Local SEO: what it is and how to do it

Local SEO

As in reality, even on the web there are many companies that offer their products and services in a specific geographical area. For these companies, which operate in a specific geographical area, it is advisable to implement an organic positioning strategy defined as Local SEO or Local Search.

What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the local / geo-localized positioning of a website on search engines.
Unlike traditional SEO, whose intent is to position a site nationally or internationally (as for ecommerce sites), Local SEO aims to achieve organic visibility in a well-defined geographical area.
This branch of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is especially useful for those companies that provide services in direct contact with the public, such as:

  • hotel
  • B&B
  • doctors
  • dentists
  • craftsmen
  • restaurants

More and more often, in fact, many people looking for a product or service type in Google search keys associated with the name of a city, or generic keys that return local results (especially from smartphones).

How many times has it happened to you too to look for: “restaurant Milan” “Hotel Firenze” “hydraulic Rome”?

These searches, as you can imagine, are very targeted and being so limited, they have a higher conversion rate than generic ones.

Local Search is achieving particular success thanks also to the widespread diffusion of smartphones and searches carried out by these mobile devices. In fact, according to this Think with Google article in the USA, mobile searches with the “near me” key doubled compared to the previous year.

How to do Local SEO?
After briefly explaining what Local SEO is, let’s see how to do Local Search by implementing a correct strategy. Here is a short guide with the essential points to improve the local organic positioning of a website.

Open a Google My Business Listing
In June 2014 Google launched Google My Business a new service consisting of Google Plus and the old Google Places. Thanks to the platform it is possible to create a profile with the details of the commercial activity that will be inserted into the Google map.

It is very important to pay attention to the optimization of the Google My Business profile and to provide Google with as much information as possible.

To best complete your form:

  • create an accurate description of your business
  • choose the correct category to which your business belongs
  • upload some nice photos in the right resolution
  • enter the opening / closing times of the commercial activity
  • be careful to enter the correct address
  • enter the phone number and the various contacts
  • request / get reviews from your customers
  • update your profile often

All these aspects could make a difference!

Relevance, distance, prominence
According to this official guide, Google ranks local results based on:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence

These three factors are combined together to provide the user with the best possible result based on his research by him.

1) Relevance or relevance corresponds to how closely a local card matches what the user is looking for.
2) The distance indicates how far a search result is from the location used for the search. If you look for a dentist in Milan, the results will highlight the dentists of Milan and not of other cities. If you do not use the keyword with the location added, Google provides results based on other factors such as the IP address or the location of the phone.
3) Prominence or importance indicates how well known and strong a business is compared to others.
Google also identifies importance based on information it finds on the web, such as links and articles. In the guide, Google also states that positive reviews and ratings affect the local ranking of a business. The more positive reviews you get, the better the result.

Optimize the site for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets)
No need to repeat it anymore, but your site, especially if you want to do Local SEO, must be optimized for mobile devices. The user looking for a service and product wants to find the information right away. For example, if you own a restaurant, make your phone number, address and days of opening and closing immediately visible.

Use Google Keywords Planner to find keywords
Also for Local SEO, use Google Keywords Planner to get a complete list of keywords you want to rank for and their search volumes.
Use the tool by setting filters and including the “Keywords to include” one. By adding the name of the city you will get a list of keywords and their location.

Here is an example of “restaurant” + “Milan” in the “keywords to include” filter. A small detail that will save you time.

To support Google Keywords Planner you can also use Keywordtool.io or Ubersuggest

Local SEO: On Page optimization with localization
Optimize your website at best, using good on page SEO optimization rules.

Use the name of the city for which you want to position yourself within (if possible) the title tag, the meta description, the header tags h1 and any h2, in the images, in the text and in the url
H1 and Title don’t have to be the same, you can write them differently, but try to use the keywords
work optimally on the meta description to increase the CTR
Use keywords naturally and do not force too much so you will avoid keywords stuffing

SEO Copywriting: Landing Page and Blog
Content is the basis of good Local SEO Service. Make the most of Copywriting with an eye to SEO and create content of interest, enhancing the strengths of your business. Optimize institutional pages and create, without exaggerating, landing pages optimized for certain keywords that you consider essential for your business.

Not only that, get the most out of the potential of the blog to write news related to your city and your business, such as events and fairs: through the news you could intercept potential customers.

NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and Org Schema
Use schema.org to help search engines better identify your business. This site, Schema Markup Generator, will help you in creating your mark up.
Check that on your website, on the web and on your Google My Business profile, there is a correspondence between your business name, address and telephone number. Therefore, respect the order of the postcode (name, address, telephone number) and enter this data above the navigation menu or in the footer.

Map on the contact page
On your contact page, create a Google map embed. It will be easier for users who surf from smartphones to reach your business. This is an important point for your Local SEO strategy.

Local Link building and directory
Do some good link building. Try to enter your business within industry portals and try to earn links by offering quality content. For example, if you have a hotel or restaurant, find the sites where you can place your business. You will not only get an inbound link but visits as well.

Here are some examples of valuable local directories:

  • Hotfrog
  • BingPlaces
  • Yelp

Open Social Network Profiles
In addition to Google My Business, create a company page on Facebook, open a profile on Twitter and if you see fit also on Instagram. Pay attention to filling in your company form, respect the NAP and update your profile constantly. Insert the articles of your blog and create an effective editorial plan, which not only talks about your business, but which also promotes events and fairs in the area of your interest.

In this guide article you have understood what Local SEO is and how to do it. It is an activity that for local commercial realities such as SMEs can really make a difference in terms of organic visibility and conversions.