Local SEO: importance and optimization criteria
Search engines are always evolving to offer Internet users ever more comfortable browsing. The objective of these modifications and evolutions therefore always remains the same: to improve the user experience and to offer the best possible results to Internet users.
In this context of evolution, local referencing today constitutes a very powerful lever for companies and organizations which rely on a local clientele and a limited catchment area. The topographical position is fundamental and your regular referring to the procedure should be enunciated considering this situating rule.
Overall, we all use local SEO to do different research on the Internet. When we are looking for a restaurant, a florist, a baker, a butcher, or a gym, for example, we will find the most relevant results, whether in terms of or even customer reviews.
Local SEO is part of natural SEO and improves your visibility in search engines. By building a local SEO, you will appear on various queries related to your activity in a well-targeted geographic area. This approach represents the behavior of ROPO, ie "Research Online, Purchase Offline" therefore search online to buy in-store
Triggering local results in SERPs
Search engines and in particular Google are based on 2 criteria to determine if a search is local or not.
First, if you type a request including a place (street, city, etc.), the search engine's algorithm will understand that you are requesting service with a specific geographic position.
Secondly, it will also rely on the geolocation of your mobile, computer, or tablet during your research. By using your location, he gets to determine the most relevant results around you. SERPs are therefore personalized according to your geographic location. As Google points out:
When you search on Google, your location is taken into account so that the results are as relevant as possible. For example, if you are in Paris, when you search for cafes, those located nearby will be displayed.
- Official Google Blog
To analyze your position in the SERPs and simulate a location, you can use the I Search From tool.
To track your positioning in the SERPs according to location (city, region, country) and type of device (desktop, tablet, smartphone), you can use the SEMrush Position Tracking tool. Recently, it even offers postal code targeting. This tool also allows you to see if your site is generating SERP functionality for the keywords that interest you.
The importance of local SEO
If you own a convenience store, it is in your best interest to work on your local SEO to improve your SERP positions and drive traffic to your store.
Internet users' requests
When you want to go to a restaurant close to where you are located, you will first search with a specific query such as "restaurant + place", "restaurant" or expressions such as "where to eat at + place "," where the nearest restaurant is ".
The results that will come out will be, for the most part, restaurants nearby and various information will be displayed: address, reviews, opening hours, type of restaurant (Asian, Italian, etc.).
These queries also tend to increase with voice search which is closely linked to local SEO.
If you don't work on your local SEO, you have very little chance of appearing in the SERPs and reaching these potential prospects. This will lead to hundreds, if not thousands of missed customers. A huge shortfall for your business! Plus, local searches are very specific, and highly qualified traffic is a godsend!
By positioning yourself on keywords related to your business,
You also place your site on queries belonging to
To the same semantics.
To follow the example of the restaurant, imagine that it is a restaurant specializing in Nice. By working your local SEO on "nice restaurant", you will also strengthen your ranking on keywords such as "eat specialties from Nice", "restaurant cuisine from Nice", eat from Nice ", etc.
Information about your establishment
The other advantage of working on your local SEO is to display the various information related to your business when people are looking for you.
For example, if your schedules are incorrectly filled in, you risk losing customers! People are learning more and more on the Internet before they travel. The person will come to your store and find themselves in front of a closed-door: a rather annoying situation that will benefit your competitors.
To show you the importance of information related to your establishment, here is an example of a restaurant in Nice:
Restaurant information takes all the screen on mobile! If you don't give importance to local SEO and your business information, you too risk losing a lot of customers.
You got it right, local SEO is crucial to generate more leads if you are targeting a specific area. Now that you know the value of working on this leverage, I will present the different ranking criteria to put the odds in your favor and optimize your position in the search engines as much as possible.
The different criteria of local referencing
Just like SEO, local SEO relies on many criteria related to on-site and off-site SEO. However, it has some subtleties.
The basis of local SEO: Google My Business
Developed by Google, this online directory offers all businesses and organizations the ability to create their listing, to feed the Local Knowledge Graph and Google Maps.
By creating your Google My Business listing, you will be able to enter various information about your activity: name of your establishment, hours, description, website, contact details, photos, etc.
Google My Business
Thanks to the latest updates, you can create posts within your profile by inserting a photo, a description, and a call-to-action to your site, for example. These posts are automatically displayed in search engine results. allow you to highlight various news about your business.
Linked to Google My Business, Google Maps is essential for your local referencing and you cannot modify the information displayed on this lever without going through the My Business area. Google Maps uses the content indicated in your Business listing for a display to Internet users.
Local establishments benefit from very good visibility in universal research. The information included and displayed is diverse: photographs, timetables, notices, type of cuisine (to stay in the example of restaurants); so much data to facilitate the navigation of Internet users.
It is effective to have a Google my Business listing, but it must still be well informed. The fields to fill in are very important and will impact your local SEO.
When you create your file, you must fill in the information with semantics adapted to your target and your industry, as if you were on your site.
The name of the establishment
To do this, first, fill in the name of your establishment. Some people recommend optimizing this name with a keyword like "Restaurant Piedmont" if your brand is called Piedmont and you are a restaurant.
This optimization may work and improve your ranking but if we refer to the rules of Google:
This name should match your actual business name as your customers know it and as it appears on your storefront, website, and materials. It should reflect the exact name of your business so that customers can easily find you online.
So, you are free to add your keyword if it is suitable. However, do not attempt to add the name of the city or the neighborhood. These practices are sanctioned. From my perspective, if you follow the different optimizations for the rest of the listing, your brand name is enough to stand out on the first page.
