Search engine optimization comes in many shapes and sizes. If you are targeting a location-specific audience, you need to explore local SEO. Local search engine optimization uses a variety of tactics to appeal to local searchers.
If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, local SEO can help potential customers discover your company. It’s possible to do local SEO even if your business doesn’t have a website. However, creating one could improve marketing efforts tremendously.
Local SEO uses a variety of tactics that are similar to traditional SEO. Meanwhile, some of the methods are local SEO specific. Let’s go over the differences and similarities of traditional and local SEO.
Why is local SEO important?
When you have a business with a brick-and-mortar location like a flower shop in LA or dry cleaners in Chicago, you need to promote it online. Since the majority of your target audience searches for information about local companies on the Internet, you need to be there to provide your company’s details.
Here are a few stats to show the importance of local SEO:
- 46% of searchers on Google are looking for local information while 86% of consumers rely on the internet to find a local business.
- 72% of consumers that do a local search visit a local store within 5 miles.
- 88% of searches on mobile devices lead to a store visit within 24 hours.
Local SEO comes with a variety of benefits. It doesn’t just boost your promotional campaign. It can improve brand awareness and build customer loyalty. Other advantages of local SEO include:
- Local SEO actions improve online visibility.
- More local visibility results in more foot traffic and sales.
- By optimizing your website for local search, you can increase relevant traffic.
- By optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can improve your Google Maps visibility.
- Content marketing and link building efforts enhance the relevance of searches, thus increasing foot traffic.
Overall, if you want your target audience to find you, you need to employ local SEO. Without search engine optimization efforts, you can’t count on becoming visible to people, who are looking for your products and services online.
Local SEO is a perfect choice for small companies, who want to service a certain area. It’s an excellent tool for promoting events, tourist destinations, art installations, and more. Meanwhile, large companies can also benefit from local SEO to grow their audiences and raising brand awareness.
Local SEO and traditional SEO have many tactics in common. If you are already implementing an SEO strategy, adding local touches is an important part of the process.
Traditional SEO vs local SEO: What to consider
Both traditional SEO and local SEO focus on bringing your website to the top spots of Google Search. However, while traditional SEO improves the website’s visibility for all searchers, local SEO focuses on local users.
Local SEO is part of traditional SEO. If the company has a brick-and-mortar location or services audiences from specific areas, it needs to employ local SEO tactics.
Even if your company has several locations, you shouldn’t limit your marketing efforts to traditional SEO. You can take advantage of a local campaign that encompasses several areas, cities, or even countries.
To rank high locally, your company has to be relevant to specific searches. This involves optimizing content for local keywords, working on directories, adding proper extensions to ads, and much more. You need to make sure all contact details are readily available to the searchers whenever they encounter your website.
Meanwhile, search engines should show your business every time a user searches for relevant keywords like “Flower shop in LA” or “dry cleaners near me.”
Regular SEO vs local SEO: How do they affect each other?
Since local SEO is part of regular SEO, they work in tandem. Some SEO practices can be used to improve traditional and local rankings.
Backlinking and Keyword Use
When you add information about your company to such local listings as Google or Yelp, you are adding links to your website and using relevant keywords. This doesn’t just help local searchers discover your business but shows search engines its relevance.
Additionally, a link on such authority websites as Yelp or TripAdvisor can boost your backlinking efforts tremendously.
When you create content for your local SEO strategy, it does the same job as general content for traditional SEO. Using local keywords has the same effect of bringing your website to the top of the SERP (search engine result pages) as general industry keywords.
By adding up-do-date local content, you are showing the search engine your website’s relevancy and freshness.
When you design a content strategy, you can take advantage of both local and traditional SEO tactics to appeal to both local and non-local users. The more relevant content you create (local or not), the better chances you have of appealing to the target audience while conquering the first page of search engine results.
Doing it Right: Local SEO vs SEO
If you implement a high-quality SEO strategy for your local efforts, it can help improve your organic SEO as well. However, a poorly thought-out local campaign is likely to hurt your traditional SEO strategy.
When done correctly, these two campaigns complement each other perfectly. When you make mistakes with one, you can harm the other.
