What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that works to make your brick and mortar business more visible in search engine results.
Search engines use a combination of content from a website, social media profiles, links, and citations to determine what is relevant in a local search. In order to rank well, each of these parts needs to be well optimized through white hat SEO technics.
What Are The Core Elements Of Local Search Ranking?
The three major elements of local search ranking are as follows:
- Proximity: How close is the searcher to your physical location?
- Relevance: Does the search being performed match your products and the services you provide?
- Reputation: What reviews does your local business have? Do the reviews provide an indication of what visitors can expect from your products or services?
Local Search Engine Results (SERPS)
Search engines have made searching for local businesses even easier by presenting local search results in an extremely user-friendly manner. By now, anyone who has performed a local search through Google or Bing expects to see results like those below:
These results, known as the “Map Pack”, provide excellent visibility for businesses! Keep in mind, however, that the businesses that make it into the Map Pack aren’t randomly selected. Those shown in the Map Pack make it there because the search engines, like Google or Bing, believe each business fits the search results best. This is why it’s so important for any local business to optimize for local searches.
Local SEO Strategy Isn’t Just About Location
One important thing to remember is that any Local SEO strategy isn’t just about optimizing various webpages and accounts for a specific location. To create a great visitor journey, each local business should also identify the keywords associated with the services they offer and the audience they are attempting to attract. To give an example, a large animal veterinary hospital wouldn’t want to include information in a local citation on small animal medicine, as small animal veterinary services would not be provided at that location.
What Are Local Citations?
Simply put, a local citation is any mention of the name, address, and phone number (also called the NAP) online. This could be in online directories, social media platforms, or websites. Arguably the most important citation, that many don’t even realize is a citation, is Google My Business (GMB).
The GMB allows local businesses with physical locations to create and verify a listing. This listing can also be well optimized with keywords and additional information that could help that business rank higher in searches.
Google regularly updates the GMB, providing new ways for those who have claimed a business to update their information and connect with customers. It’s important to review these updates to avoid using “black hat SEO” techniques that could result in the listing being removed by Google.
What’s the Difference Between White Hat And Black Hat SEO?
While it’s true that both white hat and black hat SEO techniques can improve search engine rankings, it’s best to avoid black hat techniques because such tactics violate a search engine’s terms of service. If the violation is bad enough, it can result in a website being banned from a search engine’s results.
Common examples of recognized black hat SEO techniques include:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Hidden Links/Text
- Automated Content
- Buying Links
- Doorway Pages
- Pages With Malware/Viruses
You can learn more about tactics that should be avoided by reading the Google Webmaster Guidelines or Bing Webmaster Guidelines.
At Rank Wranglers, you’ll find that any work performed on your website or social media profiles follows the acceptable white hat techniques.