find out how to use it to attract more customers! – WAU

Local SEO are optimization strategies to highlight a business in local searches. With them, your company can become a reference in your region and attract new customers without having to invest money in media. Learn now how local SEO works and how to take advantage of your business!

Have you ever thought how many people are looking for your business on the internet? And how many of them could get in touch, visit your company and become customers?

If you have a local business and want it to happen, you need to know what local SEO is!

Search engine optimization strategies are essential in Digital Marketing. More and more Google becomes an assistant for any subject, including to see the menu of the restaurant on the corner or the address of the store you want to visit this afternoon.

It is these searches for information about local businesses, therefore, that are in the sights of local SEO.

With these optimization strategies, you can improve the organic positioning of your business for users who are currently searching for solutions in their region.

Well positioned in the results, your business gains more visibility and is more likely to win customers!

In this article, we will show you how local SEO works and how to position your site in the results of this type of search. You will know:

Follow now to know everything!

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is the set of search engine optimization strategies that aims to improve a brand’s positioning when users search for solutions in their region.

This type of optimization is focused on the company’s website, but also on its page on Google My Business, which we will know even better in this article.

Local SEO is designed for searches that contain a geographic component – and this is what sets it apart from general SEO.

The location of the user who searches for local businesses and the inclusion of a region in the search terms (such as “near me” or “in São Paulo”) trigger the local search algorithm and modify the way Google presents the results.

This type of search gets a special look from the searcher. Google’s intention is to provide users with the best search experience. To this end, it dedicates all its efforts to offer the best results with the greatest possible agility.

So when a person searches for a restaurant or theater on Google, the search engine understands that they are likely to be looking for options close to where they are.

Then, the user’s location comes in as an essential factor to filter and classify the results, so that he finds the answer he wants more quickly, in the first positions.

How increased mobile searches, the geographic component has become more important to Google.

After all, smartphones follow users’ movements and, therefore, demand from the searcher an intelligence capable of offering relevant answers according to their location in real time.

That way, when you are on vacation in Germany and search for “exchange offices”, for example, Google seeks to offer results in the city or neighborhood where you are – no longer where you live. You don’t even have to specify that you want to see exchange offices in Berlin, as Google already knows that you are there.

So, to optimize your business for these searches, the local SEO must show Google where it is located and which regions it serves, in addition to showing the search engine that it is a relevant company in the region.

Later on, you will understand what Google considers most important to rank for this type of search.

What are the benefits of local SEO?

Google is increasingly helping users explore cities. Although today the world is digital, people still visit restaurants when they travel or go to the cinema where they live.

Therefore, the search engine is concerned with improve users’ search experience who want to find solutions while moving around.

Local SEO, therefore, represents an opportunity to improve the positioning of your company and increase the visibility in the results for these people.

But is optimization for local searches worthwhile for any type of business?

Before knowing the benefits of local SEO, it is important to understand that it is unlikely to be useful for companies that do not have a physical location to sell, such as e-commerce stores.

On the other hand, this type of optimization is valuable for companies that receive the public physically.

We are talking about bars, restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, cinemas, nightclubs, shops, shopping centers, hotels, inns, beauty salons, barber shops, schools, offices, hospitals, among other types of companies.

It is for these companies that the optimizations that we will see in this article are worth.

Next, better understand the main benefits that local SEO can provide them!

Increases visibility in the region

This is the main benefit of any SEO strategy, regardless of the type of user search. In the case of local searches, optimization helps to position the company among competitors in your region, which increases the visibility of the business on the web.

With more visibility, the company tends to be better known, receive more visits and contacts and, thus, have more effective results.

And all that without investing even a dollar in media, since local SEO is an organic strategy.

Encourages action

On the consumer’s journey, local searches represent a step closer to conversion.

Those who search for a nightclub on Google, for example, may be looking for options to have fun with friends next weekend or at that very moment.

So, search results support decision-making and encourage action: the person can get in touch with the business, read customer reviews, see some photos of the place and know how to get there.

