What Is Local SEO?

Summary: Local SEO is a highly effective way to market your businesses online. It optimizes your online presence to bring in customers who are performing relevant local searches.

When trying to find something close to you, whether it is a car repair shop, medical clinic, or restaurant, the first thing you do is Google it. To tailor it more to your location, you can add “near me” to the end of your search. Even without the “near me” added, Google prioritizes local results when searching. This is the common reality and experience for most people seeking products or services. As a matter of fact, nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. Unfortunately, up to 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing, one of the first steps in local search optimization. This article details the importance of local SEO services and how a marketing agency can help you grow and dominate in your area.

What Is Local SEO?

What is Local SEO Marketing & What Are Local SEO Services?

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), also referred to as local search engine marketing, is a highly effective way to market local businesses online to customers living in or currently in their proximity. It optimizes your online presence to help bring in customers who are performing relevant local searches. This is made possible through a variety of methods that differ from the standard SEO and require specific local SEO services.

What is a ‘Local Search’?

For context, a standard informational search is different from a local search. While normal informational searches involve search queries like ‘what is local SEO?’, a local search has a greater purchase intent behind it. For example, someone searching ‘What is the best local SEO agency near me?’ or best SEO company in Toronto would be more likely to be looking to buy than someone searching ‘what are local SEO services.’

Often, local such queries will typically include ‘near me’ or a location. Search Engines today are advanced enough to interpret and understand user intent, serving them relevant results accordingly. The search engines understand that the user wants business suggestions or lists in that location and return relevant results. It is important to note that the query does not have to include a location if Google already knows the user’s location or if they are using Google Maps. This difference in search queries and results makes investing in local SEO equally important as standard search engine optimization (SEO).

What are Local SERPs?

When a user types a Google search enquiry with local intent, there is a block of three business listings that appear below the map in the search results. This block is called the ‘local pack’ or ‘3-pack’. For local businesses that are looking to increase foot traffic or increased visitors to their website, increasing visibility on the local pack is a great solution. The local pack shows more information than the standard organic search, such as opening and closing times, reviews, ratings, and even photos.

Currently, Google can pull the local pack information directly from your website. However, the primary source of that information is from your Google My Business profile.

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What is Google My Business?

Google My Business, previously known as Google Local and Google+ Local, is your business’ profile on Google. You can add your own profile or claim it if it already exists. This profile feeds information to several places, including the local pack, Google Maps search results and the top right corner (top for mobile) of a branded search for your business – referred to as the knowledge panel.

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You can add a host of information to your GMB profile, including your services, contact details, business category, company description and opening times. However, certain features such as GMB Q&As, GMB attributes and Google Reviews are almost fully generated by customers who you have interacted with.

A big part of local SEO is ensuring that your GMB profile is as accurate and up to date as possible to increase your chances of featuring on the local pack, while being attractive and trustworthy enough to earn a click-through. Your GMB profile is one aspect of what is referred to as a ‘citation.’

What are Citations?

A citation is any place your business information appears together online. This typically includes the name, address, phone number and website URL or NAPW.  Common places where citations can appear are business listing websites or online directories. Understandably, if you do not feature in places where people find businesses like yours, those businesses that do will overtake you. Therefore, citations are a necessity for your local SEO efforts to do well.

There are two types of citations known as structured and unstructured. Structured citations often appear in business listings and are sourced from forms filled when claiming a listing. Unstructured citations are the result of, in most cases, press and social media where your unstructured NAPW information is posted on a web page.

Citations are the foundation of any local SEO strategy. However, you also need to make sure that your citations are built on the most relevant websites and are regularly updated. Otherwise, they could work against your efforts. Studies have shown that 68% of consumers would stop using a local business if the information found in local directories was incorrect.

How Do I Rank Well in Local Search?

There are three core elements of local search ranking that are vital:

  • Proximity: How close is your business located from the user?
  • Relevance: How relevant are your products and services to the search query?
  • Prominence: What do other previous or prospective customers say about your products and services?

What Are the Main Local SEO Services?

Search engines like Google are always evolving. This means that local SEO is also constantly changing and can be difficult to get right, as different goals will call for a different set of rules and requirements. Here is a list of all the local SEO services that can make a significant difference.

Website ‘Localization’

This means naturally working the name of your city, country, or region throughout your website. This could also involve creating separate content hubs or pages for a business with several locations to highlight each one. Other tactics include active involvement in local community events and featuring information and articles about them on your website.

Citation Building

Ensure your website is featured on online directories and citation sites. Featuring your NAPW on these sites will help customers find you and help improve your search rankings.

Claiming Your Google My Business Listing

This is vital in helping your business feature on important Google services such as Google Maps and search results. GMB and Bing Places for Business (for Bing) should be your first online directories.

