There is no doubt that the most frequently used search engine among people is Google. No wonder that a high position in its rankings is usually an element of the competitive advantage of various companies and enterprises. With its help, we search for all kinds of information: from seemingly trivial, such as a list of recommended nearby restaurants, to quite serious, such as health advice (not without reason the term “doctor Google” is very popular). For this reason, website positioning has become one of the most effective ways to promote your brand on the Internet. Companies that are focused on regional advertising should, however, be interested in the concept of local SEO.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is defined as a series of onsite and offsite activities aimed at increasing the visibility of a selected set of keywords, but only within a specific area, e.g. a city or district. The essence of this solution is based on displaying information to the potential customer about the place where he is currently located.
For example: imagine that at the moment you are in a strange city, but you need to use the service of a hairdresser. In the past, you would ask local people and based on the first or most common answers you would choose the best provider. Nowadays, in a much shorter time, using a search engine, you can find a specialist in a given industry in the closest area and read opinions about it. So, as you can easily guess, an effectively conducted local positioning process combined with a good-quality product or service can bring a number of benefits for regional businesses.
What are the benefits of local SEO?
A well-planned and conducted SEO strategy at the local level brings unquestionable benefits for the business. First of all, it is worth realizing that competing with the competition on the domestic or global market is much more difficult, and also requires spending more time. On the other hand, positioning at the level of a specific region or city is not such a complicated process, and at the same time brings the intended results much faster (both in terms of a higher position in the rankings and financial profits associated with it – potential consumers are located nearby and are usually ready to take advantage of the offer on the same day).
Additionally, a less complex SEO process usually requires less money, especially in areas with low competition. This is also supported by the fact that optimization activities within local websites or catalogs are much cheaper. Local positioning of your website can also bring much better results if you also decide to implement a Google Ads advertising campaign or promote in selected social media.
Who should benefit from local SEO?
As you can easily guess, local website positioning works well for companies that operate in a certain area, e.g. in a given city or province. Very often, this solution is used by gastronomic establishments (restaurants, cafes, etc.) and health and fitness centers (private doctors, gyms, etc.). Local positioning is also used by companies that provide their services at the clients’ homes (e.g. hydraulic emergency, repair crews, locksmiths, etc.), as well as by premises where customers have to drive themselves (e.g. hairdresser, law firm, car service, etc.).
Of course, this method can be used by companies from various industries, so it does not have to be limited to the examples mentioned. However, those who opted for this solution should be aware that most local searches are done via smartphones. Their websites must therefore be responsive, and therefore adapted to users of mobile devices.
Geolocation and the impact on SEO
Geolocation, which allows to determine the geographic location of a given website user, is a very important factor affecting the search results. Previously, the displayed results were also dependent on the national search engine domain. This means that by entering a given phrase via google.com, you were getting exactly the same page ranking, no matter where you checked it. Currently, the results are localized to make it easier to find information from the user’s perspective. Of course, he does not have to fully rely on the search engine and he can specify the area for which he wants to receive information. It is enough to use the so-called Geolocated such request. “New York pizza.” Regardless of whether the user is currently in Boston or another city, Google should present a ranking of this type of restaurant from New York.
It is worth adding, however, that the geolocation performed by the search engine is so precise that in large agglomerations it may show websites of companies located in a specific district. The fact that many Internet users still enter the phrase + area in place of the bar may result from their habituation or earlier planning of their stay in another city. Nevertheless, this type of personalization of results is a very important SEO factor over which the person responsible for positioning a given page does not have much control.
As a website owner, however, it is mandatory to create a Google My Business listing and thus ensure visibility on Google Maps. Additionally, apart from XML sitemaps, you also need to equip yourself with a KML file (so-called geositemapa), which is used, among others, by by the Google Earth app. Thanks to it, you have a guarantee that your company or premises will be properly located in the search results. In addition, you also need to take care of local positioning through other activities: internal (proper website and content optimization), as well as external activities (acquiring links and encouraging customers to add opinions).
How to create a business card in the Google My Business service?
As it was emphasized above: setting up a business card in the Google My Business service is an absolute must if you care about local positioning of your company. Such action not only enables the company to be displayed in standard search results and maps, but also increases the credibility of your business from the point of view of Google.
Setting up a business card is not a complicated process, but it requires verification with a special PIN (in most cases sent via post in order to check the real address). When this stage is successful, you will have your own Google ID, where users will be able to check the address, phone number, opening hours, as well as see available photos and previous customer reviews.
When providing contact details (and therefore all information that can be used by your clients to contact a representative of the company), you must also be consistent. It is worth that the same address, telephone number or e-mail name should appear on the “contact” subpage, in the appendix with the regulations, and in all external sources. Then the algorithms will easily associate contact details with your business, which ultimately has a positive effect on local search results.
A very important factor influencing the ranking of local search results are opinions about the company. This should not come as a surprise since Google always puts the well-being of the search engine user first. In turn, the opinions of existing consumers about a given service provider provide a lot of valuable information about his offer and customer service, and thus often help an undecided internet user to make a decision. Therefore, positive reviews about your company are read favorably by both Google robots and potential consumers.
For this reason, you need to ensure that your customers share their opinions (especially on the Google My Business listing, but also elsewhere), as their quantity and average are valuable guidelines for robots when determining local ranking. Additionally, it happens that Google displays selected ratings and reviews as part of presenting your business in search results. Thus, unflattering comments may result in your offer being quickly excluded by users.
Correct optimization of the website for local positioning
Of course, if you want to achieve a high position in local rankings, you shouldn’t forget to optimize your website properly. It includes a number of the same actions as in the case of SEO for general phrases, i.e. correct website structure and internal navigation or unique content. Website optimization for local positioning, however, provides for several additional, mandatory actions:
– placing a Google map (indicating the company’s seat) in the
– company name, address and telephone number in the “contact” tab and in the footer,
– describing contact information using structured data,
– natural placement of the name of a given area in the website content, headers and meta descriptions.
Additionally, you cannot forget about external links to the website, which play a very important role in both general and local positioning. In the second case, it is worth taking care of links from local websites, e.g. regional advertising portals or local newspapers.
Local SEO can bring a number of benefits to your business in a short time. However, it requires the site owner to meet several conditions, including correct website optimization, effective link building or encouraging customers to leave ratings and opinions. There is no doubt, however, that such an action may result in reaching a wide group of customers in the area, and thus quickly monetizing the effects.