Looking up contact and address data in the yellow pages is a thing of the past. Are we looking for local information, such as For example, to find a suitable restaurant for dinner or to find a doctor nearby. We mostly use the search engine Google. The local search is becoming more and more important for regionally operating companies, especially due to the increasing share of search queries via mobile devices. In this article, as an experienced local SEO agency, we will show you how you can increase your local competitiveness with the right data and attract online customers to your business with the help of local SEO.
For whom is local SEO important and why?
Visibility in the local search results is important for all companies that have a physical contact point (e.g. a shop). Offer their services at the customer’s site (e.g. a craft or a delivery service) and for online companies, the customers want to reach in certain cities.
Every day, millions of people search for companies in their immediate area using Google’s local search. Due to the steadily increasing number of mobile users , this development will continue in this direction. As early as 2015, Google, in cooperation with Ipos MediaCT, found in a study that most consumers who make a local search query via a smartphone are about to make a purchase decision. The probability is therefore very high that consumers will become active through the regional hits found and visit the company or get in contact with its employees.
The phenomenon that consumers first find out about products and companies online and later become customers offline is what experts refer to as the ROPO effect (“Research online, purchase offline”). Local dealers in particular can benefit from this trend through targeted ads or advertising. The prerequisite for this is a well-thought-out online presence that shows the products and services available in the stationary and communicates contact and reservation options.
The most important ranking factors and application tips for local SEO
The discoverability in the local search results depends mainly on the following three factors:
- Distance – proximity of the seeker to the location
- Relevance – The relevance is higher, the better the company fits the search intention. In order for the search algorithm to be able to assess the relevance, the company information must be available completely and accurately.
- Reputation – a high reputation e.g. B. through backlinks from high-quality sources and customer reviews
We have summarized for you what is important and which factors play an important role in an effective local SEO strategy:
Position and distance
The closer a company is to the user’s location, the greater the chance of being displayed as a search result . Companies with a central location often have a better chance of being found. This factor is not that easy to optimize in Google search over local SEO unless you are planning a move e.g. B. to the city center. A disadvantage in this context, however, is the existing local competition.
Local SEO is based on your own website or landing page with the company and city names. The local reference is z. B. reinforced by local content in the form of photos, images or videos. The route description is also particularly relevant and should be clearly visible. As with classic SEO, the optimization of the content plays a major role. Content must be relevant to the topic and match the user’s request as well as possible. They should also be unique and well structured so that they offer the visitor an advantage or added value.
In order for the content to match the search intent of your users, a detailed keyword research with a location reference should be carried out in advance . You can also use long-tail search terms that represent a longer and detailed search query.
The term NAP stands for “Name”, “Adress” and “Phone Number” . This company information must appear the same on all pages on the Internet and should adhere to official spellings. Soft z. For example, if the company name on your website is different from that on the Facebook page, this creates unnecessary confusion and distrust among potential visitors. This may mean that one or the other contact attempt via local advertisements or advertising or via your website is not made.
Google My Business (GMB)
Google Local A company page on Google My Business is essential for the searchability in local search . If Google detects a local reference in the search query, the algorithms fall back on the stored Google My Business profiles. Corresponding hits are then displayed prominently above or next to the other organic results.
If you are registered on Google My Business, your company will also be visible on Google Maps and in the local listings . In addition to the NAP information, you can also provide other relevant information such as B. store the opening times, local data, photos of the company building or a booking link. You can also regularly implement announcements, news or press releases on Google My Business to improve your ranking so that your users can see at first glance when something important has changed.
First, check whether your company is already listed, as Google has now automatically recorded many stores. You then go through all the requirements in the registration process and confirm the ownership of your profile (usually by phone or postcard). When filling out the Google My Business entry, you should pay particular attention to ensuring that it is up to date and complete .
Almost everyone uses their smartphone with mobile Internet on the go, which means that information can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. Make sure that the content of your company website is also displayed correctly and in a user-friendly manner in the mobile view , so that potential customers are not frustrated and refrain from further interaction or even contacting or making a purchase. To test whether your website is optimized for smartphones and whether there are any weaknesses in the mobile user experience, you can use the ” Test for optimization for mobile devices” tool from Google.
You should also note that there are several ways to optimize your mobile website:
- With responsive design , the content can be flexibly adapted to the screen size and properties of the calling device. Responsive design therefore makes optimal use of the available space for the presentation. This form of automatic adaptation offers many advantages and will continue to gain in importance in the future, the more the diversification of Internet-enabled devices on the market increases.
- A separate mobile version of a website that can be reached via a subdomain or a subfolder (e.g. m.domain.com or domain.com/mobil/). The disadvantage is that it exists in addition to the main domain and therefore has to be regularly updated, checked and optimized if necessary. This method is no longer up-to-date and unsuitable for (local) SEO.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open source project from Google, which aims to improve the mobile usability of websites by ensuring, above all, a faster loading speed. AMP pages therefore score with an enormous performance advantage. The websites are no longer played by their own web server, but by Google servers. Optimizing with AMP is considered to be the most complex variant, but offers the great advantage of a very high page speed, especially for websites with a lot of static content. AMP pages enjoy a better ranking due to their speed when loading and set themselves apart from the competition.
Local Citations – Directories
Typical business directories are no longer as important as they were a few years ago. Nevertheless, local and relevant entries are a sign to Google that your company exists and that the specified location is active. Which directories make sense for you depends on the competition and the industry. Make sure that these are not web catalogs or automatically aggregated data directories. Telephone books such as yellow pages, directories of the respective city, Tripadvisor or other topic-specific and local industry and company directories are suitable.
The term “structured data” means the identification of elements such as texts, images or links using special HTML tags and attributes in the source code . This identification is possible with many content management systems (e.g. WordPress). If information such as opening times, location and the option to reserve a seat are marked with structured data, it will be easier for Google to map the relevant data of your business.
Schema.org is a joint project by Google, Bing and Yahoo to format structured data. You can use this to mark up and maintain your data on the HTML level. Google has published a guide on how structured data works and what guidelines there are .
Customer ratings are not only a plus for the search engine. More and more internet users rely on the opinions and experiences of other customers. The quality of the rating and the presence of keywords play a role in the rankings. According to a study by BrightLocal, 86% of consumers read reviews for local stores. If the reviews are positive, most visitors also go to the homepage.
Whenever possible, you should always answer reviews, both positive and negative. This shows users that you are aware of them and that their concerns are being taken care of. Friendly and critical communication with constructive solutions is often reflected in increased sales or visitor numbers. It has a positive effect on the rating of your company page and / or your Google My Business entry. In order to be considered with an average number of stars in the search results, you need at least 6 ratings.
Backlinks and local links
In addition to optimizing the My Business profile, entries in relevant directories and customer ratings. Backlinks and general company names also play an important role in local search engine optimization . If you have a link to your website from other well-known websites, this is taken as a recommendation . This increases the reputation in the “eyes” of the search engines. But caution is advised here: the quality of the websites from which the link comes is extremely important.
Links from partner companies, suppliers, customers, local newspapers, regional specialist magazines or local institutions are effective and of high quality.
Conclusion: why local SEO pays off for you too
Local search engine optimization (local or local SEO) offers clear added value, especially for regionally operating companies. You get the opportunity to position yourself locally and reach users “on the go”. There is a great chance that these users will also become your customers. Local SEO is a long-term process that you should drive forward continuously. So that you can soon be found in the local search results. We as a professionally positioned agency are happy to help you develop a well-founded strategy for local search engine optimization.