Local SEO, sometimes referred to as local Google SEO, refers to ranking your local online business higher in Google, especially concerning Google Maps for local searches. In essence, Local SEO is all about ranking highly in Google and other major search engines for relevant keywords relating to your own products and services and where your customers are likely to look. Local SEO can be advantageous for a number of reasons. When ranking for Google Maps, your business will be featured in Google’s personalized maps, increasing your chances of gaining brand exposure through users clicking on your links, while being able to target potential customers within your own locality. Local SEO can help your business gain a wider customer base, as well as help you tap into a highly resourceful advertising database.
Another advantage of Local SEO lies in its usage of inbound citations. Citations, which Google calls “inkifications” are incoming links that Google’s using to determine where a certain webpage or web page is located. These citations are highly valuable to Google, as it determines which web pages have been indexed, and where new ones are being placed upon the SERP (search results page) for the relevant keyword. For example, if a user searches for “dog collars,” she will likely come across a number of websites offering dog collar models, and when she clicks on one of these websites (which Google calls an inbound link), Google will evaluate the site and check the relevant citations. If the site has not been cited, Google will deem it as unreliable and drop it from the results.
Google uses various different algorithms to rate the quality of these links and the relevance of links from various sites. Because of this, Google reserves the right to drop any site that Google feels is making misrepresentation claims about itself. By using local seo strategies, business owners can ensure their websites will receive accurate Google local citations. With accurate citations, Google views the website as being a part of the area in which it is found. This is a major factor in improving Google local rankings for businesses in their local communities.
A second benefit of Local SEO strategies lies in their ability to target specific search results. Google offers two different search rankings: the organic (organic) and the paid (paid) ranking. Organic SEO is what most people think of when they hear the term Local SEO. This strategy emphasizes the use of highly relevant keywords on content, articles, press releases, blog posts and social media marketing. Organic search results are determined by the volume and quality of content on a website relative to other sites. Organic strategies are extremely time-consuming and have a lower click through rate than paid SEO.
To optimize Local SEO strategies, business owners must also be aware of their competitors’ strategies. Businesses should monitor their competition to learn what keywords and key phrases their competitors are using. By monitoring competitor activity, it is possible to develop new keywords and key phrases that are less competitive, but still useful for targeted traffic. Once the business learns what their competitors are doing, it is possible to incorporate similar tactics into their own Local SEO content. This can prove to be quite beneficial.
A third benefit of Local SEO strategies is that they can build backlinks to websites. Backlinks are one way Google determines a site’s value. A backlink is a link from a website to another. Google recognizes the importance of backlinks and the higher they are, the more reliable and valuable a site is. Therefore, a high number of backlinks from relevant websites can raise the value of the business listing on a search engine, which can ultimately increase its profitability.
The fourth benefit of Local SEO strategies is that they can help increase exposure to a small local business in the online marketplace. Because of the low monetary amount required for most businesses to compete with larger national or international competitors, it can often be difficult for a smaller local business to compete. By leveraging Local SEO efforts, it is possible for a business to gain enough traction in its local area to start generating a modest income. Once the revenue starts to increase, the company can use the extra funds to hire additional employees, buy more advertising space and expand its product line.
One of the biggest challenges facing many local businesses is how to get their businesses listed in search engines that have an average user concentration level of less than 20 percent. Search engines like Google use a supplemental index called the Google Local peg to determine rankings. These supplemental index numbers are determined by analyzing search volume over time for the key phrases used in a particular business’s Digital Marketing campaigns. In order to achieve a high ranking, businesses must work on getting as many relevant links as possible to their websites. Local SEO strategies are particularly effective at helping businesses gain organic foot traffic, which can translate into highly targeted visitors to their websites.