What Is Local SEO? A Simple How-To Guide
This guide will take you through each step of local SEO, including local competitive analysis, keyword targetting technical SEO, content and hyperlinks.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding local SEO strategies, tactics, and what you need to be doing when you design the strategy for your campaign.
In the case of the subject of any locally-focused SEO project, it’s best to think of not playing Google and instead, utilizing the most effective, holistic optimization techniques that can help your website endure the test of time.
This guide will guide you through each step that is part of the local SEO process from beginning to finish beginning with an analysis of local competition.
We’ll then be discussing the fundamentals that make up local SEO
- Technical SEO.
Let’s get started.
Local Competition Analysis
A study of competition in your local area can be the difference between success and failure for your Local SEO campaign.
Through analyzing your competitors by analyzing your competition, you can learn what the most crucial things they’re doing to produce organic outcomes.
With this competitive analysis, You can then take action with confidence that the knowledge that you’ve got will help you attain the results you’re searching for.
When you look at the content you can discern:
- What subjects are competitors writing about.
- The number of words are they writing per day.
- The frequency with which the update of their content.
Through this process, you get a better picture of what they are doing, so that you can adjust your strategy for content and match theirs.
When you look at the hyperlinks you can determine things like:
- How many links is the competitors are getting.
- What are the kinds of links.
- Where do they get their links where they’re getting their links.
- How often do they receive hyperlinks.
- Then they usually get their hyperlinks.
When you look at factors on-site such as optimization of the page it is also possible to create an approach that can outlast and outperform their local strategies.
The elements you look at in this analysis of local competition will assist you in forming an effective strategy.
Factors to Include in a Local Competition Analysis
Concentrating on your market, your area of expertise, and your locality, you’ll want to conduct a thorough local analysis of competition.
In the beginning, local-level competition analysis will take into account the following aspects:
- On-page SEO.
If you want to go deeper, your local competition analysis should comprise the following to get a clear understanding of the competitiveness of the local market.
It is important to note that none of these elements can boost local rankings. However, certain factors might however, they are there to assist you to devise the most effective local strategy, that is based on what your other players are doing.
- Local SEO Directories.
- Niche local websites.
- Local links for Editorial.
- Chamber of Commerce links.
- Local .GOV links.
- Local .EDU links.
- Who is responsible for the content?
- What’s the topic of the article?
- When was the content written?
- What is the focus of the content (locally)?
- Why is writing of the content?
- How many shares on social media do you think the content is receiving?
On-Page Technical SEO
- High-quality and validated HTML and CSS code.
- Schema.org programming to local SEO.
- Locally optimized title tags that are locally optimized.
- Locally optimized meta descriptions.
- Locally-optimized URLs.
- Locally-optimized copy on the page with a tight focused keywords and topics.
What You Want to Obtain During the Competition Analysis
This analysis of competition should be focused upon the 10 most popular results from Google.
Search for your city and keywords in the industry that you want to target (e.g., “Orange County personal injury lawyers”).
Utilize a mix with link analyzers, such as Google Search Console, Majestic, SEMrush, Raven Tools, and Ahrefs and export all the data, then put together the data and then look at your link’s profile.
I would recommend using at least two or three analysis tools for link profiles since single tools are not always able to provide all the information available.
What you’re seeking in this profile include:
Local SEO Directories
- Which directories do these sites have?
- What kind of niche local web sites do they have?
- What kind of local editorial hyperlinks do these sites offer?
- Do these sites have chamber of commerce connections If so what are they?
- Do these sites have specific local .gov or .edu link?
Directories are still a viable method of linking, but only if it’s done with quality links, and they do not appear to be spam.
It’s simply a directory, and fairly self-explanatory in this case.
Directories, that aren’t ad-based, don’t have a lot of advertisements above the fold, and the ads do not interfere with users searching for the hyperlink. The directories are usually clear, high-quality and are able to generate an excellent authority in link equity.
Niche Local Sites
Niche local sites are websites that are in your industry and serve as local experts on subjects.
It could be anything from animal rights groups and charities to websites that can help give credibility when they hyperlink to your site.
The most important thing to remember when you go after the links is to make sure you are getting good quality and aren’t orphaned by any means.
