Utilizing Local SEO To Get A Competitive Advantage!

What classifies as a classical brick and mortar business? Well, simply put: a business with a physical location such as a carwash, hospital, law firms, restaurants, painters, brokers, banks and so on. Where does “Local SEO” come to play or is it another buzzword for marketers to sell you on something?

Let’s use a pizza restaurant as an example. So, if you have a small pizzeria in Hoover, Alabama (population:84,879) that focuses on classical pizza recipes and they’re not getting enough visitors as of late, mainly because people just don’t know about the small pizzeria. If we’re talking about marketing a pizza restaurant, you have to stay realistic and understand you are not going to compete with the budget of giant franchises such as the like’s of Pizza Hut and Domino’s, so ranking on front page of Google for search phrases such as “pizza”, “pizza online”, “best pizza” is going to be near impossible. But wait! Don’t be discouraged yet!

Estimated monthly search volume of “pizza” is 1,020,000 searches
Estimated monthly search volume of “best pizza” is 15,000
Estimated monthly search volume of “pizza online” is 1,700
Estimated monthly search volume of “pizza takeaway” is 200

Local SEO to rescue!

With something called “Local SEO” we can actually target your audience, relatively easily! The simple list of benefits of local SEO are as follows:

  • It’s faster to rank for
  • It’s easier to rank for
  • It’s much more affordable to rank for

… and we can start attracting visitors organically!

So, how do you rank locally?

Well, it all starts with keywords. For it to be possible for Google Search Engine to pick your site up, you need to let the engine know what your site is about. The easiest way to do that is by using specific keywords.

There are hundreds of thousands of keywords related to pizza so this part needs to be done carefully, below is a small sample of few phrases people are looking for.

An extensive keyword research is the fundamental strategy of local SEO. As listed in the infobox above, targeting just “pizza takeaway” with just 200 searches per month would be quite a miss. Using our example of the pizzeria in Hoover, Alabama here are some keywords I could come up with:

Keyword – Search Volumes:
pizza near me – 785,000
pizza in hoover – 250
pizza delivery hoover – 80
alabama pizza – 70
best pizza in hoover alabama – 40
fast food in alabama – 20

But which of these keywords to optimize your site around?

All. of. them.

You’re missing out big time if you’re not optimizing your site for all of the keywords mentioned, there is literally no reason not to attempt to rank for all of them. The biggest problem I see is marketers getting fixated with search volume while in reality, it’s not possible to give out 100% accurate search volume.

Google search algorithm develops itself daily by learning the user intent on the website and therefore just by targeting a few keywords with seemingly small search volume, we can tap to much bigger search volume than possible. To give you an idea when opening Google Search Console you can see yourself that 80% of traffic is from long tail keywords that you were never trying to rank for in the first place, keywords with just a few clicks but it really adds up. If you have 1,000 keywords with only 5 search volume then you’ve already reached 10,000 search volume.

How to implement keywords properly?

It’s easy to get carried away and start stuffing keywords on your website but please understand that is actually considered a poor practice and will not give you any results. You need to approach it strategically, ways to do that:

  • Add more information on your homepage
  • Add more pages of content about your services and products
  • Adding a blog section

And that’s it! Super easy but it will take time and consistency – there are no overnight results in SEO!

Local citings and listings

One of the most important aspects in Local SEO is establishing the fact that your business is indeed registered in the location where you operate at! This is luckily very easy to do by listing your business on Google My Business for free and this will also grant you a spot on the “search map” that you’ve probably seen when Googling.

Secondly, it’s very important to have your NAP properly visible on the homepage. NAP Stands for Name-Adress-Phone which is pretty self-explanatory. This way Google crawlers are able to filter you as a real business as opposed to a fake one.

Combined with online reputation management, getting citings through Whitespark is by far the easiest way to approach the matter.

Relevant backlink profile

Links, backlinks, domain metrics can all be scary but the name of the game here is relevancy. To oversimplify the process of backlinks in SEO is something like this: Google identifies which site “deserves” to rank above other search results by the amount of other sites “recommending” (linking to) the website. Of course, in reality there are thousand other variables but this is how it works essentially

To rank locally, we want to be associated by local sites to… appear more local? Makes sense? Makes sense. In cases like this, it’s important to know that quality is much more important than quantity. Fudging around with backlinks if you have no idea what you’re doing is an easy way to land a Google penalty and lose all organic traffic, instead.

So, to sum all of this up: keyword research, content marketing, citings & NAP and a relevant backlink profile. There are a few other quarks you can do here and there but in the bigger picture this is what you need to know to rank with Local SEO.