Local search engine optimization (Local SEO) is the art (some would say science) of doing things to help improve your rank in the local listings, sometimes known as “The Maps”.
Coming up in or near the top three of the local results can quite often result in a lot more phone calls, visits to your website, and ultimately customers, without paying for clicks than might otherwise be the case for those who find themselves in the lower regions of the local maps/results.
These results are controlled by a mathematical algorithm. The specifics are known only to Google.
However, it is common knowledge for those of us in the business, that this algorithm is comprised of three main factors: relevance, prominence, and proximity.
You can think of it like this:
Relevance pertains to the content, written and otherwise on your website.
Prominence pertains to things like how many reviews you have and how active you are in google my business, social media, forums, and blogging
Proximity refers to the strength and consistency of your name, address, and phone number otherwise known as your NAP across the web.
A good way to approach local SEO and search engine optimization, in general, is to ask yourself this question.
What would google want?
What Google Wants
Last year Google did somewhere around 100 billion dollars in sales, the vast majority of which came from people like you advertising with them, and paying for clicks on Adwords, google’s advertising platform.
The reason Google is able to sell advertising to so many business owners is due to one factor. Their market share.
For almost two decades now google has completely dominated “search” and that number continues to increase each year.
Therefore I like to say that there is only one person google cares about, and unfortunately its not you and its not me. Rather they care very much about the searcher.
In other words, the person typing in a search query to the google search box, and even more specifically google cares about the experience of that searcher.
- Are they finding what they’re looking for?
- Are the sites served up to them in the search results easy to navigate?
- Do they load quickly?
- Are they mobile friendly?
- Are there any broken links?
- And most importantly of all, do they contain a lot of helpful, original, unique information, (known as content) whether it be in written form, like web pages and blog posts, or perhaps other media such as helpful pictures and videos.
- Are there a lot of reviews for people to read on google from independent customers, because lets face it we all like to read reviews.
- Is the business active on social media?
- Can we see how they interact with people on Facebook, or twitter?
- And are they a continuing source of free, helpful original information, which cannot be found elsewhere on the web?
Understand these things and you are well on your way to moving up dramatically in the local search results for whatever generic term you may targeting.