Information and characteristics
Next, you need to provide common information like phone number, address, hours, your website URL, and other additional business details.
Regarding the category you are going to choose, this one is crucial. You have to choose it carefully! Do some research and find the one that is most suitable for your organization. You can also add a few secondary categories if that makes sense.
For the description of your activity, I invite you to do a nice work of semantics around your target expression. If we take the example of our restaurant in Nice, use synonyms, typical dishes, variations, etc. Words like "socca", "Salad Nicosia", "specialties of Nice", "cuisine of Nice", "traditional dishes", etc. Of course, avoid over-optimizing your content and always stay as natural as possible!
To put the odds in your favor and optimize your Google My Business listing perfectly, you must complete it 100%. Google loves when information is relevant. If your file highlights all the possible data relating to your establishment, the search engine will have a greater interest in bringing you up in the ranking. To add photos, videos and feed your page with regular posts.
Another important point with Google My Business is the reviews you receive. If a lot of users rate your business that will be additional information that strengthens your local SEO. And don't forget to answer it!
Encourage loyal customers and visitors to your business to add reviews on Google and other platforms.
To take our example of the restaurant, if we go a little lower, on mobile, we see:
These additional opinions reinforce the reputation of the restaurant and the confidence of Internet users!
In short, if you fill out your Google My Business listing efficiently, you put all the chances on your side to appear in the first results of search engines on local queries. Nonetheless, be cautious, different switches should be chipped away at!
Internal site factors for your local SEO
Google My Business is the foundation for optimized local SEO, but there are other levers you can (should) use to complement and improve your SEO.
To optimize your site for the various local queries, you must take into account the factors internal to your site to meet the expectations of the search engines.
By integrating structured data into your website, you will make it easier for search engine robots to analyze information about your business. I invite you to read my previous article on structured data markup and Schema.org semantic markup which will give you some ideas to configure it. As a local business, I recommend that you integrate Local Business markup.
The importance of content
As with the Google My Business listing. your content must be optimized for the query you are targeting. Google is placing more and more importance on the quality of information. I, therefore, recommend that you write coherent texts about your theme and your workplace.
Place lots of local information on your entire site and create semantics specific to your location: Google Maps, phone number, address, etc. In addition to being effective for local SEO, these are also important elements to highlight for the user experience.
I do not teach you anything. Mobile is of crucial importance in SEO today. With Internet users increasingly using their smartphones to search the Internet, it is essential to have a mobile-friendly site.
Above all, local SEO is heavily impacted by mobile browsing. most people are on the go when typing queries in search engines.
The general appearance of your site also has an impact on your natural and local SEO. You must set up an effective internal mesh with a silo structure, for example, structure your content well and correct the various errors on your site (404 errors, site speed, inactive pages, etc.).
If you are, for example, an event agency and you offer many local services (evening, birthday, seminar, etc.), you will target several local requests. By dissociating your services with dedicated content and well-designed semantics, each page will position itself on its local request. Your potential customers will arrive on the page adapted to their expectations. This will be much more efficient for your business!
All of these on-site optimizations will impact visitor behavior and benefit your SERP ranking.
Factors external to the site for your local SEO
Popularity is as important as ever in SEO and even more so in local SEO when you manage to get links from other nearby sites.
The authority you have in your territory is crucial. when other sites talk about your business, your confidence will be boosted with the search engines.
To get local backlinks, you can turn to directories that list different establishments depending on the location like Yellow Pages, for example.
Reviews and comments sites like a Trip advisor or even Yelp are also excellent levers for improving the popularity of your establishment. There are also platforms specializing in a specific theme that offer the creation of detailed files (wedding, restaurant, etc.). These sites are very effective in improving your local SEO!
You should know that on most local authority sites, if you get a detailed record of your activity with your name, address, opening hours, services, and others, but that it does not have of linking to your site, this will also be beneficial.
To get mentions and local backlinks, you can also contact the various newspapers in your city, local influencers associated with your sector and universe, associations, or even try to get mentions on authority sites such as that of the town hall, the tourist office, etc. To have a chance to be published on this type of platform. you can organize a local event. create a buzz around a subject, release an innovation or even look for special days with price reductions and offer a donation of your products. Let your imagination run free!
The distance between the Internet user and your establishment
When a user types a request while being geolocated. The distance from your establishment is a criterion that will be taken into account in the ranking. Depending on the user's position, the results will change significantly. To appear in local results, the user must therefore be nearby.
Social networks are an excellent lever for your local SEO so take advantage of them! When Your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more pages gain prominence and notoriety, they stand out in the search engine rankings. A good opportunity to show them your notoriety on the different platforms and highlight your different products and services. In addition, the information presented on your social networks (address, site, etc.) reinforces your proximity.
These same social networks also have their search engine. This is therefore an opportunity to highlight local queries typed internally by Internet users.
Choose well the social networks adapted to your establishment as well as your target. Create beautiful pages by filling in all the necessary information and especially by animating your
Community to generate interaction with your business.
Today, if you are running a local establishment, you need to implement effective local SEO. To attract large numbers of visitors and last. This local SEO strategy brings together several levers and will not be profitable without natural referencing work. Use Google My Business, write optimized content, work on your site structure as well as the user experience. find local sites with good authority, and create communities on social networks… Certainly, these strategies will pay off and propel you to the top of the search engines!