Are all the online elements of your business optimized? Is your business in the right place at the right time when the opportune moment arrives?
When we discuss local SEO, we are focusing on making sure relevant searchers find your website and services within your local vicinity – hence the term ‘Local’ SEO. NB. The audience that is searching is generally in a similar location to your business, although not always – a search may be performed in another location – this is a ‘Inferred’ search, see* below.
So, let’s look at Google; when a user enters a search term, the results are driven by algorithms that have made a ‘global’ or ‘local’ determination in microseconds.
At this point it is important to understand the differences between ‘global’ and ‘local’ user searches – as an example a search for ‘Italian recipe’ is very different to ‘Italian restaurant’ – the ‘restaurant’ term is a ‘local’ term or local keyword and will likely provide a relevant set of local results that are dependent on your search location.
In very basic terms local keywords are triggers for search engines to display local results:
Restaurant = Local Search Term (results will display based on the users search location).
Recipe = Global Search Term (results can be on blogs, website, videos etc from anywhere on the internet).
Before we go any further in detailing what your business needs to do to gain high positions in local searches – let’s take a closer look at the different types of search queries that users put into Google, bing, Yahoo! Etc. These also determine where your search result will appear.
A searcher will provide a ‘geo-modifier’ to a search term in relation to where the searcher is eg. ‘Italian restaurant Chester’ is searched for by a user in Chester. The search engine has obtained the complete ‘context’ so this is contextual.
A searcher based in Glasgow searches for ‘Italian restaurant Chester’ despite the fact they are not in Chester. They may be visiting Chester and are in the process of research.
A searcher (in the local vicinity of Chester) searches the term ‘Italian restaurant’ – without the geo-modifier. This is one of the faster-growing types of searches made. The term ‘restaurant’ is also a smaller version of intent.
NB. When looking at devising a local SEO strategy it is important to attempt to understand what search terms your audience is likely to use. So, try to determine which search type should form the basis for your targeting from the three detailed above.
There are other types of search terms, for example, the word ‘best’ is a review signal in search engines – ‘best Italian restaurant Chester’ will likely return results that are in a star rating order, 5 stars at the top, 4 stars next and so on. The reviews are ratings that are made by real people so Google will rank them accordingly as a reward for positive customer feedback, best reviews will normally rank first.
Currently, local searches are more likely to be performed on mobile devices – so if you test the keyword types try to understand the difference between desktop and mobile results. These are ever evolving spaces, keeping up to date on how they display is generally good practice in local SEO.
Essentials for Local SEO Success
Make sure your business is on Google My Business pages – Google Business Listing This with authenticate your business and will give Google a signal that your business exists.
Make sure your placing is high in quality.
Make sure you are listed on authority website listings like yelp or yell to confirm your identity. We understand search engines will look for such confirmations.
Build your inbound links – but make sure they are quality links.
Get authentic reviews on Yell, Yelp, Google and so on.