It is currently estimated that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. Local SEO is therefore becoming one of the major trends in natural referencing. It represents a major growth opportunity for a company with a physical address. Indeed, 78% of local searches performed from a smartphone lead to an offline purchase. In this article, we will explore what local SEO really is and how to optimize it for your website so that your customers can easily and quickly find you online.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO consists in optimizing the organic referencing of a website or application that has a local area of activity by leveraging geolocated searches. Geolocated searches are searches related to a geographical position such as a city or a country. For example, a restaurant in Montreal has an interest in optimizing its local SEO so that Google searches related to its services and city will lead to its website.
Optimize your local SEO by adding and aligning your NAP on your website pages.
NAP is an acronym for “Name, Address, Phone”. Google analyzes each of your pages one by one, so it is important that your company’s name, address and phone number are listed several times. Please note that all your contact details must be identical, to the nearest comma. Here is an example that we often see at the bottom of a web page:
Register in local and professional directories.
Since your activity is locally based, it is also important to register your company in local online directories. Choose regional or even local directories rather than general ones. Google will then understand that your company really exists and will be able to locate it geographically. Pay attention to details and ensure that your directory profiles are complete and consistent from one directory to another.
In addition, you can register your company in business directories such as the Yellow Pages, Booking or TripAdvisor to increase your chances of appearing in the first local search results. These directories are well known and have a high authority on Google. Indeed, for a localized search, most of the organic links located below the Google My Business links are pages from business directories. However, it is important that each description entered in the directories is unique because Google dislikes duplicate content. This task is admittedly going to be long and tedious, but it is the price you have to pay if you really want to optimize your local SEO.
Create your Google My Business profile.
Google My Business is a tool implemented by Google in 2014 to improve geolocated searches and offer more relevant results to online users. It is an essential tool for any company with an online presence that seeks to gain visibility in its region. Creating your Google My Business profile will confirm your existence to Google and therefore place you in the local SERPs that match your business. If you want to sign up for this tool, you need to create a Google+ page beforehand.
Once this is done, the registration process for Google My Business is relatively simple: you must fill in all the information about your company (NAP, opening hours, additional services, etc.) by strategically choosing the sector of activity and the keywords you would like to position yourself on at the local level. You can also add photos or videos of up to 30 seconds to present and promote your products or services. We strongly encourage you to do this to generate interest in your company among Internet users.
Encourage your customers to post their reviews.
When an Internet user performs a local search on Google, the search engine will prioritize companies that have the highest ratings and many positive reviews to appear in the first results. Indeed, these reviews show that you provide a quality service to your customers and Google will therefore recommend your address to its users. You can ask your satisfied former customers to leave a review on your Google My Business profile or encourage your social media followers to post a review as well.
If you receive some negative reviews, don’t worry, it can, on the contrary, benefit your credibility. Google will understand that the reviews are true. It is important to take the time to respond to the reviews left by your clients, whether they are positive or negative. This means that you have a close relationship with your customers and care about what they think of you.
Power your local link building.
Link building is one of the most important criteria that influence your SEO on search engines. This includes the quantity and quality of backlinks you manage to acquire for your website. Backlinks are defined as external links that lead to your website. External link building will really improve your local SEO by searching for local backlinks, i.e. by searching for external links on sites that operate in the same geographical region as you. For example, you can focus on local information sites such as magazines or newspapers or on the websites of local tourist offices in the region or local associations that are related to your activity. We recommend that you use domain authority as an indicator for choosing websites on which you want to acquire backlinks, since this will increase the quality of the external link.
Don’t forget to be mobile-friendly!
It can no longer be ignored that the majority of online searches are done on smartphones. Especially with regard to local searches, mobile has quickly overtaken desktop because this medium is naturally bound to mobility. In order to evolve with the times, Google has updated its algorithm to focus on websites that adapt to all browsing media. This is called “responsive web design”. As a result, mobile-friendly websites are more likely to appear among the top search results, local or not. It is therefore essential for your website to have a responsive design, i.e. one that adapts to each browsing format. If your website is not suitable for mobile media, you can contact us for a free quote.
As you can see, local SEO is essential to increase your visibility on the web tenfold. You can optimize it by using the techniques listed in this article. But know that your general SEO efforts will also have a positive impact on your local SEO. Google offers its users websites that are rich in quality, trustworthy and relevant content. This is a combination that must be developed on a daily basis to be first in search results.