Local SEO: An Ultimate Guide

An Ultimate Guide

botpresso local SEO guide

You must have downloaded and used a few apps and also deleted a few apps after using it a few times. Which is the best app you’ve ever used? Plus, among the horrible apps, which one completely made you orange mad?
Various reasons deleting apps include bad user experience, bugs, or crashing of the app. The next question that arises is whether the user experience, good or bad, impacts apps visibility?
Today, we will be examining the concept of app store optimization that can help you quickly grow your app’s user base. However, when it comes to growing the number of downloads you get (on average), you must have the right strategy and plan to execute it.
Promoting your app on the App Store requires an understanding of your goals and then creating a plan to help you achieve it. Let’s get familiar with App Store Optimization.

What you will learn?

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the process of making your web pages rank for local queries. For example, getting ranked for “pizza near me” in New Jersey if your local business is based in New Jersey.

It’s also about creating a unique experience for the page users making them trust your business. This makes them feel confident enough to render your services.

How do we do that? By igniting the trust signals that your prospective customers are looking for. Read on for more insights.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO is important as it allows local businesses to be discoverable to people searching for their products or services. It is a way of marketing your business online to reach people who are looking for what you’re offering. It’s a very effective way to generate leads and grow your business. 

Local SEO is important for several reasons. First, if you want your business to be found by potential customers ensure that it is visible in local search results. Secondly, local SEO can help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed by potential customers. And finally, local SEO  helps you build trust and credibility with potential customers, which leads to business growth.

In the age of Google promoting its voice assistant on hoarding boards explaining to people how they can effortlessly do “near me” searches for the services sought, local businesses MUST invest in SEO. It’s a no-brainer.

A worldwide Google Trends snapshot showing the kind of near me searches taking place.

A Local business not investing in SEO misses out on this incredible opportunity.

What makes Local SEO different from other types of SEO?

SEO refers to processes undertaken to make web pages rank higher in SERP for queries & intents most relevant to the business.

At a core level SEO remains the same. The description above refers to what type of actions any business should follow to achieve its SEO goals.

But the methodology and processes change with different types of SEO. Like when you are doing Local SEO vs when you are doing other kinds of SEO like National SEO, E-Commerce SEO, SaaS SEO, Publisher SEO, and more.

For E-Commerce SEO your goal is to have your product pages and product category pages rank nationwide or maybe across different nations if you are leveraging international SEO.

People are unlikely to search for “buy face wash in new jersey”   but rather “buy face wash”. Logically, the top 10 businesses that rank on Google’s page #1 would stand a chance of acquiring the customer.

In Local SEO, the goal remains to optimize the web pages to rank for local queries. 

If you are a New York-based Injury Law Firm then you would want to rank for queries like “injury lawyer in new york” and “Injury lawyer near me” (if they are searching from NY).

 If your law firm has a presence across different states in the United States,  now lies an opportunity to create different local landing pages to tap all the local queries.

What is the most important thing a customer cares about once they land on a local business website?  The trust signals.

Their understanding of a  business’ credibility validates their choice to do business with the firm.

Would trust signal matter in Publisher SEO or Affiliate SEO? Probably not; here content usefulness is the main criterion.

How to crack the Map Pack?

And then there were three… 

This is the place every local business eyes! To make it to the Map Pack, they only allow 3 spaces. It’s like a cool club with 3 admissions.

I performed a search query here “rental cars near me” and only 3 businesses qualified to build their presence in this Map Pack.

Imagine the sheer amount of clicks, and CTR milked by these businesses from this map pack.

Just look at the probable search opportunity that lies for this query.

CTR Estimation tool by Advanced Web Ranking suggests that Map Pack on Mobile alone receives a staggering 29.1% CTR. That’s a lot of CTR and clicks to leave on the table!

Enough with the data and stats! How do we crack it?

It is both simple and difficult depending on the niche competition.

Understand that what’s ranking in the Map Pack is your Google Business Profile Listing and not your website.

You have got to optimize your Google Business Profile. Leave no stone unturned. This means crossing off all items from your Google Business Profile Optimisation checklist. Start with basics like completing the business information, relevant cover image, business images showing interior and exterior, etc.  

Based on Relevancy & Proximity factors, Google ranks your business profile in the map pack.

And it’s indeed important to crack that since your business profile also goes to your website link which can generate enormous clicks from the Map Pack.

