A Beginner’s Guide to Local SEO
Your website looks great. Its content is targeted and contains all the right keywords. It’s time to set your sites on the ultimate prize: an SERP feature. An SERP (Search Engine Results Page) feature is sometimes referred to as ‘ranking zero’, or ranking above the number one search result. For instance, when you Google ‘restaurants near me’, a Google Maps box appears at the very top of the search page, with pins for all the restaurants around you. That’s an SERP feature. Ranking for this kind of SERP feature is one of the end goals of local SEO. Local SEO is exactly what it sounds like: SEO made to specifically target local searchers. Let’s take a closer look at local SEO: what it involves, how to do it, and who should be using it.
Local SEO: An Overview
Local SEO works a lot like regular SEO. It’s all about links, content, and keywords. The difference is the value placed on location: if you want to rank at position zero, you need to focus on local links, localized content, and very specific keywords. We’ve mentioned this concept before – if you’re a small business with a storefront and local clients, you’ll probably want to rank for keywords that include your location, like ‘Kelowna Web Design’, or ‘Okanagan SEO specialist’.
When building links for local SEO, you want to target local directories. That may mean becoming a member of the chamber of commerce, or joining the nearest chapter of a professional organization or union. Some cities have localized directories that may be useful for local SEO links, but be wary of paid directories: often, they provide less value and look more ‘spammy’ than organic links. One of the best and easiest free links to get for local SEO is a Google My Business Page. It’s absolutely essential, and only takes a few minutes to make and a couple weeks to get verified.
Localized content means content aimed at a local audience. Detailed directions including street names and landmarks is one type of localized content. Blog posts about community events is another good one. Basically, make sure to remind Google regularly where you do business.
Should I Be Doing Local SEO?
Local SEO isn’t for every business. Consider your target audience. If you mostly sell online, or cater to clients local and abroad, you may be better off targeting generic keywords and links. Consider the restaurant example from earlier. Most (non-franchise) restaurants should focus almost exclusively on local SEO. Someone from Cologne, Germany is unlikely to want results from Kelowna when they search for steak houses. The nature of such a business means that the only SEO that matters is local. Other businesses can benefit from a hybrid approach. Most of the customers for retail stores are likely local, but if they offer a niche service, it may attract the interest of national or even international customers.
The Bottom Line
All SEO is a matter of time and effort, so make sure to focus your efforts on the type of SEO that delivers the most value. The approach for both is similar, but the results can be very different.
If you want to learn more about local SEO, or you’re looking to grow your local business, drop us a line. We can help you get found – locally or otherwise.