What on earth is local SEO and should I be doing it?

Added 05.10.15

With the online realm becoming increasingly competitive, many businesses are looking for alternative ways to stand out from the crowd. Whilst search engine optimisation (SEO) is something that has been working successfully for many years, some people are finding that local SEO is equally as viable. But what on earth does “local SEO” even mean and is this something you should be doing to improve traffic for your website?

Local SEO

Who should be implementing local SEO?
Basically, any business that gets all or even some of its customers locally should be considering this practice. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a café, a clothing store, a pharmacy, a doctor’s surgery or even a mechanic – if you have a physical address and this is where your customers are expected to come, you should be considering SEO for the location.

How does it differ to ‘normal’ SEO?
Whilst all of the elements that usually apply to ‘normal’ SEO will still apply to a more localised campaign (such as links, social and indexing), there are a few unique elements that you need to incorporate.

Firstly, you will need to create and claim a local profile on Google (and similar platforms). This listing is what appears in localised search results. Secondly, you will need to obtain citations. This is anyplace online where your business name, address and phone number all appear on the same page in the same format. Thirdly, try to obtain as many reviews as possible (preferably good ones).

Do ‘normal’ and local SEO differ onsite?
As we have already mentioned above, the same onsite elements apply to both ‘normal’ and local SEO. There are, however, four additional elements that you should consider mixing in:

Firstly, ensure that your name, address and phone number appear on every page of your website (the footer is a great spot). Secondly, use your suburb and city in your title tags, meta descriptions and website content. Thirdly, use Schema local markup to help search engines find and show your location. Fourthly, include a Keyhole Markup Language file on your website.

What is most important for boosting local rankings?
There are three main factors that tend to affect local listings. They are the number of citations, the number of reviews and how positive the reviews are (overall). There are, of course, other factors that have an affect, but these are often outside of your control (such as where your business is located in relation to the city centre, which is also known as “centroid bias”).

What should a new business do?
If you’re a new business looking to compete for local search results, we have put together a basic action plan that you can follow. Firstly, claim your local listing on Google Places and fill it out completely (this includes adding images, videos, and so on). Secondly, use a service that ensures that the information from this page is spread across all other major local platforms.

Thirdly, use a tool that ‘snags’ all of your local profiles. These may not be local-centric, but your profile will often contain your business name, address and phone number – this will instantly give you citations. Fourthly, ensure that your onsite SEO is all in order. And fifthly, do everything in your power to encourage your customers to leave a positive review.

Now that you have a better understanding of what local SEO is and how it can benefit your business, we hope that you will consider implementing such a strategy in the near future. Basically, any business with a physical location where customers can visit should consider how localised SEO practices will improve the visibility of their brand and, hopefully, draw more customers in. If you are too apprehensive to launch a campaign yourself, an agency like Zeemo can do it for you!