What is local SEO and how can it help you rank better in your area?

Word-of-mouth and local advertisements may be effective ways to attract local customers. However, online search can be just as effective, if not more so. According to Social Media Today, 97 percent of search engine users have looked for a local business online. And local information accounted for 46% of all Google searches.

As a result, if a company does not appear in local search results, it may be missing out on valuable traffic and customers. To put it another way, local SEO could be the key to keeping your business relevant and growing.

If you’re new to local SEO, you’ll probably have a lot of questions and won’t know where to begin optimising. This guide will show you some of the most important local SEO solutions and will help you better understand the landscape. So let’s get started.

What is local SEO and why do I need it?

To comprehend the local SEO definition, it is necessary to first comprehend what local search entails. When someone searches for businesses, products, services, or any other information relevant to a specific location, they are using a local search engine. They could be looking for “concerts near me” to find an upcoming concert in their city, or “best painting service in [location]” to find a local painting service.

In other words, compared to general Google searches, local search is more focused on a specific location. Local SEO, on the other hand, refers to the process of attempting to improve your online visibility in order to appear in those local search results.

Local SEO is important because it allows you to:

  • Boost your online visibility
  • Bring in more foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location
  • Attract more targeted traffic, which improves your chances of conversion
  • Enhance your credibility and build trust

Organic search results vs. local snack pack

Local snack pack results are one of the ways that local SEO improves your online visibility. Local search results are divided into three categories by Google: sponsored, snack pack, and organic. While sponsored results are prominently displayed at the top of search results pages with the label “Ad” or “Sponsored,” they are not free.

Following that, the snack pack results appear in a box that highlights the top three business listings related to that specific search. This is more prominent than organic local search results, so if you’re featured in the snack pack, you’ll have a better chance of being found.

The best part is that sponsored results aren’t displayed on every local search page. As a result, your company could appear prominently at the top of the search results page, as shown below.

The organic results are further down, below the results from the local snack pack. So, even if your business appears on the first page of local search results, it may not appear as prominently as businesses that appear in snack pack results.

Your local SEO strategy should aim to rank on the first page of organic local searches and in your local snack pack. This increases your chances of attracting targeted traffic by ensuring maximum visibility.

6 ways to boost your local SEO strategy

Now let’s get to the most important part: how to improve your local search ranking and boost your local SEO strategy. There are many aspects to this, so let’s concentrate on the most important:

1. Take control of your Google My Business listing by claiming it and optimising it.

GMB, or Google My Business, is the most important component of your local SEO strategy. You can create free business listings using this Google tool. It’s also one of the top factors Google considers when ranking businesses in organic local search and snack pack results, according to Moz.

Begin by claiming or creating your listing on the Google My Business website.

For your GMB listing, you must provide the following information:

  • Your full and correct business name
  • Your physical store/office address
  • Your exact location on a map
  • Your business category
  • Your phone number and website (if applicable)

You’ll need to confirm your listing once it’s live, which you can do via phone or postcard. Here’s how to make Google My Business even better after it’s been verified:

  • Photographs of your company can be uploaded. This could include images from inside your store/office or from the surrounding area.
  • Give your working hours.
  • Include any additional categories that are relevant to your company.
  • If you have any additional phone numbers, please include them.

You can improve your GMB profile even more by regularly sharing business updates and new content. Use the GMB feature to keep your customers up to date on what’s new and share information about upcoming events. This improves your visibility in local searches while also allowing you to connect with your customers on a deeper level.

2. Keep mobile in mind

Because smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives, it’s only natural that many people will use them to look for local information and businesses. According to a study commissioned by Uberall, 82 percent of respondents had used their mobile devices to conduct a “near me” search. This demonstrates how common it is for people to use their phones for local searches.

As a result, it’s critical that you cater to these searchers by mobile-optimizing your website. Create a mobile-friendly website so that visitors can navigate it easily and find the information they require.

Don’t forget to include call-to-action buttons on your website and in your Google My Business listing. Because 60% of mobile users have contacted a business directly from search results, this could make a big difference.

3. Collect plenty of customer reviews

Review signals are also important in your local search and snack pack rankings, according to the Moz study mentioned earlier. Having a large number of genuine reviews, especially positive ones, can help you rank higher in local searches while also improving your reputation. That means you should work to increase the number of genuine customer reviews for your company.

Keep your eyes peeled for sites where Google expects businesses to have reviews. It will collect reviews from consumer directories and social media in addition to your website and GMB listing. That means you should concentrate on gathering reviews for Facebook, Yelp, Thumbtack, Foursquare, Angie’s List, and other sites relevant to your industry.

4. Focus on local link building

Link signals like linking domain authority and quantity, according to Moz, are among the top factors that influence your ranking in local searches and snack pack results. Local SEO, like regular SEO, necessitates link building to improve your link profile. The linking domains, on the other hand, should be more relevant to your target location.

As a result, you should focus on authority websites in your target area. This could include licencing bureaus and trade associations, as well as the Chamber of Commerce websites.

Partnerships, scholarships, guest posting, and other methods of gaining valuable backlinks from local sites could be beneficial. For example, the Connecticut College website’s “Attractions” page contains links to a number of local businesses.

5. Ensure NAP/citation consistency

In local search results, Moz discovered that Google considers citation signals such as citation volume and NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency. This means that your information should be available on major citation websites such as Bing Maps, Yelp, and Facebook, in addition to Google My Business. Concentrate on higher-domain-authority directories rather than smaller listing directories.

More importantly, make sure your company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all platforms and websites. To improve your local SEO, keep an eye out for misspellings, address and phone number inconsistencies, and duplicate listings.

6. Make the most of social listening

Social listening may have started out as a way to gather marketing data, but it has a lot more to offer. If you know what to look for and how to use the information, it could even help you fuel your local SEO strategy.

Find out what people in your target location are saying about your business or in general using social listening. You could even use it to gather information about your target audience’s preferences and priorities. Then use these revelations to figure out how you can improve your strategy or even your products and services.

For example, you may have heard customers complain about your café’s lack of outdoor seating. Perhaps now is the time to introduce it to a wider audience. You can then improve your GMB SEO by, for example, sharing updates about your new seating arrangement.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that people wish your hair salon offered manicure services as well. You could broaden your service offering and announce it on your Google My Business profile.

Furthermore, your social listening efforts may assist you in determining what types of local content your target audience is seeking. You could then devise a comprehensive local content strategy to meet those requirements. Furthermore, you may be able to find long-tail keywords to incorporate into your content optimization strategy.

Ready to get local?

These are the fundamentals for taking your local SEO to the next level. Remember that your local SEO efforts may span multiple locations. If you’re targeting more than one area, you can even use these ideas in your SEO for multiple locations. So take advantage of them to boost your online visibility in local searches and expand your company.

Need help with getting your business found online? Stridec is a top SEO agency in Singapore that can help you achieve your objectives with a structured and effective SEO programme that will get your more customers and sales. Contact us for a discussion now.