If your business is optimized with local SEO, you will still appear among the top positions and are more likely to be the chosen option.

A Think With Google survey proved what we’re talking about. The study showed that 76% of people who do a local smartphone search visit the business within 24 hours and that 28% of those searches result in a sale. See the importance of local SEO!

Increases local authority

For consumers who see the results of a search on Google, the links that appear in the top positions appear to have more credibility.

After all, to appear at the top of the ranking, those businesses have earned the trust of the public and the search engine.

When it comes to local searches, they demonstrate their authority in the market in that region, as they stand out from the competition.

Attracts new audiences

Local searches are also a way to discover new businesses in cities. People who may never have heard of your pizzeria can find you on a search for this type of restaurant in the neighborhood they are visiting.

Therefore, local SEO makes you appear to potential new customers, without having to invest in media.

What are the local SEO ranking factors?

To understand what are the ranking factors of local SEO, it is necessary to first understand how Google displays search results with local intent.

When a user searches for “hospitals in Porto Alegre”, for example, he sees a page like this:

local search for hospital in porto alegre

First, Google presents a list of companies and their location, from their registration on Google My Business or Google Maps.

These first three results are called a Local Pack (or 3-Local Pack). When clicking on “More places”, the user is directed to the so-called Local Finder, with the complete list of companies that serve the search.

Just below, Google shows organic links, as in any search engine search.

Note that the Local Pack and organic links have different listings. This is because the search algorithms are specific to each section and consider different factors and rules for organizing rankings.

Moz develops an annual study to understand the main ranking factors of local SEO, both for the Local Pack and for organic results.

See how the importance of factors changes for each section:

moz research on local pack

Company information on Google My Business, for example, is essential for ranking in the Local Pack. However, for the organic listing, they are secondary – more important are the factors of link building, SEO on page and user behavior.

For this reason, some businesses that appear well positioned in the Local Pack may not appear in the top positions in organic results.

So, you need to make a complete optimization, on the website and Google My Business, to win good positions in both sections.

For the ranking of businesses in the Local Pack and Local Finder, Google informs the criteria it uses, grouped in proximity, prominence and relevance.

We will understand each one of them.

Proximity

The proximity criterion concerns the distance from the business in relation to the user or the location term that he types in the search. Google understands that the results most relevant to it are those closest to them.

If the user does not specify a region in the search terms, Google itself calculates the distances using the location information it has on it.

If he is using a cell phone with GPS, for example, the search engine can identify where he is walking.

Spotlight

Highlight is the level of popularity of a business in your region. To assess this criterion, Google analyzes not only the brand’s popularity on the web, but also in the offline world.

The brand’s reputation on the internet is measured by criteria such as links and citations to the brand. They show that it is a reference in the market and, in the case of local searches, well known in your region.

Online assessments are also considered: according to the Moz survey, they are the third most important factor for the Local Pack, with 15.44%.

The more positive reviews and ratings the company receives on Google My Business, the more chances it has to appear well positioned.

If it has a good position in the organic results of Google search, it also means that it stands out in the market and should receive good positions in the Local Pack. It is understood, therefore, that the traditional SEO tips that are valid for general search are also valid to improve the position in local search.

But, as we said, Google also looks at popularity in the physical world. The search engine can identify, for example, whether a store receives many visits from customers.

In this case, the algorithm understands that this business is well known and deserves to be among the first options in the Local Pack.

Relevance

The relevance criterion considers the match between the business and the term the user searched for. To do this, Google analyzes the business listing data on Google My Business.

The name of the company, the category in which it is classified and the keywords that are inserted in its description are important factors here.

Ranking factors of local organic links

In the case of the Local Pack and Local Finder, the ranking criteria focus mainly on the company’s registration data on Google My Business. But for the ranking of organic results, which are just below, what is more important for Google?

In this case, the criteria are focused on the business website – and that’s where optimization should aim.

In order to classify organic results, Google considers the same ranking factors as searches in general.

