Local SEO is the optimization process for local search engine results.
If SEO, by definition, is the set of on-site and off-site optimizations aimed at improving a website search engine positioning , local SEO can be defined as its counterpart in a local key.
Local SEO concerns optimization techniques that favor a good positioning following a so-called "local search", i.e. a search carried out for a specific location or area of interest.
With the introduction of Universal Search , Google has started showing web search results on one page together with search results from its vertical engines: News, Videos, Images and Maps.
Search engines return relevant results based on the current location of the user who performed the search.
When a user enters a local query, for example "Milan dentist", Google will tend to show the results of the dental practices closest to the user, thus taking into account the position of the researcher.
From a technical point of view, this happens through the GooglePigeon algorithm which was designed and released to link the Google local search algorithm to the web algorithm, in order to improve the ranking parameters based on distance and location of the user searching.
Google Pigeon has reduced the search radius by favoring businesses closer to the seeker's physical location.
In simple terms, SEO optimization in a local key will serve to give visibility to local businesses following a geolocated query: when a user types a query like "milan restaurant" the most optimized site will have greater visibility, thus increasing visits to the site and therefore possible conversions.
The main advantage is to obtain online visibility and to be able to intercept:
Users who already know your business : it is important that your site is displayed in serp in the Knowledge Graph box and in Google Maps so that your users can find your contact details.
Maybe a user already knows your business, but doesn't know your phone number or address.
If you have optimized your website correctly, this position data can be easily found through search engines.
Users who do not know your business : more importantly, users often do not know your business and when they search on Google for terms such as "pizzeria", "lawyer" or "dentist in Milan", appearing in serp on Google maps increases the probability of getting in touch and acquiring new customers.
Any business that gets some or all of its customers locally should consider Local SEO.
An immediately intuitable field of application is the tourism sector .
Carrying out a local promotion is vital for hotels, tourist attractions and restaurants: for a "lost" tourist, not aware of all the entertainment opportunities offered in a specific geographical area, search engines are often the only means of information used.
It is also necessary to calculate that, to date, hotels and other related accommodation facilities receive a good part (if not most) of their bookings through the web, both through proprietary sites and through third-party platforms (Booking, TripAdvisor, etc).
And it is precisely in the case of reservations through a proprietary site, advantageous because there are no commissions applicable by third parties, that local SEO plays a fundamental role : positioning your site for a specific location will help to obtain great visibility and possible improvements in conversions .
It is no coincidence that practically all tourism-related activities have been implementing local strategies for years, aimed at improving the visibility of their business, thus creating a saturation that could make it increasingly difficult to climb SERPs to start-up activities.
Other types of local business, which operate on well-defined territorial extensions, can benefit widely from local SEO.
By way of example, it could be a retail store, a doctor, a dentist or a lawyer, but they could also be smaller companies such as bakers, foodstuffs, and the like, which can position themselves effectively, even in the absence of a website. properties, using Google My Business and a simple linked social media page.
Basically if you have a physical address in a city and expect people to come to your shop or office, you should invest in Local SEO.
To improve your positioning in a local search, both on-site and off-site strategies must be used.
From the on-site point of view, the selection of the correct keywords and the creation of in-depth and detailed content, will allow to obtain excellent performances in the search results.
In this case, the copywriter must be clear that the purpose is that of local promotion: unlike traditional SEO, the location and the combination "service + location" must also be used as a keyword.
Identical attention must be paid to the Title and Description Meta Tags , which must not be automatically generated but tailor-made and complete with an indication of location.
For accurate planning, also responding to specific territorial information needs can prove to be an excellent local strategy: creating unique, targeted content, in line with the needs of the local public, can make any site an industry authority, thus increasing contacts and conversions.
With regard to off-site strategies, the use of the My Business function (ex Google Places) is necessary. By registering with Google My Business it will be possible to fill in a form relating to your activity, including telephone number, full address, day-to-day times and site address.
The integration with Google Maps is automatic: it will be sufficient to verify the actual accuracy of the address and confirm your identity as a company, to be "magically" reported as a commercial activity also on Maps.
The verification process is nothing transcendental: Google, in fact, sends a postcard with a code by post to the address indicated.
After receiving the postcard, you are asked to enter the above code on the My Business page: the whole process takes about a week, and following optimization, it will guarantee excellent visibility on both desktop and from mobile devices.
All this procedure can be carried out even in the absence of a proprietary site: it is an absolutely fundamental option for smaller companies, unable to support the economic commitment required by a real site.
In its replacement, a page on a social network can also be used : the most useful is certainly Facebook and also offers the possibility of creating geo-localized company pages complete with a small map.
Always from an off-site point of view, the SEO Link Building (coming from authoritative sources relevant to our sector) is definitely still very important in the local ranking. Contacting influencers or creating excellent quality content on the company website will stimulate sharing, creating useful inbound links.
The Local SEO is a form of online marketing especially suited to the needs of SMEs, where with a lower investment than that required for SEO services for national companies, will be able to achieve excellent results.
In recent years it has become increasingly important as a web marketing strategy for small local businesses , which can gain visibility against a moderate investment.
Of course, even in the case of local SEO, the consistency of the information provided to the potential customer will play a fundamental role: only by offering precise indications (times, telephone numbers, products sold) will it be possible to carry out one or more conversions: the request for information before any purchase, it is increasingly devouring, especially in the so-called "millennials" segment.