Local SEO Can Make or Break Your Local Business

43 Minute Read
Written by: Ivana Janakieva
Aug / 24 / 2022

Find out How and Aim for Success

Some of the small businesses found during the first COVID-19 outbreak are getting bigger now. That means they have to focus on their websites and run a tailored local SEO strategy if they want to stay competitive in the market.

Local SEO is a strategy focused on putting your website on the 1st page in local Google search results. But is the first page the ultimate goal in this case? Local SEO includes additional elements integrating your website and general data with Google Maps and other location services.

You’ve probably seen it. When looking for something specific around you, Google lists the website and provides valuable information on the right side, next to the general result, like address, phone number, working hours, and even a pin on the map. That’s one of the unique elements of local SEO, and we will cover its background later.

What Is Local SEO and Why It’s Important?

When your business operates in a specific location and has a physical address, you must decide whether you want to grow bigger or stay small. The goal is to be visible in local search results, and if you think local seo strategy will help you – you are entirely correct.

As we said, local SEO works differently from general strategies because it’s based on listing relevant results based on your current location. You’ve probably experienced that when searching for something important. For example, if you enter the query “microbiology lab,” you will see that Google lists the laboratories near you, and even more, the closest one is first.

You don’t need to include the city, area, or the phrase “near me” when you do this, which means the local SEO approaches are improved to perfection. The results may vary depending on your current location too, and you get different suggestions if you search from home and when doing the same from the office.

That means Google is not using just the general data to recognize the microbiology laboratories, but it precisely locates you and suggests the ones near you based on the distance. This is an excellent example of how local SEO works. If you want to learn why it’s crucial to implement local seo solutions, stay with us, because we have the answers..

Local SEO is important because it uses the most relevant local seo ranking factors to estimate website quality and rank it better (or even push it down when bad SEO practices are used).

The overall success of your local business depends on many factors, and a proper SEO strategy is just one of them. Before you launch it, you need to check how saturated the industry is and research your local competition. That will help you be different and offer something the others don’t have. It will also give you an insight into how to do local seo, and develop a strategy.

Analytics of the local market is an important step to take because it helps you create localized content for your target audience.

What is Localized Content, and Why Does it Matter for Local SEO?

Content localization is a must for businesses that want to target a foreign audience. Sometimes, that means you will have to translate the content, depending on which countries you target. Or, if you use your native language, you should consider making an English version of the website and include at least one additional language for better optimization.

The goal is to make your brand appear native to the foreign market, as it does for the local target audience.

But, translating the page content is not enough. That’s why we do content localization to gain trust and attract the right potential customers. The content must be relevant and reliable, include local market aspects, and adopt cultural elements, so it can cause the proper emotional reaction.

For example, if your original idea was for the British market, and now you want to target French customers, first you need to translate the content. But, localization is a lot more than that. You need to make it relevant to that culture and give it a local context. It’s not just translating and rewriting; adaptation is also a crucial part of the localization.

Another example is targeting UK and US markets. Even though it’s English, the same words can have different meanings, but also other words may have the same meaning. For example, the living space in a building in British English is called “flat,” but in American English is called “apartment.” Also, when we say the word “purse,” in American English, it’s a handbag, but in British English is a female wallet (while a man’s wallet is just a wallet). You can take the thing wider if you include Australian English and Canadian English too.

And it’s not just about the written content – the adaptation goes for currencies, images, videos, and other local characteristics.

Probably, it gets much clear to you why it’s essential to run a local seo audit and start with the content adaptation if you want to grow your business outside of the borders.

When the local seo strategy is appropriately implemented, the ultimate goal is to ensure your audience understands the content and it’s relevant to them.

Why are User Experience and NAP crucial for Local SEO?

Website visitors must firstly like the visual appearance of the website and then find the content relevant to them. That’s the primary condition of user experience, which consists of user flow and user journey. 

What are User Journey and User Flow?

User journey begins when they enter a specific query in the search engine, expecting to find some store, website, retailer, service, etc.

Users may type the domain directly into the browser, use a link shared on social media, find it on Google, visit the physical store or office to get information there, etc.

By definition, the user journey is the path every user takes from the moment they search on Google and land on a website until they complete their goal. User journeys are vital, so we can identify their behavior and make changes, so they can achieve the goal quicker. User journey includes the emotions and thinking process of the customers, from the moment they open the page and decide if they like it or not, until the final step, which results in actions like purchase, like, share, recommend, etc.

It’s different from user flow, which refers to the raw navigation from the home page, through categories, then products and categories, to the checkout process.

User experience is the final verdict of the whole journey, whether positive, neutral, or negative, at the end of the process.

Importance of Consistent NAP

Consistent NAP is also needed. NAP is short for Name, Address, and Phone – the crucial parameters for properly implementing localized content marketing.