We know that the search engine keeps these factors secret, but we already know the good practices that count positively in the classification, such as:

  • production of relevant content;
  • loading speed;
  • responsiveness;
  • website security;
  • on page optimizations;
  • backlinks from quality websites;
  • domain and page authority.

These factors are further combined with the customization of the results according to the location (of the user or the local term in the search) and the relevance of the site to the searched keyword, as also happens in the Local Pack.

However, the organic results of a local search may not just include local business websites.

In the search for “hospital in Porto Alegre”, for example, job sites in hospitals in the city or news about this type of establishment may appear.

If the search is simply for “hospital”, without a local term in the keyword, Google can bring even broader results, such as the definition of the word on Wikipedia.

So, for your business to appear on organic links from a local search, it needs to show Google that it’s relevant to the public.

And for that, you must do a consistent job of website optimization, both with SEO On Page and with SEO Off Page. It is worth remembering that this work also has an effect on the optimization for the Local Pack.

How to do local SEO?

Optimization with local SEO follows the logic of optimization for any Google search.

You need to optimize your company’s website for the same factors that Google uses in any ranking, but there are important differences.

First, there is a determining factor: Google My Business. This tool is a differential in the results of local searches, as it is from there that the searcher extracts most of the information about the businesses.

In addition, optimizations must consider the geographic component that marks local searches. This is what is done when searching for backlinks with companies in the region or when producing content on local topics.

Now, let’s better understand how to do local SEO for your business.

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Think less about traffic and more about results

First, it is necessary to change the thinking of traditional SEO a little. SEO professionals have become accustomed to placing the generation of organic traffic to the website as a central objective of website optimization. However, this idea can change in local SEO.

When a user searches for local businesses on Google, they often just want quick information, such as the phone, address or directions to get there.

And Google is increasingly devoting efforts to delivering ready-made responses on the results page.

This is what happens when the search engine presents the Local Pack: the user clicks on one of the companies and reads all the information about it contained in Google My Business.

local search for graphics in porto alegre

He does not need to access the website to receive a lot of information about the business. AND the conversion that the company wants can happen without taking you to your website – a call or a visit, for example.

We’re not saying that generating traffic is no longer important, okay? Visitors to your site can also turn into good business opportunities.

Understand that you can also generate conversions just by optimizing SERP for local searches.

Manage your business on Google My Business

Google My Business is the great differential in the ranking of local searches, especially to position in the Local Pack. Therefore, it must be a priority in local SEO.

When inserting your company on Google My Business, it is essential to fill in all the data, such as company name, category, address, opening hours, telephone, website, internet, accessibility conditions, among others.

It is also possible to publish photos and videos, which can be sent by the establishment itself or by customers.

Each completed data can be determinant for consumer decision making. In addition, the more complete your registration is, the more Google trust you earn. But it is essential to keep this data up to date to inform the public correctly.

Google My Business still goes far beyond basic registration data. For certain types of business, there are other resources.

For example: for hotels, paid advertisements allow the user to check availability and daily rates right there in the SERP, and restaurants with telegraphs inform applications where the customer can place his order.

local seo reservations

The tool also offers the Questions and Answers feature, which can be answered by other customers or by the establishment itself.

This is a good opportunity to interact with the public and answer all your questions.

Another interesting feature is Google Posts. They serve to publish updates and news about the company.

If you have a nightclub, for example, you can announce the events of the week. If you have a hotel, you can advertise daily packages for the next holiday.

Other resources are yet to come, as this is a tool in which Google has been investing a lot. In 2019, the search engine has already announced other news, such as the possibility of creating exclusive offers for new followers.

So, it is worthwhile to follow the updates of Google My Business and keep the company’s registration active, updated and complete in the tool.

Encourage customer reviews

Online assessments are important for consumer decision making. They show what other customers think about the business – not what she says about herself, as in ads and branded content. That brings a lot more confidence to the decision, doesn’t it?

For Google’s ranking, these assessments are also essential for this reason: the search engine can understand what users think about the business.

google reviews my business

For this reason, the reviews he receives on Google My Business count a lot in the ranking. The more positive ratings and grades he receives, the better positions he tends to win.

