A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO

Using Local SEO is an effective way for small businesses to maximize their exposure in the search engines.     

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the key components of any online marketing strategy. But by including Local Search Engine Optimisation (Local SEO) in your business’s digital footprint, you can add another layer of visibility to your online presence.

Let’s show you how ProfitParrot can help you achieve this.  

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is an online marketing strategy that enables customers in your area to easily find your business via an internet search. By including certain information on your business’s website, ie Name, Address Phone Number (NAP) details, its blog content and its onsite text, you can ensure that search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo will put your business at or near the top of their Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Why Local SEO is Important

Search Engine Optimization helps to ensure that a business ranks high up on a SERP. Local SEO takes this a step further by helping your local audience find your business when they are in its vicinity. A Local SEO search might include a phrase such as “…near me” or “…in my city.” 

By optimizing your business’s digital footprint to include information that generates search results based on location, you can attract customers looking for your type of business or service in their immediate vicinity or location.  

How Google Determines Local Rankings

Google uses software called “web crawlers” that scan and index web pages based on how useful they are to the end-user. It then uses an algorithm that includes several hundred factors to rank these web pages in order of importance.

When a person uses one of the phrases mentioned above in their Google search, the search engine generates a list called a Local SEO 3-pack. This is a list of three local businesses that match the parameters of the user’s search and are in the nearby locality or the area specified in the search.

Improving Your Local Search Presence

You want your business to be famous in your local area. Right? There are some simple ways that you can do this. These include:

  • Get Mobile. More than half of all Google searches are now conducted on smart devices. 
  • Consistent Listings. Your NAP information has to be the same on every page and platform.
  • Hyper-local Content. Your website’s text and blog content should name your business location right down to the street number.
  • Google Local Guides. Reviews from customers or people who have used your product are crucial to scoring high on the SERPs.
  • Google Ads are Your Friends: Pay a little bit of cash for a few Google ads. The Google search engines love businesses that spend money to make money.

How Does Local SEO Work?

A normal search engine inquiry will give customers a broad overview of results that match the search parameters. This may include results for similar businesses in other cities or even other parts of the world.

Local SEO uses a different set of search ranking signals to collect and rank businesses that are local to a specific area. These signals include such things as:

  • Keywords contained in a business profile.
  • Sentiments expressed in customer feedback.
  • Social media content.
  • The number of times customers have visited a business after searching for it.
  • The location of the person conducting the search.
  • NAP information.
  • The presence of Google star ratings. 

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The Benefits and Importance of Local SEO

Local SEO can potentially send your sales through the roof. By targeting customers who are in your local area – whether they are residents or simply passing through – you can boost your sales without having to spend a fortune on marketing. 

local seo guideAfter all, these potential customers are already in your area, and they are actively seeking out your kind of business. This is the time for your Local SEO strategy to shine!

  • Local SEO gets more qualified traffic. The people already in your area are your best client type. They are the customers who are most likely to become repeat clients. 
  • Local SEO results in more conversions. Clients who find your business in their local area are far more likely to visit your business and make a purchase. Research shows that 50% of customers visit a local store within one day of making a local search.
  • Local SEO reduces your customer acquisition cost. It costs money to attract customers. Local SEO is a very economical way to attract clients in a very targeted and efficient way.
  • Local SEO eliminates buyer objections. Local SEO lets potential clients find your business by themselves, without having to bombard them with potentially annoying advertising.
  • Local SEO content increases your relevance. Location-specific search results give your clients the exact information they are looking for, unencumbered with a collection of tangential options.  

What is Small Business SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation isn’t just for big companies with large budgets for digital marketing. Small business SEO is a cost-effective way in which you can increase your business’s online presence and get it to rank higher up in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

These days, SEO is critical to small businesses. It drives organic traffic to your website and generates customer engagement, encourages sales and builds a base of loyal customers.

Small business SEO uses strategies such as keyword research, blog posts, logical site structure and analysis of metrics to fine-tune your online presence. These strategies will ensure that your business shows up at the optimum place in every customer search. 

Why Small Businesses Need Local SEO

According to research carried out by Google, 46% of searches have what they describe as “local intent.” In other words, many of your potential customers are already in your area and they know what they are looking for. All you need to do is make sure that your business or service pops up at the top of Local 3-pack that the SERP gives them. 

In addition to this, Local SEO receives the highest conversion rate of all local advertising methods. It also improves your business’s online visibility and brings traffic to your website for customers who are doing their shopping online.  

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What Type of Business Needs Local SEO?

Any business that provides a product or service in a specific area will benefit from utilizing Local SEO. The information included in your Local SEO strategy will not only attract customers to your business’s door, but it will also drive traffic to your online store.

There are some location-specific businesses that will benefit even more from a Local SEO approach. These include:

  • Medical Service Providers
  • Law Firms
  • Restaurants and Cafés
  • Trade services such as plumbers, contractors, electricians and builders
  • Pet services and vets
  • Real estate companies   

Where do Local Search Results Show Up?

When a person in your area searches for a business or service, the search results show up as a Local 3-pack at the top of the SERP. The listings appear alongside a map with pins marking the location of the three top-ranked businesses in the area. On a mobile device, the 3-pack will appear beneath the location map, with the other search results appearing beneath them. 

