The most important local search ranking factors are considered my Google My Business signals (i.e. proximity, categories, keyword in the business title, etc.). It turns out that if you do well in SEO, you will do well in local SEO. The goal of your local seo strategy should be to rank on the first page of organic local searches, as well as in the local snack pack.
This ensures optimal visibility and improves your chances of attracting targeted traffic. It doesn't make sense for a New York restaurant to rank high in Houston's local search results. They want people looking for restaurants in New York to find them. I remember the first time I was faced with a question related to local seo versus national SEO.
When I first started learning about search marketing, I asked a friend with a local business for help. She asked me: "well, are you thinking about On Page SEO (national SEO) or local SEO? I had no idea what she was talking about and it reinforced my belief that this whole world was a big mystery designed to confuse me. Google My Business isn't the only place you need complete information. You need it on your website too.
If you want to compete locally in search rankings, focus on creating content about your city or local area on your website pages. Having measurement plans and protocols in place is important for evaluating both national and local SEO efforts. Look for any spelling errors, address and phone number discrepancies, duplicate listings and resolve them to improve your local SEO. By adding Schema markup appropriate for local businesses to your website, you are telling Google that you are a local business and not a big brand.
When planning your local SEO strategy, always keep in mind that different factors will require very different time investments, so it's not as simple as reading these results and saying, "OK, I'm going to spend X amount of time on X". Just know that for most businesses, it's the area of local SEO that would invest the most time and effort in getting it right and done well, it should also have a much more important flywheel effect of helping to build a better business, as the guys at GatherUp have been talking about for years. Since mentions have become a commodity and are therefore a safe bet, we've gotten a great return by focusing on large-scale local link building by supporting events, publications and associations that are pillars of the local community. In fact, the discipline of SEO is less about "doing SEO and more about creating amazing content that brings value to people".
While this may not have the most direct impact on local business and traditional local search yet, I'm sure it will. Instead of just focusing on the overall value of a link or link building strategy, we are finding ways to get a local brand engaged with the local community that will also earn links, social shares, and get the brand in front of potential customers. So wouldn't it be nice if locals could find your business when they do this kind of "near me" SEO search related to your industry? Of course it would. That means there is an amazing opportunity for all large and medium sized brands are likely to be under-investing in Local SEO by going to ask any corporate digital manager about local shops, offices etc.
Local SEO is essential for smaller businesses that operate regionally, rather than nationally.