Local SEO is an approach that helps your business appear more frequently on Google search results in your local area. If your business has a brick and mortar presence, you should be using local SEO to increase visibility and grow your outfit. There are a number of ways to do this yourself, but working with a reputable SEO company can act as a shortcut, saving you precious time and money you might otherwise invest into other aspects of running your business.
First, though, you want an understanding of how Google works
How Does SEO Work?
Google uses a huge variety of factors, all weighed differently, in determining your digital footprint and whether your business should display as a top search result.
Each time you enter a search phrase into Google it looks at different ranking factors before returning a list of results. This process doesn’t involve a real-time search of the whole internet. Instead, Google looks at the Google Index, which is a listing of all the sites it has compiled around your particular phrase. It uses web crawlers that follow links that lead from one page to the next, storing these sites in its index. This process happens at lightning fast speed, helping to keep the index current with the newest possible sites.
Sites are then ranked, which also happens at lightning speed, and results appear according to how relevant and popular they are. Google determines which sites provide the best response to your query, and these are displayed at the top of your search results.
How Local SEO Differs
Google is smart enough to recognize that certain business searches imply the need for local search results. What’s more, Google is able to identify local queries (queries that need local results), which is why it takes your location into account when you enter a phrase, regardless of whether you type “near me” or your specific location.
So, for instance, if you search for grocery stores while at work, the displayed results will be different from ones that pop up if you’re searching from home. Given that millions of people are searching from their phones, local SEO has become essential for the success of any business providing local goods or services.
Steps to Improving Local SEO
To market your business online, there are a number of ways to start improving your local search visibility. You want to make sure you have landing pages for business (which do differ from home pages) and optimize meta descriptions and title tags. You also want to follow best practice SEO, which includes adding your main keyword early on, writing unique content, etc.
You can use a service such as Google My Business to give your business a free business profile. And don’t forget that positive reviews on Google along with citations, or references online to your business which include its location, can all help improve your local SEO.
What to Look for in an SEO Company
Because improving SEO can take time, be wary of any company promising super-fast results. Other things to look for in a good SEO company include:
- Reputation: SEO companies often have niche markets, and you want to pinpoint the ones that are highly reputable in their respective field.
- Realistic: An ethical company may not say what you want to hear, but their given timeframes will be measurable and realistic.
- Rankings: Check their own search engine rankings! You can do this by doing a local search for “SEO company” or “SEO experts”, selecting the top three or four results to investigate.
Since online marketing is such a crucial piece of growing your business, choose an SEO company that has a strong track record of working with high profile clients and that charges what they are worth. Discounts and guarantees don’t exist in other valued professions such as doctors or lawyers, so why would a reputable SEO company offer them?
When you improve your SEO, you improve your site’s relevance and popularity, in turn improving your business’ chances of appearing among those top search results. Whether you implement some strategies in-house or utilize the services of an SEO company, the sooner you can reach people within your geographical area, the faster you will grow.