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How Local SEO Works and Why It Matters

Does your business need more local customers and online visibility? If so, then local SEO is the best way to go!

Local search engine optimization (SEO) borrows techniques from traditional SEO to secure higher rankings for a website. The difference is that compared to traditional SEO’s broader approach, local SEO focuses on increasing a business’s visibility in a specific region, area, or city.

There are some specialized local SEO solutions that can be more useful than other forms of digital marketing. Practices like location-based content optimization, keyword research, Google Business Profile optimization, and link building help sites appear in region-specific search results. If you want your site to rank on the first search results page for “near me” and location-based queries, you need local business SEO services!

Get started with the basics of local SEO by watching our explainer video, then join us as we take a deep dive into what local SEO is all about.

Illustration of local SEO services

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO involves strategically increasing a business’s visibility in local search engine results. Generally, search engine optimization is meant to rank a business higher on the first search engine results page (SERP). In doing so, this digital marketing practice brings more online attention to businesses in various industries.

But local SEO is different from traditional SEO in several ways. It doesn’t just aim to improve overall rankings for global searches. Instead, it takes a more focused, location-specific approach. It aims to boost a business’s visibility in and around the region it operates in or wants to target. This is important because nearly 46% of all Google searches have local intent!

Users also don’t just search for local businesses, they often visit or call the businesses that appear in search results within the same day. So, if you want to target nearby customers, you need local SEO.

Take this search query for example:

 Results of a Google Maps page showing BBQ restaurant profiles

When a user searches for “BBQ restaurants near me,” they’ll get results based on their precise location. Search engines like Google have algorithms that use users’ GPS-enabled locations to determine which results to show them.

Now, if you have a BBQ restaurant in New York, your business should show up in the first few results for the query discussed above. How do you make that happen? With local SEO solutions!

Traditional SEO vs. Local SEO

While the ultimate goal of all types of SEO is to rank a business higher on search engines, local SEO still has some unique challenges.

Let’s take a look at the key differences between traditional and local SEO.

 A table comparing traditional and local SEO

Why Localize Your Business? — Outsmarting the Algorithm

Google and other search engines use three factors to determine which sites show up in search results:

  • Proximity, i.e., how close the searcher and the business being shown are
  • Relevance, i.e., how closely the business matches the search intent, and
  • Prominence, i.e., how credible and well-known a business is.

If you want to pass all of these criteria, you need to optimize your business website using local SEO solutions. As an online business owner, your goal should be to rank among the first 5–10 results for every search query relevant to your business. This is where your potential customers go to find you since users can enable their location and get results based on their area.

Search queries related to your business and specific region should lead nearby customers to your business directly.

According to local SEO experts, this can only be possible if you have a business website and a Google Business Profile. Why? Take a look at the results for the query “Karaoke bars near me New York” as an example:

A screenshot showing Google Maps listings for karaoke bars

Screenshot showing search results for karaoke bars in NYC

Notice how only Google Maps listings and websites appear in the results? This is because a professional website and Google Business Profiles are arguably the most critical elements of digital marketing.

When your business is officially listed on Google Maps with a verified profile, it gains credibility and visibility. Additionally, your business website has a significant influence on how your online audience feels about your brand.

So, make sure to build a good website, or hire our website developers to set up a professional one for you. You can also put your business on the map, literally, by creating a Google Business Profile. (More on this below!)

Personalizing Online Rankings — How Local SEO Works

Once your business website is ready, you need to make sure users in your area can see it. There are multiple components of local business SEO that help achieve this goal. Let’s discuss the major ones:

Keyword Research

Keywords are king in the world of digital marketing and SEO. Keywords are the primary indicator that search engines use when determining the credibility, quality, relevance, and ranking potential of web content.

Take a look at the search results for the keywords “dental implant:

Screenshot of search results for dental implants

All of the search results highlight dental institutes and medical businesses. These web pages appeared in the results because they’re credible, informative, and most importantly, keyword-optimized.

Incorporating the right keywords into the content on your website allows search engines to “crawl” it more efficiently.

Longer keywords that contain town/city names or phrases like “near me” are the holy grail of local SEO. These are the searches every localized business wants to rank high for. You can achieve higher rankings with thorough keyword research.

For long-lasting results, consider enlisting the help of local keyword research service providers.

Google Business Profiles

As discussed earlier, Google Business Profiles are a critical element of local SEO. Formerly known as Google My Business (GMB) listings, these profiles allow your business to appear in location-specific search results.

Even if you only sell products or offer services at a physical location, having a verified Google Business Profile can still be great for your business.

