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What is Local SEO and Why Do I Need It?

local SEOWould you believe that every brand and business absolutely needs Local SEO? Of course you would, that’s why you’re reading this. If you plan on reaping success over a longer period of time across the real search engines, then opting for a strong Local SEO boost is essential.

What you Need to Understand about Local SEO?

Local SEO and it’s level of importance has dramatically grown over the past few years. This is because of faster internet connectivity at home, the rise of Smartphone usage and an increase in real search engines moving more toward a local, mobile platform.

As compared to regular ol’ organic SEO, local SEO is more concentrated on offering the best local results. Results are all relevant to the searcher and the current location. If you searched for the best restaurant that offers grass-fed steak on your desktop computer, Google will provide you with the best results in your local area. Doing the same search on your mobile device will yield the same local results, but be displayed with easier access to call, or find on a map.

In the year 2011, forty percent of mobile searches were geared toward local results. That number has climbed drastically over the last 4 years. 4 out of 5 people who are using Smartphones are searching for local information. And, 2 in 3 people are taking a direct and consistent action in making their purchases based on those local display results.

In fact, Google has just indicated that 1 in 3 mobile searches are even more “local”. Eighty-seven percent of people with smartphones are using them to shop locally and search for local shopping. Currently (Fall of 2015) Google has noted that ninety-five percent of all mobile users are searching for local information on their smartphones.

 

Why You Need Local SEO?

It’s this simple.  Every person searching the internet will be searching for products or services that are close to home. If you want to generate increased local exposure and local business, then you must develop a strong local SEO strategy.

 

What can you do to optimize 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 localized 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

Name, address and Phone Number (NAP) citations are the primary 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 your customers to leave reviews

Reviews are arguably the most important 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 moving up in search rankings- if those opinions are positive, of course. No amount of SEO can help you if the food is bad.

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…

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