The consistent NAP is also a part of the user journey for those interested in the company’s physical address, their working hours, contact information, and the name of the business. It’s crucial to update this information regularly, even if there are temporary changes.

Google is using Local Pack algorithms that require NAP consistency. Users may report the website as irrelevant if the data is mistaken, and Google will flag it as risky business. Google also expects firms to update all the NAP information using their Google Business Profile, so the users can easily find what they need.

What Are Lazy Local Pages?

Lazy local pages are websites that exist with no purpose since they don’t include any relevant content or contact information (i.e., inconsistent NAP). These pages help no one, and they literally exist just to list the website on the first page. Since 2015, Google has ranked these pages lower due to the ranking adjustment algorithm. 

These pages are usually created to contain thin information about the business and some relatively optimized content for ranking purposes. But, they don’t offer any value to the users. It’s a bad practice, and Google may rank some of these websites only if there is no considerable competition or other similar but better pages.

How is Social Media Marketing a crucial ingredient for the success of the local business?

Today we are used to social media, completely aware of their benefits and influence. Small businesses promote their work on social media platforms before investing in a quality website. It seems like an obvious choice to promote your brand on Facebook or Instagram and reach out to potential clients. But, there is a lot more to learn about the background of social media strategies.

Small companies don’t have enough budget to hire marketing agencies, so they are using the option to create targeted ads by promoting posts and pages. It’s an integral part of the local seo for small business strategy because it’s easy to attract a significant number of potential customers and turn it into successful sales.

Some small businesses even sell using social media networks, receive orders, and keep track of the delivery process before they have enough money for a good eCommerce website. Also, getting valuable insights is easy since every social network offers a business dashboard for business users. Building a brand identity using consistent branding and establishing a content style is also relatively easy.

Your social media pages and profiles can increase the traffic to your website when you launch one. Until then, you can build followers number and an active audience and work on a local seo strategy based on their behavior. You can also track down how often you are mentioned, how many people saw the post, and how many of them took some action.

So, when you finally have your website, you can direct the visitors to the specific pages and sections. You already have a community, and no matter how big it is, it’s still effective for your small business.

Furthermore, you can optimize the social media posts using relevant keywords in the copy. Include the useful link, and add a suitable photo or illustration.

SEO Audit of a Local Business Website

SEO audit is a process of monitoring a website, identifying eventual errors and other problems with the ranking, and then creating a reviewed strategy to improve the overall performance. During the audit, you make sure that Google correctly indexes the website.

What’s Included in an SEO Audit? 

This is the process that happens before you implement an adjusted or improved strategy, and it usually includes:

  • Checking and identifying on-page SEO issues
  • Checking on the potential off-page SEO issues
  • Checking if the website is properly indexed and rendered
  • Analyzing the overall user experience
  • Detecting the content gaps
  • Working to improve the thin content
  • Things competition is doing better than you
  • Overall report for the website performance
  • As a result, you come up with a strategy to:
  • Fix the website mistakes, including the content, code, and structure
  • Review the keywords and reoptimize the content if needed
  • Improving the titles and meta descriptions
  • Measure the quality of keywords and backlinks

 How to perform an SEO audit?

The easiest way to do that is using a website audit tool, so the process can be quicker and more effective. As you launch the SEO audit tool, you create a new project or edit an existing one, define the settings, and paste the URL of the website.

Next, the process of crawling starts, and when it’s done, the tool represents the results in a dashboard. Once you have this information, you will understand your current rankings and see what competitors are doing better. After that, you can add keywords you need to track and check on the competitors again.

At this point, you need to understand what your competitors are doing, fix the duplicates, check the URL quality, speed up the site, incorporate the HTTPS protocol, and see how you can improve the mobile version of the website. Most of the audit tools will give you this information in the report card. Using it, you will know where to start and what you want to accomplish.

Which SEO Audit Tools to Use?

There are many, starting with the Google Search Console. Register your site in the Console for neater results. It helps you localize the business, making the website data crawlable. You can even find other tools to analyze the site and even incorporate a local seo rank tracker to decide where and when to start with the audit.

These are the best local seo tools you can use for audit and improving the current strategy.

SEMrush – great for thematic reports, intuitive navigation, readable results and graphs, valuable insights, detects SEO issues while scanning the website, and sorts the results in a way that users can search for what they need.

Google Search Console – a free tool by Google to monitor the website presence in Google search results and see how to improve the ranking on SERPs (search engine result pages).

Ahrefs – crawls website results, includes pre-configured SEO issues, allows custom searches, suggests SEO fixes, detects broken pages and too short articles, and reports eventual performance issues.

