Consumers not only look for and find local companies in passing but, above all, on the Internet: 96 percent regularly research online before buying something. It is, therefore, all the more important to be visible where potential customers are looking: in the first results of the online search.
With the help of search engine optimization (SEO), companies try to position themselves as high as possible there – this also applies to local companies. This article explains what local SEO encompasses, which ranking factors are decisive, and how you can make your location pages fit for local searches.
A little note in advance: In this post, we mainly refer to the optimization for local searches on Google. This is because Google is the most used search engine. However, the basics and most tips transfer well to other search engines like Bing.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to all measures with which companies try to improve the online visibility of their local locations – specifically for users looking online for products, services, or places in their vicinity.
Search engines like Google display local search results when search queries have a local connection, e.g., B. “Restaurant near me,” “Pharmacy now open,” or “Electronics store in Berlin-Mitte.” These results suggest users’ relevant company locations directly on the map.
Even with simple Google searches for “cafes” or “post offices,” three local locations appear directly as search results – the so-called Local 3-Pack. Like organic search results, the search engine prioritizes the locations with the most important and accurate information for the search query.
The goal of local businesses is to rank in the top spots of local search results, especially the Local 3-Pack.
Search engines always want to show users the most relevant result for their search query. To appear there, companies need to tailor their content and profiles to what their local audience is searching for — and keep some technical ranking factors in mind.
Local SEO and Organic SEO: What’s the Difference?
Search engines like Google always want to show users the best result for their search query – and adjust their search engine results pages (SERPs: Search Engine Results Page) accordingly. If the search query has a local reference, Google Maps is also displayed in addition to the result list and the images. Users signal a local search interest with “near me” or keywords connecting with a location such as “Brunswick Bookstore.”
Suppose the search engine recognizes a local interest. In that case, the location supplement is not even necessary: If searchers enter terms such as “cafe” into their smartphone, they automatically receive results in their vicinity. The IP address and location services provide the respective location.
On the other hand, if Google, Bing, and Co. do not detect a local search intention, the organic search results are displayed. Depending on the search interest, these can consist of images, videos, or a list. In addition, Google also refers to specific text passages on websites and leads users directly to the appropriate answer (featured snippet) – without them having to visit the website (zero-click search).
The local search results can no longer be clearly distinguished from the organic website results. Therefore, local SEO is a part of organic search engine optimization.
You can read more about this topic in our post-Organic SEO vs. Local SEO: How Do They Differ and Which Is More Important for Businesses? Read.
Local SEO Checklist: How Does Local SEO Work?
Local SEO (like organic SEO) is a question of Google algorithms – and the search engine keeps them under lock and key. However, there are a few factors and steps website owners can take to improve their ranking:
- Optimized Google company profiles, including photos
- Maintained metadata and keywords on your website (on-page optimization)
- Consistent and correct data across all online directories
- Local landing pages with store locator
- Professional review management
- backlinks and citations
Local Search Engine Optimization: How Important Is SEO For Local Search?
Local searches are more relevant than ever. In our study, 77 percent of consumers said they use Google Maps to find out about local businesses. It is, therefore, essential for companies that this “buy-ready” clientele finds them. Most search queries start on mobile devices – especially local searches. Even B2B searches come 70 percent from smartphones.
Local searches offer enormous potential for companies: 75 percent of these searches lead to a store visit within the next 24 hours.
Our study, The New Face of Local, also shows that local searches have become increasingly relevant during the Corona period. Searches and clicks have increased for most verticals.
In the latest Google Local Search update, the search engine provider focused on the importance of local searches. The result is a new design for the Local 3-Pack with prominently placed calls to action. For local companies, optimizing profiles is mandatory and not optional.
Which companies benefit from Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization makes sense for all companies. Especially those with physical locations – from retailers to franchises with hundreds of stores. But B2B companies, service providers, and global brands that sell their products through local shops should also check their local visibility.
- retailers, e.g., B. Bookstores, electronics stores, office supplies
- catering establishments, e.g., B. Coffee shops, restaurants, fast food
- service providers, e.g., B. insurance companies, educational institutions
- Travel and tourism companies, e.g., B. Hotel chains, spas
- Financial service providers, e.g., B. Banks, ATMs
- the insurer, e.g., B. Health insurance with local branches
- the automotive industry, e.g., B. workshops and dealers
- Delivery services and deliverers, e.g., B. Parcel shipping, post offices
- B2B companies, e.g., B. Consulting Firms
Local SEO measures give companies with physical locations better online visibility. This makes it easier for the local target group to find them – and increases the chance of shop visits.
The most important ranking factors for local search
To succeed with local search engine optimization, you should consider different ranking factors. Google delivers local search results based on relevance, distance, and awareness.
- Relevance: Based on the company information entered, Google evaluates how well a profile matches the user’s search intent.
- Distance: Google calculates how far the location is from the user.
- Awareness: Google considers a profile’s popularity, which also includes positive customer ratings.
Manage your reviews and star ratings
Eighty-nine percent of consumers use their smartphones to search for Google reviews before shopping at a local store. When users search for “best coffee shop near me,” “best-rated hotels in Munich,” or “best workshop,” the customer ratings on Google company profiles and rating portals are decisive for whether your locations are displayed prominently.
Google prefers locations with a higher average rating in its search results. In addition, consumers can filter by star ratings.
Response rate and time can also affect ranking. It’s a signal of how customer-friendly a company is.
One thing is clear: Professional review management is essential for your local search engine optimization and improves your chances of appearing in the coveted Local 3-Pack.
Best practices are:
- Regular and timely responses to all reviews
- Individual answers, especially to negative reviews
- Buying Google reviews
Buying google reviews is not a best prectice buy your business will be a new business this is not an easy way to gather lot of reviews. Buy when visitors come to your website, they will follow how many positive google reviews has in your website and you will lose your business. So if you need to increase your rating for a new website then you have to buy google reviews.
Conclusion: How companies can optimally position themselves with Local SEO
Local search engine optimization is essential for all businesses. With the local SEO measures presented, you can cover the basics and optimize your online presence for local searches – giving you an advantage over your competition.
It is a challenge, especially for large companies with many locations, to keep all data up to date and to make each business location fit for local searches. Local SEO tools, like Uberall CoreX, help businesses stand out with their local presence.