How to do Local SEO

Ever notice when you Google with the term “near me”, the search results look quite different? If you want to learn how to do Local SEO for your business to drive more traffic from local customers, this lesson is for you.

25 minutes

Key points you can
learn in this lesson.

Increase Search Engine Presence

Learn how to increase your search engine presence for local customers

Process of Localization

Understand the process of localization by adding your NAPW throughout your website

Tools for Local SEO

Discover how to leverage local SEO tools such as Google My Business and Citation builders

Our key metrics increased. More importantly, we implemented a lot of new tactics and test scenarios, which will boost our company’s future prospects.

Dave McCue
Digital Marketing Manager at Allstate

Lesson Preview

In this lesson, we’ll be walking through a handful of impactful local SEO strategies and tactics that you can quickly implement and see a short-term impact.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is an effective way to market your website locally online and promotes your business’ products and services through localized searches to local customers. The keyword here is local. If you are a business who is largely dependant on local customers, then you only want to target users that are located physically close to your place of business.

For example, if you are solely brick and mortar clothing brand who has store locations around Orange County, you want to market your products to Orange County residents. Here, there are certain tactics like Google My Business optimization, localized content and guest posting that will be prioritized.

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google My Business is a platform hosted by Google that hosts business profiles that are able to be searched via Google Search and Maps. It is crucial for local businesses to create and optimize a GMB account in order for it to get found. 

For example, when you Google “food near me”, what shows up?

This full list of restaurants is a result of Google understanding the quality of each individual GMB account based on reviews, optimizations, and keyword targeting. The better your GMB page is optimized, the better you will end up in the search results.

What are Local SERPs?

Local SERPs (search engine results pages) are SERPs that contain localized search results including the local map pack. This is usually a block of three GMB location listings and other localized webpages that tend to have local intent. See the example below: 

What are Citations?

A citation is an online submission where your NAPW (Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website), is referenced on another website. These are typically located on an online directory, review website, or business listing. See the example below:

You want to be referenced as many times as possible across various websites, specifically highly authoritative websites such as Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, Google, and more. However, there are a lot of other ways that you may find your NAPW mentioned throughout the internet.

What is Localization?

Localization is the process of making your website located or fixed on a certain location by adding your NAPW throughout your website. This creates local signals for Google to understand that your website and your business is confined to a certain area.

Localization of a website consists of several elements:

Language Translation: 

  • If you are located in several countries, ensuring that the pages are translated to the local language is important. This can be in the form of creating a multi-site with international subpages or creating subdomains for each language and translating those pages accordingly.

Cultural Translation:

  • In other countries, there are cultural norms that may be different than those of the United States (or your home country). Whether that be measurement units, date and time formatting, or holidays, you must ensure that your website is culturally correct for that local area. 

Currency Translation: 

  • Depending on your local country, the unit of currency is going to be different. If you are marketing as a local shop in the United States, you want to ensure that your website is optimized with the US Dollar ($). If you are marketing as a local shop in England, you want to ensure that your website is optimized with the Pound sterling (£).

Local Communication Changes: 

  • For global brands, there are going to be many phone numbers, addresses, and other forms of communication that need to be available for the potential customer. Ensuring that you are matching NAPW for each individual localized page can make or break your discoverability on Google and other search engines.

Why is this important?

Local SEO is important because it creates targeted marketing campaigns for hyperlocal and high-quality potential customers. Improving your local presence allows you to generate more relevant traffic to your site, providing more opportunities for conversions or transactions. 

Local SEO is especially important for localized businesses. Although there are some highly valuable searches for larger businesses, local SEO affects hyper-localized business more.

In this course, we will be teaching you all of the basics to get ready to create a highly valuable local SEO strategy.

What you’ll need:

The Process:

How to set up your Google My Business Account

Step 1: Sign in to Google Account

  1. Enter https://www.google.com/business/ into your web browser.
  2. Click “Sign in” in the top right-hand corner
  3. Log in to your preferred Google Account

Step 2: Find and manage your business

  1. Type your business name into the search bar
  2. If you find your business name, click on it
  3. If you do not find your business name,  click “Create a business with this name”
  4. On the next page, confirm the name of your business and hit “Next”
  5. If your location has physical visitors, such as a store or an office, click yes on the next page.If not, click no.   
  6. Fill out the information for your physical location and click ‘next’.      
  7. If you perform delivery services or visit your customers, check yes. If you do not, click ‘No, I don’t’. Click ‘Next’ when you are done.
  8. Choose a business category that fits your business best. For example, if you are a digital marketing agency, select “Marketing Agency”. Click ‘next’.
  9. Add your contact phone number that you want people to contact you at your place of business, as well as your website URL. Click ‘next’.
  10. Once you have submitted all the information, click ‘Finish’.
  11. Once you click ‘finish’, you will be prompted to submit your name where you will receive the postcard in the mail. Enter your name and click “Mail”.
  12. You’re all done! Once you receive the postcard in the mail, you can enter your verification ID number to set up verify your GMB account. 