SpyFU – one of the most used tools to help you stay up to date with the new Google updates, eliminate bad backlinks, compare your content with the competitors, and see which keywords they use that you don’t.

SEOmator – powerful tool for a technical SEO audit, checks the data structure and HTML tags, audits the content quality and internal links, and tracks the social media integration with the website.

Surely, there are many more tools, and the results can be used to run many local seo audits depending on the needs. You can use one or two tools for neater and more precise results, or you can stick to your favorite one, using the premium version for detailed reports.

What is Keyword Research?

As we were talking about SEO audit and its importance for local seo strategy, we used the term “keyword research” as an integral part of the process. But, what’s that?

Keyword research is a process of finding the search terms (words, phrases, or queries)  related to your business, including the localized aspect, so you can rank your website better.

It shows you what the audience actually searches for and helps you build a proper SEO strategy. It’s vital for businesses that need to localize their content since the terms used in their country may differ from the other markets they want to reach.

Also, keyword research allows the content creators to write blogs and articles that attract the audience to visit their website. This process helps us find the most relevant keywords with huge traffic volume.

  • Keyword research results will help you:
  • Create a list of relevant topics for your local business
  • Detecting the strongest keywords
  • Understand the intent
  • Find related search terms
  • Content formatting
  • Deciding on the anchor texts

Why To Do Competition Audit?

Small businesses should figure out what their competitors do to be successful. The competition audit will show you if you miss something in your strategy or motivate you to improve the business approach.

Even in this case, you should be focused on small business local seo strategy, especially if you target a specific geo-location. So, check the competitors around you, starting from the same town, and then spread the audit even more comprehensively to get to know the market better. Many SEO tools allow competition comparing based on the niche and used keywords. Use that information to improve your business position in the market.

That’s how you get to know:

  • What makes the competition good at what they do?
  • Why do customers use them?
  • Their online rating, which is based on reviews and user experience
  • What products and services do they offer?
  • Is there any gap you can fill in?
  • How often do they offer new products and services?
  • How can they be a threat to your business?
  • Do they have a functional website?
  • Is their content optimized for the local market?
  • Which keywords do they target?
  • Do they appear on Google’s 1st-page results?

All this information can be used to determine the competitive position in their market and see how you can make a difference while offering something unique to the local customers.

Sometimes, small businesses are too focused on their global development and forget about the potential long-term customers around.

Why Is Keyword Mapping Important?

Keyword mapping is the process of using the target keywords in the landing pages. You can use tools like Google Analytics to check on the audience Behavior and the organic traffic to the landing pages. You must use only the target countries for your strategy as key local seo ranking factors.

Google Analytics, in this case, can give you detailed reports on pages, sessions, and conversion rates. Also, you can detect the seed keyword list to start mapping. Use the tool you prefer to do this.

Basically, we described the process of on-page seo audit, which helps you make the content relevant to the mapped keywords. Once you identify the behavior on the specific pages, you can run another keyword research and see how you can improve the content. Update the current blogs and posts with relevant keywords. Focus on the all-purpose content, and exclude the seasonal and time-sensitive pages.

Don’t forget to check if the new keywords are relevant to your website. See which of them can naturally fit in the posts since some of the keyword variations are relevant to the Google search engine and not to humans (and vice versa).

When you are done, you need to prepare a keyword mapping document, which is also known as an SEO change document. It’s usually a spreadsheet that contains every information we need to proceed with re-optimization.

Improvement recommendations are also included in this document. It instructs you on how many words to add to a specific landing page or how to improve the current version of the post using the newly-discovered keywords.

Why Is Technical Audit Good for Local SEO Strategies?

If you want to ensure your place in the market, but you also want to stay on top of it, you have to understand how SEO works and be aware of the technical aspects of your website. Practically, when running a small business, you need to perform localized content marketing to show yourself to the audience and hope they will become your customers.

A Technical SEO audit is a process of reviewing and checking the technical features of your website. Or we can say you check if it’s healthy and if it needs some “medicine” to fix the bugs and improve the performance.

A proper local SEO is impossible if the website is weak and loads really slowly. Visitors don’t like slow pages, and even if you have a great keyword strategy, you may not benefit from it at all.

Also, Google updates the algorithms and technology too often, and you need to stay up-to-date with relevant changes to implement those aspects in your strategy. This process can help you with that, so you can establish a good strategy and run a technical SEO audit every few months.

The most important technical SEO audit categories are:

  • Technical factors, like hosting, loading speed, and indexing
  • On-page factors that include content and target keywords, and
  • Off-page elements or backlinks and references to your website

Another essential aspect is mobile-friendliness since most searches nowadays are done through a mobile device.

Make sure you put the technical audit in your local seo checklist when you work on the strategy because it’s an important part to focus on.