They can also operate disguises of local partners. Be aware that I do not advocate linking exchanges like this as it is not a good idea. I’m recommending the creation of alliances with local businesses to get links that improve your website’s position in SERPs.
What we’re trying to test is the possibility of beating their site on the results page. We do not want to duplicate the link’s profile.
If you can determine the feasibility of ranking It will be easier to decide on the best linking strategy.
The reason why we shouldn’t copy their link profile is that you can’t have me to assist you at each step of the way.
If you make a mistake and decide to optimize using a poor-quality link, you may eventually be penalized for having too many of them. It’s very easy to revert to your old ways once you have started.
Chamber of Commerce Links
Chamber links are vital for a successful local SEO.
They are highly reputable, could be a fantastic partner link, and also recommend local businesses.
It is also important to remember that not all Chamber of Commerce links will be a .gov.
Local .gov and .edu Links
These can range from local governments to local schools to charities.
The fact that they’re .gov and .edu links is an added benefit.
The situation has not changed with regard to the significance of .gov as well as .edu links.
They are among the top-quality links on the market.
Content Considerations for the Competitor Analysis
When collecting data for local analysis of competitors, it is important to think about things like:
- Who is the person who is writing the content?
- What’s the topic of the article?
- What time is the content being written?
- What content is being produced local?
- Why is writing of the content?
The factors mentioned above will determine the type of content you’ll ultimately post on your website, and the best way to proceed from there.
On-Page Technical SEO
Basic URL Best Practices Are Still King
This means that you must make sure your site can be crawled from a local point of view.
If you’re using highly targeted specific keywords, include them in the URL that you refer to your site.
If your website isn’t technically accurate and crawlable then don’t expect Google to rank it properly.
High Quality, Validated HTML & CSS Coding
Yes, I know that SEOs tend to say: good quality correct HTML as well as CSS codes are not necessary.
Although Google does not have such specifications, good quality programming is sure to matter and can improve ranking significantly as a quality factor.
If you code in a way that is correct you decrease the chances of your browser needing the ability to “guess” what you’re trying to render.
If you code and design an effective website this will decrease page speed and speed of rendering for browsers.
No matter what, high-quality and validated HTML and CSS codes should always be the final outcome of your site’s design work.
If the sites of your competitors in the analysis of competitors don’t have this verification or top-quality coding in their framework, you have an advantage you can apply against them. Ensure that your website’s coding and speed is much faster than competitors in all aspects such as well-optimized code, making the server bottlenecks ineffective, etc.
Schema.org Coding for Local SEO
Schema.org Coding should be included on every website with Schema data type information.
It is essential to get your website to be visible in rich snippets of text and carousels in Google’s search results.
If your site doesn’t include schema markups for the types of data which are on your website, this is another helpful ranking signal that you can improve to your advantage.
Locally Optimized Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, URLs
Each site that is optimized for local use should be localized with titles, meta descriptions and URLs.
What exactly is locally focused?
If you’re trying to optimize your website for keyword phrases such as “Garden Grove personal injury lawyer” it is recommended to include the name of the city within your targeted keywords.
Locally Optimized On-Page Copy With Tight Topical and Keyword Focus
When you analyze competitors You are also looking for competitors that may or might not have local optimized web copy that is keywords and topical focus.
This will reveal what your competition is doing with regard to on-page optimization.
Cheating With Your Competitor Research
If you’re really keen to understand the details of the analysis of competitors, I strongly recommend conducting an analysis of the rival websites using Screaming Frog.
Simply make sure you set the Screaming Frog settings to your preferences, and then go through each competitor’s site, and when your export of the Excel spreadsheet, you can eliminate all information so that only the titles, meta descriptions and URLs show up.
You can also look up what they’re doing with their H1 tags, too.
Reviewing these data can provide you with the exact information your competition is doing on their own and help improve your own.
Start With Locally Focused Versions of Keywords Your Clients are Actually Looking For
Relevance to the topic and keywords are crucial to ensure that your page’s optimization is targeted correctly and completely optimized.
When conducting keyword research, you’re searching for keywords with an excellent search volume (above 70 which means that average monthly searches are a reasonable number to aim for) and have a lower level of than average competition and that is also highly focused.
Locally focused versions of a search term for lawyers could include “Fountain Valley personal injury lawyers.”
