According to a study, good news for all regional SMEs is 46 percent of users search for local information and service providers on Google. But even though many entrepreneurs deal intensively with SEO, the area of local SEO is still neglected. In this article, I will give you 25 Local SEO Tips to improve your local ranking on Google in the long term.
Local ranking: regional companies should know that
What is Local Ranking (Local SEO)?
Local SEO means Local Search Engine Optimization and is an often underestimated part of search engine optimization. We know from various studies that many Google users search specifically for providers in their area. Effective local SEO methods enable potential customers to find you faster and better. The focus is on optimizing local search results using certain on-page and off-page measures.
Why is local ranking so important?
The latest statistics show that local search is playing an increasingly important role for consumers.
46% of all Google search queries are local, including search queries made on desktop, mobile, or tablet.
76% of people on their smartphone, a local search conducted, go in one day in a retail store. 54% of respondents said they looked for a company’s location before going there for the first time.
Furthermore, 53% of the respondents used the route planner to find out how to get to the store.
Half of the respondents continued to say that they looked for the address of the store.
It makes sense, especially for SMEs, to fully exploit this potential. Local search engine optimization (local SEO) is competing, not you with all other providers of a country or globally, but only with your regional competitors. A good ranking in the local search is possible with little effort and pays off in any case.
Why Local SEO?
While searching for keyword + location, the search engine sometimes shows completely different results for a local search than traditional organic search.
The so-called “Map Pack” for the search query “Italian Restaurant Melbourne.”
The map package is then displayed (also known as the ” Local Pack ” or Map Pack), which consists of three elements:
a) Google Maps: a map of the locations is achieved from Google Maps.
b) The NAP elements ( name, address and phone number, opening times).
c) The organic search results.
Local ranking: research the right local keywords
The foundation of a successful local ranking is choosing the right keywords. As a first step, thorough keyword research, including the local component, is required. You can use various tools for this. Aside from the traditional services, there are some providers for whom the locality factor plays a major role.
The first port of call when determining the right local keywords is Yelp. Searching on the influential referral portal works in practically the same way as on Google. Simply enter in a potential keyword that a potential user could use to search for your business. The best thing about Yelp is that it sometimes displays additional keywords that don’t even contain the term you entered.
Search engine providers such as Google or DuckDuckGo suggest various search terms as soon as you enter the first letters.
Google Suggest is also good for local searches. However, there is one point you have to keep in mind: The search query must be based on what local users would be looking for. Google Suggest will then provide you with a number of suggestions in the search bar.
Local voice search
Incredible, but true: a full 20 percent of Google searches on smartphones are now carried out using voice searches. Of course, there are variations in written search and spoken language. You shouldn’t completely ignore this factor in your strategic alignment.
Google Keyword Planner: "Start with a website"
One of the best tools for keyword research is the Google Keyword Planner. It is characterized by the fact that it accesses a huge volume of data from specific regions. If you are looking for new local keywords, I recommend the “Start with a website” option. This is how you can find out which keywords your successfully placed competitors are using.
If you are looking for new keywords, the best thing to do is go to the Keyword Planner and start with the option “Start with a website”.
The disadvantage: You have to have a Google Ads account, and since you have already entered the payment information, otherwise you will not be able to access the Keyword Planner at all.
Google My Business
In the Google My Business dashboard, you can enter your own business address, store photos and products, read out important key figures and respond to the latest reviews.
A 100 percent free but definitely decisive success factor is Google My Business. If you are not yet using the free tool for entrepreneurs, you should do so urgently and register immediately.
Stay consistent on all sides
One crucial advice for Google My Business: everything has to be right. In any case, the data provided must match the website and all NAP Information. We will come to this relevant aspect in more detail later.
Fill in every data point you can fill in
Depending on how complete the profile is, Google assigns a score. This can ultimately decide on a better placement. It is suggested that you really fill in all of the input fields. You can even add secondary input categories if necessary. Of course, detailed information is also of interest to your customers.
Always keep your most important business data up to date
Many businesses forget to update their Google My Business profile on a regular basis. The consequence of this is often negative comments from dissatisfied customers who, for example, are standing in front of closed doors during company holidays. It’s easy to avoid. Basic information such as opening times or telephone numbers should therefore always be up to date. You can also make your vacation times public.
Get more reviews (and reply to everyone who comes in)
You can also react to the comments in Google My Business.
Reviews can be a decisive factor for a good ranking in the local Google search. You could email your customers to write a review. Of course, you hope that you will only get positive reviews. In reality, however, there are not only satisfied customers. Use a chrome plugin called Gather up to get the Review URL of your GMB Listing. Just open your google listing and click the extension, and you will see something like this.
Gather up Chrome Plugin Link
But don’t worry: even negative assessments hold certain opportunities if you only react to them correctly. Answer to all of them, whether negative or positive. This will let potential customers and Google know that you care.