What’s in the Process of a Technical SEO audit?

There are a few steps that you have to complete before you confirm the technical SEO audit is done, like:

1. Crawling The Website

Use some of the available tools to detect broken links and issues with titles and images. Also, the crawling process identifies the wrong keywords, duplicate content, and bad redirects.

When crawling is done, you can remove the duplicate content, remove the pages that don’t need to be listed here, check for the URL parameters, and fix the redirects.

Additionally, you can use some tool to check the current SEO score, which is usually in an xx/100 form. This gives you a nice image of where are you now, and what you want to accomplish next.

2. Review The Sitemap

Website structure is crucial for readability and easy navigation. That helps you to implement the local seo strategies properly, using the right local seo tools for that purpose.

You have to make sure that the site is clean, concise, up-to-date, and registered in Google Search Console.

3. Reviewing the Browsable Version of the Site

Sometimes the websites may have different versions, like mobile or HTTP and HTTPS duplicates. This is bad for your SEO strategy, especially when focusing on localized content. So, check this one to make sure the browsable version is the correct version you are using.

You have to decide which version you prefer and choose it in the Google Search Console.

By doing this, you are letting Google index the right version, no matter if you prefer using the www or non-www version of the website or if you have your SSL certificate enabled.

As you can see, you have at least four versions of your website, for example:

http://exampledomain.com

http://www.exampledomain.com

https://exampledomain.com
https://www.exampledomain.com

You have to decide which one is the most browsable version because Google may detect crawl errors, which is already bad for your overall SEO score. It affects the backlink strategy but may also lead to using different internal links. You have to be consistent with URLs for both on-site and off-site activities, so you can have consistent results too.

Our suggestion is to ensure that your website uses HTTPS because Google ranks the secure websites higher and marks the HTTP ones as “not secure.”

4. Broken links and orphan pages

Check all the internal and external links to see if there are some irrelevant or broken links. This is an important SEO factor, just like the click depth. Don’t forget to perform a backlink audit, too, using an appropriate tool for that purpose.  

Click depth is a parameter that shows how many clicks is some specific page away from the homepage. Keep that number as low as possible, ideally not more than three clicks away.

Orphan pages are pages that aren’t linked with any other page, making them difficult to index. Make sure you include external and internal links without letting the page be “alone” in the SEO process.

What is EAT?

EAT is an abbreviation of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines – a document published in 2013. It’s a guideline document for web admins to understand what Google needs from a website to rank it.

EAT has different importance depending on the queries and wanted results.

For example, if you are looking for general results about some food ingredients, your EAT is not that important because eventually, you will find what you need. But, if some specific food can be used in limited amounts to avoid bad taste or allergies, then EAT is pretty essential.

Obviously, it’s also important for the local SEO strategy because, in addition to general information, or specific features for that ingredient, there is something even more important – where can you find it?

Being aware of EAT’s importance is one of the best local seo practices that can help you work on optimized content or rewrite the existing one for better ranking. You only have to understand which parameters are crucial for the products and services.

The thing is, not every website owner believes EAT is an important ranking factor. Some of the websites that don’t have EAT still rank pretty well, even after updates and changed ranking requirements.

That’s’ why Google is using signals to determine if EAT is vital for a particular website or not. According to the Quality Rater’s Guidelines (QRG) provided by Google, the page will be rated low quality if it’s too evident that content writers lack expertise in the topic.

For example, many exceptional content writers can deeply research the topic, but they still aren’t experts in it. On the other hand, some experts know their niche, but they can’t turn their knowledge into words that are understandable to the general audience.

When it comes to local SEO, we are sure that a content writer from a specific country will cover the cultural and traditional aspects better than the best writer in the world who doesn’t live in that country. That means EAT is important when improving the local SEO approach too.

Why Is It Important? What Is YMYL?

YMYL is short for the phrase “Your Money or Your Life,” which is used for specific websites that help people make decisions and give them helpful advice. Today, Google finds almost all websites to be YMYL because even if you sell paper bags, you are making people make big decisions.

Google and the QRG tell us that the lack of EAT at the YMYL site is considered low quality and ranks worse on the search engines. For search engines, even paper bags are a thing, especially if you sell them, and customers can pay for them using their credit card details to complete the transaction.

What do EAT Parts Mean for YMYL?

EAT means Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, which are similar but not the same concepts, so we will explain them:

Expertise

Expertise means having knowledge and skills in some field, and Google evaluates it based on the content. It’s about the expertise of the content creator because, in some areas, formal knowledge and education are important, especially when it comes to the law, medicine, finance, etc.

When it comes to so-called everyday expertise, it’s based on people’s experiences and views. For example, when someone is sharing their experience using a particular smartphone, they are not expected to be qualified reviewers – they are just people who use what’s made for them.

