Local SEO is becoming more and more important and there are several reasons for this. On the one hand, mobile search queries are on the increase and these usually have a local reference. Google also announced in January 2018 that “Mobile First” would become a very important ranking factor in the course of 2018. This includes the maintenance of local structured data, the maintenance of customer agreements and a very fast mobile loading time.
The local search results are only displayed within the organic results in Google for a local search query. If the website operator restricts himself to classic SEO without additional local optimization, his website appears exclusively in the organic search results without the relevant local results. Local SEO is most important for companies and businesses that offer their products and services exclusively or predominantly offline.
79% of all smartphone owners use their smartphone for search queries. Especially tourists or people unfamiliar with the area use their mobile phones for local search queries. Even hidden shops off the beaten track have a chance of spontaneous casual customers.
Fashion shops, restaurants, cafés, and car repair shops make the biggest profit from this trend. Google has conducted a smartphone study in the past. Almost 80% of users become active through the local search results found and, for example, make a purchase or make direct contact with a local company. Nearly 44% of mobile users search at least once a week for local information with their end device. As many as 16% even do this every day.
Which businesses need local SEO?
In general, every company that operates one or more local branches or shops benefits from Local SEO. Neither the size of the company nor the industry plays an important role. A local search engine optimization of the website makes sense among other things for
- retail stores
- businesses visited by customers should rely on Local SEO
Important ranking factors for local SEO
On the one hand, the page should rank in the generic search index and on the other hand in the local search results. How well a website is placed in these areas depends on several factors. The US SEO tool provider MOZ has surveyed many specialists in the industry for this purpose.
- Google My Business website of the company (My Business Signals)
- Mentions on external websites (External local signals)
- Signals on your own page (On-page Signals)
- Internet reviews of the company (Review Signals)
- external links or backlinks from other pages (link signals)
- Signals via social networks and portals (Social Signs)
- use as such, including mobile use (Behavioral and Mobile Signals)
- personalized search in search engines (personalization)
An important factor in Local SEO is the proximity to a sought-after location. The closer a shop is to the center of a city, the better the position for ranking in Local SEO. A disadvantage in this context is the local competition.
On-page factors in local SEO
Each branch should have its own landing page with the company name and city name in the title. The company should definitely enrich its website with local content – photos, employee photos, and local blog articles reinforce the local reference for Google. The route description is particularly relevant; it should be clearly visible.
As with classic search engine optimization, the content (content) on the website plays a role in Local SEO. The best thing about the website is that it contains unique and well-structured content, which brings an advantage or added value to every visitor. With these contents, the company should stand out from its local competitors and make itself interesting for the customer.
It is particularly helpful if a branch operates a blog and maintains it regularly. Local events and reports about self-organized events also push the local ranking. The blog takes interested visitors directly to the company’s website and the online shop.
Relevance, distance, and awareness
The better the company’s data is presented, the better Google can assess whether a business is relevant to local search results. These data should be up-to-date at all times (e.g. shop opening hours, hotline or directions).
Google differentiates between whether the person searching is on the spot (“Pizzeria nearby”) or intends to visit that place (“Fish and Chips in London” and the user is in Cologne). One is looking for a concrete route description, the other is more concerned with the informative aspect of the search.
By means of the usual SEO measures, the small shops can improve their position vis-à-vis the world-famous brands. Google receives relevant information about each company through all articles, directories, and links on the Internet. The more information is found, the better. Through local information, customer reviews and positive ratings, small businesses can significantly improve their position vis-à-vis global players.