When you are implementing both local and traditional SEO campaigns, you should remember that besides appealing to search engines, you are catering to consumers. Keeping their needs in mind can help you come up with a high-quality SEO strategy.
Local SEO vs onpage SEO: Key differences
For any SEO strategy, you always need to implement technical SEO, onpage SEO, and offpage tactics. Mixing all aspects of SEO and using them correctly yields the best results. However, while local and traditional SEO are similar, there are key differences you must focus on to ensure the success of local SEO efforts.
Local SEO involves a more customized approach. You need to work on implementing specific local keywords, encouraging local customer reviews, and listing the website in related directories.
A local SEO strategy should include the following points, which aren’t usually a must-have for global SEO efforts:
- Creating and optimizing Google My Business
- Building online presence through local listings
- Generating localized content
- Tracking local visitor and customer data
- Singling out and working on local reviews
- Creating a dedicated location-specific “about us” page
Overall, the biggest difference between local and traditional SEO is the bigger focus on the local target audience and improving local visibility.
Local SEO tactics to use with organic SEO
Even if you have a top-notch organic SEO campaign, you need to tweak your strategy to incorporate local SEO tactics. Key components of a local SEO campaign include:
1. Optimizing your Google My Business account
If you don’t have a Google My Business account, you need to create it as soon as possible. Make sure that you fill out completely by providing the most relevant and up-to-date information. Use your industry-specific keywords (both local and not) whenever possible.
Include hours of operation, business logo, list of products and services, and use as many images as you can.
If you already have a Google My Business account, check reviews regularly. Answer to all reviews, positive and negative. It doesn’t just show your interest in your clients’ opinion but helps with local search efforts.
Publish posts to your profile by using Google My Business dashboard to assist with local content marketing tactics.
2. Optimize your website for mobile users
Many people are searching for products and services on the go. In fact, 75% of local searches on mobile turn into in-store visits. That’s why your website must be optimized for quick mobile scanning.
Make sure your website loads as quickly as possible (faster than 2.5 seconds). Don’t clutter it with images and text, leaving only the most important information and invest in intuitive UI.
3. Beef up your local keywords
Just as keywords are the key to traditional SEO success, local keywords are a must-have for your local SEO campaign. You can use keyword research tools to generate location-specific keywords.
Consider peeking into what your competition has done to streamline its local SEO efforts. You can discover many useful keywords to implement.
Local keywords shouldn’t just include your specific location like city or street. They can also feature region-specific landmarks like “flower shop near Universal Studios.”
4. Create a location-specific “about us” page
Location pages are highly important to your local SEO efforts, especially if your company has more than one location in the area. These pages should contain such relevant information as:
- Business hours
- Contact details
- Customer reviews/testimonials
- Relevant promotions
- Parking availability
- Embedded Google Maps location
These pages complement your traditional SEO efforts perfectly by giving you an extra place to use keywords.
5. Focus on local content and link building
While you are creating content for the general audience, your local customers may be interested in something they can relate to specifically. Local content is an important part of your local SEO efforts. You can provide relevant information to the local target audience, keeping its needs in mind.
The same goes for link building. Consider trying to get backlinks from websites that your local audience is likely to visit.
Local SEO ranking factors vs SEO ranking factors
Local SEO ranking factors are somewhat different from traditional SEO ranking factors. According to Moz’s study, the number one ranking factor (25.12%) for local SEO is a well-optimized Google My Business account. Other major ranking factors are:
- Link signals – 16.53%
- Review signals – 15.44%
- On-page signals – 13.82%
- Citation signals – 10.82%
Other ranking factors are personalization (5.88%) and social signals (2.82%).
Organic SEO vs local SEO: Which one do you need?
If you have a business, you need to implement an organic SEO strategy regardless of its specific location. Search engine optimization is the pillar of a successful marketing campaign since it makes your company visible to the target audience in the right place and at the right time.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store or want to target location-specific audiences, you need to add local SEO to your organic SEO efforts.
If you are a company that offers global services, you may not realize that you need local SEO. However, a major part of your target audience could be coming from specific locations.
By using behavior-tracking tools like Google Analytics and analyzing reviews, you can figure out if local SEO is worth extra attention.