Local Google search is the ability for consumers to search for results within a targeted area. For example, users looking for “Longueuil bakery” will only be offered results that are targeted to the Longueuil area. In some cases, however, the user does not specify the search area for a local query (for example, for shops). Google’s algorithm will then propose the most relevant results from around the location where the search was performed, with Google having the ability to analyze the location of users performing searches.
Shops on Google Maps
For local businesses, a good local search positioning is essential to attract traffic and reap all the possible benefits of your SEO strategy. However, the ranking factors for local searches do not necessarily correspond to the factors used by Google for positioning web search results. While all these factors are not necessarily known or remain unclear, monitoring the developments announced by Google, major online players and especially practice have helped us to identify some of them with certainty.
Getting a good ranking on a local search therefore requires implementing several strategies, which we will present to you in this article.
Optimize technical factors
Local SEO and especially ranking in Google’s local pack offers good visibility and can attract high levels of traffic. The first step to being ranked locally is creating a Google My Business listing. This listing is a space reserved on the web for shop owners and companies to benefit from local SEO. We wrote an article about this to help you optimize this listing and have the best chances of appearing in the Google local pack.
Google local pack for the search “montreal dentist”
In addition, Google’s algorithms focus their attention on different factors to analyze your site and rate it to determine its ranking in search results. At the technical level, Google takes into account the speed of your site, the errors that may be present, responsive web design, etc.
Some tools can be used to analyze the different characteristics of your site and help you optimize them (Google Search Console or Google Analytics for example).
Also, the many technical factors detailed above to optimize your local SEO are often part of an SEO strategy. We recommend, as much as possible, to support your local efforts with more general SEO actions since a site that is well regarded by Google will only strengthen its local positioning. Combining as many of these techniques as possible will allow your SEO efforts to have a lasting impact on your ranking.
Create local SEO content
Local content is all the content you offer on your site with a clear local intent. For a bike rental site based in Montreal, an article entitled “The best bike rides to visit Montreal” is content that can be considered local. Creating local content increases your visibility online through content pages, and also allows you to rank new keywords with a real local intent.
To create local content, it is essential to properly identify your target audience, understand what they are looking for and produce content that truly meets their expectations.
Your content must be unique and based on keywords relevant to your business. It should be comprehensive and detailed (Google likes long form content). You can also use the testimonials left by your users as a guarantee of quality directly on your site.
Don’t forget to include local photos and videos to provide lively and engaging content for users. Articles that are too compact and too dense online tend to lose their effectiveness since it is difficult to maintain your users’ attention over a long period of time online with content that is visually unattractive.
Another technique can involve offering local promotions, exclusively targeted at users of your platform in a particular region. This helps strengthen your local SEO. If you adopt this strategy, make sure you write articles with between 350 and 500 words so that they are taken seriously by Google.
A mention is a reference to your business with your telephone number and address on a different site. Google uses mentions to rate the authority of your site (the more sites mention you, the more important you become to Google).
Mentions are different from links because Google locates your address or phone number directly on the sites where they are listed and assesses your rating based on the number of mentions you receive. These are important for your Local SEO: the more your name and contact details spread, the more likely you are to reach potential new customers. It makes sense to be referenced on several other websites and link your site to the mentions made there, for example by creating a backlink. Directories enable sites to be listed on important databases. However, be careful to check that the information specified in these mentions is correct since users have a hard time forgiving businesses that provide false information.
Create local internal links
Backlinks are another essential tool for your local SEO. Backlinks are all the links that you create on your web pages that redirect to other pages on your site. This technique, also known as internal linking, is essential for keeping users on your website. In effect, the potential risk of an external link is that the user leaves your website to browse another one. However, it is important to keep in mind that, when browsing, most users do not return to the site they left after visiting another one. Maintaining the interest and attention of your users therefore requires setting up a solid and well-organized internal linking strategy to make your users want to discover more of your content.
Internal linking of a website
In addition, Google’s robots responsible for analyzing your website have the ability to identify words on which anchor text has been placed. Anchor text is the clickable part of content that redirects you to another page. The words used in these anchors are important because Google understands them and assumes that the words placed in an anchor text indicate the theme of the page being linked. This is also a way to improve your ranking.
For local SEO, you should therefore select your anchor text carefully by adding local terms such as city names. This will help you to highlight keywords that are relevant to local businesses, especially yours. The simple difference between conventional links and local links is precisely the relevance of your internal linking to the local content of your website.
Internal links allow you to connect the different pages of your website and increase their importance on Google by strengthening the links between them. Focus on the relevance of your links and the coherence of your internal linking to optimize your pages.
Social networking and reviews
Local visibility is also becoming more important due to factors beyond SEO that impact your ranking. This is certainly the case for reviews and your presence on social networks.
Reviews are extremely important online. You have to pay particular attention to your customer relationships and encourage them to leave positive reviews on your page. Many studies show the tremendous impact of reviews (both positive and negative) on your web reputation. However, while Google takes into account the number of reviews when ranking you in the local pack, it does not take into account the quality of these reviews, since the reviews are subjective and may not reflect the reality of the targeted business. Internet users, on the other hand, are highly influenced by reviews and businesses with a large number of negative reviews on their page can lose many potential customers.
Reviews on My Little Big Web’s Google My Business listing
Your presence on social media also helps increase your local visibility by using all the tools offered by Facebook or Instagram for instance. Facebook’s MarketPlace, events, or local stories on Instagram are all ways to get people talking about you and expand your target audience. An effective campaign on social media can therefore help you expand and strengthen your customer base.
Local SEO therefore allows companies to strengthen their customer base by effectively establishing themselves in a targeted geographical area. The growing importance of local search is driving web browsers to increasingly develop localization-related features and therefore focus on local content. If you implement the various techniques and optimize your site, you can boost your local ranking, stand out in local searches and attract significant traffic. If you need help setting up a local strategy, our SEO agency is at your disposal!