Managing Reviews and Ratings

The number of reviews you get, their overall quality, and the authority of the review sites are important factors for local search rankings. Genuine, honest reviews not only show the quality of your service but also signal to search engines that your services and site are trusted, relevant and useful.

Getting Quality, Relevant Backlinks

Naturally obtained backlinks from authoritative websites send signals to search engines that your website is a trusted source of information. It also enhances your prominence in search rankings. Links from local bloggers, newspapers, business associations and citations can significantly improve your search visibility.

10 Ways Local SEO Services Help You Attract New Customers

  1. Local Customers Prefer to Use the Internet to Find Out About Local Businesses.
    Although some people still use printed directories, around 64% of all local customers use online directories and search engines as their primary way of finding local businesses, products, and services. This is especially important if you are a local brick-and-mortar business or a business with many physical locations.
  2. Local Search Marketing Is Timely and Targeted
    Many local searchers are looking for specific companies. However, others who perform local searches do not have anything specific in mind but intend to engage a local business. Local search tactics position your company and promote your products and services to local customers when they are actively looking for businesses like yours. You reach them when they need you, thereby increasing your chances of conversion.
  3. Highest Conversions of All Local Advertising Channels
    This is probably the main reason why local SEO is essential. Typically, local directories dominate the first page of many local search results. Unsurprisingly, local directory marketing, one of the local SEO strategies, has a higher conversion rate than traditional advertising options – up to 50% more in some instances.
  4. Mobile Internet Is Growing
    More and more people use mobile internet for their digital needs on the go. Mobile holds up to 50.88% of digital media time, with PC lagging at 46.39%. Local SEO covers both PC and mobile internet access increasing your chances of reaching a greater audience.
  5. Local SEO Has A Great Return on Investment
    Traditional advertising channels like newspapers, direct mail or leaflets are associated with wasted exposure. Local SEO allows you to reach potential customers when they need you. This results in very little wasted exposure, making local business SEO both cost-effective and efficient.
  6. Less Than Half of All Businesses Have Claimed Their Google My Business Listing
    GMB is a free listing from Google that is available to almost any business. Having a GMB profile greatly increases your chances of showing up in local search results. With only 44% of businesses taking advantage of this service, ensuring you have claimed and updated your listing gives you a head start over your competitors.
  7. Many of The Best Local SEO Opportunities Are Free – At Least For Now
    It is free to claim your GMB profile, Bing Places for Business, and many other listings in online directories. This is essentially free promotion for your business.
  8. Only 20% Of Adults Rely on Print Media for News
    In the last 20 years, traditional media has lost most of its viewership. Newspapers specifically have lost 80% of their readership. This is because more and more people now prefer to use the internet to get their news and information about local businesses, products, and services.
  9. Positive Reviews Make 91% of Customers More Loyal to A Business
    A strong review profile is vital to the success of a local business. As such, work to boost your online reputation by asking some of your trusted customers to leave a positive review of your business online.
  10. Local Customers Turn to The Internet for Information Regarding Your Business
    Your average customer today relies on the internet, either by traditional search or voice search to find local products, services and businesses. If they do not see your business in the search results – you miss out. Local SEO services can help you feature in these results for future customers to find you.

Grow Your Business Using Local SEO

Local SEO marketing trends are only getting stronger and more significant. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of local SEO services before your competitors catch on. Every type of business, regardless of industry, can benefit from local SEO marketing.

Why Use WSI Comandix for Local SEO?

For over 20 years, WSI Comandix has been the go-to partner for many businesses across Toronto and beyond for their SEO needs, and for good reasons:

We Help You Understand Your Rankings

Track hundreds of keywords across Google, Yahoo and Bing with a detailed breakdown of organic, maps and mobile rankings. Compare rankings against competitors and view trends across various locations.

We Help You Manage Your Reputation

Monitor and analyze your online reviews to grow your business reputation. Directly reply to Facebook and Google reviews, and guide customers to leave reviews on the sites that matter the most.

Build Accurate Citations Quickly and Effectively

Our citations building services can push your data to thousands of credible mobile apps, business directories and worldwide mapping services, whether you use aggregator submissions or our manual citations team. We help you get high visibility and NAPW consistency for local search.

Improve Your Rankings and Conversions Through Local SEO Services

If you are interested in working with WSI Comandix to help improve your rankings, conversions and sales using local SEO services, contact us today. Already experiencing the benefits that SEO has to offer? Speak with us to learn how your site is really performing with a free webscan.

About the Author

Experienced marketer, mentor and author. Peter is passionate about helping businesses to take full advantage of their web presence. He and his Team have successfully completed over 2,500 digital projects for clients in Canada, US and EU.

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