Understanding local SEO
Local SEO or local referencing is essential for local businesses with physical establishments, as it allows you to market your business on the Internet by positioning yourself on local searches containing geographical details. It is a way of developing visibility in a given area.
More precisely, local SEO consists of responding to the local searches of Internet users. For example, a restaurant, a car dealership, a real estate agency, a bakery or a supermarket located in an area close to the Internet user.
Local referencing takes into account not only the user's location, but also the local intent of his or her query. In other words, if a user is located in the London region and types in "garage", the search engine will suggest garages located nearby. If he adds the name of a town to his search, the results displayed will be located in that town. In an SEO strategy, local is a powerful lever for gaining visibility in a well-defined catchment area. It will allow you to attract local customers, to entice them to your point of sale, and to remind you of their presence on a regular basis... in short, it will allow you to develop a long-term customer base!
In order to implement a local SEO strategy, agencies create geolocalised marketing campaigns, especially on Google Ads. Monitoring tools are used to improve performance in terms of targeting, budget and message quality.
What tools should you use to monitor thevisibility of your local referencing?
It is possible to improve one's visibility by monitoring one's local referencing. Many companies offer solutions and platforms to meet this ever-growing need. These include:
- SEMrush, themost popular tool;
- BrightLocal, which specialises in proximity solutions;
- Whitespark, the Google specialist;
- Yext or Partoo, complete Google My Business management platforms;
- DeepReach, the ad tech of local marketing.
Using one or more of these platforms is now essential, as the rules for local referencing are regularly updated by Google. This change in the algorithms is not insignificant and can have a real impact on ranking. In SEO, anticipation is key!
Local SEO: the requirements
Before launching a local referencing strategy, it is important to determine certain elements in advance: the audience, the competition and the keywords.
Know your audience and their needs
Knowing your audience is undoubtedly the first element to consider when defining a good SEO strategy. This will allow a brand to effectively engage with its audience. To do this, it is necessary to collect and analyse the demographic data of your target audience, such as age, gender, location, interests and needs. Once all the information has been compiled, the message, tone of voice (editorial line), media and formats can be chosen.
Understand the competition
A retailer must be familiar with its local competitors in order to better differentiate itself. It can carry out a survey and a comparative analysis to compare and improve its performance. Finally, carrying out a competitive SEO audit will provide it with all the essential information about the competition.
Know which keywords are being searched for locally
Positioning your business on specific keywords that comprise local searches is essential. An SEO audit helps to identify areas of improvement on the pages and to enrich the content. In order to better understand what consumers want, companies can also look at the search intentions in Google at the end of the page. These are often questions. There are also tools to find out about keywords locally.
Be present on Google Maps
Maps is one of Google's free features. It displays the location of a business, and therefore all its outlets, on a map, which helps to increase local visibility. It should be noted that Google favours sites that use this feature. Moreover, most of the time, the engine proposes the map in the first search results for local queries. This is an opportunity to appear at the top of the results!
Google Maps allows users to quickly view a location and access routes. At a glance, visitors have access to information such as address, number and location. This feature is therefore particularly convenient for Internet users.
Local SEO: should you only focus on Google Maps ?
Most users prefer Google as their search engine, so it is essential to position yourself on Google Maps! In fact, according to Arobasenet, 86% of Internet users search for the location of a business on Google Maps.
However, the engine takes into account external elements to judge the relevance of the information entered in the Google business card (formerly Google My Business): opening hours, address, telephone number, etc. It also takes into account the opinions of Internet users left on other platforms. But that's not all: it also checks whether the business is present on other local sites.
For these reasons, even if Google Maps is an excellent way of referencing points of sale on the web, it is necessary to rely on the complementarity of media in order to boost traffic in shop (drive-to-store). To do this, don't hesitate to turn to other applications, particularly GPS navigation software such as Waze and TomTom, but also social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).
Optimise your website with local SEO
There are several strategies for boosting local SEO, including website optimisation.
Develop local pages
Firstly, the optimisation of a website involves the creation of pages designed to target specific municipalities. In concrete terms, this consists of integrating words related to geography: department, place, city, region, district, etc. For example, the expression "restaurant London Hackney" includes the city and the district.
These pages will then attract qualified users looking for a service or product in the vicinity: this is known as a geolocated long tail. If he or she has more information, the writer can include even more precise locations.
Focus on a clean code
A website is said to be SEO friendly when it is well constructed. Clean, well-written code is part of the local SEO rules, regardless of the programming language. Search engines understand the code better and read it more easily, which allows the site to be better positioned and referenced more quickly. A clean code is also a code that can be modified without too much difficulty, which is essential when you regularly update your site.
Improve internal linking
Internal linking consists of integrating links in the pages of a website that redirect to other pages of the same site. This operation will transfer the popularity of a page to the other pages of the site: this is called link juice. The stronger the internal linkage, the more the popularity of a page (PageRank) is improved.
