Local search engine optimization is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing a website to be found in local search results. Basically, local SEO is a strategic process that focuses on emphasizing the optimization efforts of local brick-and-mortar businesses. Content, on-page optimizations, and link building all with a focused, localized intent are part of these efforts. The focus changes, however, when it comes to localizing link acquisition. The focus changes to making sure all potential local signals across Google’s local search landscape are consistent and correct. If they are not, or you accidentally provide different information for the same business, you could potentially experience situations where your local results display something different than what was intended. Why Local Search Is Important Here are a few stats that prove how important local search continues to be for businesses: 50 % of people who did a local search on their phone went to a physical store within one day. 34% who did their search on a computer or tablet did the same. 18 % of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day. 60 % of American adults conduct searches for local services or product information on tablets and smartphones. 50 %] of searchers on their mobile phones who conduct local searches are looking for things like a local business address. 78 % of local-based searches on a mobile device end in purchases being made offline. 71 % of people who have been surveyed have said they search for the location of a business in order to confirm its existence before going there for a first-time visit. 1 in 3 searches on a smartphone was conducted just before arriving at a store. 97 % of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12 percent looking for a local business online every day.
Who Won’t Benefit from Local SEO?
While as SEO professionals we would love to see everyone benefit from local SEO and sell these services to more clients, the reality is that some businesses just don’t lend themselves well to local SEO efforts. Businesses like online only ecommerce shops, local authors, businesses that don’t want to share their local information, and private online sellers who want to keep their information private are likely not great candidates for local SEO services.
What Are the Important Parts of Local SEO?
When it comes to local SEO, it isn’t all that different from organic SEO – keyword research, content, links, and on-page technical SEO. It just has a local focus. These elements are important to get right for your website and its industry overall in order to outperform the competition in the SERPs. When optimizing for local search, however, these parts contain more of a local focus that focuses on searches people are performing in the immediate area surrounding the business (e.g., local city names).
Keyword research for local SEO has not changed all that much, although some aspects are a little bit different. Now, statistics show that people have more access to devices like smartphones, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. These devices pave the way for voice search to be one of the primary avenues of executing local searches. It’s easier to say “find a doctor near me” or “find a plumber near me” for most people than it is to type. Thus, it isn’t surprising to see a rise in local queries based on conversational voice search. If your industry is service-oriented, try out keyword variations that include questions. SEMrush’s topic research tool, Keyword.io, and AnswerThePublic all provide ways to see questions people are searching for, along with their search volume. This is an excellent way to target keywords that have local intent. If your industry is a local brick-and-mortar, service-related business, like a restaurant or an attorney or lawyer, try keyword variations that have a conversational tone and focus. You may be surprised by the search volume you can achieve when you do keyword research in this way. The Importance of Content to Your Local SEO Efforts Content with a local focus has a significant importance on local SEO efforts. Depending on your industry, content with local focus, depth, breadth, and knowledge tends to do well. However, just writing long-form content won’t necessarily always produce the best results. It all depends on the nature of the results of your query, and whether this content fits the user intent behind the query the best. It’s not about whether it has the highest word count for the query. Writing custom local content with all of these factors will help you achieve the quality content Google wants to return for certain local results. What should you not do when it comes to content? Wikipedia-type content is the worst type of content you could write. You know the kind. The kind that quotes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or city guides data that is available everywhere on Wikipedia. The reason why this is the worst type of content is that not only is the content usually thin, the value that it brings and the value of the research put into the content is usually just as thin.
Thin content adds little value to your SEO efforts
Local SEO Links For local SEO, links are a little bit different than organic SEO. First, you must consider Google’s Webmaster Guidelines when acquiring all links. You don’t want your link acquisition efforts to result in a manual action (i.e., penalty) from Google. If you build links that violate any of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, Google will eventually detect them. The next thing you know, your entire website could disappear from the organic search results.
What’s the Future of Local SEO?
Current statistics, data, and trends suggest that local SEO is headed toward a paradigm shift in significantly improved context and understanding. The proliferation of devices, like smartphones, Amazon Echo and Google Home, suggest a trend towards the creation of devices that have more conversation-like approaches that equal or exceed human understanding.
It could even be suggested that these devices implement higher-quality, faster, and overall improved algorithms to serve enhanced voice search results to the user. Google is always adjusting and updating its algorithms. It remains to be seen what will happen, but hopefully it will help improve all search results.