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How to Establish a Local SEO Strategy

Learn how to build a successful local marketing campaign. This article will cover everything you need to know about building your own local SEO strategy.

Local SEO is a must for every business looking to grow in their local market. However, many businesses don't know enough about it and make mistakes that hurt them. In this article, we will cover what you need to do if you want your company to succeed with local SEO.

What is local SEO?

The basic idea behind local SEO is to get your website to rank higher on search engines like Google when someone searches for a particular keyword in an area near their physical location. For example, if you own a restaurant and people are searching for pizza or restaurants nearby them then having the right keywords that match with this search query will help you show up in the results of such queries.

When should I start my campaign?

There is no one answer here as it depends a lot on what industry your business falls under but normally we suggest starting early so there's more time to perfect everything before going live.

What does good local SEO look like?

Being number one doesn't mean much unless conversions happen from being at the top spot which they won't if your website isn't user-friendly or doesn't have the proper local citations.  You should be able to get the citations you need and make them all work together.

What keywords do I choose for local seo?

The answer here is not straightforward as there are a lot of local factors that will affect your decision about which keywords to focus on but we recommend looking for something specific to your industry such as "best electrician in Dallas". Not only will this help you get more relevant traffic but it'll be easier to rank for as well.

What are some common mistakes people make with local SEO?

One of the most common mistakes is neglecting local citations which are essential for your website's ranking. Not only that, but your website should be able to get local citations easily and have them all work together. We'll talk a bit more about citations below.

Why is local SEO important?

Simply put, local SEO is important because it can help you get more customers. According to a study by BrightLocal, 88% of consumers use search engines to find local businesses and 60% of those people only look at the first page of results.

This means that if your business isn't ranking high enough then you're missing out on a lot of potential customers.

Aside from that, Local SEO is how people find out about your business, everything from times, to directions, and business hours.

Local search has become an integral element of the SEO business model. Depending on how much your business is getting from these searches they might even be walking into your house just as they are searching for it.

How do I start doing local SEO marketing?

One of the main things you need to focus on is optimizing your website for local search. The images, videos, and content you have on your website should be able to answer the questions a local customer might have when looking for a service in your area.

For example, if someone is searching for pizza restaurants nearby them then adding geo-relevant keywords that match this search query will help you show up in the results of such queries.  

If someone searches for "the best pizza place" around them then they will see results mentioning this name along with some information about it including their address, contact details, etc.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

One of the most important things to take into account when going forward with a local SEO campaign is which factors Google uses as an indication that your website should be ranked higher.

This might vary from one industry to another but there are some general guidelines you can follow for all types of businesses including:

  • The quantity and quality of links pointing back to your site from other websites.
  • Your social presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Quality content about topics related to your business area or niche.
  • Reviews — specifical ones via Google Reviews
  • Behavior on the website
  • On-Page SEO
  • Citations & Consistency of (NAP)

It's also very important not just to have good keywords in place but to use them properly so they show up everywhere possible without being spammy or annoying users who come across it by mistake.

These include places such as meta descriptions, titles, alt text for images, etc.

SEO is an ever-evolving field and what worked a few years ago might not work today. Make sure you have an up-to-date local SEO strategy that will be able to stand the test of time.

Improve Local SEO by Getting a "Google My Business" Account

Google My Business is the first step you need to take if you want your business to be classified as local.

It provides an opportunity for customers to find information that they are interested in, such as hours of operation, telephone numbers, and reviews from other customers.

This data will have to be sent to Google for your local pack, which can be accessed by registering in Google My Business. By doing this, it will give them more opportunities on how their company can grow through different marketing methods.

Be sure to fill out your profile as much as possible and make sure that all of your contact information is correct, and add photos that show what your company looks like from different angles. You can also include videos if you have any.

If there are any awards or certifications you have received, be sure to list them on your profile as well. This will help show customers that you are a credible business.

NAPs & Citations are HUGE

Adding the names of addresses or contact numbers to a NAP is one of the SEO ranking signals in the US. NAP citation is where names and phone numbers are grouped in a list. What are the main reasons?

Okay, Google uses NAP to verify that the information is true. They know you're in the right place and the number you call is correct and the more they see NAP references in their company citations. Therefore, it will be advisable if you are trying for NAP references from reputable sites.

