Local SEO (search engine optimisation) targets local people doing local searches for your products or services which accounts for nearly half of all searches.
So what is local search optimisation?
Local SEO is similar to National SEO in that they both aim to improve the visibility of your website in a web search engine’s unpaid results (SERP – search engine results page) often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. The higher ranked on the search results page and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive. These visitors can then be converted into customers.
Local SEO, however, differs in that it is focused on optimising a business’ for local people searching for its products or services. These can be brick-and-mortar businesses with physical locations, like a grocery store or dentist’s office, or service-area businesses that operate throughout a certain geographic area, like an electrician or house cleaning company.
With good enough SEO and authority, anyone in the world can rank for a search query like ‘how to fix my dripping tap’. But when someone is looking to purchase locally a product or service, it becomes ‘plumbers near me’ or ‘best plumber in [their location]’. That’s a local search and you’ll need local SEO to ensure you rank high enough for people for find you.
How do we optimise for local searches?
As these people searching, typically include a location or ‘near me’ (which aren’t even necessary if searching using Google Maps), search engines understand that what the searcher wants is business suggestions or lists based on location, and so that’s precisely what they offer up in the local search engine results pages (SERPs).
Ranking for local search involves a similar process to general SEO but includes some specific elements to rank a business for local search. Local searches trigger search engines to display two types of results:
On the Search engine results page: local organic results. The local organic results include web pages related to the search query with local relevance. These often include directories such as Yelp, Thompson Local, Facebook.
The ‘Local Pack’ displays businesses that have signed up with Google and taken ownership of their ‘Google My Business’ (GMB) listing.
This includes everything from claiming a business listing to ensuring a franchise location appears in a local search on Google (a process known as location data or citation management). It can also extend to managing online ratings and reviews, local-centric social media engagement, and beyond.