If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard about the importance of investing in Local SEO. Seeing as how 50% of searches (on mobile devices) are done to find local results and 61% of those searches result in a purchase (source), Local SEO is nothing to scoff at.

It doesn’t just increase traffic to your website, it increases targeted traffic. What do I mean by this? Well, there’s a big difference in a searcher’s behavior when searching “home security” and “home security Miami”. The former is a very broad search whereby the user could just be looking for general information. The latter is specific to a location, which tells us the searcher is looking for a local business.

Today we’re going to look at the specifics as to how a Local SEO campaign works so you can decide for yourself if you want to invest in this marketing strategy that could vastly expand your business.

How is Local SEO different from regular SEO?

Often times, people think that SEO and Local SEO are the same digital marketing strategy. While they aren’t exactly correct, they aren’t exactly wrong either. You see, when you boil it all down, optimizing a website for search (be it local, national, or global) has one goal – generate you more leads. Local SEO goes about the process slightly different, which we’re going to discuss for you below…

Step One: Website Audit & Competition Research

Local Audit Banner
The first step to every successful Local SEO campaign is a concise audit. This means extensively going over your website and analyzing its on-page optimization, HTML, javascript, and more. If the site is built “old school” (i.e. with tons of javascript), it might be unsalvageable and need to be redesigned so that search engines can properly crawl and index it.

Along with the audit, it’s important to begin researching your competitors. This is a key step in the entire process. Why? We can reverse engineer what your competitors are doing correctly in order to copy their strategies and supersede them.

Step Two: Local Keyword Research

Local Keyword Research Banner
Keyword research is the process of determining what specific phrases your target demographic is searching for with the purpose of buying the product or service you provide.

When it comes to keyword research for local business websites, the objective is to find keywords that identify buyer intent. We look for keywords specific to your area, much like in the example above.

This process is very involved and includes carefully studying your competitors in order to understand which keywords their website may (or may not) be ranking for on page one in the search engines.

Step Three: Content Creation & Optimization

Local Content Creation Banner
Once we have a nice list of keywords that your target demographic is searching for in your local area, we begin creating content around those keywords. Oftentimes this content takes the form of pages on your website. However, sometimes videos are made for the purposes of ranking in the search engines.

For the content created we ensure that it is properly optimized. This includes (but is not limited to) making sure that the keywords we found are in specific areas on the content being created…

  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • First 100 words of the content

Step Four: Build Local Links

Local Link Building Banner
The last but more important step is building a very specific type of link – local. Links, in the world of SEO, are like votes for your website. The more links that are pointing from other websites (e.g. Yelp, your friend’s blog, your Facebook page) to pages on your website, the higher those pages will appear for the specific keywords they are targeting. However, not all links are equal. Links from relevant “authority” websites count much higher than those from newer, non-relevant sites.

For digital marketers untrained in Local SEO, finding the right links for a local campaign can be tough. It takes a lot of time and effort to understand where to find them. This is where the previous competition research comes in handy. By reverse engineering your competition we can also understand where they are getting links from and which ones are giving them the biggest “boost” in the search results. We can use this information to gain the same links, thus leveling the playing field and giving your website the same boost.

Below is a list of some of the best local link building opportunities to grow your SEO campaign…

  • Become a Patch contributor for the town and write an article about your business.
  • Find local bloggers and offer them your product or service for free in return for a review (and link).
  • Use a service such as Moz Local to have your business added to top local directories.
  • Join local groups, such as your town’s Chamber of Commerce. Many of these groups have a members page where they list and link to member websites.
  • Donate to local charities that have a thank you page for their donors.
  • Sponsor a local event. Many events also have thank you pages, like this one.

The best way to build links for a local campaign is to not think of it as building links. Instead of being “salesy” and pushing links, try to be friendly and helpful. While it can take a longer amount of time to build the types of links mentioned above, they are much more likely to lead to a greater boost in ranking.

Conclusion

As you can see, although Local SEO differs from a regular SEO campaign, it can be even more effective in bringing in leads. By following the plan outlined above, you can expect great results from your next Local SEO campaign.