How Do You Know if You Need Local SEO?

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| Posted on | Local SEO, SEO, SEO Tips, Tactical Tuesdays

Welcome back to ‘Tactical Tuesdays with Wiki’. One of our most common topics in this weekly video series will be Local SEO, and today we wanted to take a little time to explain what it is and how you know if you need it.

(For the Noobs) Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as “SEO”, is the process of optimizing signals both on and off a site to influence how it shows up when someone searches particular keywords. Most people don’t realize that Google uses several different algorithms to return those search results based on what the user is searching for.

When most businesses or marketing agencies are talking about SEO, they’re talking about Traditional SEO, which targets Google’s standard algorithm. Local SEO is a more complicated sub-set of regular SEO, and it targets Google’s local algorithm.

Google is able to analyze the gazillion searches that happen every day, and it’s figured out that for certain types of businesses, the local algorithm applies. For these businesses, even if the user’s search query doesn’t include a location modifying phrase like a city, neighborhood, or phrase like “near me” or “near by”, the user still needs search results from nearby.

Think about ordering a pizza. If you did a Google search for “pizza delivery”, you’re going to get a list of all the pizza restaurants near your current location.

Now, there’s overlap between regular SEO and Local SEO – several of the factors that influence search visibility are the same, or very similar. But if you’re a business that falls into that local category, Local SEO will give you far better results.

So the big question I get from most businesses is “how do I know if I need Local SEO?”

The easiest answer is – any business with a physical brick & mortar location OR that serves customers in a particular geographic area needs Local SEO. That doesn’t always help answer the question, so the easiest way to check for yourself is to do a few Google searches.

Pick 3 or 4 of your important keyword phrases – the things that customers would type in looking for a business like yours – and type them into Google. If any of the searches display a local map pack that looks anything like this – with the map and listings below, then that’s a search result provided by Google’s local algorithm, and you need Local SEO.

If you’d like to learn more about Local SEO and which signals influence your visibility in searches, you should check out the Local Search Ranking Factors study from Moz. Head over to moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors. Every year, the top 35-40 worldwide experts in Local search take part in an extensive survey about the factors that influence search rankings. Humble Brag: I’ve been one of the LSRF contributors for several years now.

The answers are aggregated and we get a few pie charts that show the signals that matter most for search visibility, ranked by how much weight they’re estimated to carry in the algorithm. We get this pie chart for the signals that matter most for showing up in the map pack or Google Maps searches, and we get this pie chart outlining the signals that influence visibility in the localized organic results.

The LSRF provides the best picture of what matters for getting your site to show up more often in local searches. Even if you’re using an agency for digital marketing, it’s beneficial to check out the LSRF results to understand, and have a handle on, what your agency should be doing for you.

So now it’s time – put your hand on the screen right here…
BOOM! Qe totally just high-fived cause you learned something awesome.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Tactical Tuesdays with Wiki, and don’t forget to come back next week for another awesome video. See you next Tuesday!

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