Think of it this way: imagine you sell premium jewelry at a store in Dallas, TX. A potential buyer looking for the “best jewelry stores in Dallas” does research on Google and comes across the following results:

Screenshot showing profile listings for jewelry stores in Dallas

The first few results will always lead the user to relevant locations listed on Google Maps. Without a Google Business Profile, your business will fail to target any online customers in your area.

Collaborate with a local business SEO company to set up a Google listing for your business. The process is simple, allowing you to claim a location on Google Maps with just a few clicks. This makes it easier for the right customers to find your business, gauge its legitimacy, and access contact information.

Take this fully set up Google Business profile for example. It gives online users a complete, helpful overview of a restaurant, with quick and easily accessible details.

A fully set-up Google Business Profile for an eatery

On-page Content Optimization

Creating social media accounts, blogs, and Google Business Profiles is only half the work. The other half is optimizing these platforms for better rankings and visibility.

You can do this by creating high-quality, keyword-optimized content for your website. Publishing informative blogs, articles, how-to guides, product descriptions, etc. on various web pages helps your site rank for location-specific keywords.

This is because blogging makes search engines more likely to “remember” or index your site. In fact, research shows that sites with blogs tend to have 434% more indexed pages than those without blogs! When your site has more indexed pages, it’s more likely to appear in search results for relevant queries.

Have a look at the search results below:

 Screenshot showing search results for bathroom remodelers in San Diego

In this example, you get to see a variety of results for a basic research query.

The first result leads users to a directory citing various high-rated bathroom remodelers in San Diego. The second and third results lead to location pages on related websites, and the last result is an informative blog about a related topic.

Despite being different types of web pages, each result is relevant to the user’s query. Why? Because each page features content containing the keywords used in the search query!

Remember, most web users (approximately 75%) also never go past the first page of Google, meaning your website won’t gain much visibility unless it ranks on the first SERP. Optimizing the written content on your web pages can help you achieve this goal.

This is why local SEO services rely heavily on web content optimization and marketing. It’s a genius practice that helps you cater to local online audiences by putting region-specific keywords on your site.

Local Citations and Listings

Another impactful tool of local SEO is local citations and directory listings for your business.

A local citation is any mention of your business’s name, location, and phone number (N.A.P.) online. When listed on credible sites, local citations help online audiences find your business through region-specific sources.

There are two main types of local citations:

  • Structured citations, i.e., listings organized and arranged in a specific format
  • Unstructured citations, i.e., listings which mention business information in an informal way without using a proper template.

Here’s what a structured citation on Yelp looks like:

Screenshot of a structured local citation on YelpThese listings significantly boost your business’s online visibility and search engine rankings. They give online audiences all the information they need to locate your nearby business.

Unstructured citations, as shown below, also contribute to your online rankings despite being unorganized.

A paragraph demonstrating an unstructured local citation

This example still mentions important information about the business even though it doesn’t follow a proper format. Search engines can extract this information to assess the prominence and credibility of your business. They can analyze the information mentioned in local citations and rank your business higher due to its legitimacy and authority.

You can leverage the power of local citations by submitting your business to local directories and reaching out to authoritative third parties in your industry and region.

Region-Specific Link Building

Local link building refers to the process of acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative and nearby sources in your industry. A backlink is any hyperlink on a third-party website that leads to your business site. The clickable text that contains the outgoing link is called an anchor text.

For example, this excerpt from a blog hyperlinks to several pages. The anchor texts contain relevant keywords like “sensitive teeth” and “gum disease,” providing credibility to the linked sources.

Screenshot of a dental blog excerpt with anchor texts

Getting backlinks by authoritative third party sites in the same industry and area can significantly boost your local rankings. This practice is an integral part of local SEO services since it helps build credibility for your site.

To leverage region-specific link building, you can collaborate with other nearby websites to generate quality content. Start by searching for credible websites in your industry and region online. Reach out to them with a proposal for content creation. Many third-party sites accept guest posts, so use guest blogging services to take advantage of link-building opportunities.

Illustration depicting localized SEO and online searches

Start Ranking In Your Region with Our Affordable Local SEO Services!

Having a curated online presence is essential for every online business. But are potential customers in your area even aware of your services? If not, then it’s time for you to level up your local SEO game!

As your trusted and affordable local SEO provider, Search Berg offers tailored solutions that generate impactful results for your business. Despite your industry, our experts can tailor their local SEO optimization services to address your digital marketing goals.

We conduct site and company audits, come up with suitable action plans, and set up monitoring measures for each unique project. When working with us, you’ll be involved every step of the way. So, hire our local SEO services today! Just fill a form to get started.

It's time for a 180-degree transformation, Search Berg style. Rank higher on Google SERPs, build brand credibility, and drive more revenue by signing up with us today!

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