The guide for local search engine optimization & Google My Business
“Regional does not matter” – this is roughly how you could summarize the idea behind Local SEO. For shops, restaurants, and local service providers, it is essential to be found as far ahead as possible in the local search results on Google.
In this comprehensive guide, you will learn all about regional search engine optimization: We show you how to submit your company to Google My Business, which local SEO tools you should not miss, and everything that will positively influence your ranking on Google Maps.
There is one thing you can be sure of: Local search engine optimization pays off. Now, as we all know, such a promise is made quickly, but what’s the point? Let’s just let a few numbers speak for themselves.
For example, did you know that, according to Hubspot, 97 percent of searchers online become aware of local businesses? Or that a whopping 46 percent of all Google search queries have a local reference?
What is Local SEO?
In simple terms, the search results are split for local search queries:
- The “normal” organic search results
- The local search results also called Local Snack Pack
With well-done local SEO, a corporate website can get precisely the attention it needs to stand up to the regional competition. Think about your search behavior: If you google a service, restaurant, shop branch, etc. in your region, don’t do it just out of boredom.
Usually, behind such a local search is the clear intention to use this service. This applies from a trip to the pizzeria to a hairdresser appointment to a doctor visit: the more visible your company is in the local searches, the better your chances of attracting paying customers.
Local SEO short & crispy
In summary, you should know about local SEO:
- Local SEO consists – like SEO without local reference – of OnPage and OffPage optimization. Therefore you should already know absolute basics (see below).
- Google automatically shows the companies that are closest to the location of the searcher, even if no explicit search for a place is done.
- Local SEO measures can provide the decisive added value: With the help of ratings, the news function, etc. you offer maximum service from the very first contact.
- Regional SEO should not only be done for Google. Other search engines like Bing or Apple Maps also play a role…
To the last point, a small note: In this guide, we concentrate on local SEO optimization for Google. This makes sense insofar as Google is the absolute leader with a worldwide market share of over 90 percent.
Ranking factors in the local search
According to a study by Moz from 2018, the most critical factors for ranking in Google Maps:
- Google My Business
- Website / OnPage
- Company naming
- User signals
The Importance of Google My Business for Local SEO
Without Google My Business local search engine optimization does not work!
Back to Google, where you need one thing for successful Local SEO: Google My Business (GMB)! An optimized Google My Business profile is already half the battle, but it’s not enough to focus only on this factor.
Wait; what? Is Google My Business important or not?
Optimize Google My Business
If you want to be found in a local search, you need to optimize not only your Google My Business entry but also your website and reputation. The ranking factors (to put it simply) are:
- Relevance to the search query
- Actuality and completeness of the company data
- Reputation / Reputation
- brand awareness
- Distance to the location of the searcher
In complete sentences: Yes, you should always keep your Google My Business profile up to date, because the information you provide here will show up in Google Search. It gives both Google and users a quick overview of whether your site is relevant.
Google My Business Optimization alone is not enough
At the same time, an optimized Google My Business profile is no substitute for an SEO-optimized corporate website and a good reputation in itself. This means: OnPage optimization, relevant content, positive ratings on different platforms, etc. are not optional but mandatory!
Finding and incorporating the right keywords for Local SEO
As you now know, Local SEO consists of optimization measures on and off the website. Within the scope of OnPage optimization, you must first of all deal with the keywords for which your pages should rank.
Keyword research for Local SEO
The search queries in the local search have clear patterns:
- Company type + Place
- Service + Location
- Product + Location
If the search volume for all your keywords is 0 everywhere, the following formula is a good idea:
Search volume of keyword for large nearby town * (population of your town / population of the large town)
On-Page Optimization For Local SEO
So you’ve got your (local) keywords. Now it’s time to optimize your website accordingly.
Important basic requirements:
- Your website passes the Mobile-Friendly-Test.
- Your website passes the Mobile-First Index Test.
- If you only have one location, you should try to rank your homepage for the keyword “company type + location.”
- If you have more than one location, create a separate subpage for each site.
- Don’t overdo it with the number of local landing pages, especially if you don’t have a real location in the respective city.
- In addition to an overview of services, you create a separate subpage for each service.
In short, you have to take care of these factors for Local SEO, among others:
- Classic OnPage SEO such as Title Tag, Meta Description, H1 headings, other HTML headings, …
- Name, address, telephone number and opening hours
- Google Maps integration
- Relevant content with real added value
- Loosen up the material with pictures, videos, …
- Good user experience
- Loading times and the overall performance of the page
- Structured data, correctly local business markup
- A little bit of image SEO: filename, ALT attribute, title attributes, EXIF data relevant to your location
Google My Business entry
Google My Business makes life easier for you by adding your business to Google My Business for free.
With Google My Business Dashboard, you can control what information about your business appears in Google Search and Google Maps.
With a Google My Business listing, you can do:
- Claim your trade name
- Verify your location(s)
- Leave a trustworthy impression
If you already have a Google My Business profile, check the dashboard regularly to see if there are any changes you don’t already know about.
It’s not necessarily the case that you’ll get a notification when such a change is requested (in the worst case, for example, incorrect opening hours or a different category).
Back to your first listing on Google My Business: Your company may be already listed. But don’t panic, because in this case, you can easily claim the entry for yourself. Google support will explain how to do this.
Hot tip: In the beginning, it can’t hurt to check the Google My Business Policy.
Ready? Then you can start creating your Google My Business listing!
Local SEO Optimization
Your entry in Google My Business says it could all be so nice…but we’re not finished yet. Thorough local SEO also includes taking care of citations, structured data, local landing pages and snippets. We will now explain what exactly this involves!
Company names, English Local Citations
Citations or citations or even mentions are external references to the NAP information on a website. So if your company’s name, address, or phone number appears on another page, this means for your website: Citation Credits. You don’t even need a link for this.
What are the benefits of such citations? Very simple: For Google, they are a sign that the data you entered in your Google My Business profile is correct. However, this only applies if these NAP details remain the same over a more extended period and match the citation.
From a local SEO perspective, it makes sense to provide citations in local business directories. These include the Yellow Pages, telephone directories, Herold, etc. It is self-evident, but for the sake of completeness: Make sure that these are trustworthy directories!
We distinguish between two types of Citations for Local SEO:
- Structured Citations: You will typically find this type in large company directories. All information is provided with structured data so that Google, Bing and Co. can match it perfectly. They carry the most value for your rankings in local search.
- Unstructured Citations: A classic example of unstructured citations is your company information in a press release. Search engines have to read the data from the continuous text. Accordingly, these citations are worthless.
Local Landing Pages for Local SEO
A local landing page is (surprise, surprise) a landing page with regional reference. It is useful for Local SEO to create one or more such pages if you have domestic locations.
The point is: Once you have a Local Landing Page, there should be a contact person at least in the approximate vicinity of the location.
Let’s briefly summarize what such a local landing page for local SEO must offer.
Here is the obligatory program in quick succession:
- The corresponding keywords for the location in the title tag, in the meta description, in the H1 headline, and the first 100 words
- Unique content, so you should not copy the text from another landing page
- A call-to-action
- Location information (directions, pictures, the team on-site, accessibility…)
- Contact details
With this, we have cleared a path for you! Success!
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