Understanding Local SEO and the Importance of Local Search

Understanding Local SEO

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

May 9, 2022

Colorado Springs Local Search Experts

It’s important to have a strong internet presence to attract local customers. Understanding local SEO is essential. Here’s how you get the most out of local search.

If you want your website to show up in local search results, you need to optimize it for SEO.

For example, search phrases like “local” and “nearby” are included in a local search.

attorneys in the vicinity

physicians in the vicinity of my location

There are many good [name of city] attorneys.

Physicians [city name]

Local SEO is essentially a systematic procedure that emphasizes the optimization efforts of local brick-and-mortar companies in the United States.

These efforts include localized content creation, on-page improvements, and link development.

However, the emphasis shifts to the actual location of link acquisition.

All possible local signals throughout Google’s local search landscape must now be checked for consistency and correctness.

It is possible that if they are not, or if you mistakenly enter different information for the same firm, your local results may reflect something different than what was intended.

Reasons for Using Local Search Engines

As evidence of the importance of local search, here are a few examples:

  • Half of those who used their phone to look for nearby businesses visited one within a day of searching.
  • Some 34% of those using computers or tablets did the same.
  • One day later, 18% of local mobile searches were purchased.
  • 60% of American people use tablets and smartphones to do local service or product information searches.
  • Searches seeking local business addresses on mobile devices make about half of all local searches.
  • Nearly three-quarters of all local-based searches conducted on a mobile device result in an in-store purchase.
  • One-third of respondents said they look up a business’s address online before making their first trip there to be sure it exists.
  • Before arriving at a shop, 1 in 3 smartphone searches was made on the device itself.
  • Consumers searched for local companies online 97% of the time in 2017, with 12% of them searching daily.

What are the Benefits of Local SEO, and Who Benefits from it?

Barristers and law offices

Here’s a little secret if you haven’t done SEO for lawyers: Google offers a call button straight in the local search results on mobile phones. This is a huge advantage for these clients.

There will be results specific to their area when a prospective client uses their phone to search for “[kind of] lawyer”.

A well-executed local SEO campaign will place the lawyer at the top of local search results, with a prominent call to action of “contact us.”

As a result, everyone who has been injured in an accident or has some other legal concern will be calling around looking for lawyers that provide free consultations.

This is the only method to get in front of potential clients when they need legal counsel.

Medical Practitioners & Clinics

In my experience, when someone is looking for a doctor, they are always looking for a doctor who is close by or a doctor who is “near me.”

Most individuals aren’t willing to drive long distances to see a doctor, especially if they don’t have to. As a result, they prefer a close doctor and can visit them often.

In the screenshot below, a search for “doctors near me” yields a huge local pack result with various advantages.

An immediate “directions link” opens up a map application on your phone when you click on this local result.

Business-Level Freelancers

How to locate and work with Fiverr Business contractors.

Most patients prefer to make an appointment with their doctor over the phone, and they want to know how to get to the doctor’s office quickly and easily.

Plumbers

Plumbers are one of the next types of companies that may profit from local SEO.

What happens if someone has a plumbing emergency? Do they go to the store? No, people frequently type in “plumber near me” on Google.

If a plumbing issue arises, a person may use the Google search results to contact a local plumber, read reviews, and get contact information for the plumbers in their area right away.

Restaurants

Since customer reviews and local address information dominate search engine results pages, these companies benefit most from a local SEO strategy (SERPs).

Prospective diners are attracted to restaurants by the speed they may get relevant information.

In addition, it enables consumers to quickly identify the restaurants in their area that provide the finest cuisine and service.

Who Isn’t Affected by SEO in Their Area?

While many of us in the SEO industry would want to see everyone profit from local SEO and increase our client base by offering these services, the truth is that not all companies are well-suited to local SEO.

Private online sellers and firms who don’t want to provide any local information, such as those that exclusively sell their wares online, aren’t good candidates for local SEO services.

What Elements of Local SEO Are Critical?

When it comes to local SEO, keyword research, content, links, and on-page technical SEO aren’t all that different from organic SEO. It’s purely regional in scope.

To outrank your competitors in the SERPs, you need to correct these things for your website and your sector in general.

In terms of local SEO, these sections tend to have a more local emphasis that focuses on searches individuals in the near vicinity of the company are conducting (e.g., local city names).

Performing a Search for Relevant Keywords

Although certain local SEO keyword research components have altered, the overall process hasn’t changed significantly.

According to research, smartphones, Amazon Echos, and Google Home are now more widely available. Thanks to these gadgets, using voice search as a key method for doing local queries is now possible.

Most people prefer to talk rather than type to locate a doctor or a plumber near you. As a result, the increase of local inquiries based on conversational voice search isn’t entirely shocking.

Use question-based keyword variants if your business is service-oriented.

In addition to SEMrush’s topic research tool, Keyword.io, and AnswerThePublic, you can see what people are looking for and how many people are searching for it.

This is a great approach to target keywords with a specific geographic focus.

Consider using keyword variants with a conversational tone and emphasis if your company is brick-and-mortar and service-related, such as a restaurant or a lawyer.

When you do keyword research in this manner, you may be astonished by the amount of traffic you can generate.

Your Local SEO Success Depends on the Quality of Your Content.

For local SEO, content with a local emphasis is of utmost significance.

Based on your industry, information focused on the local area in depth, breadth, and understanding tends to perform better.

However, the greatest outcomes aren’t usually achieved by generating long-form material.

It all comes down to the nature of your search results and whether or not this information best reflects the user’s purpose. It doesn’t matter whether your query has the longest word count.

If you include these elements into your local content, you’ll be able to get the quality material Google wants to return for particular search results.

In terms of substance, what should you avoid?