Authoritativeness

This means reputation, mainly when we target a specific industry. As you know, two abdominal surgeons can do the same thing every day, but they may not have the same reputation. Google recommends authority evaluation, so your website can be reputable.

When it comes to news and informal websites, you can hold onto reputable journalists with a lot of experience in what they do.

At the same time, even the best nuclear scientists in the world may not be relevant and authoritative enough when it comes to, for example, fashion or music websites.

Make sure you use authoritative resources when creating the content, so your website can build a reputation.

Trustworthiness

This part shows if the website is legit, accurate, and transparent. When evaluating trustworthiness, many things are essential, no matter if it’s about YMYL searches or non-YMYL queries.

And this is the part when EAT becomes crucial for local SEO implementation.

Every website must have transparent contact information, including an active email address and phone number, together with a physical address, especially if they provide some service.

For information pages, citations and accuracy are needed, including external references.

So, we can say that EAT is needed when running some local seo audits and similar processes, so we can prove the website is relevant and should be ranked better on Google.

Crafting an advanced SEO strategy: On-Page

Trying to keep up with Google’s new algorithms, guidelines, and upgrades is like trying to beat yourself over and over again. If you have a website that you need to rank higher, the story doesn’t end when you reach the 1st page on Google. Actually, you need to work harder to ensure the page stays there.

Google improves the ranking algorithm, and your competition reworks their content even before you notice there is a change.

One of the best tips for local seo you can get is to focus on reviewing and improving your current content, so it can stay at the top of SERPs. Search engines explore the internet, see the connections between the websites, check the links, and build a search index based on that.

Google is pretty smart because it evaluates the information and checks if your page can answer niche-related search queries. If your website gives detailed and concise answers, it ranks higher on the SERP.

On-page optimization is a process of tweaking the content, adding internal links, and using better tags to improve the website’s visibility. But why do this?

When the page ranks higher, it gets more clicks and visits. In general, the first five results get about 70% of the clicks, and the second batch of five results gets less than 4% of the clicks.

When a website is higher-ranked, it has better click-through rates (CTR). People who use mobile phones are pretty likely to stick to the first result without checking the other links, especially when looking for something specific, such as restaurants around them or the nearest gas station.

So, you need on-site optimization so both Google (or other engines) and users can:

  • Understand the purpose of the website
  • Recognize it as a relevant resource of useful information
  • Take actions (visits, clicks, purchases) that help the ranking

On-page SEO is focused on factors that improve the quality of your page, like:

Core Web Vitals

These factors directly affect the initial user experience, such as stability, interactivity, and load time. When they work perfectly, the user experience is better.

The importance of Core Web Vitals in ranking is a pretty new concept, but it’s crucial to let the users stay longer and be satisfied with the results and, of course, the page speed.

Page Speed

Slow web pages can’t be adequately optimized and ranked. Websites can get slow because of caching, compression, images, multimedia, or JavaScript files. Make sure you run diagnostics and see what makes your page slower. Fix those things one by one.

Mobile-friendly Website

Today many users access pages through their mobile devices. That means you need to improve the mobile-friendliness of your website for easier navigation. We suggest using a responsive design and simple navigation while the page speed is on point.

HTML Title

HTML tags define page titles, and that’s what matters for Google and on-page optimization. For example, the page title “Most important local seo guides to follow” is defined by the tags <title></title>. That’s the data Google grabs from your website and uses as a parameter in ranking since it relies on keywords used between these tags. Consider rewriting the titles using more popular keywords, if needed.

Meta Description

Meta Description is an HTML tag, too, that includes a short introduction to what is the page about. This part is crucial for ranking and attracts people to click on the link and visit your page.

SEO Writing

In the past, writers were overusing keywords to trick Google into ranking the page. But today, things are quite different. Keyword overstuffing is one of the worst SEO practices.

Instead, try to make the content readable, use headings and subheadings, and keep the paragraphs short and brief. That’s how you make the blog or article easily consumable.

When possible, use bullet lists to enhance the readability of the piece.

Image attributes

Image alt text is a text description of what’s on the image. It keeps the article well-readable even if it doesn’t load the pictures for some reason. Also, the alt text is one of the most critical on-page SEO factors, making the images searchable and rankable.

Don’t forget to rename the image before you upload it to the website. Google will quickly recognize the name “basket of fruits.jpg” as relevant instead of generic names like “image01.jpg”.

Most used formats are jpg, png, gif, and webp because they are also mobile-friendly. Make sure you resize the images, so the website can load them properly.

Internal Linking

This is a great practice, no matter the main theme of your website. Adding relevant links to other website pages encourages the readers to visit them for extra background.

