Learning about local SEO is important if you have a business with a brick-and-mortar location. It can mean the difference between potential customers finding your business, and your business having to shut its doors because you lost out to a competitor.
The Basics of Local SEO
First, what’s the difference between “local” SEO and “organic” SEO? Open a new tab in your browser, go to Google, and type in “Korean restaurant Tucson.” You’ll see a map with several locations pinned to that map. Below the map, three results for Korean restaurants. Those are the local results. Below those, you’ll probably see some roundups of Korean restaurants, from sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp. These are the organic results.
Naturally, the higher up on a page of search results your website ranks, the more people will click on it — and eventually, you hope, come to your restaurant (or your hardware store, nail salon, microbrewery…you get the idea).
But if you operate your business in a large city like Tucson, there are likely more than two competitors. Which means you may need the help of Tucson SEO Pros to get one of those top three local search results.
Where to Start with Local SEO
Google (no surprise there, huh?). Specifically Google My Business. By providing certain information about your business (name, address, phone, hours of operation, business category, and photos), you’re essentially telling Google that your business exists and should be ranked.
After you’ve become a verified business owner by GMB, turn to other local directories like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Places, and Foursquare. Make certain that your information is correct across these directories; Google will look for consistency. If some information is contradictory, Google won’t trust you — which means they won’t rank you very highly.
Photos and reviews are another way to signal that you’re a legitimate business. Pictures from your website and uploaded from your customers, as well as reviews on Google (and elsewhere) contribute to your overall ranking.
The Most Important Ranking Factor for Local SEO
Drumroll please…it’s “proximity to searcher,” which basically means how close you are to the person searching on your keywords. If someone with a hankering for bulgogi looks up Korean restaurants in Tucson, the one that pops up first is likely going to be the one closest to them.
That makes sense, of course, but proximity to searcher seems to be much more heavily weighted than other ranking signals (like even the presence of a website!). It also means that you need to have a website that is mobile-friendly, so that people who are searching on the go — and that’s many if not most consumers these days — will stick around once Google has shown them your business is nearby. If your mobile website doesn’t load quickly or is hard to read, people will click to another one and leave you high and dry.
Of course, this is just an overview of a few of the factors involved in local SEO. To learn more, contact professional SEO experts who can help you claim your business, optimize your site, and take care of everything necessary for your SEO strategy.