Does the number of reviews gather matter to crack the Map Pack?

Probably not!

In the above example, you can see the 1st result is rather having less number of reviews and aggregate reviews than the 2nd and yet the second one remains at spot 2.

In fact, in the above example, you can see that in the Map Pack the #1 result literally doesn’t have a single review, and yet it ranks  1st in the map pack.

What if you have different physical stores in the same location?

In that case, you have the opportunity of cracking the ABC Map Pack.

This is how it looks and it’s an amazing opportunity to nail the impressive Brand SERP.

Local SEO Keyword Research - What You Need to know

Keyword Research differs depending on the industry and the SEO implementation strategy.

Conducting a keyword research for an E-Commerce business is very different from keyword research for a local business.   The same is observed for other businesses such as Saas businesses etc. 

The critical thing to understand in local SEO is that you are optimizing for local queries; to sell the local service or the local product.

Here you have to take a topic-based and cluster-based keyword research approach.

Keyword research for local SEO

The 5-Step Local Keyword Research Process

1. Conduct extensive keyword research

Conduct extensive keyword research for the sold services. , then add a layer of the city, state, and country where you sell.  Carry out a keyword gap analysis using Semrush to understand the clusters you are completely missing.

2. Keyword URL Mapping is the next step

This step involves mapping the right keyword to the right page in the existing structure which,  even in the worst-case scenario, should contain the following:

  • Homepage
  • Single service location page 
  • Reviews page

Keyword research for this structure can look like this. 

Page Type

Primary Target Keyword

Home page

_____ services in {country}

Single service location page

_____ services in {city_name}

Reviews page

{services} reviews in {country}

If in the basic structure the website has lots of service pages then a similar kind of mapping should happen.

3. Topic Cluster that you are missing

What if your business is having physical visibility in lots of cities and states? It would be a shame if you haven’t made all those pages aren’t live on the website. This is one kind of topical cluster to make use of. And for this, you will want to use the service areas silo.

Similarly, there can be other useful silos like FAQs and more.

Core topic keyword research can reveal that.

In the above screenshot on the left side what you see is basically all the clusters that your business can tap considering if you do actually sell those services.

There are always question keywords offering FAQ opportunities.

Here again, you can take a topical cluster approach where you can build silos like /faqs/garage/how-to-repair-garage-door

4. Sprinkle Local Keywords from GSC using this special technique

There are many businesses out there who don’t even add campaign URL parameters to their website links on Google Business Profile.

Once you do that on Google Search Console you can understand what keywords are people arriving to your Google Business Profile and those keywords are an untapped opportunity to preferably sprinkle on your homepage. These are hyper-local keywords.

Adding these keywords can be really useful from an Entity SEO standpoint.

5. Find Blog Keywords to tap the information intent cluster

Even Local Businesses can leverage the power of blogs and do a ton of blogs around sold services.  This helps greatly with establishing your topical authority and in turn make the homepage and services pages prosper better.

Google Business Profile Optimization

Google Business Profile is a  critical asset for Local Businesses to boost their website SEO.

The more optimized your Google Business Profile is, the more local queries it will rank for. You generate clicks without even having to rank your website for those queries.

Google Business Profile truly is a low-hanging fruit opportunity that local businesses need to maximize.

Having your Google Business Profile getting ranked for local queries, and branded queries also boosts your Brand SERP by a mile, your brand’s E-A-T (if that’s a term), and overall builds a trust and citation signal.

A massive opportunity lies in Google Business Profile optimization, and the extent to which you can optimize your listing.

But on a basic level, you need to get these things right.

  • Completing Business Information
  • Add UTM Parameters to the business link for tracking (on GA you can even track cities)
  • The business Cover image that shows business & NAP
  • Actual business pictures that include interior, exterior, staff & founder with geotagging
  • Adding relevant services
  • Adding relevant categories both primary and secondary
  • Relevant & realistic service areas
  • Responding to both positive and negative reviews
  •  Responding to messages on time to maintain a good response rate
  • Google Business Posts on a consistent basis
  • Business Video

On Page Essentials for Local SEO

When it comes to On-Page SEO things remain similar for all types of businesses or all kinds of SEO but with a few alterations. 