Make sure you put the links on relevant anchor text pieces, so it tells the search engines and readers what they should expect.

Geotagging

Geotagging is a crucial parameter regarding the best local seo practices for your website. Don’t forget to add the target location, so you can work on a better geotagging strategy.

No matter if you are a small business or a huge corporation, localized content matters. Always include the business description, location, address, full name, and of course, the phone number.

Provide location-based content, so it can work with “near me” searches. You can also collaborate with other local businesses for greater exposure.

Good URL Structure

When you have more categories on the website, ensure there is a good hierarchy, so you can get consistent URLs.

URL should show the website hierarchy, for example:

https://www.ourdomain.com/news/politics/title-of-the-article

Sometimes web admins exclude the hierarchy and tie the article pages directly to the domain, which seems like a good practice, but it’s confusing for the search engines.

In the example, when you enter a query related to some keyword in the topic, the search engine makes sure you are getting suggestions related to politics.

URL structure is important because that’s how search engines understand the website and the purpose, ranking it as a relevant resource.

Optimizing The Target Pages

Target pages are part of the general section, describing the business’s mission and goals. They are rich in keywords, and users often land there when searching for some specific query.

When you run an SEO audit, don’t exclude the target pages because you can improve the whole strategy based on them.

These are some of the suggestions you can use for better target page optimization:

  • Include local-sensitive keywords in the meta title
  • Update the meta description and include localized keywords
  • Remove the duplicate meta titles
  • Compare the keyword usage with the other pages on your website
  • Planning and Writing New Content for the Blog Sections

Blog posts are usually related to target keywords, but writers can also use them nicely without being too obvious that they are building the content around specific keywords.

Posts published in the blog section are mostly focused on localized results. They serve as supporting content for the overall strategy.

Blog posts are also engaging and informative, containing information about some product or service and how it works. That way, potential customers get to know the product better and understand its purpose. Blog posts are written to engage the readers and increase their interest.

Updating Old Blog Content

Blog posts must stay fresh and relevant since they support the business. Run new keyword research, and see how you can improve the current posts. Sometimes, you can come up with ideas for new posts and pillars, but improving what you already have can help too.

Make sure you include the localization factors to improve the local SERP ranking.

Capitalizing Users Reviews

Many modern websites use this approach. They include relevant reviews and customer ratings in visible positions on the homepage. Users are giving valuable insight into how your business performs and how good are the products or services. Make sure you enlighten this section, so it can be nicely visible to the visitors.

Also, embrace the Google rates that appear in the SERP, so the searchers can see a few reviews before they visit the website.

Off-Page Strategies

Off-page SEO uses off-site optimizations so you can outrank similar websites that have a better ranking at the particular moment. We will focus mostly on SEO off-page factors, like building backlinks, social media, and influencer marketing, and working on guest posts you publish on other websites to improve the website authority.

The external sources that lead to your website should have the same quality or rank even better, so it all can make sense.

When two similar pages use an almost identical on-page strategy, ranking depends on the off-page SEO signals. Google will rank higher as the one with more backlinks from reputable websites. The other website may have more backlinks, but if they aren’t good enough, Google won’t recognize them as reputable ones.

Also, you have to know that even if you have a perfect on-page SEO strategy, it won’t get your website on Google’s first page without proper off-site optimization.

Creating a Google Business profile is the first step in crafting an exceptional off-page SEO strategy. Use advanced local SEO tools to improve the appearance of “near me” search results.

When you use the Google Business Profile, you can provide crucial details of your business, like logo, location, main services, etc.

What Does it Mean to List Your Company on Google My Business?

This is an integral part of your local SEO strategy. As you list your business on Google, you add essential information like working hours, safety measures, contact numbers, etc. You can improve the business card by adding relevant photos, so the customers can know where to find you and what to expect.

Make sure you pin your location on Google Maps since it will affect the further search engine ranking.

This is an easy way to communicate with the customers and respond to their requirements and reviews. That will be added to the Q&A section on your business page. You can also add an FAQ section, together with the answers.

You can add different lists, like what products you offer, how people can order, and the price list for sure.

Google My Business allows you to change and update anything on your profile on time, so you can build trust with your customers. Even if you don’t have a physical address, you can still fill up the directories and show your customers how you work and deliver their orders.

Link Building Strategy

Link building means finding relevant and quality lings to use in your content, so you can perform in-depth local SEO. It seems like an easy thing to do, but there are many things you have to know in advance.

But, everything starts with you. You have to create a link-worthy blog(s) and posts people would link and share. But, let’s take things slowly, step by step:

1. Start With the Outreach

Introduce your job to more people in the industry. Reach out to them, show them what you do, and let them decide if they would link or publish something related to it.

