Local SEO or local search engine optimization refers to any measure which has the purpose of bringing a regionally operating company or a local website towards the top in the search results.
Local SEO is based on local search, which Google has introduced step by step since 2007. The aim of local search is to answer queries from a particular region so that the most relevant results can be expected. Relevant in this context means that websites, companies, and service providers are displayed that are located geographically close to the user. The concept itself is not new. Whereas you used to open up a phonebook in the past, you now open up an Internet browser. According to a study by Telegate AG, half of all commercial searches happened on the Internet in 2012.
If you enter a longer term combination into the search engine search bar such as “attorney in New York,” below the paid ads you will find the first results and next to the listed websites on the right will be their addresses and corresponding entries on Google Maps. The red buttons known from Google Maps are, in turn, connected with entries on Google Plus Local. Thus, you get search results that correspond to your location, in this case all lawyers in New York that have a listing on Google Plus Local.
It must be assumed that these are not the only ranking factors in local searches. Since Google uses over 200 criteria when answering queries, it is likely that conventional measures such as authoritarian backlinks and properly used keywords are a factor in ranking. Thus, regional industry books can direct to a website and thus represent a backlink (analogous to off-page optimization).
In terms of keywords, local SEO can be of benefit. The above-mentioned law firms could deliberately use terms in their HTML documents and meta markups that describe the company, its activities, and location.
The same applies to the maintenance of Google Plus profiles or registration with Google Plus Local. Data such as company, address, city, zip code, and phone number are entered here (similar to on-page optimization). The official website of the company should also be linked with the Google Plus profile and verified. Important points to note are the Google Places quality guidelines.
Moreover, ratings, reviews, and positive references by a community or interest group are gaining in relevance. Because user ratings who visited this place and wrote a review appear below the SERP entries. They are called rich snippets. Such references may affect the ranking of local search. Based on the algorithm changes with social search (2009) and Search, plus Your World (2012), social signals are important factors for Google directly associated with the local search.
Importance for SEO
The process of constant changes in Google’s algorithms, local search, and related issues are becoming increasingly important. In addition to an optimized listing on Google Plus or Google Places, reviews, citations and ratings are increasingly significant. To specifically implement local search engine optimization measures, it is not enough to maintain only one entry on Google Plus. Instead, local SEO measures are more and more accompanied by conventional SEO and a healthy marketing mix, for example, through social media presence.
Local search engine optimization is increasingly relevant for mobile devices. Local searches via smartphones and tablets are rising rapidly. When you do local search engine optimization, mobile devices and their characteristics must be taken into account.
- Guidelines for representing your business on Google. Accessed on 11/21/2013