If you own a website, you have the potential to reach a global audience – great if you run a large multinational corporation that ships products all over the world. But what if you own a bike repair shop that just serves your local community? You want more business from visitors passing through town and need to improve your online visibility to cyclists living and working in the area. That’s where local SEO comes in handy…
What’s the difference between local SEO and traditional SEO?
Google uses different algorithms for local rankings and organic rankings, and a business that shows up on a local search will not necessarily appear in the organic search results as well. The main difference is the geographic location – local SEO has a geographical component to it and a business will rank higher if its online presence is optimised for the area it is based in.
Try a Google search for ‘bike repair shop’ and you will probably get three results at the top of your page with a map showing the location of three bike repair shops near your current location. That’s known as the local 3 pack (you may also hear it described as the local pack, map pack, or snack pack), and it will change depending on where you are located when you conduct your search.
What factors does Google take into account for its local algorithm?
If we knew the exact answer to this question, we’d be millionaires. Google uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine its search results. For local SEO though, there are three main components:
- Proximity – How near you are to the potential listing when you conduct your search. If you are using your smartphone, you will see a little blue dot on the map – that’s where Google thinks you’re located and what it bases its local search results on. Walk half a mile and try the same search again, and you’ll likely get a new three-pack.
- Prominence – How important Google thinks you are. This is something that you as a small business owner can improve by optimising your website for local search.
- Relevance – Whether your business page is relevant to the query the user typed in. Finding a bike parts wholesaler when you are looking for bicycle repair can be a frustrating search experience, so Google uses factors such as web content, onsite SEO, Google My Business categories, and citation signals to determine whether your page is relevant enough to appear in the results.
How can I optimise my business’s local search results?
To improve your local SEO:
- Set up a Google My Business page that includes as much up-to-date information about your company as possible (business hours, address and phone number, photos, accurate category, and detailed description).
- Solicit more customer reviews through outreach emails or business cards.
- Create locally-focused blog content for your website.
- Make sure your website is optimised for mobile, with easy-to-read font sizes, well-spaced clickable elements, and a responsive WordPress theme. You can test whether your site is mobile-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Still confused? Our expert SEO team at HookedOnMedia can help optimise your Google Maps results to drive more traffic to your website. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.