If you own a business that is largely reliant on local business leads, local SEO is a must. Unlike usual SEO optimization where the target audience is the global market, in local SEO the idea is to make the website rank higher in local search queries. To achieve that you have to do several tasks other than the usual SEO tactics. You can use some SEO software to optimize your website easily.

In this article, I will give you a quick Walkthrough of what needs to be done to dominate local SEO rankings:

To begin with, local SEO considers several elaborate factors to rank a page. They vary significantly from the factors that are considered for any usual SEO campaign. The basic difference lies in the type of links that is created or focussed.

The graph below as summarized by Moz depicts how links are concentrated for local SEO ranking:

But, before you start optimizing your links, there is some groundwork that needs to be done for local ranking.

#1. Register with Google My Business

For any local business, Google My Business is an excellent way to get noticed to customers in near locality. The process of securing a Google My Business is pretty lengthy, but posts like these from Google, make it easy.

The process would actually involve receiving a secret code through mail based on which your address and identity will be verified.

Once you have signed up and verified your business, make sure you do the following:

  • Write a fitting description that explains your business and its offerings at length
  • Choose and set the right business category
  • Add imagery that shows your shop, office or your products properly
  • List down phone numbers where you can be reached directly
  • List down working hours and holidays
  • Collect reviews from customers (Google has an in-built star rating + review option for that)

#2. Set HTTPS for indexed pages

Google had advocated the need for websites to migrate to HTTPS in I/O 2014 itself. HTTPS aims to make the web a safer place for everyone. Google has already included HTTPS as a critical search engine factor for page ranking. Websites without SSL certificates that is, HTTPS will get lower page ranking compared to others.

So, it is ideal that you purchase an SSL Certificate such as GeoTrust SSL Certificate from reputed SSL Reseller such as ClickSSL to double the benefits of security and SEO ranking. Having a secured website will also go a long way in making your customers feel secure when submitting details over the Internet.

#3. Build Local Links

Building local links from websites that belong to the niche in which your business operates is a must to boost local SEO ranking. You can build local links by submitting guest posts, blogs, press releases, etc. to high-authority websites. High-authority websites are those websites which are considered to be branded and to contain highly engaging content with the steady readership.

Getting links from such websites will help in building citations. SEOmark defines “citation as an online reference to your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP)” not necessary that these citations must contain a link. As long as they mention your business NAP consistently, the job is done.

#4. Optimize title and meta descriptions with locality name

Another often overlooked local SEO tactics is the title and meta description update. Websites need to optimize their title and meta descriptions, preferably with locality names so that they are displayed appropriately in search results. Search results with locality names can garner more click through rates than those with generic names.

Here is a classic example of a well-optimized title and meta description:

Title & Meta Description

Wondering how to optimize titles and meta descriptions? Head to Yoast's SEO plugin for WordPress. You can enter your copy text for titles and meta descriptions and see real-time previews based on which you can modify them to perfection.

Title & Meta Description

#5. Use consistent NAP (Name, Address and Phone number)

What might seem to be common and insignificant is actually a pivotal factor that can turnaround your search engine ranking. NAP is how your business contact is updated at listing websites and classifieds across the Internet.

Having inconsistent NAP can definitely show in a negative way in your search engine rankings. Search engine bots may not be; Similar, customers who search for your business or its services might be confused as whom do they pick.

Also, you must update schema.org for your website to help search bots crawl NAP quickly.

The code to do the same is as below:

<p>The code to do the same is as below:</p>
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness">
<p itemprop="name">COMPANY NAME</p>
<p itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
<p itemprop="streetAddress">ADDRESS LINE 1</p>
<p itemprop="addressLocality">CITY</p>,
<p itemprop="addressRegion">REGION</p>
<p itemprop="postalCode">POSTCODE/ZIP</p.
<p itemprop="telephone">PHONE NUMBER</p>
<meta itemprop="latitude" content="LATITUDE" />
<meta itemprop="longitude" content="LONGITUDE" />

All those in bold is what you need to change to update the schema.

Final Words

According to Go-Globe, more than 50% of customers who do a local search visit the store within a day. That proves the power of local SEO optimization. It is the quickest and straightforward way to reach your target customer market located in near vicinity.

Even with eCommerce growing like wildfire, there is still a massive opportunity for offline selling through local stores. In fact, retailers like Amazon, Target, Tesco, etc. are still clinging on to the brick and mortar format of retail since there is an equal potential market to be tapped.

Thus fine tuning your local SEO strategy to perfect is a matter of business survival. These techniques what we have explained above is a good start to optimize your business for local SEO.

There is still more that can be done in terms of local link building, business listing. But, they are all advanced stages of local SEO which you will become exposed to once the basics are set up.

Have any queries on local SEO? Let us know.

Author's Bio: 

Vaishali Delawala is working freelance writer and would like to keep in touch with attention-grabbing movements around the globe. She has a keen understanding in the area of current affairs and technology trends. You can reach her at Twitter @VHDelawala