Local SEO Services
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a group of techniques used to improve a website’s ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) in order to generate more “organic” traffic for the website. Organic traffic refers to non-paid traffic as opposed to gaining web traffic from paid advertisements.
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How SEO Works
Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing show listings of websites on the SERP that are the most relevant to a user’s search terms. Mixed in with the organic listings are paid advertisements. Having a high ranking on the SERP is valuable because it creates web traffic for a website. Most users click on a link that is in the top three listings. Web traffic decreases substantially for the lower ranking websites listed on the SERP.
Here are the click-through rates based on the position in the SERP from a 2017 Google study:
If a business does not appear in the top ten listings on the SERP for organic searches of important keywords, then consumers are not finding the business and their traffic is going to the competitors of the business. This is why SEO efforts are vitally important for any business. Many techniques are used for SEO. One type of SEO that is helpful for many businesses are the techniques used for localized SEO.
Businesses that provide products and services for a local market area benefit from local search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that help people in their local area find the business. Local SEO differs from general SEO efforts because the goal is to apply search engine strategies to gain local customers. Some good examples where local SEO is applicable includes service industries such as plumbers or contractors. When a potential customer is looking for a plumber they want to find one from their local area. Restaurants are another good example of businesses that benefit from local SEO. Any business that generates most, if not all, of their revenue from local customers, should have an ongoing program of local search engine optimization.
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Search Engines Local Focus
The major search engines of Google, Yahoo, and Bing have increasingly become more focused on localization.
Google has a local directory system called “Google My Business.” This is a free service that helps customers find local businesses when they use the Google search engine or Google maps. Google encourages business owners to take advantage of its localization options by keeping their listing information up to date.
Google offers extra support for businesses that includes free websites and ways to share information with potential customers with regular updates, which build customer loyalty. Google also offers information for business owners to be able to track who is searching for their business.
Google has geo-location capabilities of those using the Google services. This means that the search engine and maps can provide local options. Google determines local ranking by using its algorithms based on distance, prominence, and relevance.
Distance is determined by a combination of the search terms entered by the user and what is known by Google about the location of the user. Google determines prominence based on what Google knows about a business from links to the website of the business, directory listings, and articles that refer to a business. Google ranks a business higher based on positive reviews. Relevance is determined by the best match between a local listing and what is being searched for by a user. Making sure that there is detailed and complete information available online about a business will help with relevance.
Local SEO efforts work on these factors to improve local ranking. Google does not offer a way for businesses to pay for higher profiles in local searches; however, advertisements placed using the Google Adwords system can be displayed based on localization factors.
Yahoo has a local business listing directory that is now managed by an outsourced company called Yext. Basic listings for a business are free. Yext also offers enhanced listings for a monthly fee and Yahoo! Localworks listings for a higher monthly fee. By paying the monthly fee, a business gains more prominence in the local searches.
Bing has a local directory service called “Bing Places for Business.” Bing offers support for businesses that provide local service and has different programs for companies with up to 10 locations and for those with more than 10 locations.
Local On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is a technique to help search engines understand what products and/or services that a business offers and the location of the business. Local SEO for website pages includes local keywords, schema markup, and NAP data. Schema markup is using tags in the HTML code that tells search engines what the content of the web page represents. NAP data is the business name, address, and phone number.
Claiming local listings for a business is how to get it featured on the search engine maps. Having a complete profile for business listings and using standardized, accurate NAP data is helpful.
Local Content Marketing
Local content marketing is used to attract customers from the local target area. This process also includes monitoring online reputation and listings on review websites. Encouraging positive customer reviews and managing complaints is important in order to maintain a good online reputation for a business.
Having a link building strategy helps improve search engine rankings. It is a good idea to generate links from other reputable websites that are related to the service area of the business and the industry sector of the business.
Monitoring Local SEO Effectiveness
Local SEO is an ongoing process that needs regular monitoring to determine effectiveness. Detailed reports about website rankings are useful ways to track valuable keyword searches to determine how well the local SEO efforts are influencing search engine rankings. These reports show regular testing of keyword searches and how well a business is doing in comparison to its competitors.
Contact us today for a consultation about how to use local SEO effectively for your business.