March 24, 2021

Local SEO Services Every Local Business Needs to Use

Local SEO services help level the playing field for local businesses. In local search businesses are ranked by proximity, prominence/consistency, and relevance.

Local SEO History is Import to Understand How & Why it Was Build

Several years ago Google had a major update to its search algorithm, named Pigeon. The name is not as important as what it did. Pigeon ensured local search engine results pages (SERPs) for queries were given weight and greater visibility.

After Pigeon, local search engine optimization was born. It is important to understand the differences between local and general search when it comes to local SEO campaigns, keyword research, local citations, and link building.

Mobile is now the dominant means by which people search for information. We perceive local search results as more relevant because people search for things close to them. This makes that accuracy and credibility of the SERP (hours, location, etc.) critical.

How Local Search Works

The goal of local search is to provide relevant information to mobile users, who are often looking for recommendations “near me”. Local SEO companies can provide these services and help you achieve the best results from your local search engine optimization (SEO).

Local Box

The local box shows the top 3 local search engine results pages (SERPs) for that time, place, and keyword or key phrase. It’s prominence in search results makes it highly valuable.

Local SEO services - local box example

Local Box Changes Frequently

The local box changes to mirror mobile usage patterns. Some areas are more active at certain times than others. The same is true for shopping patterns. For example, peak hours at lunch, after work, and weekends.

They place the local box above the first position of the organic SERP results. Given its obvious value, it is highly coveted. Therefore, it is challenging to stay at the top of the local box. 

Local Box or Ad

You probably also noticed that the local box carries a lot of information that rarely shows up in a standard SERP. If you look closely, you notice that the listings have reviews, addresses, hours of operation, and a phone number. We call these rich snippets.

The local box when done well is a blend between a SERP and an advertisement. The rich snippets can be added to your listing using schema.org or Google My Business (GMB). GMB is a critical tool in your arsenal, but you will need more than just GMB to show prominence and relevance.

Every Local Business Should Have a Google My Business (GMB) Page if Active in Local Search

This is an example of a GMB listing. Not everything is shown since they can be quite long. However, we will discuss the key elements needed:

Local SEO services - GMB example

NAP

The more complete and active your Google My Business listing is, the more likely that they will include you in the local box. GMB is Google’s way of establishing the legitimacy of the business.

The 3 MOST important elements are business name, address, and phone number (NAP).

We will discuss the importance of other listings in demonstrating both relevance and prominence. If you do nothing else, make sure your NAP is consistent with what it stored on GMB.

If you are searching for local SEO services and the provider isn’t harping on the importance of NAP, then do not waste your time. There are better vendors for local search services.

Tags

The next places to cover on GMB are collectively called tags. Again consistency matters, so we discuss how to add these same data using schema code. You will want to remember what you put on GMB.

Local SEO services - GMB example beyond NAP

GMB is a little less flexible and accommodating that schema markups, as they limit you to their options. For example, I would much prefer using “digital marketing” in my meta description. However, Google doesn’t recognize that term.

Another example is “Products” is fixed where you sell products, services, or both. What people buy from you will have to be listed under “Products”. Hopefully, they will upgrade this soon.

There are several other tags your local SEO service provider will discuss with you based on your business type and location. For example, geo-location tags, reviews (which are key), etc.

On-Page Optimization for Local Search

The golden rule of local search on-page SEO is to have one page per each primary service and each physical or legitimate virtual location.

Local SEO services - multiple locations

NAP needs to be consistent with each PHYSICAL location

It is important that all your keywords are related to your location. Each location is a separate page. NAP should be consistent with the location address. You should not use your home office as the NAP if these are separate physical business locations.

You would use your home office if these were only places where you do business.

Tags and Other Fields should link to the Location

All tags must link to the location. The more unique it is for the location, the better. Otherwise you risk creating duplicate content and/or cannibalizing your keyword. This is when two or more of your keywords are fighting each other. 

The same is true for the other tags: header, sub-header, and any alt text as well. Finally, when possible, include a map.

Off-Page Optimization for Local Search

While directories and low domain authority links can appear spammy, unless Google can tie them to a physical location where you operate. In these circumstances, these citations and links can be very helpful in establishing your local prominence and relevance.

Local SEO services - source for local links and citations

Chambers of Commerce

Chambers of commerce are great places to look for local lists. They often have their own. Some will probably ask you to join for a nominal fee, while others may not charge.

Local News

While local newspapers have gone away, there has been a mass proliferation of local digital news sites that publish daily or weekly newsletters. They are great places to look for local links as they focus on local businesses.

Contest

You should Google “Best of {enter keyword here} in [enter location here]”. Normally, this generates several contests or lists of contests that would be worth consideration.

Content Syndicators

Many of these may seem like relics from the past. These are rss feed driven blog networks that share content across the internet. If you use this, then make sure or check that your agency sets a rel=canonical on the original post. Some have local sub directories that may apply.

Sponsorships

Local sponsorships can be for a nominal fee and usually come with a link from the non-profit charity, and/or school that you sponsor. Each typically has a list of sponsors on its site, which links back to the sponsor website.

Reviews

Reviews can play a major role in local SEO, especially GMB reviews. Yelp! is another source Google will monitor. These reviews show you are doing business at the listed location.

Technical SEO Optimization for Local Search

This is where local SEO service providers can help you the most. Unless you know schema mark-up, you will need help to execute this section. However, these rich snippets, e.g. star-ratings, related links, geo-coding, etc. are highly valuable and often worth the investment.

Local SEO services - schema example

 As you can see in this example, it gets very complicated, quickly. This is only one example of a rich snippet. Each one requires separate code like the one above. While you do not include these on all your pages, you will want them on your individual local service pages.

Therefore, if you rank well on local search, Google or other search engines will read the schema data and use it in the SERP listing in the local box. For example:

Local SEO services - schema results in rich snippets

As you can see, GMB and schema play an important role in the rich snippet of text and content that is displayed with SERPs on the local search box.

In Summary…

  • How Local Search Works: The fundamental difference between local SEO and generic search is that proximity plays a major role in determining the SERP listing.
  • Google My Business (GMB): All businesses should have a GMB account. 80% or more of global search is on Google, and it is the source of local information Google uses to help rank your business locally.
  • On-page local SEO: Remember, NAP should be consistent for each physical location you have. Have a local page for every place that you do business in, but as it stands today, Google bases proximity off of distance from a verified local address.
  • Off-page local SEO: Work your local connection hard to get links from relevant local businesses and business groups. 
  • Technical tips for local search: Schema can be your friend if used appropriately. However, this requires a significant amount of knowledge and time. A local SEO service provider might be the best choice here.

ProStrategix provides local SEO services as discussed above. As a full-service agency we also provide web design, pay per click and search advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, and chatbots.

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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile

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