There are various methods you can use to get your NAP listed. You can list it on the following websites:

  • Yelp — specifically yelp for business
  • YellowPages
  • Foursquare
  • Google Maps
  • Bing Places
  • Angie's List
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Dozens of other listing sites online

SEM Rush can help you manage all of the listing across the web and keep things up to date.

Make sure that all of your contact information is accurate, and be sure to keep it updated if anything changes. If there are any discrepancies between what's listed on different sites, it could hurt your ranking.

What is a Map Pack?

The map pack is the first three results on Google's local search.

If your website shows up here, then you'll have a much easier time ranking for keywords that are directly related to your business or services.  

There are two ways to get your site in the map pack.

The first is by encouraging people who come to your website through organic search or referral traffic from other websites and asking them to leave a review for you on Google Maps. Make sure that they include any relevant keywords when leaving their review so it will help show up if someone is searching for those keywords.

The second way is by claiming your business on Google My Business — which we got into a bit earlier.

How to track map pack rankings?

There are a few ways that you can track your local map pack ranking. One of those ways is to use the Google Search Console. This tool will show you how your website is performing in terms of search results, and it includes information about your website's visibility on Google Maps.

You can also use a tool like BrightLocal to monitor your rankings. This tool allows you to track your rank for specific keywords, as well as see how your competitors are doing.

Being able to track your progress is an important part of local SEO marketing, and using the right tools makes it easy to do so.

Benchmark your Map Pack

One key step in a successful local SEO plan is to benchmark. For example, you want to see how your ranking on Maps Pack is.

You can monitor your Map Pack ranking at any given point. Most rank monitoring apps have maps. When it comes to Local SEO the location you search for is massive.

Similarly, results from Mappack could differ from mile to mile. Tell me about the case of someone searching for 72nd street and 1st Avenue in New York. This will have extremely customized results depending upon the location of the individual.

Competition? What Competition?

If you're looking at local SEO as a way to trump out the competition, you might want to invest heavily in it.

According to Moz, "the vast majority of businesses do not show up in local search results". It's estimated that about 50% of businesses do not have any website at all, so if you create a website and focus on your local SEO, you'll be more visible in SERP than them.

There are a few things you can do to make sure that your business is standing out from the rest — including the ones that are online.

One of those things is making sure that your website is designed for mobile users. More and more people are using their phones to search for local businesses, so it's important that your website looks good on all devices.

You can also create landing pages specifically for local SEO that will help drive traffic to your site.

Make sure you're taking advantage of all the resources available to you and stay ahead of the competition.

Focus on Voice Search: Local Voice Searches

If you're not thinking about local SEO strategies that emphasize voice search, then now is the time. People are starting to use their voices more and Google predicts this will only continue as we move into a future where everyone conducts searches through devices like Amazon Echo or Siri.

Google says 20% of searches performed online are now voice searches. Twenty percent! Among other things voice search is generally longer and uses natural language compared to keywords.

In order for your local business to rank well in voice-specific search you'll need to optimize for it.

How to Optimize for Local Voice Search

- Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive! It's now more important than ever that everything on your site works well with voice searches. If someone can't find what they're looking for because the pages aren't loading properly, they won’t be inclined to call you.

- Make a list of longtail keywords that are specific to your business. These will be more likely to be used in voice searches, so make sure they're included on your website and in your content.

- Use Google's free "Voice Search" tool to get an idea of what people are searching for when they're using alternative search methods. You can get a lot of insight from this tool and it will help you to tailor your local SEO strategies accordingly.

- Use long-tail keywords in the content on your site so that Google knows what kind of pages these are, and therefore where they should rank them for voice searches.

"Normal" SEO still applies

You will still have to focus on your overall SEO strategy and make local SEO a subsection for your strategy. Google's ranking factors for locals are still 100% the same.

In fact, Google says that the organic ranking of your website affects your local ranking by determining if your website is ranking well in search engines and in local search. The higher the rank on organic results, the higher your position in the MapPack.

Are you a Brick and Mortar Business Using Local SEO?

Let us know if you're a small shop that might need a local SEO strategy. We'd love to help you grow. Reach us @NewTheoryMIA on twitter — or contact us through our site.

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