If you decide to target personal injury lawyers on your own with no local focus try your luck. It will require huge quantities of connections, authority building and market penetration to achieve the level of reach you would like your marketing to achieve.
When conducting keyword research such as this, it’s crucial to take into account how big the marketplace is.
If you’re not aware of the magnitude of a market such as Los Angeles (with millions of websites in Google’s index as well as companies that have established their credibility) then you’re confronted with a shock when you tell a customer that they’ll see their rankings rise for Los Angeles within three months. It’s not likely to happen.
It could take at least a year to get results on one of the pages on Google within a marketplace that is in the size Los Angeles – assuming you are able to compete with the other sites in their link acquisition, as well as different SEO efforts.
Get Good Search Volume, Lower Competition, Highly Targeted Niche Keywords
A high search volume, low competition, well-targeted specific keyword phrases are like diamonds.
These keywords will typically result in the most desired enhancement to a crucial customer metric that is conversions.
Although lower competition is great, however, a good search volume is high on your priority list while you conduct local search engine analysis.
The more search volume more curiosity of the searchers in that area.
If you’re not paying close attention to the volume of searches it is possible to be fortunate with a few conversions. But this sort of luck will be wiped out at some point.
A solid research foundation is at the heart of any SEO venture.
Highly targeted keywords for your niche are ones that are specifically targeted at people who are doing searches for specific items in your industry. It is essential to dig into the specifics of your business to find these keywords.
For instance, if you are aware that people often conduct searches for attorneys who are located in Fountain Valley for auto accidents it is advisable to include a keyword phrase such as “Fountain Valley auto accident attorney.”
If you are aware that people are often conducting searches to find specialized products within a specific industry There is often a motive and reason for those searches.
When you analyze and think about the motives and intentions of people looking for these terms It is possible to create a list of keywords that include questions on these subjects that can be used to create more in-depth, extremely targeted content pages on topics. These kinds of pages could become real converters for your customers.
The reason for doing such a deep keyword study is to determine which words will perform best for your clients and as a result.
Create Content That Will Entice Searches and Bring Traffic to Your Site
By using those keywords, you can create a calendar of editorial content that is centered around these subjects.
When you have these subject ideas, and a plan that has the goals of creating these articles by the same date, you can begin creating local SEO results by using these kinds of keywords.
This is just one option of many.
I suggest you play with this method and discover your own ways of creating a list of extremely targeted and targeted keywords.
Based on these key phrases You can create content that even industry professionals will appreciate.
This will help you improve that success metric that your client relies on.
Content: What Not to Do for Local SEO
It is important to talk about certain things you shouldn’t do as well as discuss the things you ought to do.
Sometimes bad habits sneak in which are not supposed to be there even if you’re performing SEO in a proper manner.
These are things like Wikipedia-style material, being not able to focus enough on the content you are creating, or not original enough in your content and keyword-stuffing.
Avoid, Avoid, Avoid Wikipedia-Type Content
I get it. It’s not possible to visit the place and the most efficient method is to make use of Wikipedia-style content or create a story about your county’s seat. modify the words, and then put it aside.
The issue with this method is that it has been tried many millions (billions?) times in the past.
The real estate business does it, and the law industry also does it. Everybody is doing it.
The issue with this kind of material is its quality has been diluted due to the millions of copying and pasting that it has only a tiny amount of worth.
What you need to do is to read the material, conduct your own research, write it in a way that is professional and offer something unique that readers will love.
The former Googler Maile Ohye spoke about this at SEJ Summit 2016 in Santa Monica:
“Focus on delighting your user.”
I’m not able to think of a field of writing content that is more applicable than local SEO-related content. Make content that is written in this method with the goal of enthralling your users’ minds.
Create Your Content With a Niche, Local Focus
Like how we designed keywords that have a specific and with a local focus, we’d like to ensure that we write our content with that same focus in our minds.
Create content that strives towards this specific, local-focused content but also keep in mind what the people working in the industry would like to see (all the data we gathered from our research on competitors earlier).
The content you create should be specific and targeted, and specific to the SEO objective with SEO in your mind.
It’s not a good idea to write informative text-based content if videos are the only thing you need. You shouldn’t create 10,000-word content on websites that the only thing people are looking for is local brick and mortar businesses.