On a Local Business website, some On-Page SEO elements that you have got to be mindful of are:

1. NAP Consistency 

Wherever you are adding information about Name, Address & Phone number keep that consistent. It shouldn’t vary otherwise  Google interprets that as mixed signals.

2. Plan header structure keeping in mind the local focus query that you wanna tap

What’s your primary focus query for the page? This is the sprucing starting point. Don’t forget about topics and entity optimization. Google wants to see a certain amount of entities present on a page to understand the context of the page and it is important to mention it.

The header structure of the #1 ranking page for “personal injury lawyer” in New York looks appears like this. 

3. Schema is basically a low-hanging fruit opportunity

Most local businesses that host their websites on WordPress rely heavily on schema plugins that mostly add basic organization schema on the homepage.

But did you know that there are different types of Local Business Schema too that you can use to signify to Google your business?

Here is some Local Business Specific schema that you can use on the page.

So, if you’re a locksmith don’t use the basic organization schema that SEO Plugins add but rather build your own custom schema. There is a dedicated schema for that.

How Important are trust signals for Local SEO?

Local Businesses don’t operate in a monopoly or Oligopoly market. It’s an open playing field with an end number of local businesses with web visibility all pursuing to get themselves ranked on Google’s page #1.

This means that the local business has to leverage whatever it can to claim the top position rankings.

 A key element that Google cares about is “Trust Signals” which also helps the E-A-T.

If a visitor arrives at your local business website then show them the kind of reviews your business has received on Google Business Profile, Trustpilot, Facebook, Yelp, and more to give them the reasons to transact with you. This is called Conversion Rate Optimization.

Or Lead Generation Rate optimization to be more precise.

Here are some examples of trust signals that Local Business websites have been flashing for a long.

Social Proof for Local SEO

In the age of the internet, nothing is trusted blindly.  There is a reason why expectation vs reality memes are all the rage. 

More often than not, what a business proclaims on its landing page turns out to be untrue. When below-par services are rendered or a poor product is bought,  it’s disappointing and distasteful. 

Too many local businesses use stock photography on their site which is a major red flag.

Show your true self. When your audience sees the real you at work as you render services to actual customers, that is when the trust is forged to do business with you. Take pride in that!

Local SEO KPIs

To increase the local search visibility of your website, you have to focus on some KPIs that will take you nearer to your goal.

1. Local Keywords Rankings

When it comes to Local SEO, you know you are winning when your customers find you with local keywords.

For an HVAC business based in NJ getting found for HVAC new jersey is an accomplishment.

Because these are precisely the people who are gonna become the customers. Here the search intent is very precise.

For this reason, it is very important for a local business to rank for local search queries.

2. Local Reviews

Local Listing Reviews help build the much-needed trust in Local SEO. Hence this is another important KPI to gauge.

You can even find search volume on queries like “{local business industry} reviews”.

People want to do business with entities that they can trust & they are gonna search for that trust.

If you’re a local business, be sure to build your Google Business Profile, Yelp Listing, Bing Listing, and Trustpilot among other listings where people leave reviews.

These reviews can be found online & customers will read these reviews before they choose to do business with you.

3. Local Business Branded SERP

Local Business Brand SERP is a very important factor that will play a defining role in building brand recall & trust from customers.

When a searcher searches your brand on Google, it is important for him to see a SERP with your business website listed at 1st position, your Google Business Profile in the right side knowledge panel, you should have the Map Pack, followed by third-party review sites with healthy reviews, followed by healthy FAQs about your brand.

4. “Near Me” searches for domination

Your Local Business should rank for near-me searches. This shows how well optimized your website is for Mobile & voice searches.

And these do occupy a good chunk of searches that results in clicks to your website. Especially if your local business is a multi-location business. The opportunity to tap into a multi-location business with regards to near me is really amazing.

5. Local Backlinks

Local Backlinks help Local SEO a lot. These backlinks act as both citation & category signals for your website.

If there is an NYC Plumbers directory website & if you’re into the plumbing business in NYC then there is no question that your website needs a link from this directory.

One way to go about it is to build these local contextual backlinks & another way is the content-driven approach.

With a content-driven approach, you essentially have to build content banks that will help naturally attract backlinks from local websites they will not be your competitors but they will be businesses that complement your industry.

Summing up!

To conclude Local SEO is very important for small & local businesses. It is one of the most important ways for the business to generate qualified leads & sales. Hope this guide helps you grow your local business multifold.