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With the rise of mobile search and voice search, local queries have been increasing for the past few years: 88% of mobile users conduct local queries. In 2016, local SEO seems to be as challenging as ever, as search results are changing regularly. Nowadays, if you want to be notified by users, your local SEO has to be on point.
Local SEO aims at providing search results that are relevant to a user, based on its current location. For this type of queries, Google is focused on delivering the most valuable sites to match a user request. Thus, a Google Map with several shops or businesses will be displayed above the natural search results when a request is typed or spoken out loud. For example, if you search for ‘best italian restaurant’, Google will provide you with results that are near your computer’s or phone’s location.
The official ranking factors for local SEO announced by Google are:
Local SEO is an acquisition channel in terms of visits, meaning that the visits to your shop could potentially end up in purchases. It is thus essential if you own a local shop or business to take into account local SEO in your overall SEO strategy. Not taking local SEO into account is missing the opportunity of attracting clients in your area who are looking for a business similar to yours.
Reviews are extremely important as they represent the virtual showcase of your business. Consumers are heavily relying on them when it comes to shopping online. Businesses thus need to have a presence online even if they don’t have an e-commerce website, which could be the case for small local companies. All they would need is a Google My Business account, which is free and easy to set up.
Luckily, it is going to be much easier now for businesses online to get Google reviews as Google + accounts are no longer required for users to do so.
The on-page SEO elements of your website needs to be in accordance with your local SEO strategy. Thus, you need to closely pay attention to your page titles and descriptions as they need to clearly indicate your services, location and brand. You will also need to integrate specific keywords that will correspond to consumers’ expectations and help them make a decision. Also check your performance and architecture as they impact user experience and your visibility in search engine page results.
Be sure to use a powerful tool such as OnCrawl to help you monitor and optimise your on-page SEO elements for your local SEO strategy.
If you want to have more insights on how to be found for a location search without a physical address, you can have a look at our expert article on the subject.