For companies that offer local services or have stores, local SEO is an important part of search engine optimization. Thanks to the widespread use of smartphones, it is possible to address users on the move and draw their attention to services and products they are looking for.
Not only the consideration of organic search engines is an important component, but also the optimization of map services. If you can position your company in the local search so that users are presented with relevant content at the right moment, you have a great chance of turning these users into customers.
Why is Local SEO important?
Search queries with a regional reference are now quite commonplace. Whereas in the past, the yellow pages were used to research opening hours and the like, today the smartphone is used for this purpose, which is always at hand when on the move.
Users who search for services or products in their vicinity on their smartphone tend to be on the verge of making an actual purchase decision. In other words, whoever appears in the local search with the appropriate information at that moment has a great chance of turning these users into customers.
What local SEO ranking factors are there?
1. Local on-page optimization
You can easily optimize your own website for local search queries by focusing on the following factors:
Keyword analysis & keyword strategy
With the help of a keyword analysis you can find out which keywords with regional reference are frequently searched for.
When selecting keywords, look for both keywords with a local reference and more generic keywords that do not contain a local reference but are often used with a local reference. Depending on how your company is structured, it makes sense to not only rank with your branch but also with individual services. For example, if you run a cosmetic studio in Cologne, you should consider and check the following keywords:
Type of company and synonyms without reference to the location: “beauty salon”, “beauty studio”, “beauty salon”, “cosmetic salon”.
Content optimization for local websites
After you have determined the keywords for which your website should be ranked, you can start creating or customizing content. Basically important content for local websites are:
- Address of the shop / branch / location
- Opening hours
- Phone number
- Information on the services, products and services offered
For the local search engine optimization of your content you proceed in the same way as for the normal content optimization, only that you take the local reference into account. Make sure that your company name, services and location are mentioned in the following sections of the website:
- Snippet (Title and Meta-Description)
- Headings / particularly important in the H1 heading
- Alt tags of images
- URL (If this is not the case with existing URLs, this does not change. But be careful when you create new URLs).
As with any search engine optimization, backlinks are an important ranking factor in local search. Another way to improve the findability of your website in the local search are therefore links from other websites. In order to strengthen the local relevance of your website, you should focus on regional links.
Possible websites are for example chambers of commerce and industry, chambers of trade, regional newspapers and magazines, dealers and suppliers as well as local institutions but also private blogs. A prerequisite for good links is that you have content on your site that is worth linking to. Always pay attention to the quality of the links. An unnatural looking link profile can lead to your website being punished.
2. Local Citations: Business directories and web catalogues
In order to increase the relevance of your company, you can add it to other online directories. But make sure that you choose relevant yellow pages. For example, there are directories that are only interesting for certain industries. And there are catalogues that only make sense for certain regions. So limit yourself here to the directories that are important for your business. The thematic context must be right in any case.
3. Ratings and reviews
Positive reviews of your company are also important for increasing visibility in Local Search. It’s not only users who read reviews from other customers and decide which service provider or offer to choose based on these reviews. Google also relies on your existing online reviews to assess the relevance of your company.
It is not necessary to get only positive ratings. The one or other average or even negative rating makes your company look more authentic. On the other hand, a consistently positive evaluation of a company quickly arouses the suspicion of having manipulated it.
It is important that new reviews are added regularly. If the last review was several years ago, this can also be negative. One way to get new reviews is to ask your customers to rate you. Start with your regular customers or indicate after a successful sale that you would be happy about a review.