Wikipedia-style stuff is the absolute worst thing you could do when it comes to writing.

You’ve seen them before. The type uses publicly accessible data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or municipal guides.

This is the worst kind of material since it is not only the content itself thin but also the value it provides and the value of the research it contains.

Thin material has minimal value in SEO, so don’t waste your time with it.

SEO Links for your local area

Organic SEO uses links in a somewhat different way than local SEO.

When getting links, you must first follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. You don’t want Google to take manual action against your site (a penalty).

The search engine will ultimately discover a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Your website might vanish from the organic search results at any time.

Local SEO Link Types: A Quick Review

There are a variety of link categories in local SEO that make for a strong link profile. Among them:

Sites for citation / NAP.

Websites that list businesses in a certain area.

Local websites with a business focus.

Partners in the community

Chambers of commerce websites in your area.

The pages of local newspapers.

NAP Sites / Citation Sites

Your money site should be submitted to these sites to improve its local search visibility.

In general, these citation websites are NAP-centric.

What is the significance of the acronym NAP? There are a lot of websites that allow you to include your company’ name, address, and phone number.

These citation sites are there to help you improve your Google citation / NAP visibility.

Websites for Local Listings

It is best to concentrate on local directories when looking for generic link categories.

Your website’s link authority for local searches may be improved by establishing a network of local directories.

Sites of Interest to Businesses in the Locality

Consider the following examples of local sites that could provide local connection opportunities:

Newspapers.

Schools.

Universities.

Associations with the state.

If you have a strong local link profile, these industry-related local sites can help you gain a lot of authority and uniqueness from Google.

Websites for Local Partners

These sites are affiliates of the company on the ground level most of the time.

Even though link exchanges are discouraged by Google, enlisting the help of your local business partners can be beneficial.

To control page rank, you don’t want to overdo it with link exchanges.

Proper testing makes it feasible to determine what constitutes excessive use.

Google’s Local Algorithm Has Changed.

For as long as anybody can remember, Google has constantly tweaked its algorithms.

Google’s local search algorithm has seen several changes in recent years:

Date: May 1, 2007; Universal Search

Google’s algorithm was updated in 2007, not just for local searches.

Since it has a significant impact on local SEO, this is why it’s included here.

When it comes to algorithm updates, this one wasn’t normal. As an alternative, Google has taken the traditional search results and blended them with other verticals such as video content, local results, photos, and news.

This update formally wiped off the previous undynamic 10-listing SERP, which totally and utterly reshaped the SEO environment.

First launched on Google Places on April 1 2010.

Places pages were first made available to the public in September 2009, although they were a Google Maps feature before that.

For example, this launch rebranded the Google Local Business Center, merged the places pages with local search results, and added local advertising options.

The Venice Update for February 27, 2012

This update was part of their monthly release schedule.

If you use Google to look for specific local items on your phone or computer, you may have noticed that the results are tailored to your location. Thanks to the Venice update, this is now possible.

For the most part, the goal of this update was to improve the quality of local search results presented to the user.

Two aspects of this release have been improved:

Use the main SERPs to indicate local search results by focusing on a site’s ranking.

It’s become better in the nearby area.

With the new system, users will be able to target and find results from the searcher’s current location more reliably. To better “detect when both queries and documents were local to the user,” Google allegedly took advantage of this.

The 65-Pack Update for August and September was released on October 4, 2012.

A total of 65 updates were released during August and September as part of this round.

For example, SERPs were condensed to seven items, changes were made to the searcher’s assessment of local results, improvements were made to “page quality,” and the knowledge graph was expanded.

In addition to the traffic map in the universal search for traffic-related queries, there have been changes based on user intent to show better results based on the user’s intent behind their search query.

Dateline: August 20, 2013.

This update was announced on September 26, but it was made available to users a month earlier.

It has been likened to Google’s Caffeine algorithm update of 2010 because of its speed and precision.

An algorithm update called Hummingbird, intended to power the development of things like the knowledge graph and semantic search for a long time, was released in 2012.

Google cited conversational search as an example of what Hummingbird aimed to improve when developing it.

Google’s best explanation was that it was meant to focus on the actual meaning and intent behind words used in search results.

In other words, the goal was to help Google “go beyond just finding pages with matching words” in search results.

The pigeon was spotted on July 24, 2014

A major shift in the local SEO landscape occurred with the Pigeon algorithm update.

The goal of this algorithm change was to provide more relevant, useful, and accurate results for local searches.

These new local results changes affected Google Maps results and Google web search. The majority of Google’s recent updates were made in the background, but they significantly impacted local search results.

Improved ranking parameters based on distance and location have been added to Google’s algorithm.

An expansion of the pigeon population was announced on December 22, 2014.

The Pigeon algorithm was extended to include the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia as part of this particular rollout.

This is the first time that Google’s Pigeon algorithm has been updated globally across all of its search properties in all of its locations.

Possum: The first day of September in the year 2016

This particular update was never officially confirmed by Google. There was a significant shift in local search results at the time, which indicated a major update had occurred.

Data suggests that this particular update was also applied to organic results, but no direct confirmation exists.

According to Joy Hawkins, “this update only impacted rankings in the 3-pack (Google Maps local results) and the local finder.”

What Does Local SEO Hold for the Future?

ACCORDING TO CURRENT DATA, STATISTICS, AND TRENDS, local SEO is on the verge of a major paradigm shift in context and understanding.

Sophisticated, conversational-like gadgets like smartphones and Amazon Echoes suggest a trend toward developing devices that can understand human language as well or better than we do.

This could even be argued that these devices use better algorithms to provide better voice search results.

Google’s algorithms are constantly changing and improving. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but here’s hoping it helps improve all search results.

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