It is crucial to tailor your content for the specific particular niche, with the appropriate local and relevant emphasis that provides a top-quality experience for visitors seeking these topics.
It’s pointless to produce boring, boring content that is similar to Wikipedia content. It won’t be a pleasant experience for your reader.
Make sure you put more thought and effort to create your content and ensure it is in line with these objectives, and also your ultimate SEO objective.
Create Unique Content Per Page, and Per Site
It is very easy to fall into the trap of making the same content for each page, and also the same content from one site to the next.
I get it. You hate writing. You don’t want to write You’d rather work on SEO.
What do you do in SEO when you don’t like writing? It’s an absolute mystery!
When it comes to creating content for localization, it is essential that the content transferred from the local page to the local page is distinctive and offers value unique to it.
Don’t create boring dull content, with the sole thing you can change from page to page is the local keywords phrase. This isn’t going to be effective as a strategy for content.
In the end, you could find yourself having difficulty ranking in the rankings if you don’t do it enough.
Another issue is that you cannot create the same content on different sites. This can be particularly problematic when you run an agency with clients in the same segment (e.g. real estate, legal).
It can be a challenge to think of distinctive content in a world where there are only a few ways to say something in the field of law.
If you put in the work of coming up with original, outstanding content ideas that are a hit with the visitors to your site and your visitors, you don’t have to come out with content that sounds terrible even in the 100th edition.
Stay Conversational, Natural, and Avoid Keyword-Stuffing
The process of achieving the right balance in Google doesn’t seem to have changed much in the past 15 or more years, despite new features like RankBrain:
- Create your content using natural language.
- Keep your eye on your user.
- Don’t keyword stuff.
Links for Local SEO
The ranking elements for SEO in local areas usually are focused on on-page as well as off-page elements with a sharp emphasis on local.
Similar to content-linked content, links are an essential element of the local SEO ranking elements.
At first, it’s important to conduct an analysis of the site to determine the location of the site in the local area.
Utilizing a tool such as Whitespark or BrightLocal will help you conduct an analysis local to the link profile of your site. I suggest starting there and then expanding on it.
If you’ve got some local citations but not all, you know where to go to acquire all the others. However, if you’ve previously not had the opportunity to acquire links for local SEO previously, it could be a difficult task to find all the local references.
Including the Correct N.A.P. Information, Every Time
In the process of claiming your local profiles, and receiving Local SEO-related citations you must be essential to ensure that your NAP details (Name Address, Address, Phone number) are identical.
Avoid using Ste. or Suite and # in any way of posting the information on your website.
It won’t lead to improved performance.
In reality, it could be a disaster for your vessel because it creates too many loud regional ranking signals.
We want to ensure that your citations and links are as robust as they can be.
Also, if the address you are using is
Some Business, Inc.
123 Standard Way Suite 400
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Do not send it to:
Some Business, Incorporated
123 Standard Way, Ste. 400
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Some Business, Ltd (when there’s not an LLC)
123 Standard Way, #400
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Claiming Your Local Profiles & Local SEO Citations
When you are first starting out by claiming your Local SEO-related citations it is possible that you will be asking yourself: Okay but where do I begin?
In the ideal scenario, you’ll be looking through the competitor’s research we conducted earlier and examining your competitors’ links profiles.
If you take the time to look over link profiles in-depth this is usually an effective method to find out which local websites your competitors are using.
But I would say “generally” because doing it this way will only get you to a certain extent that not every local site will contain the URL local.business.com in it, but other sites may have normal .com domains.
This is the reason I suggest thorough research into competition, as well as tools such as those listed above.
Final Thoughts on Local SEO
In the core, Local SEO isn’t any different from organic SEO. Keywords Content, links, and keywords are at the core of your SEO strategy.
The difference is apparent when you look at the aspect of local SEO that the local focus is a factor.
It’s so important to approach these strategies with a holistic, relationship-building approach in mind.
The incorrect approach to take with any of these strategies is to always use a strong-arm approach that could result in a penalty for your website.
The focus should be on:
- Link acquisition is not linked manipulation.
- The user should be delighted by not cramming your text with keywords.
- A compelling user experience that is not just haphazardly created digital ecosystems.
In short, if you construct it with quality those you wish to attract will be attracted.