Local SEO: A Definitive Guide to Outrank Your Competition in 2022

All of us can agree that Google is the number one source of information for a significant portion of the population. Whenever we need to look up something like a restaurant or a salon, the first thing we do is Google the place and read reviews or check the website. Your store must have a good SEO ranking for your business to be visible to the customer. Most customers won’t go to the second page of Google search results to get information. Consequently, an excellent SEO rank is crucial for making your business profitable.

Table of Contents

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is very similar to any other SEO form in functioning and ranking. However, the only difference is that Local SEO marketers and developers focus on increasing visibility in a particular geographical area. Once Google figured out that people use proximity as one of the factors in looking for businesses, the search engine started changing SEO algorithms accordingly. Keywords and phrases related to the area target potential customers and rank better in local search results. This branch of organic SEO is beneficial to local businesses.

Why is Local SEO Important?

An excellent Local SEO rank means your brand will outshine other firms on your local map by appearing more frequently in search queries. Google’s top priority is to help people to the best of their abilities. By strengthening the local SEO model, they are making the lives of both the business owners and customers extremely convenient. Additionally, 61% of customers admitted to searching locally for their day-to-day needs. Research also points out that 86% of customers rely on Google Maps to find a business. Therefore, all research studies and surveys conclude that local SEO rank can enhance the profitability of your brand.

Furthermore, two unique algorithms are powered by Google’s leading local search results. Organic SEO optimization is not enough to build a solid online presence. By introducing the concept of local SEO, Google has presented an exceptional opportunity to brands as they can now appear in both the SERPs at the same time. Phrases like “near me” are trending to quickly find businesses, thus making the location an essential part of your local SEO optimization. For a company having multiple branches, you must invest in Local SEO for each site to ensure all the branches flourish simultaneously.

How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO works by zeroing in on your current geographical location. The algorithm includes a proximity factor, so the search engine automatically considers the user’s location while searching for something. It then pulls up businesses close to your location without typing keywords like “near me” or “nearby.” The growth of smartphone usage or mobile searches has played an enormous role in developing local SEO. Any person owning a smartphone with access to the internet can cater to their needs by simply typing their query into any search engine.

Search engines like Google use quite a few checklists to deliver local SEO ranks. They are:

  • Location of the user
  • Presence on Google My Business
  • NAP citations
  • Presence of Google My Business listing
  • Positive or negative online reviews
  • Brand’s social media representation and reputation
  • Keywords used in Google My Business profile
  • Keywords used in online reviews
  • Total number of “check-ins” at the place
  • Google Maps star rating for the brand

Ensure that your organization is solid on all these factors to get a higher local SEO rank.

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Finding Local Organic Search Competition for Your Business

You might think it’s easy to find your brand’s actual local competition. However, knowing and beating your competitor has become more demanding with the rapid evolution of technology, customization, and targeted campaigns. Your business’s ranking can change dramatically even with minor tweaks the user makes, for instance, changing the language settings. Additionally, comparing two brands will give you essential data explaining why one brand dominates or performs better than the other. Therefore, it’s critical to perform competitive audits and analyses. Here are simple steps you can follow to do the same:

1, Know Local Pack

The Local Pack is a common feature of Google’s search engine result pages that appears on the first page for a query with local intent. According to a report by Google, it shows the user a snippet of Google Maps containing business locations and the three most popular business listings below. The listings presented are deemed most relevant according to the keywords utilized by the user. It includes necessary information about the company like address, phone number, website, etc.

2, Keyword Analysis

This step determines the kind of keywords and the volume the competition uses. Note down your top desired keyword phrases and run a search on google to see what type of businesses pop up with each search. Note the number of times a company pops up on the local pack with a particular keyword search. Next, put all the data in a tabular form to interpret the results.

