Google Local SEO
As Google makes up around 75 percent of search engine usage, it remains one of the most important search engines through which to pursue local SEO. For businesses that operate on a local level, limiting your SEO efforts to your region of operation can allow you to be more competitive on a local level, and can even lead to more meaningful traffic and engagement coming to your website. There are some local SEO strategies, specific to Google, that can be employed to set up your business for better search results rankings and the aforementioned meaningful traffic.
With StatCounter, you’ll have all the tools to measure the effectiveness of local SEO on your website. Then, you’ll be able to closely monitor how your tactics are performing, but also acquire a strong understanding of your website's traffic. Further, with StatCounter Insights, we strive to provide the in-depth analytics necessary to thrive on competitive search engines like Google. This guide intends to look deeper into local SEO as it pertains to Google, and how local businesses can make the most of their online presence even as a locally operated business. Take a look below.
If you’re ready to find more information in regards to SEO, you can find plenty of helps by viewing the pages provided below:
Local SEO Explained
For small and local businesses, Google has made obtaining keyword rankings and establishing a strong online presence simple. In fact, many of Google’s services are geared toward helping local businesses succeed in a competitive atmosphere. Before search engines, marketing for a small business was costly, and difficult to target the demographic of your choosing, but Google and other search engines have changed this.
Local SEO is much different than your standard SEO project. While standard SEO targets high-volume keywords, local SEO combines these keywords with local modifiers. For example, if you’re a business that exclusively serves a particular city, national keywords shouldn’t matter as much as keywords that pertain to your locality.
Local keywords are invariably less competitive than national keywords, so aiming locally is an easier way to expand your visibility on Google. Further, Google offers a variety of tools, such as Google My Business, that can help get your local business on Google’s map results. Businesses that emerge towards the top of the map listings for any given service will reap the benefits of increased local exposure.
In addition to Google My Business and Google’s map listings, you can list your website in local online directories. Not only will this help customers find your local business easier, but the backlink you get from these sites will help improve the strength of your domain and page authorities. This can help to further improve keyword rankings and map listing results.
Best Practices for Google Local SEO
As mentioned, there’s a list of local-specific SEO strategies you can employ to increase your business’s and website’s visibility on Google. By implementing the practices below, you’ll have a better chance at ranking in Google Maps and acquiring more traffic to your website. In getting started with Google local SEO, be sure to employ the following tactics:
- List your Business with Google My Business: The first step for any business owner should be to claim your business with Google My Business. Once you have a Google My Business Page, you should add a description of your business, your operating hours, and other helpful information that might assist potential customers in their searching. Be sure to include images, as well, as this can help customers get to know your business before visiting your storefront.
- Optimize your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number): Make sure you’ve fully optimized your business name, address, and phone number so it’s consistent throughout your website and any online directories you have listed your business in, including Google My Business. This will help Google determine your location, and thus help to improve your local keyword rankings.
- Attain Local Reviews: When you look at the top local business listings for any Google search, you’ll notice the top businesses come with a surplus of positive reviews. While it can be difficult to encourage customers to review your business on Google, the result will increase your viability as a local business. A simple way to garner more local reviews on Google is to simply ask your customers to leave one on your Google My Business page and share their experience.
- Local Link Building with Directories: You can obtain quality inbound links to your website in a variety of ways, all of which should improve the authority of your business’s domain. But seeking out local directories also paves the way for local community members to find your business. One good directory to start with is a local Chamber of Commerce listing or local newspaper’s business listings, as these are high-quality and easily obtainable backlinks. Of course, you should also submit your website to well-know directories like Yelp! and Yellow Pages.
- Local On-Page Factors: There are also a number of on-page optimization aspects that can help improve your Google local SEO strategy. Adding localized keywords to on-page content like header tags, page URLs, image alt text, and title tags can help to improve keyword rankings, as well, and should be a point of focus in your SEO strategy.
Further Insight into On-Page Optimization
Considering how important on-page optimization is to local SEO, we thought we’d spend a little extra time explaining the tactics therein to help increase visibility for both your business and accompanying website. With this, let’s take a look at a breakdown of the key practices in performing local SEO:
- Title Tags: For any aspect of SEO, your website’s title tags should always be optimized for keywords, yet there’s a bit more to it when it comes to local SEO. Title tags are the clickable, blue links in search engine results, but they also display at the top of your browser when you’re on any given page. In addition to a keyword telling what the page is about, your title tags should also include the city and state you’re located in. You can even work location into keywords, which are essentially a type of longtail keyword.
- Meta Descriptions: Meta descriptions are located directly below the title tag in search results, yet they’re hidden once on site. Just like your title tags, the meta description for each page of your website should mention your location, what the page is about, and the keyword for that page.
- Header Tags: Header tags are just like they sound—headers for various sections of any one page on your site. An H1 tag would essentially be the title (not to be confused with title tags), while an H2 is used for subsequent section headings. You can use these tags in the same way you would title tags, yet each tag should help the page progress, as with any type of document or article.
- URLs: Though you won't want to change the URL of any existing pages on your site, you should always strive to include local instances in URLs for new pages as your create them. For instance, if you’re a service provider in Los Angeles, CA, a URL for one of your pages may look like this:
- Image Alt Text: The image alt text is displayed when an image fails to load on your website, but it’s also used to tell search engines what the page is about. This makes images searchable, such as in Google Images. Your image alt text should include a relevant keyword, your location, and some descriptive text as to what the image’s subject is.
As you can see, local SEO works a bit differently than your standard SEO practices. Whether you’re a local service provider or have a physical storefront for your business, local SEO is essential. Of course, it all comes down to local instances. That is, making your location well known to web users and search engines alike. In doing so, you’ll not only increase traffic to your website, but you’ll also increase foot traffic to your business’s physical location.
Measure Your Local SEO Efforts with StatCounter Insights
As you work to increase the local visibility of your website within search engines, it’s important to monitor your progress. Local SEO can be tricky, and if you’re not tracking the results of your efforts, you’ll have little idea as to how your tactics are performing. With StatCounter, you can track the progress you have made on your website through our Google SEO resources to ensure your website is competitive online.
If you have questions or comments, you can contact StatCounter member support by completing the form below.
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