HOW TO DO LOCAL SEO WHEN YOU ARE NOT LOCAL

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Will your business show up at the exact time when local customers are looking? Will they pick you out of all the local businesses that offer the same products and services?

Customers are searching for the best products and services near them – and they want answers… fast.

Local search engine optimization requires a strategic and targeted approach that is distinct from general SEO.

Read A Guide to Local SEO to learn:

Search Engine Journal’s ebook, A Guide to Local SEO, tackles what you need to know about optimizing for local search.

If you want to have a solid foundation on local search engine optimization, make sure to read SEJ’s A Guide to Local SEO.

Optimizing for local search is important, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses serving specific towns, cities, regions, and even states.

Brick-and-mortar businesses wanting to win against competitors should make sure all the local signals across Google’s local search landscape are consistent and correct.

We created this comprehensive guide to help local SEO professionals gain a better understanding of today’s local search landscape.

Local search engine optimization is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing a website to be found in local search results.

What is local SEO?

Content, on-page optimizations, and link building all with a focused, localized intent are part of these efforts.

When done right, local SEO allows people to find information about your business quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction.

Why is local SEO important?

You may also want to pursue these other major players:

But there’s one way this guy could (probably) get even more reviews…

You still see this a lot on local business websites, and it’s never a good idea. It doesn’t help SEO and likely only serves to alienate potential customers even if it did.

Local citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) online. They were voted the fifth most important ranking factor for local queries in Moz’s 2018 study.

For example, if we do this for a plumber in New York, we see a dead page about drain cleaning with backlinks from three referring domains (unique websites).

4. Get local citations and links.

Having an unhealthy site can lead to all kinds of SEO issues. This is true for both local and national SEO. If Google can’t efficiently find, crawl, understand, and index your content, you’ve got problems.

Let’s first tackle the wrong way to go about this: keyword stuffing. This is where you repeat the keywords you want to rank for as many times as possible on the page, leading to quite unnatural copy like this:

If you want local search volumes for these keywords, read the guide below to learn how.

If you’ve found that people are searching for the specific products or services you offer, you probably need to create dedicated landing pages for them.

After claiming, you’ll be able to manage your business profile using Google My Business.

There are plenty of variations of “best of” lists too, such as this list of the top 10 child-friendly wine estates in Cape Town:

These backlinks are effectively wasted because the page is broken.

These services feed their data to many other websites and directories, so getting citations on these services can often lead to citations elsewhere without any extra work.

It makes sense to have landing pages for these services. But how do you get them to rank higher in searches?

6. Get more reviews.

For example, if you run a boutique hotel in London, you might search for “best boutique hotels london.” This gives you a mix of directories (which you can ignore) and blog posts. And you can see which posts get traffic by looking at the data from the SEO Toolbar:

You can keep an eye on your site’s health with Ahrefs’ Site Audit, which you can schedule to regularly crawl your site for 100+ issues. Best of all, you can use it free of charge for your own sites by signing up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

For example, let’s say you’re a plumber in London. You probably don’t need to do keyword research to know that potential customers are searching for things like:

Children and wine; the mind boggles. But I digress…

A quick click around their site reveals the problem: They moved the “drain cleaning services” page to a new URL and forgot to redirect the old URL:

How can you get more reviews? Just ask.

1. Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile.

To reclaim these links, all the owner of the site needs to do is redirect the old URL to the new one. You can learn how to do that in our guide to 301 redirects.

But even if you know your industry and customers well, you can overlook important details. For that reason, it’s useful to look at what other similar pages are ranking for, as these keywords often relate to important details.

You’ll also see your site’s Health score on your Ahrefs Dashboard. This is useful for keeping an eye on your site’s health over time without the need to delve into Site Audit:

The noteworthy keywords (highlighted in the screenshot above) are as follows:

From these keywords, we can see that searchers are probably looking for repairers who offer fixed pricing rather than hourly pricing. Searchers also want to know whether or not we offer same-day repair, the types of boilers we repair (electric, gas, etc.), and whether we do emergency callouts.

For example, if we plug services like “boiler repair,” “boiler installation,” and “drain unblocking” into Keywords Explorer, we see that people are searching for these and similar services every month:

Knowing how local customers search for the products or services you offer is the foundation of local SEO. If you know your industry and customers well, then it’s likely you have some idea how they do this. But it’s still wise to perform keyword research to expand your scope.

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