What is Local SEO?

Nov 19, 2022 | SEO

As you know, having a website means your business is available to the entire world 24/7 via the internet.

You may also be familiar with the term “Search Engine Optimisation” (SEO) which is the process of making sure the content, images and code of your website is optimised for the key word searches that people enter into search engines like Google, so that more people arrive at your website.

“Local SEO” is a specific area of SEO, which focuses on ranking your website higher for searches in your local area. The past two years of lockdowns and working from home means people’s behaviour has changed and more and more are now looking for services within their local area, usually on their mobile devices.

In this article, we’ll explain what local SEO is and provide links to some extra articles to help you get your website ranking well for searches in your local area.

What is local SEO?

WordPress’ leading SEO plugin website Yoast defines Local SEO as:

“Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for a specific local area. If you have a local business, like a shop, restaurant, or agency, you want your web pages to rank for certain search queries performed by a local audience. Optimizing the website of your local business is about making sure people can find you online and offline. Even now, when you might not be getting visitors in your building, you’re still targeting an audience that is located in the same geographical area as you are. So you’d better optimize your online presence for that area. You can do that in part on your own website, but there’s a lot more you can do!”

How does local SEO work?

In a nutshell, local SEO involves telling Google in as many ways as possible that your business services customers in a specific geographical area, such as your local city, suburb or state.

Step one is to make sure you have an address displayed clearly on your website, and that you have your Google My Business page set up and claimed with your phone number and opening hours.

If you have multiple locations, be sure to have a separate page on your website for each location.

Step two is to make sure you add specific location code (markup) to your website’s code. This “Local Business Schema” tells Google what areas you serve. This is quite technical and you’ll need your web team to add it for you, but it can make a big difference.

Step 3 is to write content focussed around your local area and customers.

Step 4 is to optimise your Google My Business listing by entering your area of service, your products and services offer and by getting as many reviews as possible.

In addition to the above, putting some effort into getting industry-relevant and local links can also help. Social media shares, local directory links and actively pursuing reviews all send signals to Google.

Yoast has a great resource for learning how to rank for local seo here.

What’s the difference with SEO in general?

While SEO focuses on getting higher rankings for your website’s pages for searches without a local qualifier (think “Web Design” versus “Web Design Adelaide”), local SEO aims to get higher rankings in specific areas, such as towns or regions.

A local audience often performs these searches and will often use “near me” to find services close to them. Google can understand by the words used in the search query whether or not someone is looking for a local “solution” for their problem.

These types of searches are really interesting for small businesses who provide services or products for a local audience. If you want to rank for more local based searches, a local SEO strategy focused on local ranking factors is worth investing in.