If there’s one type of website optimization every business that sells into a local community needs to know about it’s surely Local SEO. There has literally never been a greater marketing gift given for free to so many businesses, yet the majority don’t have a great handle on what that gift is. In this article we’re pulling back the curtain and showing just how valuable a makeover of your own local SEO tactics can be for your business. Use the links in the table of contents below to jump to different sections as needed.
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Local Search History
In 2012, Google’s Venice update modified its search algorithm to include local businesses in the first page of SERPs whose sites had content with the associated search keyword. This was huge, especially for businesses offering the same services or products in multiple locations. Now all a local business owner needed to do to share page 1 with the big national sites was write some decent content for the keyword and make sure their listing in what was then called Google’s Local Business Center had the right name, address and phone number and they were set.
The history of local search, and Google’s commitment to it, is a good indicator of how local priorities will evolve going forward, but in essence if you have a local business and a website, all of Google’s incredible Local services are available to you for very little effort. All you have to do to participate is register a Google Business Profile and you’re all set.
Search Near Me
The technology that makes Local SEO the most effective Return on Investment (ROI) of all the SEO efforts available to a local website owner is Geo Positioning. Smartphone GPS allows Google to know exactly where you are searching from. These [keyword] ‘near me’ searches return local pages for any keyword with what’s known as local intent. They are displayed in what Google calls the Local Pack, sometimes referred to as the Map Pack, with local businesses in prominent positions.
Local Intent is simply the notion that there are many potential buyers of local services or products for a particular keyword. If that’s the case, SERPs for that keyword will show the map pack. As an example, a search for local [web services] near Valley Cottage, New York shows MPR Studio (our company) ranking at #2 in the map pack.
Extending Local Search Range
If you already rank in the Local Pack for a keyword, we want to be able to see how far away from the business location searchers will see your site as one of the top three results. At MPR Studio we use 3rd party software to search for the keyword every few hundred yards north, south, east and west of the business address and map your search position, and those of your top twenty competitors, at each point. The result is a visual representation of how well you rank in the local area, how far your brand extends in miles from your office, and how easy or difficult it might be to improve on that position. The image below shows the result for a home improvement search in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin.
Clicking any of the circles shows us competitors in your area who also rank for the keyword. There’s clearly no new work needed to compete in areas with a 1 or a 2 in the circle, but many opportunities are available in the cities to the east. It’s typically quite easy to add local content to your site and eventually outrank competitors who are simply ranking because they are closer to the location the search took place in.
Local search is without a doubt the easiest of all search optimization a website owner can undertake. Google always rewards quality content with good SERPs, even in local search. Location is king, but a site with better content in the same general locale will always rank better for keywords associated with that content. Better still, the more comprehensive your content is for your local service or product, the further your influence is felt. It is possible to extend your rank to any city close by simply by adding local content and backlinking with authority sites.
Getting Local SEO Done
At MPR Studio we specialize in showing clients how they can improve their local SEO to rank for some of the best keywords for their business. It can be surprisingly easy to map and exploit new opportunities, especially when using state of the art tools in the SEO world. Best of all, competition can be very low. All too few local companies take their web presence seriously. Most have a website but for many there’s little or no SEO performed. These are the sites who rank in the Map Pack because there’s literally no one else around! We search these sites out because it’s incredibly easy to knock them out of the map pack with a few well written blogs or articles.
Take charge of your local search destiny. Sign up for your FREE Local SEO insights report aimed specifically at your website and we’ll give you a rank map centered on your home address for your best keyword across a 100 square mile search area.