The 2023-Ready Local SEO Guide: Strategies, Techniques, and Best Practices
If you’ve spent time online trying to reach an audience, you know the term SEO. For the uninitiated, SEO, standing for Search Engine Optimization, refers to making your online content easily searchable by incorporating oft-searched or not often searched but precise words or phrases. Getting good at SEO ensures that your audience finds your content. Local SEO is pretty much the same practice but instead of making your content be seen more generally, it helps your content to be seen more by a local audience.
If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, you could benefit from getting good at local SEO. But it is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve compiled your very own 2023-ready local SEO guide!
What is it and why local SEO is important?
First, let’s get clear on what local SEO is exactly. Through analyzing millions of searches, Google realized that people often look for results close to where they are located. Even without using terms like “near me” or entering a city name, Google can usually recognize when people are looking for a local option and adjust their results. “46% of ALL Google searches have local intent.”
Are You Ready to Get Loved by Google?
Why should you care?
When people search online, they often have a high intent to buy. For example, “76% of people who conduct a local search on their smart phone visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase,” according to Google. So if you can rank high in the local SEO game, chances are you’ve just found yourself a paying customer.
What do I need to know?
You need to know about map packs. You’ve likely encountered them even if the term doesn’t seem immediately familiar to you. Have you ever looked up something like “dentist,” and gotten a map with three pinpoints in it as a result? That’s a map pack. That’s Google recognizing that you might be trying to find a new dentist in your area and pulling up three close to you. On a cell phone, that’s a lot of real estate! The map pack may take up your whole screen, likely prompting you to interact with it.
Businesses in the map pack are reaping huge awareness rewards. But you shouldn’t ignore the local results under the map pack. Those will be helpful to you too!
What do I need to do?
1. As a pre-requisite, you need to have a Google Maps Business listing. To qualify for this, you need to serve customers face-to-face during open hours. Beyond that, you need to ensure all of your (NAP) information is consistent: names, addresses, phone numbers and hours need to be audited. Ensure these are correct in all of your materials and on all sites that you are listed on.
If Google finds inconsistencies with this information, it will be less likely to rank your result. Finally, you must ensure that your Google My Business profile is up to snuff!
2. At least a couple times a year, you need to be thinking about all of the keywords you’d like to appear for. What search terms are people entering that you might not be targeting? Think of all combinations! Is there a certain tool or skill you have and your competitors don’t? Use it!
While we say at least a couple of times a year, it would really behoove you to do this as much as possible! It can only help to constantly refresh and think about how people are currently finding you and how you want people to find you. Enter the terms you want people to find you with and see if a map pack pops up. If it doesn’t, you may want to steer clear of that keyword.
The purpose of this exercise is to try and find keywords that will trigger the map pack. Do this on your desktop computer, your laptop, your phone! The different mediums will give you different results and different insights.
Many tools will automate this process for you and tell you which keywords you need to target.
1. You should also consistently be checking your work. Just because you ranked in the map pack one week doesn’t mean you will the next. You also need to be aware that your search history and location play into the results you’re seeing. Try searching using incognito mode, or go to a different physical location than you usually search from and see how your results differ.
2. Follow the traditional rules of SEO. As we said above, while ranking in the map pack is excellent, it’s not the end all be all. Ranking in the results underneath is still great. To do that, you’ll need to follow the traditional rules of SEO! Spend time searching keywords, cultivating backlinks, establishing authority, etc.
If you run a local business, it is imperative to pay attention to these factors so that you can get qualified leads coming through your doors. While it may seem like a lot to handle, you will probably already have most of the tools and skills required. You need to learn how to combine those to take advantage of local SEO and see your profits soar.