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A Guide to Local SEO

With 46% of all Google searches performed by people looking for products, services, or information in their local area, focusing on improving your local search presence clearly has significant benefits for your business. 

Most clients that require local SEO to thrive are local businesses, multi-location brands, franchises, and service-area businesses.

Any business that wants to be found online needs to invest in SEO. However, it’s important to understand that not all SEO is created equal. One specific type of SEO that is often overlooked is local SEO. Local SEO is designed to help businesses reach customers in their particular geographical area. This can be done through a variety of means, including optimizing your website for local keywords, creating location-specific landing pages, and claiming your business listing on popular directories like Google My Business and Yelp. Local SEO is an essential part of any online marketing strategy, and businesses that invest in it are more likely to see a real return on their investment.

Common Local SEO Tasks

When local SEO is done correctly, it helps a local business to appear more prominently in the Local Pack, the Local Finder, the localized organic results, and Google Maps. Here are some key factors when implementing local SEO.

  • Optimizing Google My Business
  • Local Keyword Research
  • Locally Relevant Content

How Local SEO Works

As per usual, Google’s algorithm is fundamental to understand. Google’s ranking consists of three factors:

  • Relevance (How related a result is the keywords a Google user is searching with)
  • Distance (Where does Google think it’s user is to a business upon search)
  • Prominence (How important does Google think a company is compared to it’s competitors)

The Local Pack

This appears at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). These are controlled by your Business Profile, not your website. Being featured in the Local pack results in more clicks and sales. You don’t even need to use a search query that includes “near me,” Google is good at assuming you are still looking for local results.

The Local Finder and Google Maps

Local finder is an extended list of Business Profiles after drilling into what you are looking for from the Local Pack. Google draws data from various sources, including Google and third-party reviews, Google Business profiles, and business websites. Local finder returns results within a small geographic area, making it easier to find NEARBY businesses.

Google Maps is the most extended list of local businesses that fit your search query. It’s a much BROADER result instead of a small geographic area. Originally designed as a mapping engine, it’s great at planning your journey.

To summarize, Google Maps are for broader searches, and local finder is better for nearby results.

Organic Results

Localized Organic Results simply appear below the Local Pack. These listings are based on your website’s on-page SEO, keywords, reviews, and inbound backlinks.

How to Improve Your Local SEO

Local citations 

These are mentions of your business on other websites, similar to how a backlink works. The difference is that instead of linking to your website, a local citation includes information like your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Local citations help improve your visibility in search engines and can lead to increased traffic and sales. For a local citation to be effective, it must be accurate and up-to-date. Incorrect or outdated local citations can hurt your business, so it’s essential to check for accuracy regularly. You can use tools like Moz Local or Whitespark to help manage your citations. If you need help with SEO, we are an SEO agency in Los Angeles. By claiming and optimizing your local citations, you can help ensure that potential customers will be able to find your business when they’re searching for products or services like yours.

Competitor keyword research

An extremely vital step, keyword research deserves close attention. You understand keyword research, so use a tool such as SEMRUSH to identify what keywords your local competitors are using and tailor your strategy accordingly.

Google Business Profile 

A local SEO tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google. By creating and verifying a business profile, businesses can appear in local search results and maps. Businesses can also use their profile to post updates and special offers and respond to customer reviews. In addition, business profiles provide valuable insights, such as website traffic and customer engagement data. Overall, Google Business Profile is essential for local businesses looking to improve their visibility and reach potential customers. Make sure the information is precise, from your business information to the photos and videos. Here’s another tip: ask and respond to GBP Q&A and reviews.

Reputation management 

The process of monitoring and shaping public perception of a business or individual through online platforms. In today’s digital age, local SEO is essential to managing reputation, as it helps ensure that positive reviews and ratings are prominently displayed in search results. Additionally, reputation management can actively respond to negative reviews and ratings to mitigate their impact. As a result, businesses can help protect their local SEO efforts and maintain a favorable public image by taking proactive and reactive measures to manage their reputation. A steady influx of new reviews has a strong and proven benefit to your local SEO strategy.

Local backlink building 

Refers to building links from local websites to your own. The benefits of local link building are numerous:

  1. It helps to improve your visibility in local search results.
  2. It helps to build relationships with other local businesses.
  3. It can help to increase traffic to your website.
  4. Local link building is an excellent way to boost your overall SEO efforts.

If you’re not already incorporating local link building into your local SEO strategy, now is the time to start.

Website search engine optimization 

Helps ensure your website is designed to be as effective as possible at achieving your business goals. That means ensuring that it is easy to find and navigate, loads quickly, and is relevant to your target audience. It’s important to build on-page SEO into your website. We are a Web Design Los Angeles company that can help you. Keyword research is fundamental when coming up with your on-page local SEO strategy. Be sure to focus on optimizing image and content metadata (Title tags, Alt, H1, etc.). By taking the time to optimize your website, you can help ensure that it is an effective tool for growing your business. Finally, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Google loves this. 

Creating valuable content 

This can include blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. Do the proper keyword research, so you work efficiently and effectively.

Internal link building 

Often neglected when optimizing your website. But when you link from one page on your website to another, it helps Google understand your website—resulting in Google listing your local search results pages accurately. When doing internal linking, ensure you point to a relevant webpage with a sensible anchor text for maximum benefit.

Google is constantly changing, and so should you!

The way it ranks search results, and local businesses need to stay on top of the latest changes to ensure that their websites are visible to potential customers.

Make a checklist and get started. Proper local SEO benefits are abundant. If you need help optimizing your local SEO presence, contact our team at Vanta Studios, a Los Angeles-based Local SEO agency.