The technique of internal linking also makes it possible to give more visibility to the so-called"deep" pages, in other words, those which require more than three clicks to access and which do not benefit from external links (backlinks). The engine robots that analyse sites also access these pages more easily and will therefore index them.
Internal linking is therefore the ideal solution for retaining visitors by redirecting them to other pages of the site, sometimes more relevant to them (information, contact, services or products, etc.). This technique significantly increases the chances of conversion!
Optimise your content with local SEO
In a local SEO strategy, content should not be neglected: on the contrary, it is king! But how do you write relevant content?
Develop relevant content, linked to the field of activity
In SEO, content should be based on the principle of EAT (expertise, authority, trust):
- Expertise: Google considers that the content published on a site must be expert. This means that the site provides true, relevant and high value-added information for Internet users.
- Authority: the more expert a site is, the more authority it gains in its field.
- Trust: the company is reliable (true information, up-to-date legal notices, certified customer reviews, etc.).
Through the content, Google analyses the EAT of a site and gives it a score. The more these points are respected, the higher the score of the site. It is therefore essential to delegate the writing to an expert or to provide the writer with precise information.
Optimise the lexical field of geolocated pages
The lexical field refers to a setof words or expressions that relate to the same theme. It is in the interest of local businesses to enrich the lexical field of geolocalised pages, as this optimisation allows for a better position on the SERP (the search engine results page) at the local level. Google believes that the richer the text, the more relevant it is, as it responds better to users' queries. Semantic analytics tools can be used to enrich the lexical field: 1.fr, YourTextGuru, etc.
Optimise your presence in directories with local SEO
There are an infinite number of digital directories, from the most widely used such as Google My Business to lesser known ones like local directories. Using them can be a good idea, no matter how popular they are!
Submit your site to local directories
Less popular, local directories (PageJaunes.fr, TheFork, Indexa, Justacoté...) strengthen the presence of websites at the local level. Not only do they improve the positioning of a website, but they also target qualified prospects, which leads to a high conversion rate. Registering in a local directory can therefore considerably optimise your online presence!
The NAP rule (Name, Address, Phone number)
The term NAP refers to the name, address and telephone number of a business. This is a particularly important element of a good local SEO strategy. Search engines take this local citation into account in their search engine optimisation, as it demonstrates the consistency and reliability of the company. It is therefore essential that all information is up to date, without typos and that it is perfectly identical, wherever it is found on the internet (site, social network, local directory, etc.).
Google My Business: a must
The Google business listing, formerly known as Google My Business, is a goldmine for Internet users, especially when searching locally.
A real digital showcase, it is essential to fill it in correctly (address, name, reviews, photos, phone number, opening hours, etc.) so that it is relevant and well referenced.
Note that the vast majority of Internet users browse through it! Companies such as Partoo offer solutions to optimise this page.
Improve conversion with local SEO
There are points to build on to strengthen local SEO and improve conversion: call-to-action and e-reputation.
Strengthen the presence of call-to-actions on each page
The call-to-action (CTA) is a clickable element that prompts the user to take action. The aim is retain Internet users in order to turn them into prospective customers and convert them. This very popular marketing solution comes in various forms:
- Fill in a form ("Contact us", newsletter subscription... ;
- Download a white paper, a freebie...;
- Leave a review or a comment;
- Liked a post;
- Share an article, a post, a video...;
- Click on a link to another article or product page;
- and so on.
The call-to-action should be chosen according to the company's objectives and activities. In addition, it must be visible and include an action verb to challenge the user. This digital marketing tool allows you to analyse the performance of the message thanks to the click rate. Please note: only one CTA per page is required!
Customer reviews, the key to a positive e-reputation and good conversion
According to e-marketing, 87% of consumers consult online reviews before buying. And according to Arobasenet, 88% ofusers trust customer reviews as much as personal recommendations.
In this respect, e-reputation is an element to be carefully considered, as your brand image is at stake. It should be noted that, in addition to having a real impact on Google rankings,digital popularity influences Internet users. Indeed, the more positive reviews there are, the more trust users will have in the company. Customers must therefore be encouraged to leave good reviews (talk about their experience, the product, their satisfaction, etc.).
Finally, managing your e-reputation means managing customer reviews: it is essential to respond to all reviews, even negative ones. This will demonstrate the company's interest in the consumer. The company can also propose solutions to dissatisfied customers in the responses. Addressing a personalised message to consumers will also strengthen the bond of intimacy and trust and, above all, will reassure potential customers. Today, managing customer reviews is child's play: numerous tools with complete solutions (KPI monitoring, responses, etc.) are available to improve and maintain the brand's image.
To sum up, local SEO is founded on several key points: code, online presence, complementary media and, above all, content. In general, this remarkable tool is an essential means of developing visibility and notoriety in a defined area. It is therefore essential for local businesses with one or more points of sale to work with precision. Would you like to boost your local referencing through different media channels? Contact DeepReach!