What even is Local SEO?
You’re probably familiar with Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Or you’ve at least heard of it. For more information on SEO in general, click here. The (very) short version is that SEO helps people find your website online—essentially, you want to rank high in search engine results pages, literally showing up near the top of the results. Local SEO is about helping people from your local area find you online and offline—making sure you rank higher in searches from specific geographic areas. When you optimize for local searches, you’re letting search engines know where your organization is located. If your customers are local, you need Local SEO as much as you need regular SEO.
(One caveat: this is far from an exhaustive explanation of SEO and local SEO—there are hundreds of factors that go into both, which are then processed through hundreds more. This is a high-level overview, introducing the topic. The details are without question critical, but can be overwhelming at first glance.)
Get In The Map Pack!
When you search Google for, say, “salon Minneapolis,” the top result will be what’s called the map pack, which includes the top three results, as well as their locations on a map. This can also be true for searches that don’t include a specific location—searching just “salon” will likely generate a map pack based on where you are when you make the search Getting into the map pack can be a huge deal for businesses, and Local SEO is how you get into the map pack.
Are You Being Found Locally?
The most obvious way to know how your Local SEO is performing is to check your rankings in search engine results pages. If you start a Local SEO effort, monitor your organization’s search rankings, and see if you notice change over time. But be aware: this doesn’t happen overnight. The effectiveness of an SEO campaign is measured over months or even years.
What Can You Do to Improve Local SEO?
There are a few basic steps every organization should take to benefit their local SEO. Perhaps the most critical is to optimize your Google My Business Profile. Consistency is king within the GMB profile, especially with regard to your company name, address, and phone number (NAP). What’s on your GMB profile should match what’s on your website should match what’s on indexing sites and other citations online. And by “match” we mean match exactly. “Ave” and “Avenue” are not the same thing at all, as far as Google cares. In fact, if your GMB NAP and the NAP on your website don’t match, Google considers that a red flag. There are a whole host of other aspects to the GMB profile, like categories and subcategories, dealing with reviews, etc.—but getting your NAP consistent is low-hanging fruit.
Another step to take is to use local business schema on your website. This will help search engines identify what your organization does. You should also have specific landing pages for each of your locations. This is especially important if you have multiple storefronts. Each of these pages should follow SEO best practices and include the location’s NAP, and these should be consistent across your site, as well as on external directory sites and other places they appear (articles, blogs, social posts, etc.—there’s that consistency again). The more that search engines see your organization’s NAP citations, the more confident the search engines are that the NAP are correct, and the likelier your business will be to make the map pack or rank high on local results. A store locator function can be a big help here, too. Much of this seems like common sense, but it’s entirely too easy to overlook, especially when your specialty is operating your business, not marketing it.
How SOULO Can Help!
As with many online marketing efforts, there are lots of things you can do on your own. It just takes time to learn how to improve your Local SEO, and then implement and track your efforts. But if you prefer to focus on managing your business, SOULO can help you boost your Local SEO and track results. We are certified in Moz Local, a leading Local SEO software product, and have the experience to help you boost your local traffic. We also offer monthly reporting depending on which digital marketing efforts are best for your business.
Contact us today to see what your local presence score is or to see how our marketing team can help grow your business locally.