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Local SEO is becoming one of the essential components to every business and brand that wants long-term success across search engines.

This comes from our latest Search Engine Optimisation Best Practice Guide, an in-depth report that’s invaluable for anybody working in digital marketing, looking to appoint an SEO agency, or simply trying to secure better search engine rankings.

Recently I covered some of the basic skills that all SEO beginners need to know however I didn’t include information on ‘local SEO’.

Here I’ll be rectifying that with a brief guide to what local SEO means and how you can use it to drive online searchers to your offline business.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO has grown significantly over the last few years, particularly given the rise of smartphone usage and better connectivity while out and about. Although it has a lot of similarities with organic SEO, it’s ultimately very different.

Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. If I search for ‘best steak restaurant’ on my desktop right now, Google would provide me with results that are nearest to me.

Similar results are delivered if I search on my smartphone.

In 2011, it was revealed that over 40% of mobile queries have local intent. According to Fresh Egg in 2013, four out of five people use smartphones to look up local information. Two in three people take direct action as a result and one in three people went on to make a purchase.

Google has also recently indicated that one in three US mobile queries is now ‘local’ and 87% of people use their phone when on the go. Google also found that 95% of mobile users look up local information on their phones and the primary functions are calling or visiting a business.

In order for Google and other search engines to serve users with the most relevant information using the vast amount of data they have on us, local based results will become more and more prevalent.

What can you do to optimise for local search?

Here are a few tips to make your website more local friendly.

Google Places for Business

This is the very first thing you should do. 

Claim your Google Places for Business page and make sure your contact information, opening hours, address and contact details are complete. In fact make sure the entire profile is fully complete. 

Providing category information about your site gives Google a better understanding of the topic of your business and creates a signal that you are related to any localised searches about what your business does.

This will be the easiest way for your business to show up in search and maps.

Google+ Local

You will then need to link your Google Places page to a Google+ Local page. This page is more focused on social interaction. It can feature reviews, information about the restaurant, images and posts, plus users will be able to access images, videos and comments. 

Google Local results dominate so much that you have to scroll a long way down to find any others. If customers search directly through maps, the Local listings are even more dominant. 

When creating a Google+ Local page ensure you do the following:

1. Optimise the information copy about the business by referencing keywords

The page's title should include the brand name, the keyword being targeted and the location. This should be possible to achieve without making either page or meta description come across as unnatural, as the objective remains to optimise for both users and search engines.

2. Reference your keywords in the title 

Don’t forget to include ‘restaurant’ if that is indeed your business. 

3. Make sure that you associate your listing with the right category

‘Chinese restaurants’ could be the most relevant category, rather than just ‘restaurants’. 

4. Schema markup

Add rich media to provide a more enticing proposition to potential customers. 

Here’s a detailed guide on how to use Schema markup

5. Add your address in a consistent format with wherever else you’ve mentioned it 

NAP (name, address, phone number) citations are a key ranking factor in local SEO. NAP citations from relevant and authoritative websites provide more value, just like with links.

Clearly stating NAP information will work as a significant signal that you are a business related to a location, which will improve your visibility.

6. Encourage customers to leave reviews

Reviews are arguably the biggest local SEO ranking factor and are often compared to links in organic SEO. 

Listings with reviews also stand out, so encouraging your customers to leave their opinions will increase your chances of success - if those opinions are positive, of course. SEO can’t help you if your food sucks.

7. Create a listing for each of your physical locations

This will ensure that people have the correct details for the nearest branch when searching locally and will give businesses more opportunities to increase rankings. 

You can also optimise the pages on your website to appear more visible in local search...

On-page local SEO


When you’re optimising local pages on your website, it’s important to include the address (in a consistent format) on the page and also the location within the content as well as the page’s title tag. 


The page’s title tag should feature the brand name, the keyword being targeted and the location. You should also think about this with the meta description of the page. 

If you only have one address, you could also include it within your footer as an additional reference. 

Embedding a map on your 'contact us' page or local place pages can help local SEO rankings too, as it further illustrates where the business is located.

Further reading for beginners

During my first year at Econsultancy I’ve been making a point of writing beginner’s guides to any new terms or phrases I find particularly baffling, or that I might suspect other people may find baffling too. 

The following related articles should help clear up a few things… 

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 29 May, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

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Andrew patrick, Digital Marketing Expert at abc

You can target the cities suburb areas name in your content for local seo.
thanks
http://www.glu7.com/search-engine-optimization-services

almost 2 years ago

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Valentin

There is a great tool to analyze Local Seo rankings and adwords competitors locally, GeoRanker

almost 2 years ago

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calla gold

This is helpful data on SEO for local. I especially appreciated being introduced to the schema.org mark up and the easy to understand blog post that explained it.
You're doing a good job, particularly in writing in an easy to understand manor. If I'm not afraid of it, I can learn it.

almost 2 years ago

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Chatmeter

We couldn't agree more. SEO and especially local SEO are becoming extremely important to every business. People are constantly searching for businesses around them with their phones. Making sure you appear on the Google search results is crucial, but if you also have a website, it's also important to make sure it's mobile friendly. Customers may want to visit your website for more information and if it isn't compatible with their phone, it can be very annoying. No one wants to pinch and squeeze their phone to zoom in to be able to read when they're out and about.

almost 2 years ago

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Parvinder Rathore, SEO Expert & Content Writer at Get Me Online Marketing

Nice piece of article written here. And I completely agree to what this article says. Local SEO is not only important but is also a crucial part of the business right now. Everybody wants things to be around him. Whether it's a barber, a mother dairy or a general store or anything else,but the priority is always given to the nearby sources. And this is the opportunity that a business might not want to miss especially the starters. There a lot more about Local SEO but i'll explain it on my next article whenever I'll have to post it on my blog.

Thanks
http://getmeonlinemarketing.com/why-do-you-need-seo-service-for-your-website/

almost 2 years ago

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Pawas Gupta, Search Marketing Consultant at NCMborz

Local SEO is a very powerful component of our inbound marketing strategy. Small as well as big local businesses should definitely make use of local SEO to bring business to them. With traditional advertising slowly dying, it makes a lot of sense to strengthen inbound marketing to get found when customers need you.

Good tips Christopher. I as a marketer understand the importance of making local search marketing work for my company and its clients. Your post was very useful. Keep it coming.

over 1 year ago

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