In addition, Google is also eyeing customer reviews on other sites, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. The search engine analyzes the grade, the content of the reviews and the keywords used in those reviews.

Therefore, encourage customers to leave reviews about your business on these platforms, especially on Google My Business.

The first action is to enable this option. Do not allow customers report their experiences and impressions you can close a path of dialogue with the public and convey a negative image to your company, in addition to counting negative points with Google.

In addition, it is important to respond to reviews to show that you care and encourage more customers to interact.

Praise always deserves attention and gratitude – try not to leave this type of comment unanswered, even if it seems unnecessary to answer it.

Criticisms, on the other hand, require closer care to the company to assess what happened and try to solve the problem when possible.

To encourage evaluations, you can also adopt marketing strategies. Create social media posts and print materials that ask for customer participation. Google itself offers a Marketing Kit for creating this type of material.

Get links and quotes from local brands

For the business to appear well positioned in the Local Pack and in the organic results, it is necessary to show that it is a reference for the community.

In the eyes of Google, building authority on the web means gain backlinks and quotes from other sites for quality, trust and authority.

In the case of local searches, in addition to these characteristics, it is important to build a network with companies in the region. Thus, Google can better understand what your level of prominence is in the state, city or neighborhood.

You can think of different opportunities for quotes and links to local businesses in your region, such as the website of suppliers, neighboring businesses in the neighborhood and local news portals.

Later on, you will learn how to find good quotes and link building opportunities on the web.

Regardless of where these links and quotes appear, it is essential that the company’s data is correct. The priority is NAP data (or NET, in London):

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Phone number.

These are the basic identification and contact details of a company, both for Google and consumers. According to an Inside survey, inconsistent NET data is the main problem for ranking pages locally.

Therefore, every quote or link, including on the establishment’s own website, must have these data updated and correct.

Have a responsive website

When it comes to local SEO, having a responsive website is the basis of the entire on page optimization strategy.

As mobile searches increase every day and local searches are widely used on the go, it is imperative that the user can access the website from any device.

Google also knows that mobile search is increasing and values ​​sites that offer a good mobile experience. Therefore, if you want to appear well positioned in the organic results of local searches, you need to have responsive pages.

This means that the website should offer good navigation on any screen size that the visitor is using.

Adopting responsiveness also means thinking about what information is most important to anyone who accesses the site by cell phone.

The contact phone and directions on how to get there, for example, are probably more important than the “about us” page for those on the move.

Make Content Marketing focused on the region

In addition to having a responsive website, another essential optimization tip to position your website in organic results is to adopt a Content Marketing strategy focused on the region.

That includes produce content related to your region. If you have a hostel in Florianópolis, for example, you can publish posts with tips on beaches, sights and schedules for a holiday in the region.

Another tip is to do a search for keywords that suit local searches in your region. In the case of this pousada, it can optimize the contents for the terms “pousada em Florianópolis” or “where to stay in Florianópolis”, for example.

Next, you’ll learn how to do keyword research to improve your website’s position in that type of search.

How to do a keyword search for local SEO?

Keyword research is the guideline for Content Marketing strategies. This practice identifies good ranking opportunities and helps to define the content production guidelines.

To do this, you can start by thinking about variations of keywords that may match your business. For a Japanese restaurant, for example:

  1. Different industry keywords. Eg Japanese restaurant, Japanese food, sushi.
  2. Industry keyword modifiers. Ex: best Japanese restaurant, cheap Japanese food, Japanese delivery.
  3. Geographic keyword modifiers. Ex: Japanese restaurant near me, Japanese food in the center, Japanese in Porto Alegre. Realize that the user will not always include a local term in the search, but it is important to optimize for those keywords as well.

To get more keyword ideas, you can use SEO tools that help to build a keyword list, which later should be used in the content of the website or in the company listing on Google My Business.

Use Yelp and Google search: both tools give suggestions for related or similar keywords when you type in a search term.

See, for example, how the Yelp suggestions look:

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