A short yet detailed guide that would provide you fundamental ideas on local SEO and its
various attributes, equipping you with skills to accelerate business growth in the local market.
Table of Contents
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a finer brand of Search Engine Optimization that focuses on content and related links of a website. This makes the website more searchable and it can be found in local searches.
From the point of view of a potential customer, suppose you need to visit a dentist for the first time. How are you going to search for the service? The common terms you would type are “Good dentists near me” or “Best dentist in my city” or something similar. The search produces some local results. You choose anyone among those.
Now think this from the point of view of a business or local service provider. You have a website, a business phone number, and want to attract customers at your shop, say, a dental clinic. As a local dentist, you would desperately want your website to rank higher in search results, pertaining to the local market. Resultantly, you would get more patients at your clinic. You would begin to earn more revenues in a sustainable way.
Here lies the importance of local SEO. It is technically a digital method to increase the relevance of your business in the local market. Evidently, your business prospects become stronger even in a competitive environment.
What kinds of businesses need local SEO?
It is crucial to know the nature of the business that reaps in maximum benefits by applying local SEO techniques.
- Medical services – As explained in the previous point, if you are a dentist or any other medical professional, you would be able to attract more patients to your clinic through local SEO.
- Legal businesses – People often search nearby agencies and service providers with respect to solving a wide range of legal issues. Hence, if you own a law office, then you might receive good benefits from local SEO.
- Bars and cafes – Local SEO has an unprecedented impact on the business prospects of restaurants in the local market. The competition is tough. You have to continuously stay relevant and get noticed. Local SEO can do the trick for you to pull more customers at your bar or café.
- Pet services – If you have a business centered on dog fashion, cat food, veterinary care, or anything in line with pet services, then firstly you need an awesome and clean website, and secondly, you require the implementation of local SEO measures.
- Real estate – Local SEO can help you to a huge extent when you plan to wood customers to buy apartments, offices, villas, hotels, etc at specific places. The real estate sector can cut huge operational costs through local SEO.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Are you yet to find out the specific benefits of local SEO? There are, in fact, several advantages of it. The prime benefit is your business gets noticed by potential customers in local search results. Your business website has more online visibility.
More traffic means more leads. More leads mean more conversions. With more conversions, you can assure more revenues for your business. You are able to get a larger volume of targeted traffic with your optimized website. You would gain an advantage against your competitors in the local market. With a smart, SEO-enabled website, you would be able to ensure a continuous flow of customers.
Local SEO plays an instrumental role in improving the ranks of your site in local search results. With a higher rank, you have a greater chance to get more leads. More people would click on your website link and read its content.
Consider this – will you be interested in a service whose web-link appears on the 2nd page or 3rd page in Google search result pages? Hence, using local SEO and appearing on the first search page on Google is one of the critical determinants of your success.
How Does Local SEO Work?
In simple terms, local SEO works through a series of steps from a proper keyword search, the building of content, optimization of the site, and restructuring it – making your business local visible.
A short example would perhaps explain this better.
- Suppose you find that ‘black coffee Madison Square’ is a long-tail keyword relevant to your business.
- You use it strategically to build website content.
- When coffee enthusiasts of New York, especially people living in the vicinity of Madison Square type the keyword, they would get a list of results in the local area surrounding Madison Square.
- If the website of your café has strong local SEO, then it appears on the first page of the results with a high rank.
- People click on it and know more details about your business.
- Many of them visit your café. You gain more customers and revenues.
How do you rank locally?
In order to rank locally, it is crucial to have a set of tested strategies. You need to have a clear map of implementing them. The competition is tough and you should constantly evolve your tactics. Try to mix them in a balanced way.
Google listing is one of the main elements you should consider if you aim to rank locally. Open a GMB (Google My Business) Account and register you business under it. Provide all relevant information such as name of your company, its purpose, address, contact details etc. Optimize the business profile.
With advancement in technology, you have to think out of the box to stay ahead of the race. You should also aim for optimizing voice research, as it is the local search method of the future. Provide information about business hours and easiest routes from particular spots in the city.
Moreover, optimize your website for mobile users. You also need to start a blog exclusively connected to your business website.
Does SEO really work?
You might be in a dilemma about the effectiveness of SEO to make your business platform more visible to potential customers. It is natural to have doubts. You might hear diametrically opposite strategies from two different SEO experts.