How to Optimize your GMB Account

Now that we have set up our GMB account, you now want to go through the account and optimize for your location, target keywords, and more. There are a few sections that we want to go over: Home, Posts, Info, Reviews, Photos, Services, and Users.

Homepage

The homepage is where you can optimize your business hours, business description, and logo. You can also add optimized posts and photos for GMB and create a new email for your business through Gmail. You can even create ads for your GMB account through Google Ads.

Posts

The posts section is a way for you to create unique content for your users who find you through the map pack to access. As stated on Google, posts allow you to reach beyond everyone searching for your business by posting updates and offers directly to your local listing on Google.

Info

In the info section, you can update your address, service area, hours, phone number, website URL, appointment URL, products, services, attributes, business description, and photos. If you have multiple codes, you can also create a store code and labels for certain stores so that you can identify the differences.

Reviews

The reviews section of GMB is where you can manage, respond, and analyze reviews provided by customers and only users of your product, service, and website. This is one of the more important sections of Google My Business because it can provide a strong impression on potential customers. 

If you have poor reviews, it can negatively affect your ability to generate new leads or customers online. If you have positive reviews, you have a better chance at ranking higher in the map pack, which means more impressions and more potential customers.

Note: You will not be able to access this section until you verify your account.

Photos

Photos are how you are able to visually showcase your brand, business, employees, and quality of product and service. You can upload a logo, cover photo, videos, and many other photos through this section. You can even separate the photos by interior (inside the business), the exterior (outside of the business), at work (people in action), the team (employees), and identity (branded photos). 

Note: You will not be able to access this section until you verify your account.

Services

The services pages give you the opportunity to include the services that your business offers. For example, if you are a marketing agency, you may want to include services like “Search Marketing”, “SEO”, and “PPC”. These can help you rank for certain search terms that are related to your services. 

Note: You will not be able to access this section until you verify your account.

Users

If you want more people to have access to manage, edit, and own the GMB account you can add people through the ‘users’ section. 

How to Perform a Local SERP Analysis

Now that you have set up your Google My Business account, it is time to get a better understanding of local SERPs. As previously discussed, local SERPs are search engine results pages that contain localized search results such as map packs and local pages. 

In order to perform an effective Local SERP Analysis, you must pull a list of target keywords, identify keywords that indicate purchase intent, and plug those terms into the SERP to observe and analyze the results.

Step 1: Pull a List of Keywords That You Would Like to Target

Since we already have done that in the previous Keyword Research tutorial in lesson 3, we can move on to the next step. 

Step 2: Isolate the Keywords That Have Purchasing Intent

This may not seem intuitive but in fact, it can be fairly easy. For example, if you are a local internet and communications company, keywords with purchasing intent include “business internet” or “internet bundles”. Put yourself in your target persona’s shoes and ask yourself whether using that keyword in your search query would signify more purchasing intent, or just for educational purposes.

Once you isolate the keywords, you can enter each keyword individually into Google. In order to stay organized, you can use this spreadsheet as a guide.

Step 3: Pull Important Ranking Information from the Top Results of the SERP

In order to properly show the step by step of what information you want to pull, we will perform a local SERP analysis for “business internet” in Scottsdale, AZ. You can use the free Technical SEO tool by Merkle for this step: 

Technical SEO Tool by Merkle: Click Here

Step 1: Enter the Keyword into Google

When you enter a keyword that has local purchasing intent, it usually comes up with a list of businesses or a list of review sites that are rating businesses for that targeted keyword (or that service or product). 

Step 2: Perform a Brief Overview of the SERP Intent

What is meant by SERP intent is simple: what is the intention of someone who searches with this targeted keyword. For example, when we Google “business internet”, we see results for Comcast, Verizon, Spectrum, and AT&T, all of which is available locally here in Scottsdale, AZ. We also see hyperlocal internet companies such as Phoenix Internet. 

From a basic overview, it looks as if this search is focused on capturing customers looking for local business internet providers.

Step 3: Dive Deeper and Find Small Changes that Seem to Affect Rankings

One portion of this SERP that stands out is the Map Pack, which contains 4 local internet service providers.

From a distance, you noticed a few things: review ratings, business names, and locations on the map. Location plays a huge part in ranking for local searches. The closer you are to the searcher, the more likely you are to show up for the target keyword.

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