of your business and the business address.
Here are your options for business types:
Option #3 does not meet the requirement to join the Bing Places list. So, I recommend logging into Bing only if your business belongs to #1 option.
There is a green box saying “Import data from Google My Business”. This is where the miracles happen.
If your business is already verified on GMB, just click on that box. A series of options will appear for you to import data from Google My Business. This step not only saves time, but also minimizes the possibility of errors.
If you’re not verified on GMB, just type in your business name and location (your ZIP code).
Bing will then search for your business. But if the business does not exist then you have to click on the “Create new business” button to create a new business.
In this step, you fill in the full name, address and website of your business.
Similar to the GMB listing, all information you declare with Bing must match what you enter on your spreadsheet or other lists.
Bing also has a hidden address section if you do not want it to show up on search results, especially if you work at home or online.
First of all, if you are a doctor or a health professional then you just need to check the box with the content as shown below.
For other cases, click the “browse” button and select one of the 11 available business segments. Select “I do not know” if you are unsure.
Then choose the right category for your business
Bing’s categories list is not as rich as Google’s, but you can select multiple categories (up to 10) here and then select the main category later on.
The last step is to add a description line for your business. You can insert some keywords here, but do not try to do keyword stuffing here.
It is best to copy and paste information from your spreadsheet to Bing to ensure the information consistency.
Bing also displays social profile links in the Knowledge Graph when someone searches for your business. This is also the way to create Entity for your website.
So, add all social profile links you have.
You can add up to 10 photos in this section.
Apple’s iPhone accounts for 32.9% of US market share – equivalent to one-third of the total smartphone users.
You can use Google Maps instead of Apple Maps, but there are two things to keep in mind:
Millions of iOS users still use Apple Maps as this is the default map app on the iPhone. Apple’s good at information security, that’s why we couldn’t find the exact number of iOS users using Apple Maps. However, since it’s the default map app on the iPhone, I bet most iOS users use Apple maps.
Apple Maps is integrated into the Siri and Spotlight searches. If you request directions on Siri, Apple Maps will be started. Same with Spotlight searches. The latest statistics show that Siri is being actively used on more than half a billion devices. This is an extremely large number!
In short: if you are doing local SEO, you should claim and optimize your Apple Maps listing.
Citation is the online mentions of your business, usually name, address and telephone number (NAP = Name + Address + Phone).
There are two main types of citation: structured citation and unstructured citation.
Here is an example of structured citation:
Basically, structured citation includes NAP attributes given in well-structured format by the websites they appear in, such as business information or business listings.
Unstructured citations are often mentioned in blog posts, e-newspaper websites or business blogs. Those are the quotes that are not structured in any way.
There are two reasons explaining the importance of NAP citations:
Therefore, when doing local SEO, you have to guarantee 2 things:
Most businesses will have some citation available online.
But usually at least some of these will be inaccurate or incomplete.
For example, there are businesses that have the correct business name and address but wrong phone number shown online. Others may have the correct name and phone number shown but the address is outdated. There are also businesses that have one or two among the three essential elements shown.
Note: In case you have multiple office phone numbers, only one number should be declared to ensure the consistency between all the information.
Here’s how to find the inappropriate, incomplete, or duplicate NAP citations:
Here are some ways you can apply:
To find out the incomplete NAP citations, you search for the following:
“Business name” + “address” “exact phone number”
“Business name” + “exact phone number” – “address”
“Correct phone number” + “address” – “business name”
To find out the incorrect NAP citation:
“Business name” + “address” + “old / wrong phone number”
“Business name” + “exact phone number” + “old / wrong address”
“Correct phone number” + “correct address” + “old business name”
Once you have found and fixed the wrong/incomplete information for the citations, the next step is to create more citation by finding more directory websites.
You may already get familiar with the on-page SEO techniques such as:
However to be ranked in the local area, you need to add elements such as displaying NAP information and adding related schema markup.
Schema is not as complicated as many people think.
It is simply a code added to provide Google with more useful information about a business or website. Also, thanks to the schema, Google understands more about the data displayed on your site.
Keep updating and maintaining your activity on Google My Business so Google can see that your business is really doing well.
Here are the three most important activities to do with your GMB listing:
No. 1 is easy to understand – just follow up and respond to reviews (positive and negative) in a timely manner through Google My Business.
You should do the same for any web review that is important to your business (e.g., TripAdvisor).
But you also need to keep track of the incorrect edits in your listing.
Basically, anyone can suggest an edit to any listings on Google.
Google seems to make a lot of suggestions without informing or authenticating the information to the business owner. Therefore, you should check every week to make sure everything stays correct.
We believe you now have the answers for your questions about local SEO.
We hope the information we provide will help you do local SEO correctly.