However, the key point is to follow and maintain the current practices in the current perspectives of SEO. Evolving your SEO strategy is extremely important. The tactic that was functional 6 months ago might be obsolete in the present situations. You should be smart enough to adapt to changes.
SEO will not work if your site has not been optimized properly. Also, when you have a blog attached to the website, it needs to be regularly updated, at least once per week, with long-form articles to bring more recognition for your business. It means the length of the article should be at least 1500 words. Anything lesser would not be very effective.
You need to have some patience for the SEO to work in your favor. It doesn’t happen overnight. The crawling algorithms of Google take time to assess your site’s content. If everything is in good shape, your page or website will begin to rank on Google search results. With high ranks, you would be able to attract voluminous traffic at your platform. More traffic would further provide more credibility and domain authority to your website. This would add value to it, and your business.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is basically optimization of your web content and associated source codes of HTML (considering headers and Meta tags). This helps your business website to rank higher and gain more recognition in the local market. Your site gains more organic traffic if the on-page SEO is implemented complying with all the standard practices.
On-page SEO helps you to understand what actually your potential customers or target audience is searching on Google and other search engines, when they are typing queries. Also, you become aware of the exact user intent through search dynamics, which help you to strategize better.
Following the new E-A-T principle of Google is arguably the most important factor you should consider while implementing on-page SEO tactics. E stands for Expertise, A stands for Authoritativeness and T signifies Trustworthiness. You website content, whether a service platform or blog, should have content reflecting expertise, must possess an authoritativeness in the respective field, and should be believable.
If you website maintains E-A-T, then the chances of getting a high rank on Google search result list is pretty high. Google, in general, values rich content with practical and detailed information. Building your website content or blog in these lines is rewarded by Google with greater visibility in organic searches.
What is off-page SEO?
Fundamentally, off-page SEO is any activity outside your website that brings traffic to your website. Arguably, the most important activity in these terms is link building. To be more specific, building quality backlinks increase the flow of traffic to your online business platform. Link building is undoubtedly the most reliable and popular technique to bring traffic to your website from other online sources.
A straightforward example would explain the phenomenon to you. Suppose you write an article on a celebrated online forum, related to the same business domain as your own website. You make hyperlink of some of the lines in the article, relevantly. When a person clicks on that hyperlink, he would directly land up on your business website or product page. This is a classic example of link building. One hyperlink refers to a single backlink.
But it is important to build superior quality backlinks. It means build links on sites that have significant domain authority. Creating hundreds of backlinks from dubious or unreliable sites is not at all recommended. It is better to build 5 backlinks from high-end websites with strong domain authority. This serves in improving the rank of your business platform in local searches.
Marketing your business and website on social media platforms is also a wonderful way to create backlinks. You can pull traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc and accelerate the growth of your business. Social media, in this case, would help you to get more leads.
If you own a product-centric website then try to have as many extensive customer reviews as possible. The reviews on social media and various other online forums act as good sources of backlinks that directly take a potential customer to your website. This would make Google assert more weight to your business site and increase its rank.
What is a good bounce rate?
Bounce rate is a digital marketing term commonly used by SEO experts and web marketers. It is the percentage of visitors who visit your website and quickly leave. These visitors don’t explore your website. They either visit the home page or a service page from a backlink. They rarely spend any time on your business platform.
Deciding on a homogenous scale to mark a good bounce rate is quite difficult. It depends on the nature of business, its reputation in the market, and many other factors. An e-commerce store would have a lower bounce rate than a website on PVC pipes.
The rule of thumb says that if the bounce rate is below 40%, then you are doing brilliantly. If it is more than that but below 60%, your site is performing average. When the bounce rate is even more than that, say above 80%, then it is a matter of concern.
Why SEO is important for small business?
By now, you might have got fair ideas about the importance of SEO for a small business. In order to capture local customers, SEO is critical. You want to get noticed in the local market. For that, you have to create a clean and functional website, and implement SEO. Your business becomes visible on the internet. You get customers. You earn revenues. Your business grows. It’s simple.
How long till I see results?
Irrespective of your business domain or blogging niche, you need to wait for at least 6 months to notice any visible results from SEO. The algorithms of search engine crawlers take some time to read and assess your web content.
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