3, Comprehend the Results

From the tabular representation of the data, you can identify businesses with the highest number of appearances for the relevant phrases. These brands are your competitors in a particular area. Visit their web pages to understand what they do differently. Examine their content, what they are writing about, how it is focused locally, and how they promote their content. What works for your competitors may not always work for you, but understanding why might help you create an ideal strategy for your business.

This self-search process can only give you a rough idea of who your competitors are. Although it is vague, it gives you enough to get on the right path. We recommend contacting an expert or a professional agency for an accurate analysis.

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Techniques to Improve Your Local Search Rankings

Now that you have gained some insight into local SEO, it’s time you learn how to improve it to enhance your business. Here are some techniques you can implement to start ranking better.

Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

GMB or Google My Business is a feature that enables brands to get listed on the search engine. Google uses this as an index to help users find nearby businesses. Registering your business on GMB is the first step to ensuring a splendid local SEO rank. The registration process is relatively simple; submit personal data about your business, a few photographs, and voila, it’s done! Nevertheless, your work doesn’t stop by just registering your business on GMB. You have to optimize the listing to get more views. Updating photos of your store and responding to reviews or questions are some practices you can follow to achieve the results.

Rank in Google Map Pack

Google Map Pack is an integral part of the Google 3 Pack or Google Local Pack. When the user googles nearby businesses, the search engine will show a map snippet on top of the page with red location pins spread across the map. Your business must be visible on the map for the users to see and visit. The research concludes that approximately 50% of the clicks on various SERPs go to businesses listed on Google Map Pack. Getting your business listed once is not enough. It would be best if you remained consistent with your Google Maps rank. Improving your Google My Business account, focusing on local citations and geographic information, and getting and growing your online reviews are some tips you can implement to improve your Google Map rank.

Create Local Content and Location-based Pages on Your Website

Creating hyper-localized content will dramatically improve your current SEO rank. Nonetheless, merchants and business owners need to know what type of keywords to use and at what volume to develop local content. For example, experts advise that small businesses having domain authority below 50 need to target keywords with less than 1000 monthly search volumes. By developing a similar realistic keyword strategy, companies can quickly get up their local SEO rank. Another vital step is to create location-based pages or city pages on your website. They form part of the central content marketing strategy. To create city pages, use the name of the city you want to promote in the search results as the primary keyword. Mention the city name in the title of the page, meta description, introductory paragraph, and a few more times throughout the post.

Adjust Your NAP Profile to Help Local SEO

For most people new to local SEO, a lesser-known fact is that Google considers citation signals like NAP (name, address, phone number) and citation volume consistency to rank local SEO. Therefore, apart from Google, you should list your business on other major websites like Yelp, Bing Maps, Facebook, etc. Merchants should ensure that the information given is uniform across all platforms, and you must constantly update the data in case of any changes. There should be no typing errors, wrong phone numbers, or addresses, as these factors can lower your SEO rank.

Business Listings and Online Directories

Remember those phone directories with thousands of yellow pages containing numbers of everyone in the area? The Gen Z audience might not be because of the revolutionization of technology. These books have become a thing of the past and replaced by the internet. In the contemporary world, you can do anything you wish to know with a snap of your fingers. Online directories like Yelp, YellowPages, and MapQuest organize information based on location, type of business, and other filters to make it more convenient for you.

Get the Right Reviews for Your Website

Customer reviews are significant to building a stellar brand reputation and increasing your local search appearances on Google. Getting positive reviews isn’t enough; you must ensure that the reviews are authentic. Many people make fake accounts to post good feedback, but that’s easily picked up by Google and other users, leading to a negative reputation for your brand. Make sure to respond to all the questions and reviews posted by the users so that they feel heard by you. Apart from the rating and review section seen on Google’s local pack, many businesses also create a separate feedback section on their website highlighting all the favorable reviews given by their customers.

Responsive and Mobile-friendly Web Design

A research survey points out that 60% of mobile users have contacted a business directly from the search result page. Furthermore, 82% of participants in a study used their phones to conduct a “near me” search. Mobile users contribute a significant segment of customers that keep your company profitable. That’s why it’s crucial to consider while designing your website. Since most of them access it through a mobile phone, developers need to ensure that the website has a responsive and mobile-friendly design.