Outreach is all about telling people why your product, service, or website, in general, is useful for them. Find those who target similar keywords in their articles and who write on similar topics. You are allowed to use tools to find the best matches.

Usually, the outreach process is completed by email. At this point, we suggest reaching out to those who cover local news, businesses, or even the domains from target markets.

2. Understand the Importance of Guest Posts

This is a really old link-building local seo hack that still works like a charm. The most effective way to find the “write for us” pages and offer collaboration to web creators. But is that the best approach?

Websites that call people to write for them get many submissions daily, but they explicitly advertise accepting guest posts.

But, we suggest you take the game to the next level by reaching out to relevant websites and sending your collaboration initiation. Make sure you target similar websites and pay attention to their location.

3. Link Insertion that Makes Sense

No matter who you link, it must make sense. If you mention a specific service or product, make sure you link to the homepage and the product you talk about. Unlinked mentions won’t help you build relevance, and they are not beneficial for anyone.

There are three relevance signals a link should “pass” before you decide if it’s good enough for your backlink strategy.

  • Website popularity
  • The page contains a relevant link
  • Nice choice of anchor text

There are a few scenarios that lead to different outcomes.

For example, you can find a popular website, but the content is not relevant, just like the anchors. On the other hand, you can find a less popular website with a local SEO strategy on point, which makes the link valuable.

The best case scenario is a popular website with relevant content and properly inserted anchor text.

But, what to choose if you have no popular website with quality content and a very popular website with thin content?

Google will surely “appreciate” quality over popularity, so choosing the relevant website makes more sense for your local SEO implementation instead of links from popular websites with poor content.

4. Using Competitors’ Backlinks

When crafting the off-page strategy, don’t forget to monitor what your competition is doing. Check on their backlinks, and see what you can use. It seems like “stealing,” but it’s pretty standard practice.

You can run a backlink scan using some of the available SEO tools and get a complete report. Use that to rebuild your current strategy and develop more ideas for backlink implementation.

5. Fix and/or Rebuild Broken Links

Broken links harm your SEO and conversion rates, affecting the rankings as it signals your website is outdated. Run a scan and find all the broken links, no matter if they are external or internal.

If the external link is broken, consider replacing it with another valid and relevant link. You can also remove it until you find a proper replacement.

If an internal link is broken, you should see why it happens. Maybe there is a typo, or somehow the page was deleted. You can easily fix these issues and rebuild the page if needed.

You can use 301 redirects to fix broken links, but it’s time-consuming. Still, it’s better to redirect the broken link to your homepage or some target page instead of completely removing it.  

What should a good link include?

Not every link weighs equally. Many factors affect its quality.

Some of them are:

  • PageRank of the webpage
  • Link location, or how the link is placed in the text
  • The choice for anchor text – Google values relevant words instead of “click here” or “this website.”
  • Links for more sites instead of using 4-5 links from the same website

How “fresh” are the links?

When looking for links, search your industry + location, for example, “restaurant” + “Paris.” See if there are some guides or recommendation lists. We used Paris in the example, considering that you are opening a new restaurant there, and you need to attract both locals and tourists. So, take all the results in mind, no matter if it’s French or English.

Best Local SEO Practices and Tips

Google ranks many websites, but you shouldn’t always be specific about the location when searching for something. The location services can pin you on a map and help you discover the results near you.

For example, if you look for a library, it suggests the closest ones without even typing the city or the words “near me.” But, when it comes to specific terms like “Chinese food,” you have to specify if you are looking for restaurants or recipes. And of course, search engines understand you, but sometimes you need to give context to your search, so they can provide relevant results.

Local links are useful for local ranking, which means you have a better chance to get to Google’s local three-pack – location, rating, and name of the business, including the information for working hours and phone number.

Here are some quick local seo tips that can be helpful:

  1. Fill up the Google My Business lists, and include all the needed information
  2. Ensure your NAP is consistent
  3. Run a local SEO audit
  4. Work on the internal linking to give the content depth and structure
  5. Optimize the URLs
  6. Optimize the HTML tags
  7. Specify your location
  8. Work on localized content
  9. Check if the website is mobile friendly
  10. Build relevance working on inbound links

Don’t stick only to Google. When you list your business on services like Trip Advisor, Bing Places, Apple Maps, Yelp, etc., you are also improving your relevance since many resources refer to your business.

You can explore the option of entering some local business association or the chamber of commerce to get verifications.

Things get easier when you use local seo wordpress tools since Google crawls WP websites faster and considers them relevant for ranking.

WordPress tools and plugins ease the automated translation and incorporate every local seo factor that improves the ranking.

You can use plugins to prevent keyword overstuffing and check on the readability of your content.

Worst Local SEO Practices

We already shared essential tips for local seo strategies and practices, but let’s see what the worst approaches are.

