1. Introduction
Article #1.5

A go-through with Local SEO

If you have a physical location of your business, you might have definitely heard the advice of optimizing your business/website for local searches. Practically speaking, Local SEO is not in particular about mom-and-pop anymore, any business can take full advantage of it. 
The importance of local SEO has improved ever since the rolling out of the Penguin Update in 2014, leading many webmasters to expand their strategies beyond than just creating amazing content and acquiring quality links. It does sound familiar right? Yes, that’s SEO we are talking about! Local SEO is just another side of SEO and yes, a lot different than that. While SEO is so unanimously significant, that almost every business with an online presence has included it in their marketing strategy, Local SEO is one branch which only a minority of business is doing correct. 
Let’s begin exploring what it is and why is it important!

What is Local SEO?

As we know, Google is constantly working at enhancing the user experience with respect to every kind of search query. Thus, it improved its ways of extracting the searcher’s intent from the ‘near-me’ queries and started coming up with geo-specific results. For example, if a user searches ‘best restaurants in Pasadena’, Google might come up with all the restaurants near the place specified. Now, if you have local business optimized, you will show up in the list too.
Okay, so let’s get to the point: What exactly is Local SEO? To understand this, it s first important to understand, what constitutes ‘Local Search’. But since, we have already talked about it in detail in our previous article, showcasing the importance of local search marketing in today’s location specific buisiness world, let’s go on straight to understanding what is local SEO.
To put it simply, Local SEO is optimizing your site/business listings to show up at any place where your potential customers might look for you. It basically focuses on providing results which are relevant and useful to the user based on their location.
For example if I google ‘best chinese restaurants’, I would get results, showing all the good restaurants that serve chinese food near me. So, local SEO basically addresses any and every search which aims at finding or getting something within the specified geographic area.
Any business which has a physical address in the city (this could be a doctor, lawyer, local restaurant, ice cream parlour and the list goes on) and gets some or all of their customers/clients locally, should concentrate on doing local SEO.

What blazed the fire of importance of local SEO?

Local SEO is becoming one of the key to get long term success with search engines. But unfortunately, it is not prioritized as it should be. It is a highly targeted niche strategy which should be concentrated upon by every local business owner if they want to get a slice of first search engine results page (SERP). Here are some of the points that enumerate that suggest you should already be optimizing your site for Local SEO now:

  • Smart phones are making the people smarter:

The advancements in mobile technology is directing its ways into increasing number of pockets. People are now more comfortable while searching on-the-go devices. More number of people are using their phones to search for the best local business near them. Statistics suggests:

  1. 4 out of 5 people are using their smartphones in looking for information. 
  2. 40% of mobile searches have local intent.
  3. 2 out of 3 people take direct action.

These stats are strong enough to support that there is need of incorporating local seo in your marketing strategy.

  • Local customers are looking for you

Online search engines and local/niche directories are used by 64% of the local customers to find local business. Old paper directories are preferred by a small 28% of people. This means your prospective customers are out there, searching for a business that offers the same services as you do, but are you there?

  • Local online search is highly targeted

Local SEO is highly targeted. Using online directories and local search engines promotes your business or your product/service to your potential customers exactly at that moment, when they are looking for your business. This means that you are reaching out to those people who are likely looking forward to become your customer or wants to buy from you, through local SEO.

  • Conversion rates are high

Local advertising offers the greatest chances for conversions. In fact, statistics suggest that local directory marketing offers conversion rates up to 50%. This means, you can convert 1 out of 2 leads into actual customers.

  • Most of the local SEO opportunities are free

It’s free to claim your listings on Google Places. Listing your business on directories such as Yelp, Foursquare etc. and its free.

Tips to get started with Local SEO campaign

Google My Business

The first thing you should do is create a Google My Business Page, if you do not already have one. We already have a detailed article on how to create Google Local listings, so I will not be going into details with this. I will just outline the few points that you need to take care here:

  1. Choose the categories very carefully. It should exactly or be close to what your business is about.
  2. Use as many photos and videos as you can.
  3. Add the business address which is consistent with your actual physical location and is mentioned on your website.
  4. Do not fake your reviews.
  5. Add a long and unique description of your business.
  6. Use a local phone number.
  7. Do not forget to add your working hours/opening hours.

Consistency of your NAP

NAP is basically an acronym of your Business Name, Address and Phone Number. First of all make sure that you post the accurate and full NAP on your website. Additionally, you must use the same NAP across all the places you are listed, else the search engines might think as two different websites and index them separately. 
You would also want to use schema markup on the NAP, so the the search engines display complete and correct information of your business.

Get listed on all the relevant local directories

You should start with getting accurate citations from local business directories like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Local.com etc. You would want to make sure that your information stated in all these directories are consistent. Additionally, make sure that you create a listing for each of your physical locations if you are a multi-location business. Here is a list of some local directories that you can start with:

  1. Best of the Web
  2. Local.com
  3. MerchantCircle.com
  4. SuperPages.com
  5. Swithboard
  6. Yellowbook
  7. AOL Yellow Pages  
  8. YP
  9. Yelp

And, here is a little help with niche directories:

  1. Trip Advisor
  2. Gayot
  3. Fodors
  4. Travelocity
  5. wcities
  6. Frommers
  7. HotelGuide  


Encourage your customers to write reviews about you. Whatever they write is not in your hand, but if you provide them with good experience, they are ought to write good about you. This doesn’t just mean Google reviews (though it should be the priority) but also on Yelp and other local directories. To begin with, you can connect with the existing customer base and request them to put up a review about your business. 

Local Content

Once you have verified your local information for accuracy, you can start optimizing your content for local relevance. To begin with, make sure that you include the name of your city, region or neighborhood in your blog titles. Make your content specific and relevant to your location. Local events and information are a perfect start to this. Guest post on all quality local external blogs and also go for press releases on local news outlets.

Common Local SEO mistakes to avoid


Hold your eagerness to start with the local SEO campaign and take a look at these common local SEO mistakes which you should strictly avoid:

  • Using a Toll Free 800 Number. You should only use a local number, where the users can effectively connect to you. If you use 800 number, you are missing out on the value and trust of users. 
  • Putting up a Virtual Address. Google is smart enough to make out if you are using virtual address. The limitations with these types of addresses is that they can be shared by a number of companies, giving rise to multiple listings from a single address. 
  • Leaving your Google+ Profile incomplete. This is in a way, an indexed social profile for your business. Take little time out and complete your profile. Add the categories that best describes your business and add as many optimized pictures as you can
  • Stuffing or using wrong location-specific keywords unnaturally into content. Gone are those days when such practices could help you rank. If you dare to do the same, you can end up getting penalized.

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