Add the Appropriate Schema Markup for Local Businesses

Schema language is a structural protocol introduced and adopted by Yahoo, Google, and Bing. The objective of this language is to make determining specific datasets within web pages seamlessly and efficiently. Schema Markup also enhances the rudimentary data sets, making it essential for Local SEO. By integrating Schema with NAP, merchants can create high-quality Local SEO, sending Google signals to rank them better on SERPs. It also notifies other search engines about the authority and relevance of your business location.

Voice Search Optimization

Voice search has become increasingly popular over the years. Along with search engines like Google, other social sites like YouTube have integrated voice search options into their website. While using voice search, people tend to use long-tail keywords compared to regular examinations. Adjust your SEO content to fit a more conversational tone so people speaking into the mic to perform a search can easily pick up your website. Another vital point to remember while optimizing your website for voice search is to keep the user intent in mind. When people use voice search, they look for a quick and concise answer as they do not have the time to type out and research their query. Tailor your content to fit both kinds of searches.

Include Testimonials on Your Website

85% of the audience believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Thus, you can assure customers about your brand quality, safety, and more by including testimonials on your website. Such testimonials can be in video or written content. They add value to your business’s reputation. Authentic testimonials will legitimize your company in front of your potential audience and increase your SEO rank. Getting testimonials from your customers can be difficult. You can follow some steps to persuade them to send you a testimonial.

  • Send a post-purchase email or text asking them to review your brand. Ask them to describe what led them to buy from your site or how your product or service helped them.
  • Offer incentives like sale coupons or free shipping in return for them featuring in your company’s testimonial
Link domain authority and quantity of links are primary factors influencing your ranking in Local Search results. Similar to regular organic SEO, Local SEO also requires link building to boost your business profile. Linking domains should be geographically accurate and relevant to your target location, which means you should focus on target authority websites in your target area. Guest posting and partnerships are some authentic and outstanding ways to gain backlinks from local websites.

Claim Social Profiles

Create an account on those social media platforms to help you connect with your potential customers. It’s crucial to know that not all social media platforms will work the same for your business. Select one or two social media channels according to the social demographic of your target audience. Make sure your information stays the same across all social media platforms. Consistency is the key to increasing your Local SEO rank.
Understand the benefits of integrating local SEO for your multi-location business

Significant Benefits of Local SEO for Your Business

Focusing on and enhancing your Local SEO is a decisive move to push your competitors out of business. Here are some benefits of Local SEO for your business:

1. Organic Traffic

The more specific or targeted your efforts are, the better the chances of success. Local SEO helps you entice more customers to visit your store or buy from your store.

2. Online Visibility

For customers to visit your store, they need to be aware of its existence. It is increasingly difficult for small brands and even startups to get lost in a vast sea of powerful corporates. To survive and stay in the competition, you need to ensure an enhanced online presence, which is only possible through top local SEO ranks.

3. Higher Sales

More traffic and conversion rates automatically mean increased sales. Making sure your local customers know of your brand will encourage them to buy from your store because of the proximity and availability. Connecting with your customers will also aid in building a community or a pool of loyal customers who will keep you in business in the long run.

Common Challenges in Enterprise Local SEO

Mastering Local SEO is no easy task. Business owners and developers have to invest a significant amount of time and effort in improving their rank. Below are some challenges in enterprise Local SEO:

1. GMB Optimization

Optimizing a Google My Business account isn’t as simple as one might think. Sure, there are a few steps to follow, but hundreds of things go wrong if one is not mindful. For instance, duplicate listings can keep your brand from getting a higher rank. Other things merchants should focus on are GMB posts and monitoring the listings. There should be enough content and frequent checks to keep the GMB account updated.

