What Is Local SEO?

What Is Local SEO?

Let’s get straight to it—what is local SEO, and why should you care?

Local SEO stands for “local search engine optimization”, and as any business knows, attracting local customers can be key to success or failure:

  • They’re easier (and therefore cheaper) to reach
  • They’re more loyal which means repeat business
  • They’re likely to recommend to other local customers

So the definition of local SEO can be thought of as ‘the practice of applying search engine optimization tactics to specifically target these valuable local customers’.

Who Needs Local SEO?

Quite simply, local SEO marketing is needed by:

  • Any business with a physical location that customers visit (for example bars, law offices and grocery stores)
  • Any business that serves a defined geographical area (for example restaurants who deliver)
  • Any business that travels to their customers (for example plumbers and locksmiths), which are known as ‘service area businesses’

If one of these describes your business, then your business will benefit from local SEO.

The Benefits of Local Search Marketing

Local search engine marketing plays a crucial role in getting customers (and so more $$$), as it favors smaller businesses over the larger players.

Access research found that 92% of consumers traveled just 20 minutes or less to purchase their day-to-day essentials.

Search engines know this, and so apply a specific set of local SEO ranking factors for searches that:

  • Contain a specific location, such as town, city or zip code
  • Include the phrase “near me”
  • Can be tied in with GPS information from smartphones

Local SEO marketing is the process of convincing search engines that your business should appear in the results for these location-based searches.

How Do I Start Doing Local SEO?

The most effective way to start getting your business seen for local searches is to focus on Google.

Other search engines (such as Apple or Bing) will be valuable later on, but to start with it makes sense to target the search engine with 92% of the world’s market share.

Google presents its local search results in Maps and in its Local Pack:

Google Local Pack

Also known as the 3-Pack, this area includes additional information on businesses such as opening times, contact information, photos, and reviews.

You’ll need to supply Google with this information to get noticed in the Local Pack, which you can do through a Google My Business account.

Getting a GMB account involves:

  • Finding and claiming your business online
  • Adding contact details and categories
  • Verifying your listing

We’ve written a guide on setting up your Google My Business listing that will take you through this process, step-by-step.

How to Do Local SEO Marketing

Once you’re set up with a GMB account you can then use our complete guide to succeeding with Google My Business.

You can look at each search engine ranking factor and show Google why your business deserves to appear by:

  • Undertaking keyword research
  • Developing citations and other online mentions
  • Getting listed in directories
  • Growing a strong reviews profile
  • Optimizing your website
  • Creating new content
  • Building local links

All of these topics (and more!) are covered in our complete guide to local SEO.

The ultimate local SEO platform

Mark Crowe
About the author
Mark Crowe is the Content SEO Executive at BrightLocal. With an interest in all things search, his past lives include work both in-house and agency-side for companies around the world, such as American Express, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Vodafone.

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