A large number of businesses offer products and services that are tied to their physical ability to supply them. Put another way, a huge number of Google searches are from people looking for the services or products of local businesses. Local SEO is the practice of maximising visibility across search terms that have this local intent.
The ultimate aim of local SEO is to not only to gain a presence in the organic search results on locally relevant search terms, but also in the local map pack (which are each controlled by different algorithms).
Businesses that might benefit from SEO include local tradesmen, retail outlets or service providers serving a specific local region like accountants or lawyers. Franchised businesses also need to adopt local SEO techniques in order to rank locally focused child-pages, subdomains or microsites in their respective geographic regions.
Local SEO has been around for a long time but the prevalence of it has increased as desktop searches have declined and been replaced by more mobile searches, which are far more likely to be geographically oriented.
How Local SEO Works
Local SEO factors in all the same requirements of national or non geographically sensitive SEO campaigns, but takes advantage of the ranking factors in Google’s algorithm that look at proximity of the searcher’s location. In that sense, the bar to entry for local SEO is that much lower as that business is only competing against other local businesses.
There are a lot of similarities between national or non geographically focused SEO strategies and local SEO. The main difference comes in the focus on creating local signals, in order to rank pages locally and also within the local pack. Like all SEO, these can be broken down into offsite and onsite. Two of the most common and effective offsite tactics are building citations in local business directories and creating and optimising a Google My Business page.
In terms of onsite signals, this is centred around creating locally focused content, usually in the form of blogs and landing pages. Blogs could be looking at industry relevant local news and events for example, whilst locations and local terms could be added to landing pages. Some sites will even create a number of location specific landing pages across the wider region that they are targeting, at the city, town or even village level. This tactic can run into trouble if too much duplicate content is created.