2. Prioritize Local Areas

If you own a business at multiple locations, those locations should be your priority while drawing up digital marketing or SEO strategies. A typical SEO strategy is not guaranteed to work for all your branches. Each area needs individual attention and focus.

3. Absence of Good Reviews

This factor depends on the quality of products and the customer service that you offer. If they purchase from a website, customers expect on-time delivery, top-notch quality products, customer assistance, etc. On the other hand, if they receive defective products or have a rude interaction with the staff, they are most likely to post negative reviews on Google.

4. Lack of Social Media Presence

Having a social media account is mandatory for any brand. Not having a legit social media presence is one of the red flags for business. Hire a professional or use your expertise to expand your business via numerous social media channels. Maintaining your social media presence is also a vital step. Post genuine and quality content regularly to grow your accounts and attract consumers.
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Local SEO Strategy in 2022

Local SEO is seldom talked about while making strategies to enhance your brand. With its growing popularity, marketers have started realizing the potential of Local SEO and what it can do for their business. With the help of technological inventions and trends, Local SEO has a bright future in store. There are several ways to design and execute a Local SEO strategy. Hopefully, this blog should act as a practical guide that will help you tackle the challenges of the SEO world. Remember to use the tips mentioned in the article to aid you further in improving your rank.

Local SEO - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I rank my business locally?
Local SEO plays a massive role in ensuring your business gets high local ranks. There are multiple steps you can follow. For example, you should target specific local keywords, maintain a uniform Google Local Pack, focus on hyper-localized link building, have a robust social media presence, etc.

How do I start with Local SEO?
Local SEO marketing can be daunting, especially for beginners. Experts recommend performing meticulous research to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts and terms. Next, create a Google My Business account. It is relatively simple, but it still requires the utmost attention to avoid careless mistakes.

Can Local SEO increase my sales?
Local search engine rankings have proven to help many businesses enhance their annual sales and profits. A higher ranking means customers are aware of the existence of your business and have the means such as the address and phone number of your store or website to reach out and make a purchase.

What do you mean by a Local SEO strategy?
A Local SEO strategy is a plan that marketers develop and execute to increase their local search engine ranking. The main objective is to increase your visibility across search engines so customers can purchase from your store. Local SEO guides are available online to help you curate an effective strategy.

Can content affect local SEO?
Yes, content can directly impact the local SEO ranking of the website. It is up to the business owner or the marketer to develop content that benefits their business. Curating and posting customized content that contains relevant information will help you rank better and gain customers.

Is the Google algorithm different for Local SEO?
The Google algorithm differs between regular SEO and Local SEO. The two might seem similar, but they are very different. Opting for the generalized steps and strategies will not help get a better Local SEO rank. The local SEO checklist contains more factors like local backlinking, maintaining a NAP profile, etc.

Why is Local SEO important for your business?
Local SEO undoubtedly unlocks a whole new profit potential for your business. To further state the importance of Local SEO rank, take a look at these interesting statistics: 86% of customers use Google Maps to acquire the location of a business, and 90% of the users use the internet to look up a business.

What is Traditional SEO vs.Local SEO?
Both types of SEO help improve the website’s rank in SERPs. However, the difference is that regular or traditional SEO is a more generalized approach and helps the brand on a global or national scale. Still, local SEO focuses on a particular area and aids in connecting with consumers residing in the same region.

How is SEM different from Local SEO?
SEM or search engine marketing refers to paid advertising. It includes factors like Google Ads to promote a brand and gain revenue from them. A specific advertisement budget is allotted, and indicators like CTR measure performance. Whereas, Local SEO mainly deals with monitoring, analyzing, and acquiring unpaid traffic.

Should I pay to increase my Local SEO rank?
It is not mandatory to pay to increase your local SEO rank. Merchants or marketers can follow an abundance of guidelines and local SEO tips available free online to improve their rank. Nevertheless, business owners can avail paid professional local SEO services to increase their level.