Local SEO

When working on Search Engine Optimization projects we can typically silo them into two segments.  The first being Local SEO and the second being Non Geo-targeted SEO and even though they might seem very similar in function, that couldn’t be more wrong.  These two campaigns are drastically different in many ways.  This page is designed to discuss the importance and key components of a Local SEO strategy.

Why is Local SEO Strategy Important?

Before we get into the details, let’s first discuss why a brink and mortar store trying to drive local traffic would want to consider a Local SEO campaign.  The answer is pretty simple and has two key components.  First, consumers are buying more goods and services from local companies.  Folks  are becoming more connected to their communities and businesses within those communities vs. the national names.  Second, more than 33% of searches in 2014 included a city name and searches that didn’t have the city name but triggered action on local results are included that number jumps to 50% and those statistics are expected to rise in 2015.

What Drives Local SEO?

Now that we have an understanding of why Local SEO is important, let’s examine the key factors that determine and drive this marketing program.  As you can see from the image below, we are going to look at seven main signals to gain a broad understanding of the key components that make up a successful Local SEO service.  Let’s get into it!

Please include attribution to http://www.mbmarketinggroup.com with this graphic.

What Drives Local SEO

We will start with the most important factor of the seven.  On Page Signals.  This is pretty basic stuff that goes back to the beginnings of Search Engine Optimization.  We must have information on our website that show Google and the other search engines that we are a viable business in the area.  How do we do this?  Simple, we have as much of the following as possible on our website:

  • Add your City plus the keyword, in the landing page title tag.  An example would be – {Keyword} Columbus | Business Name
  • Add your City plus the keyword, in the landing page H1 tag.  An example for H1 tag would be – Providing Columbus with {Keyword}
  • Add your City plus the keyword, in the landing page URL.  An example for the URL would be – www.businessname.com/columbus-oh
  • Add your City plus the keyword, in the content on the landing page.
  • Add your City plus the keyword, in the image used on your landing page and include the proper ALT Text.
  • If possible, we want to embed a google map on our page showing our location.

Local Link Signals

This part of the mix is one of the most important yet difficult.  What Google and the other search engines are looking for here is links from other local businesses.  This will show them that your business is credible and other websites in the area “vouch” for you through providing you with a link back to your site from theirs.  It can be very difficult to obtain these links but if your business is able to obtain just a few from other reputable local businesses it could really have a drastic positive impact on where your site will rank for your targeted keywords.

The Three major items to consider with Local Link Signals are:

  • Inbound Anchor Text – this is the text that contains the link coming back to your site
  • Linking Domain Authority – Domain Authority is a metric used to determine the value or quality of the link you are receiving.  The higher the better.
  • Linking Domain Quantity – Simple.  How many links do you have?

External Local Signals

Next on the list is the quantity and quality of the external local signals that you are receiving from the various listings on the web. The quality factor is going to come from the NAP Consistency we are receiving from these external sources.  If you are confused or need a refresher on NAP Consistency, please visit our blog post on this topic.  If your listings aren’t showing the best possible NAP Consistency your rankings will be up against the ropes vs. your competitors.  The quantity of signals depends on the number of business listings on the web for your business or the citation volume.  A citation is simply an instance of your business information (Name, Address, Phone Number) being listed on the web or local directory.  Some of the most popular online citations can be:

  • Yelp
  • Internet Yellow Pages
  • BBB
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo Local
  • CitySearch
  • Manta
  • Other Local Directories

One thing to note, when we work with clients on developing a citation strategy for Local SEO we use services to build large amounts of citations vs. building each one individually.

My Business Signals

There are hundreds of listings available to you for creating Local signals to improve Search Engine Optimization for your business website but not one of them is more powerful than the KING of all signals, Google My Business.  Again, referencing our blog post titled “How to Dominate Local Search” we heavily emphasized the importance of GMB for local search.  If not claimed, we would need to claim and set up a GMB for your business and populate it with many bits of information.  Your GMB page should be completed 100% but the most important factors for Local Search are:

  • Categories – When setting up the profile it’s very important to add as many categories as possible for where your business falls
  • Keywords within the profile – We don’t want to keyword spam but it’s important to make sure we clearly define what your business does
  • Proximity – How close are you to your customers?  If your business isn’t listed as close to your customer base as possible your results won’t be great.  Make sure the coverage range is large enough.

Review Signals

Telling possible customers and search engines that you are providing a great service or product is gaining in importance.  Reviews and the way they are being posted online are becoming a very important factor in the way your business shows in Local Search.  Our goal is to get as many reviews as possible to be listed on our GMB page, website, and rich snippet.  Not only are they important but there are a few things that Google and the other search engines are looking for with regards to reviews.  They are:

  • Review Quality – This is the quality of the reviews you are receiving.  If they are all 2 out of 5 stars this won’t be great for Local SEO.
  • Review Velocity – How frequently are you getting reviews?  We want a steady flow not a huge influx and then nothing for months.  This give the wrong signals and shows you might be spamming.
  • Review Diversity – Are you getting reviews from multiple sources?  Yelp, GMB, and others or are 100% of your reviews on one site?

Behavioral Signals

How are your customers acting when they engage with your business?  Whether it’s online or in the store the way your customers act when connected with your business plays a significant role in Local SEO.  Some of the key factors that are considered with behavioral signals are:

  • Click through Rate – the rate at which a customer clicks through your website.  This metric is tracked by Google and other Search Engines and shows how connected the customers was while on your site.  The higher the better.
  • Mobile Click to Calls – If your website is mobile friendly, and it MUST be, the number of clicks to call your business can be tracked.  The higher percentage of people clicking to call gives great signals.
  • Check-In’s – Many social sites or apps allow customers to check in and share their experience in your store.  Some business even offer incentives to get people to check in when visit their store.

Social Media Signals

Social Media Signals are quickly starting to gain popularity with the search engines when they look to find businesses that provide great products or services.  It’s no secret that Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites are being used more each day so the search engines have to take this signal into consideration when determining who to list in the search results.  Some of the basic signals that are being considered are:

  • Google+ authority – how many followers, likes. and +1’s does your business have?
  • Facebook Likes, post shares
  • Twitter Followers, Retweets, Favorites.
  • Instagram Followers, like

After reading this post we hope you can understand the complexity that goes into a Local SEO campaign as well as the importance.  If you want your business to be found when a potential customer searches for a product or service you provide these seven items will play a key role in determining if your business will be included in the search results.

If you aren’t showing up maybe it’s time we have a chat.  Visit our Request an Estimate page so we can get started working for you.