February 20, 2023

What is local SEO? Complete Guide

Local SEO is a unique way of ranking and optimizing a website strictly for a local audience in one particular geographical location. For example, if you are the owner of an e-commerce business or dropshipping store you can target the entire online population as potential clients and try your luck there. Still, if you want to attract an audience located in a specific area or a city where your business has a physical address, then you will need to practice local SEO. 

What is actually Local SEO?

As its name says, local SEO is a branch that is strictly related to business that operates in a limited areas or in a city. It is mainly tied with businesses with real-life offices and shops with physical addresses; however, it also can be connected with certain services that are running their business completely online or remote (we can use the example of online forex trading company that operates in e.g. New York).

To put it simply, local is meant for businesses that actually have physical stores and actually operate in a particular area. Therefore, if a company meets the necessary "local" requirements, the best thing to do is hire a professional SEO agency for this job. They can create excellent GMB presentations and optimize your website based on the latest local SEO trends. All of this will boost your business' appearance and rank higher in search results, making it easier for local customers to find you.

This picture shows several local shops, providing an example of what local shops look like.

Which businesses should invest into local SEO services?

Google designed local SEO to make life easier for local people who need urgent services such as lawyers, food restaurants, or mechanics for their cars. This SEO branch is closely related to services that require a first-person perspective, such as health care, a bakery, or even mobile phone services. To make it the simplest as possible, local SEO gives customers a quick and effective way to find the services they want as closest as possible.

So the answer to the question “which businesses needs local SEO services?” is; all kind of local shops, small businesses, health clinics, tech services, fitness centers, sports clubs, housekeeping, and so on... are the services that must have GMB listing and local SEO optimization on their website.

Which businesses should invest into local SEO services?

Before we go ahead, take a look at this Google statistic regarding local searches.

95% of smartphone users are locally driven.
18% of searches led to direct sales within 48 hours.
71% of people first check GMB listing before visiting physical store.

Let's leave fairy tales for another time, and let's approach everything mathematically. For this example, we'll use the keyword "Restaurants Dallas," which has 31,000 monthly searches according to Ahrefs.

So, let's do the math. Of those 31,000 searches, about 90% end up listing GMB offers since a higher percentage of searchers look for GMB before actual websites. Therefore, that 90% is around 28,000 traffic, and according to Google 17,000 of them (which is 60%) end up choosing one of the top 5 offers. Dividing 17,000 by 5 gives us around 3,400 each. And taking 30% of each (yeah, the food niche has more clients than the other niches) gives us around 1040 customers per month or 33 per day.

By the way, this is only for one keyword. In Dallas, there are over 200,000 searches for food. So, these 30 customers per day can easily become over 200 customers, a day!

So, who says that GMB isn't beneficial at all? The best thing about this is that it's 100% free to get listed!

What are the most important elements of local SEO?

Well, so far, it's clear that local SEO is a big fish, and it's also clear that if it's not optimized properly, or worse, it's not even integrated into your website - you're missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your wallet...

So, what are the most important things about local SEO? In reality, local strategies aren't that much different from traditional SEO efforts but still, they require slightly different strategies, which we are going to list now.

1. Google my business (GMB listing)

Claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing is the first and most important step for any successful local SEO campaign. The best part is it's completely free, which is awesome for starters businesses.

So, why should you rely on GMB? Well, this powerful tool allows users to discover your business through Google Maps and through regular searches on Google, because GMB listing always appears above any other websites in SERPs.

With proper setup and management of your local listing (precisely implementing good SEO, 5 star reviews, images, description, etc.), your business can outperform the competition and be #1 in a Google listing. This means potential customers are more likely to discover your business through GMB before your actual website (Google says that 71% of local searches start by checking GMB before other sites in the SERP).

So, should you rely on GMB listing or not? The answer is YOU MUST!

The screenshot shows what the Google My Business listing looks like.

2. Local related articles

Local articles related not only help Google recognize your website and boost ranking, but they also provide a good introduction to your business. Through the articles' content, potential clients can understand your services and feel the need to contact you because of the good explanation you gave them.

Here are a few tips on how to write articles properly.

Yes, the title should be clickbait, but that's not the point. The first and the most considerable option is to start by writing a guide on how to choose some services, and indirectly recommend yourself. An example article title can be "Check these 5 things first before hiring any Pool Contractor".

Our second recommendation is to write articles that address common questions about your service, such as: "How much does carpet cleaning cost in Dallas?", "How long is the waiting list for house construction in Michigan?" or "How to find the right car maintenance in Los Angeles?".

If you work in this way, we promise you will gain brand awareness and popularity and as a result, boost your ranking and attract much more clients.

Screenshots of webpages titles, suggesting ideas for local articles.

3. Local link building

The link building strategy for local SEO is not that much different from the "regular" one. The difference is that you always target sites in the same niche as yours but enrich the anchor text with keywords that contain your exact geographical position where your website ranks. For example, for non-local link building, we use "Best Carpet Cleaning Service." However, for local SEO, we always add the location name in the anchor, such as "Best Carpet Cleaning Service in Miami."

A local link building strategy involves obtaining links from other websites in your local area. For example, a small business based in Dubai shout get backlinks strictly from local websites and companies. However, in 99% of cases, that's not possible because the competition doesn't deal with selling backlinks and moreover, does not want to help their competition. Therefore, we must rely on "bread spread" websites, and alongside with that, we can't depend on expensive sites with excellent metrics since they are often manipulated for the sake of link farming.

The biggest advantage of local link building is that it is significantly cheaper than the usual one (the entire campaign can cost up to 10 times less). The main reason is weak competition that doesn't pay attention to SEO at all. And because of that, this opportunity becomes even more interesting and easy to seize.

Screenshots of anchor texts on various webpages which contains local keywords

4. Local SEO On-page Optimization

Context, pages, images, keywords, alt tags, and other on-page SEO elements needs to be adopted to your local market to even appear in front of your local audience. If these elements are not perfectly integrated and optimized within the page, everything will fall apart and your online business won’t succeed.

The thing is, Google can read your entire webpage and determine what is written up there. If you apply local keywords across your pages, such as “Adam Law Toronto” or “Toronto law firm”, and use them in ALT tags, inbound links, meta description, etc., Google will crawl your site as a local one and display it in front of your local customers who are searching for a law firm in Toronto. However, if you don't include any of these on-page elements, well, you won't be seen in your local search. That's why is good to consider hiring affordable agency with on-page SEO services

In conclusion

To conclude, local SEO is a must-have for every business that has a physical address or operates in a limited area. Yeah, local SEO is much cheaper than other SEO campaigns, but still, it requires good skills and significant experience in order to assemble everything properly and achieve a high ranking.

Also, if you are considering hiring an SEO agency, make sure to read our article about how to select the right SEO agency for yourself.

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