On a computer, the 3-pack will be shown beside the location map and the rest of the search results will be set out in descending order beneath them.  

How Long Does it Take for Local SEO to Work?

Before your business’s Local SEO can begin to take effect, the Google web crawlers have to find, analyze and rank your website, NAP listings and other digital footprints. This will normally take a period of time known as a “business data index update cycle.”

What this means is that your Local SEO strategy will take a little bit of time to take effect: usually, around 4-8 weeks depending on your location. 

How Much Does Local SEO Cost?

When deciding on a Local SEO approach it is important to consider what your Return On Investment (ROI) is going to be. And although the set-up costs of a Local SEO strategy may seem expensive, you need to bear in mind that the results will benefit your business hugely.

A one-time Local SEO project that focuses on analyzing your current online presence, researching appropriate keywords and including them in your content, optimizing your digital footprint and evaluating the results would range from $500 – $5000/month As a general rule, an average Local SEO strategy will cost an average of $1500+/month. 

Should I Do-it-Myself or Hire a Local SEO Specialist?

Setting up and operating an effective SEO strategy need not be a complicated task. By doing plenty of research and with a lot of trial-and-error, pretty much anyone can learn how to do SEO for their business. 

In order to gain the best results, a better option is to engage the services of an SEO expert. Your job is to work on producing the best products and providing the best customer experiences imaginable. An SEO expert will be able to set up your business’s SEO strategy and ensure that it works effectively right from the get-go: no trial and error required! 

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How Profit Parrot can Help Grow Your Local Business.

At Profit Parrot, we pride ourselves on being experts in all things SEO. These are things that we know how to do…and how to do them well. For example, we can:

  • Optimize for Google My Business. A personalized business profile is a number one online item search engines look for.
  • Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business. Spreading your content across as many social media platforms as possible maximizes your digital footprint.
  • Optimize online directories and citations. We can ensure that your business entries include all of the relevant metadata and title tags.
  • Build NAP Citations. Name, Address, Phone Number information are critical to both Local and general SEO optimization.
  • On-Page SEO. Including keywords and metadata in your online copy drives search engine traffic to your site. Opimize your meta descriptions, alt tags, h1 tags and more.
  • Local SEO Link Building. Backlinks from other high authority websites, blog posts, as well as customer feedback, generate additional exposure for your business.
  • Perform a local SEO audit. How well is your SEO strategy working? We know how to analyze the metrics and make changes where necessary.

Great content is the best way to get your business noticed. At Profit Parrot we have access to a range of experts who can provide content that will: 

  • Improve your internal linking structure. Specific words and phrases can be used to link to other parts of your website.
  • Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content. Including appropriate keywords in every aspect of your site’s text and imagery. 
  • Add location pages to your website. Boost your Local SEO exposure with a highly-focused landing page that includes all of your business’s key information.
  • Create local content. Content that refers to your local area is perfect for establishing a great customer experience that will translate into high search engine results.
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. With so many searches now being conducted using smart devices, it is vital that your website looks good on a small screen.
  • Get inbound links with relevance and authority. Google search engines love inbound links. By counting the number of times another website mentions your business, Google’s search engines can establish how relevant your business is to people searching for a specific topic or service. 

An effective Local SEO strategy also includes a set of procedures that give your business a real neighborhood, community feel. This is an important factor in attracting the attention of search engines and includes such things as: 

  • Participation in your local community. If your business has a stall at the local Farmer’s Market or craft show, your Local SEO results will benefit.
  • Claim All Business Directories. Inclusion in local business directories, telephone books and community noticeboards adds yet another level of exposure for your business.
  • Target Local Keywords. A Local SEO expert knows how to research keywords that are highly locality-specific: words that refer to your business’s neighborhood, suburb or town.
  • Encourage (and Reward) Customer Reviews. Customer reviews are a simple way to make your business stand out in Local SEO searches. Search engine algorithms are tailored toward finding customer feedback and adding the results to their SERPs.
  • Optimize Page Structure. Your business website needs to be easy to navigate. Every page should be accessible from your homepage with a minimum number of clicks. This will ensure that visitors to your site stay engaged and don’t move on to sites that are easier to navigate. Search engines are tuned to favor sites that have low click-through rates.
  • Participate in Local Business Events. Having your brand represented at local events such as business forums, brand awareness promotions, or even hosting your own business event is a great way to promote your product or service. Better still, business events build citations and will give your business more authority in the eyes of search engines. 
  • Include Structured Data. This is another way to make your website more user-friendly. By structuring the information in a standardized way you can make sure that customers stay engaged and don’t click away to another site. Sites that engage viewers the most will rank higher up on the SERPs.

We Are Your Local SEO Experts

Creating, designing and operating any SEO marketing strategy can be a complex and time-consuming job. That’s where the skilled team at Profit Parrot comes in. While you concentrate on producing the awesome products and superb customer service that your business is famous for, we can take care of the Local SEO strategies that will send your sales stratospheric.  

The Profit Parrot crew is available 24/7 to look after all of your Local SEO and online marketing strategy. Get in touch with us today and go local with your Local SEO. 

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Lark Begin is a digital marketer from Ottawa, Canada. Lark is an SEO Master, PPC expert and content writer. She helps many small businesses get ranked on Google each day.