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January 8, 2016

Understanding the Tricky Parts of Local SEO

Local SEO Google Maps
Photo Credit: laihiu via flickr

There are so many things about search engine optimization people do not know. This is probably because of the large volume of beginner SEO guides available online. Each of these guides talks about search engines, indexing perhaps a bit on how you can get that traffic to your site. However, few will help you get detailed information on how to rank your local business on the search engines. Local SEO has been a hot topic of discussion over the past few months. This is because of the benefits it brings to those who use it.

When you decide to do SEO work for your business website or generally any website, you should get in touch with experts in the business. Someone with experience in this field will help you understand exactly what local SEO is, and what it can do for your business. The multitude of benefits that you get from this type of search engine optimization is impressive. You will watch your business soar to heights that you could not even begin to imagine when you rank it locally.

What is local SEO anyway? 

This has become a trend owing to the increasing popularity of Smartphones. It has many similarities to organic SEO, but is still unique. Generally, local SEO places its focus upon provision of results relevant to a searcher depending on their location. For instance, when you search for something like ‘best sushi bar’ right now, Google is going to provide you with results based on where you are located. It will provide you with restaurants that are near where you are at the time of the search and then the others will come in later.

It was discovered back in 2011 that more than 40 percent of Internet searches had some local intent. This is particularly true for people searching through their Smartphones. According to a survey done in 2013, four out of five people use Smartphones to check out local information. Two out of three will take direct action based on the results provided and one of the three people will make a purchase as result. This just goes to show how important local SEO is to businesses. Google has said one-third of all U.S. mobile searches today are local, and that more than 80 percent of people use their mobile devices on-the-go. Ninety-five percent of these people using their Smartphones on-the-go, will be searching local information with a primary goal of visiting or calling a business.

Optimizing for local searches 

There are several things you can do to optimize your site for a local search:

Get a Google Places for Business page 

This is the first thing that you should do if you want to make your site more local-friendly. You can claim your Google Places for Business page and make sure that all your contact information, address, opening hours and any other relevant information is completed. As a matter of fact, you should ensure that your entire profile is complete. You can help Google to understand the theme of your business better by providing category information concerning your site. Google will then go ahead to create a signal that your business is related to any of the localized searches concerning what your business does. If you were wondering why some businesses show up in search and maps, this is how it happens. Now you know.

Bring in Google+ 

You need not be told that Google is the biggest search engine. It, thus, does help a lot to optimize your site for Google. Once you have that Google Places for Business page, you will have to link it to a Google + local page. This page is typically more focused on social interactions. It will have things like reviews, images and videos. The Google Local results are usually so dominant that you will have to scroll for a very long time to find any more searches. In case a customer searches through maps directly, the local listings dominate even more.

These are the two important pages of things that you will need to do. The first one is simple but when it comes to dealing with Google+, you can be sure that you have quite a task to handle here. This is why the SEO professionals are very handy. They will help you with tasks that you are bound to forget about such ase:

1. Optimizing business by referencing keywords 

The title of the page should include the brand name, the keyword that is being targeted and the location. This should not be hard to achieve. In fact, you can do it without making the page or the meta description appear unnatural. The objective always remains optimization for both search engine and the user.

2. Reference keywords in the title 

People forget to reference their keywords in the title. You should not forget to include hotel, restaurant, school or the specific type of business you are running.

3. Associate listing with right categories 

For instance, restaurant is too general a term. Is it an Indian or Ethiopian restaurant? Is it Chinese or Italian? You should choose the most relevant category.

4. Add address in a format consistent with other postings 

If you post your business’ name, address and phone number on your site, then follow the same format for other sites. Address citations are important ranking factors in local SEO.

The above tips are key to local SEO. If you are not well-versed in SEO, hiring an expert will be beneficial to your business.


Derek Iwasiuk is a Certified PPC expert who works as a freelance consultant for many online business portals. He published many papers about blueprint SEO strategy and wrote blogs on changing trends in digital marketing.