Why do you need local SEO
Local SEO - Local search engine optimization made easy for companies
Did you know? 46% of all searches on Google have a local intention.
According to Google, every second local search leads to a store visit.
So the local search has a lot of potential, but also has some special features.
In this article you will learn what distinguishes local search and what options you have to make your website fit for it.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the part of search engine optimization that focuses on improving the ranking of websites in local search engine results. Since the search engine Google has the largest market share in Germany, we will concentrate on Google.
Why is local SEO different?
Google doesn't rate local search results based on completely the same factors. Furthermore, there are some special features that are only available in the local search:
#1. The 3 pack
The 3 Pack, also called Local Pack, is a box in the local search results that shows 3 companies plus a map with their locations. In 2015, 7 results were displayed here, but the number has since been reduced again.
# 2. Organic search results
In contrast to the normal search results, directories are often found in the top positions in local searches.
# 3. competition
There is less competition in local search than in regular search. The reason for this is obvious. Not every company has an office in your city. The number of search queries is usually lower, but you only compete against companies in the vicinity.
Who is Local SEO for?
Local SEO is interesting for anyone with a physical address. Local SEO can be a very good tool, especially for small and medium-sized companies, to make their goods and services known in the local area. In comparison, Google does not care how big your business or your location is, and whether you are rented on Rathausplatz or in a hidden side street.
What are the ranking factors?
As with regular search engine optimization, there are also a number of factors that can be influenced in local search engine optimization. However, Google is very cautious about disclosing the individual ranking factors. According to the Google My Business help page, relevance, distance, awareness / importance are the decisive ranking factors in local SEO.
However, through tests and in some cases large-scale studies, the factors for a good ranking in local SEO can be determined relatively precisely. With these 12 factors in mind, there is a good chance that your website will get one of the top Google positions and generate more sales for your business.
# 1 - Google My Business (GMB) entry: The basis for Local SEO is a GMB entry, which gives Google the information it needs to assign you as a stationary company to a specific region. According to the latest study by the search engine experts at MOZ, a Google My Business entry is by far the most important factor for an ad in the Local Pack.
# 2 - Positive reviews correlate with a good local ranking. Therefore, you should always remember to advise your customers to leave a review for your company on Google.
# 3 - backlinks: External links are also important in regional SEO. It should be noted that in local SEO, local backlinks have a higher value. You can get local links e.g. from local online media, a local directory or from a cooperation partner.
Other ways to get local backlinks:
- Co-financing an event in your region. A small amount is usually sufficient. In return, you can ask for a link.
- Writing a guest article. Guest articles, for example for regional blogs, are also a good way of acquiring backlinks in local SEO.
# 4 - proximity: You cannot really influence this factor, but it is important. The shorter the distance between the business and the searcher, the better the ranking prospects it has. Therefore, shops in the city center also have a certain advantage, but the most important thing is to be close to the target group.
# 5 - Onpage factors: Onpage optimization is also important in local SEO. Place suitable keywords that represent your company in the title tag, meta description, the H1 heading and, if necessary, in the text. The use of keywords with a regional reference (e.g. "Plumber Munich") is usually still the most promising.
Other onpage factors are, for example, mobile optimization, loading times and website technology.
# 6 - Local Citations: These are local mentions, for example in business directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages or trivago. Entries in business directories can not only improve your rankings, but also, since directories usually rank well in the local search results themselves, bring relevant traffic to your site.
# 7 - NAP: The correct NAP should always be on your website, on Google My Business, in business directories, etc. What does NAP mean? Name, Address, Phone Number. If you have multiple business locations, you should have separate pages for each NAP. The NAP should always be the same across platforms, otherwise Google will not know which data is the right one. Inconsistent NAP information can include lead to incorrect data or no data at all being displayed, for example in the 3 pack. Not least because the NAP is also important for Google's position determination, inconsistencies in the NAP can also have a negative effect on the ranking.
# 8 - Structured data: Structured data can help Google better understand the website. The structured data is usually marked using the markups from schema.org; the Microdata RDFa and JSON-LD formats are available for embedding.
# 9 - Local phone number: A local number is not only trustworthy to the user, it can also strengthen Google's trust in the Internet presence. A local SEO measure can therefore be to get yourself a local number.
# 10 –user behavior: User signals such as a high click rate or mobile calls directly from the search results are also a decisive factor in local rankings. You can improve the click rate in the search engine results pages by optimizing the title tags and meta descriptions and, if necessary, by using rich snippets (structured data).
# 11 - Social Signals: Social signals may also play a limited role as a ranking factor. It is recommended to have at least one profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn in order to be discoverable for potential customers. Mentions (citations) and links on social media are also sometimes classified as ranking criteria in Local SEO.
# 12 - Personalization: Google individualizes the search results based on the previous behavior on the different Google products such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Search etc. Personalization has a decisive influence on the local search results, but unfortunately cannot be influenced by Local SEO.
In addition to Google Maps, there are two other large map providers that are worth doing local SEO: Apple Maps and Bing Maps.
In order to achieve a good ranking on Apple Maps, it is important to have as many positive reviews as possible in the local directories. You can add your company here to appear in Apple Maps.
After Google, Bing is the second most popular search engine in Germany with a market share of almost 10% in desktop searches.
Similar factors apply to Bing as to Google, the equivalent of Google My Business is called Bing places for business.
How do you add your company to Google My Business?
List your company on Google My Business for free in 6 easy steps:
- On the Google My Business page, click "Get Started".
- Sign in with your Google account or create a new one.
- Enter your company address. You may need to move a pin on a map.
- If you select the option “I provide goods and services at the customer location”, you have the option of indicating the distance from your location at which you offer your services and products. By activating this option there is also the possibility to hide your location.
- Choose a suitable category for your business. The category is decisive for which search query your company is displayed in a 3 pack, for example. Depending on the category, you can also specify attributes that further specify your offer.
- Enter your company phone number and / or your website URL.
- Validate your company. As a rule, the confirmation takes place via a postcard sent to you, in some cases further verification methods are available, such as confirmation by phone call or SMS.
Tips for Google My Business Optimization
- Always keep your data up-to-date and accurate. Google prefers well-kept entries.
- Write a short, objective description to give users additional information about your company. Make sure your description includes the most important information and keywords.
- Add pictures and videos.
- Use attributes: Select all applicable characteristics from the list available for your category. For example, for a restaurant, an attribute can be “outdoor seating”.
- Respond to positive or negative reviews. People and Google like it when you're active.
- Write reviews for Google My Business. These are displayed to the right of the actual search results in the so-called Knowledge Graph under the company information. This allows you to create more awareness and trust for your company.
Do you need help implementing Local SEO?
If you need further help in local SEO, please feel free to contact us at any time. As an agency specializing in SEO, we can support you to get the most out of your website, also with regard to local searches.
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