On-site SEO for local businesses
Local SEO for regional companies and service providers also includes measures for on-site optimization. In addition to the SEO criteria mentioned above, you should also consider other points that will help you with local rankings, like having area pages for all areas you serve and optimizing them with the right Meta Titles and Descriptions. Also, make sure you embed your GMB map on the homepage and driving direction Maps to the area pages
Write clear and unambiguous content for each location
Ideally, the content on your website is understandable and concise. If there are several branches or your serve different locations, the specified content must necessarily match the respective location.
Using schema markup for local SEO
The Schema.org platform was created in the course of cooperation between Yahoo, Google and Bing. These allow all search engines a better understanding of web content and an optimized display of the data.
Moreover, this allows Google and Co. to better interpret your website and will thank you with a good ranking.
Use optimized title tags
Title tags crammed with keywords seem to be a common practice at the local level. This may be well-meant, but in practice, they can have the opposite effect. There are many recipes for perfect headlines and title tags circulating on the internet. Our tip is: Think of title tags as chapter headings in a book. When the audience is looking for something relevant, you want them to land on your company website. A successful title tag is short and simple. Ideally, the main keyword is right at the front of the heading.
One of the greatest challenges in the area of local ranking is the NAP elements. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. As already mentioned, the opening times are of similar importance. The magic word here is also consistent.
The NAT elements are:
Name of the company. Please note: According to Google guidelines, the company name may not be given in combination with the location or service. Often wrong information is circulating on the internet.
Address: The address details of the location or retail store. See also the paragraph “Address data” above for the correct formatting of the address data.
Phone: The phone number of the location. The correct extension should always be given. Nobody wants to have to call an anonymous switchboard just to be put through to the branch. The spelling and formatting of the telephone number should also always be consistent.
Correct the incorrect NAP information
Appropriate tools are also used in agencies specializing in local SEO. You can fix some individual entries yourself. Alternatively, there are citation services that can help with this procedure. Much more time-consuming are the corrections of that NAP information that has to be changed by another person. In this case, you have to contact the responsible persons in a targeted and friendly manner by email.
Find possible backlink opportunities
On the whole, you should use every opportunity for linking. In addition to well-known sites like Yelp or FourSquare, there are a number of local sites that you should use for this. Experience has shown that these platforms offer optimal citation options. This will have a good effect on your ranking. Again, if you create quotes on such a page, it’s best to note it, so you don’t forget. When something changes in your company, you have to update your data again.
Examine your competitors' NAP information
You can also use the same tools that you use for your own NAP audits for other purposes. You can, of course, analyze your competitors in the same way. You only need their NAP elements. This will provide you a list of all the places where your competitors are mentioned online.
Local ranking through local link building
Particularly high-quality backlinks can be achieved by placing interesting content on regional portals. When it comes to local link building, there are choices available to you. Basically, you can use the same strategies that you usually use to build links. The best way to do this is to place guest articles worth reading in a regional portal or a regionally located (online) newspaper.
Use your contacts with other local businesses
Many local businesses have good relationships with other businesses in their area. They benefit from this in many ways. In practice, these contacts often form the basis for successful local link building. If to your chagrin, you have neglected this in the past, you should now contact other local entrepreneurs at the latest.
Your local chamber of commerce, guilds and industry associations
In some cases, this variant can be quite costly, as high fees may be due depending on the industry and location. Official registration with chambers, guilds, or associations is mostly worth gold. Links to such websites are particularly relevant to Google.
Become a sponsor of local events
Local events usually rely on the generosity of sponsors. Out of gratitude, the organizers return the favor with links to the sponsor’s website. You don’t have to raise large sums of money. Sometimes a little commitment is enough.
Local PR = Local SEO = local ranking
Are you celebrating your anniversary, or is there anything else interesting in your company? Then contact the local press. Local media are usually happy to receive such invitations and report in detail on such events. Social networks like Twitter or Facebook have proven particularly helpful in recent years.
Advanced Local SEO Tips and Strategies
In the context of this article, you have learned everything you need to know about local SEO. Finally, there are three small bonus tips that will help you optimize your local ranking.
Integrate Google Maps into your About page
More and more entrepreneurs add a map from Google Maps on their About page or at the bottom of the home page. In this way, they make it clear to Google where their business or operation is located.
The code from Google Maps for embedding on the website can be found under the Share button from Google Maps> Share > Embed a map > Copy HTML.
You only need a few minutes to integrate Google Maps into your site. You can find the code for this under the Share button on Google Maps> Share > Embed a map > Copy HTML.
The effect, however, is lasting. With such a card, you offer the visitors of your site real added value. On the plus side, Google appreciates this effort. This can significantly improve your ranking in the local search.
Use your location-based keyword near the top of your page
It sounds obvious, but this point is partially neglected: You should always mention your location-based keyword at the beginning of your page, i.e. near the top. Ideally, you just put the term directly in an H1 tag.
Optimize the meta descriptions for local searchers
A perfect description is an integral part of any website that succeeds in local organic search. As mentioned before, it’s better to avoid excessive keyword stuffing here. You can find really great examples of meaningful meta descriptions in the paid ads from Google Ads. They offer you an initial orientation.
As you can see, local SEO offers you a multitude of relatively simple ways to get more visitors to your own website and (store) business.