First things first, let’s get the most important things off the table: What exactly is local SEO?
I’m sure you know that SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This basically means that you modify the content on your website or blog in order to ensure that it shows up at the top of your target audience’s search engine results page.
SEO is one of the most handy and popular weapons in the digital marketer’s arsenal. So, how do we make it even more effective? Well, one way is to localise it.
What does local SEO mean?
Let’s try and understand it this way: 46% of all Google searches have a ‘local’ keyword or what we call intent. This means that 46% of the searches on Google are location-specific, like ‘Events in Mumbai January 2019’, where the focus is not just on events and on January, but also on the location, Mumbai.
You can see the difference for yourself! The second panel, with the location ‘Mumbai’ in it, has so many more events, and moreso, marketing/business opportunities.
When we speak of local SEO, we are talking about nothing but search engine optimization done to ensure that you appear at the top within searches in your specific area.
How is this useful? Well, let’s suppose the business you want to promote is a college. Now suppose a Mumbai student inputs the following words in the search bar: ‘Postgraduate courses’. She or he will get a plethora of options. Your business might or might not appear at the top. However, it is irrelevant, because he or she is likely seeking for information or guidance on postgraduate courses in general rather than looking for courses to enrol in.
Now, the same student inputs ‘Postgraduate courses in Mumbai’, he or she is more likely to be looking for a course to enrol in as, by being area-specific, she or he is displaying interest in specific courses rather than postgraduate courses in general.
But what exactly can you do to reap the rewards of local SEO?
Well, don’t worry, read on till the end, and you’ll have a pretty good grasp on it!
#1 Google My Business!
This is a critical part of your online footprint.
Whenever someone searches for your brand online, your Google My Business introduction should ideally be the first thing that pops up on the right side of the user’s search engine results page.
This not only lends your business a sense of authenticity, but also gives your customer a pretty good sense of what exactly you’re about.
#2 Online Reputation Management
Read, read, read! Well, everything about your business that you can find online, that is.
If you’re a restaurant, keep checking Zomato reviews. If you hosted an event, check Insider.in. Your Google Reviews page is one of the most flexible tools you will get!
Keep checking websites like Quora and Yahoo Answers for questions similar to ‘What are some of the best clothing stores in Mumbai?’ or ‘Best cheap fast food Mumbai’ and other similar searches.
Once you find relevant questions, answer them with reference to your business! Just doing it once is not enough. You have to keep repeating this practice for it to have any useful effect!
Also, even if someone has left a negative review that you do not agree with, always respond in a friendly and open manner, suggesting that you’re always willing to take suggestions.
#3 Get Local Citations
You’ve probably heard of backlinks. They’re basically links on an external website that link the reader back to your website. They’re generally very sought-after SEO tools as, the more ‘mentions’ you have on the web, the more trusted you are by Google, and so the higher you rank.
By local citations or backlinks, I mean to say that you must ensure you are mentioned in articles listing things like ’10 Best Restaurants in Andheri’ and other similar searches. This, again, gives you the benefit of the ‘trust stamp’ by Google, and also your repeated appearances in such articles lead potential customers to discover your brand!
While searching for a business or service provider nearby, people tend to be out and about. When not at home, it’s only natural that a user would be searching for material on his/her phone.
Some websites are notoriously not phone-friendly, making browsing while on mobile devices a tedious task. This would lead to a high bounce rate as a user would come to your website, get bored or disinterested, and leave.
A higher bounce rate usually also causes your website to fall rankings-wise. This is why, especially in 2019, it’s imperative that your website is phone-friendly.
#5 Google Maps Embedded
When you’re on your phone and looking to go somewhere new, your natural first instinct would be to look the place up on Google Maps.
Unless the business has embedded Google Maps on their website, it’s difficult to verify whether the Maps pin is genuine or not. This might discourage a potential customer from visiting your business.
Not only does embedding Maps on your website tell your customers who you are, it also allows Google to get a better idea of where your business is located, and automatically files you in the category of listings in a particular area.
So, the next time someone searches for ‘Clothing stores in Worli’, and you’ve input your location on Google Maps, your website might just come out top because Google knows where you’re located. Along with that, it will pull up content from your website to get to know you’re a clothing store, and offer your website to the user.
#6 Localised Online Advertisements
It’s no secret that Google Adwords is a major benefit to any business while trying to reach potential customers.
However, have you ever considered localising your ads?
By targeting your ads towards customers that search for keywords such as your local area, you basically ensure that you invest in those potential customers who are most likely to click—and convert!
I hope this list proved to be of help to you. Want to learn more about SEO and its nuances? Don’t forget to check out IIDE’s SEO course, which teaches you all of this—and more! The world of SEO is so vast, and there’s so much to learn. An institute like IIDE is truly one of the best places to learn from.