1 Local Keywords Overuse

If you ignore any of the factors we included in this post and focus only on keyword overstuffing, Google will detect that behavior. That means you are not focused on your buyers and target audience, but you only care about rankings. If you don’t provide useful information, you can easily be penalized by Google for trying to trick the search engine.

2. Plagiarized Content

Make sure you always have nice and fresh ideas for your content. When you copy articles without attribution and citation, it’s considered plagiarism. Even if you use the same outline and simply spin the content, it can be bad for the ranking.

Patchwriting seems like a good idea since you copy small patches from different resources, but again, even if the plagiarism tool finds it unique, Google can detect bad practices and penalize the website.

3. Focusing on One or Two Topics

Even if you sell a particular product, you don’t need to write strictly about it. Your industry is surely inspirational, and you can get exceptional ideas for blog posts and use relevant backlinks even if they don’t seem related to your business.

4. You Don’t Build Relationships

Your business may go pretty well, but if you don’t build relationships with your customers and the others in the industry, things can get bad for you. Work on the relations with the people, and find collaborators around you, to facilitate external linking and authority.

5. Not Fixing Technical Errors

Your wordpress local seo plugins can slow down the website. Even if the tool or plugin is useful, try to find another that won’t cause technical errors. When the website is too slow, see what is causing that.

Also, focus on fixing the HTML titles and meta descriptions because only one error is enough to de-rank your website.

The Key Takeaways

Local SEO can help you get relevant and recognizable in your area. You can even focus on spreading your business around the world using a good local SEO strategy.

All the aspects of usual SEO are also valuable in local SEO, but a few unique parameters make the difference.

As a business owner, you should pay attention to SEO audit processes and also implement the strategy correctly. Keeping track of Google changes and updates is a must. That’s how you determine which local SEO practices are good to use and which are bad for your company. You risk a lot when using a flawed SEO approach, and it may cost your whole business.

If you can’t do these things alone, let the SEO professionals and agencies deal with it. It’s one of the best decisions you can make for your business, so you can keep it local or focus on more markets abroad.

FAQ

1. What is local seo?

Local SEO is the process of improving the website visibility in local unpaid SERPs. Any business that has a physical location and targets a specific local market can benefit from local SEO implementation.

2. How to do local seo?

You have to make sure to list your company in Google My Business, run an SEO and competition audit, and use the results to localize the content. Use location-relevant keywords when optimizing the content, and focus on good SEO practices for better results.

3. Why is local seo important?

Local SEO activities help you improve your current strategy, increases your online presence, bring more traffic to your website, and convert the visits into sales or preferred actions.

4. How to improve local seo?

You can translate the pages, include cultural specifications, use relevant images with proper alt text, and reoptimize the current content for better keywords.

5. What is local seo citation?

Citations are important for local seo implementation. Citations are social media mentions, linking to your website, or even including your business NAP on other websites. When done properly, citations can significantly improve the ranking results.

6. How much does local seo cost?

There is no fixed cost, and it depends on how much work is done. If you hire an agency, you can get a quote depending on the preferred local SEO services. Also, the price depends if the collaboration is one-time or long-term.

If you do the whole thing alone or with your in-house team, you should include the tools’ prices, and of course, working hours, the complexity of the tasks, and invested labor.

7. What affects local seo?

Keyword implementation, backlink strategy, and technical aspects of the website affect the local SEO the most. Parameters like NAP and EAT are crucial too. Use quality and relevant links when working on link building strategy. Also, professionalism level affects local SEO practices pretty much, so make sure you know how to do it, or hire experts to complete that for you.

8. How to dominate local seo?

Check regularly what competition is doing and how it affects their ranking. You can always “borrow” some ideas from their strategy. Experienced SEO strategists and experts can easily detect which approaches they use.

Focus on the quality and speed of your website, and use popular and optimized CMS, such as WordPress, to cover all the technical aspects.

9. How does local seo work?

Local SEO uses keywords and locations as the main parameters when ranking the results on the first page. When you use Google My Business, you precise your location, making yourself discoverable to the people around you.

Local SEO includes local characteristics, depending on where your target audience is. It’s not enough just to translate the page into another language. You should include traditional and cultural uniquenesses to make the local SEO worthwhile and relevant.

10. How to improve local seo rankings?

Your strategy must be consistent but also prone to changes and improvements. Every business is specific and requires a unique approach. But, Google can change algorithms and guidelines anytime, so you have to understand the requirements and work on an improved local SEO strategy.

11. How to improve local seo ctr?

The Click-through rate shows us how many clicks the website received due to promoted ads. We use CRT to measure how successful the campaign was and estimate if it was effective.

Using local parameters can improve the CRT since it causes an emotional reaction within the customer.