local seo

SEO basics
What is local SEO?

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is about how to optimize your website to rank better for a local audience. A website gives you the opportunity to target the entire (online) world. But if the target audience for your business is actually located in or near the city you have your office or shop, you’ll need to practice at least some local SEO as well. You need to optimize for your city name, optimize your address details. In short: you need to optimize so people know where you are located and are able to find you offline (if required). In this post, we will try to explain what local SEO is, so you can optimize your local site as well! 

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What is local SEO?

If you have a local business, like a shop, or have people visiting your office frequently, optimizing your website is also about making sure people are able to find you in real life. But even if your not actively getting visitors in your building, but are targeting an audience that is located in the same geographical area as you are, you need to optimize for that area. This is what we call “local SEO”.

Ground-rule these days is that it’s by far the easiest to optimize if you have a proper address in a region/city. The thing is that if you want to optimize for, for instance, a service area that you are not located in physically, your main tool for optimization is content. You should simply write a lot about that area. We found that oftentimes, this leads to forced pages that have little to do with the business at hand. It’s clear that these pages are only added for SEO reasons.

Mentioning all the areas

Just recently, I heard someone say that he just mentioned a number of neighboring towns. And that got him visitors from these towns.

What is Local SEO? Local SEO is about optimizing your site for better rankings for a local audience

Depending on the niche you are in, that might have some effect, to be honest. But I wouldn’t call it proper optimization. For the majority of companies, that strategy won’t work that well. It’s not really an optimization, it’s just that no-one else mentions that area and that product on his website. If there is competition, please use other methods as well.

Local SEO explained in detail

In our series on local SEO, David Mihm mentions a number of things you can do to really optimize your website for a certain geographical area:

  1. An introduction to ranking your local business
  2. The importance of Google My Business
  3. How to optimize your website for local search
  4. Why inbound links are so important and how to get them
  5. Citations for local search
  6. The impact of reviews for local ranking
  7. Social media and local SEO
  8. The impact of behavioral signals

That is a lot to digest, but if you are serious about optimizing for your local audience, read all 8 articles.

Local SEO isn’t just about search engines

Yes, there is a lot you can do online to optimize your website for a local audience. But if you are running a local business, things like word-of-mouth and a print brochure also contribute to local SEO.

If you mention your website and social profiles on your offline communication/promotion as well, your Facebook likes might go up, your Twitter followers could increase and the direct traffic on your website will get higher. One way or another, this will be visible to Google as well, beit indirect perhaps.

So, back to our main question: what is local SEO? Local SEO consists of a number of factors that help you address your local audience by better rankings in search engines. It’s not just optimizing your address or your social media strategy, it’s all these things combined that we call local SEO. Good luck optimizing!

Read more: ‘Ultimate guide to small business SEO’ »


10 Responses to What is local SEO?

  1. Steve
    By Steve on 26 April, 2018

    I have to say first, that I really appreciate this article. The company that I work for, Direct Line Development, always struggles with trying to compete with misinformation about SEO that people are told by other “professionals” and even companies that I work with that have been doing “SEO” for years have never heard of Local SEO. It’s a huge problem for our entire industry, in the lack of good information, and you better believe I’ll be sending this article around. Thanks and keep it up!

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      By Willemien Hallebeek on 30 April, 2018

      Hi Steve, glad you appreciate it! And thanks so much for sharing

  2. Jane
    By Jane on 26 April, 2018

    I followed your guidance and set up a Google My Business page for the local websites which I publish, http://www.visitFyldeCoast.info. I’ve been publishing for 8 years but never done one because I didn’t know how to get around displaying our physical address (we work from home). I used your post and did it without any problems, so thanks a bunch for that! I have to day I’ve learned LOADS from reading your daily email newsletter. Thank you.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      By Willemien Hallebeek on 30 April, 2018

      Hi Jane! Thanks for your lovely comment! Glad to be of help :-)

  3. designpoint
    By designpoint on 26 April, 2018

    Thanks for the write up for Local SEO – some great tips in here.

  4. Ray DeBruyn
    By Ray DeBruyn on 25 April, 2018

    So it seems local SEO is all about schema.org objects. I started playing with that earlier, but this topic opens more questions. I have a building with tenants and I my site is trying to help my tenants, many of whom are counsellors, to reach clients.
    If I set my local SEO NAP to match my google business account, I am an organization that rents to tenants. I also want to add an object for my client’s organization on pages that fully represent him/her.
    Can I have 2 different organization objects on one page?
    Is it better to have something like the about page to have my rent to tenants organization object and have my page for my client an object for his/her counselling organization?

    • Ray DeBruyn
      By Ray DeBruyn on 25 April, 2018

      Perhaps I can answer my own question:
      – add a LocalBusiness object on each page of the site
      – for tenants, add a department with their LocalBusiness as the organization object

      Does this sound correct?

      And then ensure the NAP of our organization matches our google business account and that NAP of the tenant matches theirs if they have one.

      • Michiel Heijmans
        By Michiel Heijmans on 26 April, 2018

        Sounds about right! On the LocalBusiness page on schema.org, you can even find more specific types that could fit a specific business. But LocalBusiness, aligned with Google MyBusiness is great. Let me know what this change does for your Google snippets!

  5. Drake
    By Drake on 25 April, 2018

    I am still amazed by the results coming through Google Maps. Sometimes a 1-star or no-star business from across town shows up for a result, where a 5-star business with 20 reviews, which is geographically closer to the search point, is omitted from the top local map pack.

  6. James
    By James on 25 April, 2018

    That Awesome Have to do local SEO of one my local brand. Have to focus more by following these tips. Thanks for sharing.


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