The basics of a local SEO strategy

By Alex Burton
5th April 2023

Search engines are becoming more and more dynamic, with local listings dominating the results across a range of sectors. Local SEO is particularly powerful for small businesses who rely on a strong local presence, or brands with multiple physical locations which need local footfall.

The way users are searching is continuously evolving and in recent years there has been a strong rise in search intent for localised phrases such as “near me” or “in [city]”.

Local SEO can be a core component of your organic strategy, but how can you effectively maximise your local visibility? I’ve detailed below the most important areas you need to optimise to improve your local presence.

1. Google My Business

When considering local SEO, the first place you need to audit is your Google My Business profile.

A Google My Business (GMB) account is one of the most important factors for a strong local SEO presence.

Providing search engines and users with a clear display of your business along with the key features like opening times and your contact information will help with increasing your visibility.

The more information you can provide here, the better for both the Search Engines and your audience, but the absolute essential information points are:

  • Correct Link to the website (https version)
  • Business Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number and/or Email Address
  • Reviews
  • Opening Hours
  • Business Summary / Details
  • Amenities
2. NAP citations

Name, address and phone number citations (or NAP citations) are another key element to consider.

NAP information is a fundamental part of a local SEO strategy and there are several areas where they should be clear if you want a successful strategy.

The first place is in your GMB profile as outlined above. Making sure that the information listed matches up exactly with the citations found across your site is crucial.

There are few different pages on your site where the NAP citations ideally should be found:

  • Contact Us
  • Showrooms
  • Store Locator

Of course, having NAP information displayed in the footer of your website is also recommended to further enhance your Local SEO strategy.

3. Structured Data

Ensuring your website has the correct structured data implemented can have a substantial affect on your local SEO presence.

Depending on the industry, you will usually find there is a specific type of schema markup available for your website to further leverage local SEO strategies and this should be your first port of call, if available.

If your business does not fit into a specific type of schema markup, however, “Local Business” structured data should be used to ensure your website is eligible for local listings and rich results within search engines.

4. Reviews

Reviews are becoming more and more important for SEO, and local SEO in particular.

By having third party reviews featured across your site, you can signal a local presence to search engines and therefore increase your visibility.

Again, as outlined above, reviews can (and, if possible, should) also be featured within your GMB profile and by further leveraging third party reviews across your website, you can enhance your local SEO and user experience.

5. Off-site profile

When putting together a local SEO strategy it can be easy to forget about the off-site aspect, but it’s can be a really key element to success.

We know that link building can be a great way of building authority for your site, and following a localised approach can be a great method of gaining links. Local publications are often much easier to secure than national ones and can have a very engaged and highly relevant audience for location based brands.

6. Search intent

Finally, search intent should always be factored into any SEO strategy – and that includes local SEO.

There are 4 main queries that people tend to search as they follow the user journey, and by the time they are searching with location specific intent they will be far down the funnel.

Understanding search volume is key to building a good strategy, but intent should not be ignored either. Targeting a generic keyword that has high search volume may seem like a good idea, but often terms with location specific language like “near me” are actually more lucrative as the users are closer to conversion with their intent.

For more information on search intent make sure to read our full guide here.

In conclusion, whether you offer location-based services or have a bricks and mortar store you need to be factoring local SEO into your digital marketing strategies. If you want to find out how we can help you with your local SEO, get in contact today.

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