Local SEO

Local SEO [1], true to the name, is a measure of how strongly your website ranks in search engine listings for queries that specifically relate to services in physical towns and cities. If you want to understand Local SEO, the first step is to understand one of Google’s main objectives: making the search engine experience as seamless and easy for the average user.

To make sure that average users don’t have a harder time than necessary getting to the results that they actually want, the number of results that don’t give them what they want are culled to make way for those that actually do.

To illustrate this more clearly, we can take a look back to 2015. A major local Google search history change in the August of 2015 reduced the number of main local businesses and premises from 7 to f3. Specific street numbers were no longer included in local business search results, only street names.

In this new climate of the search engine, local business reviews and ratings became more crucial than ever. Google+ wasn't as prevalent after the switch from the 7-pack to the 3-pack local search result model, but local service providers who deal heavily in the business of quick responses to unexpected issues found new surges in customers. Between 2015 and the end of 2017, paid ads for locally-based home service providers like plumbers and locksmiths gradually emerged in countries worldwide.

Optimize for All Forms of Local Relevance

While there weren't as many local premises included in the search pack, local ranking and distance parameters got much better due to the change. Today, locally-focused businesses can’t afford to be digitally unarmed these days if they really want to touch the top of their potential.

In 2014, Google was already reporting that 80% of all consumers[2] conduct local searches to make offline purchases with search engines; that figure hasn’t gone down in the slightest in the current time. There’s too much money leave on the local SEO table, so let’s talk about what it takes to do it right.

Confirm Every Physical Address

While many are motivated to appear in multiple local packs to maximize exposure, it’s generally most advisable have a genuine physical address there. Appearing in a local search pack for an area where your business cannot be visited won’t always result in immediate penalization, but if this is done too recklessly, both human beings and the search engine algorithm could react unfavorably to the misrepresentation.

Account for Any and All Recent Changes

It is not only important to make sure that you have a physical address in the place that you want to target for local SEO, but also that you are actually going to be using that address on a consistent basis. After all, what's the point in going through the trouble to optimize for a location that you don't even plan on staying in for longer than a few months?

Getting to the point that you can guarantee placement in a location that matches your potential listing will always be the best way to go. As for methods that actually do work, you can use Google My Business (GMB) to boost your local SEO by providing accurate and consistent information. You can also use Google Posts to let people know about upcoming offerings, deals and events.

Keep your Local Content Theme Consistent

Now, just the same as how you want to make sure that your business's location in a certain area is consistent with the locale that you are targeting for local SEO, consistency is also a hugely important element of your GMB posts.

Any and everything that you post as GMB content should be consistent with the tone that you set for your brand in general. You want to make sure that each and every one of your GMB categories can believably connected into the nature of your products and services.

It naturally doesn't hurt to have GMB categories that can expand into a slightly wider "net", but first and foremost, you want to make sure that your primary product is done justice to with everything that you produce.

Sharpen the Context of your Titles and Meta Tags

Make a point to get more mileage out of your page titles by emphasizing your local area in pages that cover your services. As you might recall from the on-page SEO section, you have a 60-character meta description allowance of 70 characters.

Just as is the case with general SEO meta titles and descriptions, you’ll want to aim for a meta description of about 4-8 words and 60-70 characters for local SEO strength. The name of the city and town in your meta description. Make sure that your business's phone number, address and name are all on the big citation data collectors and listings providers like Factual, Dexknows and Infogroup.

Designate A Specific Description for Every Service

No matter how minute the differences between similar-sounding products or services may seem, specifically designated pages can ensure that local prospects can get exactly what they're looking for when you pop up in the search listings for a specific query to solve a specific problem.

Use Dynamic Media to Showcase Local Presence

Back your website URL and copy up with forms of media like photos and videos to build up more credibility. You’ll always want to specifically highlight any distinctly different locations that your business may be located in. Aim to have every business location get an equal degree of visibility to the people who live near it.

Invest in Local Partnerships

Arrange to get your business's name circulating through the local newspapers and email newsletters. One of the best ways to do this is to use a blog. With your blog, you can regularly speak about the area around your business and include the business as a natural, relevant element of the posts.

Go the extra mile by hosting or sponsoring local events. Partner up with local organizations that you might be able to host a mutually beneficial event with to get more public presence. To go the extra mile, you can also use schema markup codes[3] to give Google a greater degree of detail about exactly what your webpage exists for.

Takeaway Bullets

  • Optimize for All Forms of Local Relevance
  • Confirm Every Physical Address
  • Account for Any and All Recent Changes
  • Keep your Local Content Theme Consistent
  • Sharpen the Context of your Titles and Meta Tags
  • Designate a Specific Description for Every Local Service
  • Use Dynamic Media to Showcase Local Presence
  • Invest in Local Partnerships

Resources of Note


[1] “Local SEO.” Local SEO - Moz, moz.com/blog/category/local-seo.
[2] “Understanding Consumers' Local Search Behavior.” Think with Google, May 2014, www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/search/how-advertisers-can-extend-their-relevance-with-search-download/.
[3] “Kissmetrics Blog.” How to Boost Your SEO by Using Schema Markup, blog.kissmetrics.com/get-started-using-schema/.