Local SEO Techniques
(Courtesy of Web Marketing Academy, Rated Best Digital Marketing Training Institute in Bangalore)
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to optimizing your business’ products or services for the customers that you serve locally. It is all about increasing the search visibility of your business by listing it on various Local business platforms, managing the online reviews, creating a social media engagement using Local Citations to rank higher on search engines.
Why Local SEO?
- Highly targeted traffic
- Highest conversion rate
- Reliability on Online Reviews
- Reliability of Maps
- Faster Reach
- Useful for all kinds of business
What is Local Citation?
To know why citations are important for local SEO, we must first understand what exactly is a citation. To put it in simple words, a citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number of a local business. You can find them on local business directories, on websites and apps, and even on social platforms. It helps users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings.
As mentioned above, there are various kinds of platforms for submitting local citations which are:
- Major Local Business Data Platform.
Local business owners and marketers can create citations on a variety of important local business data platforms which are open to all kinds of local businesses ranging from a Grocery store to a corporate firm. Core platforms include Google My Business, Just Dial, Indiamart, etc.
- Geo/Industry-specific Platform.
Apart from submitting listings on the major local business data platforms that serve all industries, your business can build listings on websites that are specific to its unique industry and geography. Some of the core examples are ZOMATO (for restaurants), PRACTO (for doctors, clinics), FITTERNITY (for fitness centers, gyms), TRIVAGO (for hotels), and much more.
- The Wider Web.
These are supplementary citations that can either be built or earned on a wide variety of platforms, including blogs, news sites, apps, government sites, etc. You can either manually submit the citations for your business, or simply earn them based on online reviews/ratings, etc.
The Components of a Local Citation
The core components of local citation are your Business Name, Business Address, and Phone number, also known as NAP citation. It can also include a reference link to your website. In addition to these, your business citations may include the following:
- Business categories
- Business Hours
- Direction to the location
- Business description
- Reviews/ ratings from other local platforms, etc
- Links to social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc
- Email addresses
- Alternate phone numbers
- Attributes such as Women-Led Business
- Store Code
- Store Labels (Landmarks to the address)
The image above highlights the NAP citation which is Name, Address, and Phone number.
The importance of Local citation can be understood from two scenarios:
- They can either positively or negatively impact local search engine rankings.
The number of citations a business accrues, the accuracy of the citations, and the quality of the platforms they exist on, are all influencers of the ranking.
Since Google gathers data from all types of platforms, it is important that you keep your citations accurate and relevant to your business to rank on top. Failing this can negatively impact your rankings.
- Local citations can either positively or negatively impact customers.
Accurate citations help customers discover your local business, which can result in a visit to websites, phone calls, footfalls, and positive reviews. Inaccurate citations, however, can mislead customers, leading to a loss of traffic and result in negative reviews.
Registration of Businesses through Google My Business (GMB Listing)
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. If you verify and submit accurate local citations, you can help customers find your business easily.
Advantages of using Google My Business
- You can easily manage your information for the customers to reach out to you.
- You can directly interact with the customers, through phone calls, emails, and responding to reviews.
- You can expand your business by posting frequent updates which help in ranking better than the competition.
To register your business with GMB you must:
- Sign up and verify your business. Add all the required information here and verify your business.
- Please note that Google can take up to 12 days (or more, in some cases) to verify your business and the verification is done through a postcard, which you will receive at your business address.
- This postcard has a piece of code that you must enter on your GMB account to complete the verification process.
- Once your business gets verified, you will get full access to your dashboard where you can add more information, share updates and also manage reviews.
Tip: Add your business description which is an important citation. It will help you stand out from your competition and also give customers more information about your business.
Here are some good practices to rank locally:
- Optimize your homepage. Your homepage should very clearly state who you are, where you’re located, and what you do. Make it easy for Google to understand these elements of your business. Your page title tag, the header tag, and meta description should clearly state this information.
- Claim your GMB listing. Claiming your business listing and filling out the content for it is essential to your local SEO and ranking on the SERP.
- Update the NAP citations on your website. Make sure that it is listed the same way on every page of your website. Update it in the footer of your website and make sure it gets crawled by search engines.
- Submit your business to other local directories. As mentioned above, Google tracks data across all the platforms so make sure that you are submitting your business to popular platforms like Just Dial, Sulekha, etc
- Keep your Business Hours accurate. Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that when they travel to your location, it will be open.
Manage and respond to reviews. Interacting with your customers when they share a review is a great way to rank locally. Responding to reviews and taking feedback from your customers shows that you value them. High-quality reviews from local guides and customers can help your business maintain the top ranking.