Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to be found in local search results. Businesses that operate in a specific location and want to be noticed by their local audience can benefit from this form of optimization. And with more than half a billion daily searches on average coming from mobile devices alone, optimizing your site has never been more crucial. A locally optimized site allows your prospects to easily find what they are looking for (that’s you!) by using key phrases like “near me” or even just typing an address into the search bar.

Google Maps, local search and traditional searches on Google are often used to find local businesses. These three sources use different algorithms for ranking results: distance from a user’s location, relevance based on what they are looking for or search prominence.

That said, a good local SEO campaign focuses on these elements:

1. Business Pages

Localizing your business is important, so create a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) page for it to be indexed by Google. Include accurate information on the site, like hours of operation, contact details and company history. Use Bing Local, too, if you want to further strengthen your local presence. Bing Local shows reviews from your previous clients – just one more effective way of showing potential clients the best things about working with you.

2. Local Keywords

Optimizing your business page for local SEO is crucial if you want to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

By targeting the most popular keywords in your geographic location, you can increase relevance and climb up the search results. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find these localized terms by filtering and using their geolocation options. By creating content around your keywords, you double your chances of achieving higher rankings on Google and other search engines.

3. Online Business Directories

A business directory lists down businesses based on their niche, location, activity or size. Yelp has become one of the most popular online directories for brands to list company or brand information and allow others to find them. Putting in the correct business name with other relevant information enhances your visibility, which boosts local SEO. You must maintain consistency across platforms when filling out listings, including your Google Business Profile, Facebook business page and LinkedIn company page.

A business directory provides info relating to specific niches, like restaurants listed under food delivery sites and nearby grocery stores found through shopping site reviews, usually by category within an easily navigable interface.

4. High-Quality Backlinks

One of the best ways to get ranked on Google is getting high-quality backlinks. First, find out how many external links there currently exist pointing to your site from any third-party sources. Knowing this makes it easier to plan efforts into acquiring new ones through tactics designed specifically with these goals in mind.

5. Map Location

The next step in creating your website is to make sure that it has an accurate location. Google Maps is a great option for this, and it’s free! It allows you to enter your address or coordinates, upload photos with captions and add building descriptions where applicable and ratings and reviews from other users.

The first thing any potential customer needs is clarity about your business address, so be accurate and consistent and add the street number and directions if necessary. Google Maps is easy to set up – just input your desired info then edit the information by adding pictures and descriptive content, like hours and location.

6. Mobile Responsiveness

With the diversity of mobile platforms, it is no longer enough to just have a site that works on desktop and laptop computers. To secure your site visibility in search engines like Google or Bing, ensure that all your pages perform well across all devices.

In today’s digital age, where users access information through their phones, having an optimized responsive design ensures that customers can find your business right when they need it.

7. Specific Pages

Create a page for every product and service to be easily found by your site visitors. The best way to ensure your business is successful, from an online standpoint at least, is to create pages with clear content about each of your products and services. This helps prospective customers find what they are looking for without having to wade through irrelevant pages.

8. Schema Markup

Schema can be game-changing for your business to climb out of the SEO trap. Schema markup is a set of tags that you add to your website’s HTML code, which tells search engines what each page should look like in their results pages. It enables search engines to provide an enhanced experience for users by displaying relevant information and images aligned with the result list, rather than buried deep on different web pages – or worse, not at all – when there’s available content but no schema tag provided.

9. Positive and Detailed Reviews

To maximize your success, it is important to acquire as many positive and detailed reviews about your business as possible. Uplifting feedback from customers helps make a strong case for potential new clients who are just beginning their search process for the right company. In getting these valuable testimonials, remember to thank your customers at every chance possible.

10. Voice Search Service

Voice search is a new technology that uses voice recognition to allow users to input words or phrases with their voices. Voice search currently works on Android devices, Windows phones and tablets and Chrome for desktop, allowing users to speak into their microphone and taking away the need to type search queries. The use of voice search has gained traction over the last few years and will continue to grow and shape the way people look for information online. So make sure your website is optimized for voice search.

Final Thoughts

Local SEO was once a small niche in the online marketing world. Now, it is becoming increasingly important for business growth and visibility in front of potential customers. Focus on off-site factors, such as business listings, link building and online reviews, and you’re one step closer to dominating local search.

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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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