Written by Ali Raza Zain
Local SEO is the location based Search Engine Optimization. The process helps
you rank better in local searches. For instance, if you run a dental clinic in a small
town and are only interested in gaining local patients, Location based SEO would increase
your business (website or page) visibility to people near to your business. If someone
searches for “dental clinics near me,” in that town your business will be shown on top of
the search engine results. Because most of the businesses operate locally, local SEO is now
high in demand. Therefore it is imperative that you equip yourself with the latest tools
and techniques that would help you grow in your area.
1. Install SSL
You open a website and in the link bar you find a lock icon, or a green coloured
“secured” tab, yes, that is SSL. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security technology-based certificate
(a code) which establishes and ensures a secure connection between website user and the website server.
The main purpose of the SSL is data security, and that it achieves through cutting edge encryption technology.
With increasing data theft in the recent years, Google has become very serious about user security.
Recently, Google made it mandatory for every website to have an SSL certificate on it. It means that if your website
doesn’t have an active SSL Certificate, your ranking would tank, because Google will never show an insecure website
to its users. Moreover, adding SSL to your website would give a positive impression of your business and develop a
trust factor between you and your visitors.
Therefore, it is advised that as soon as you launch your website, secure it with a valid SSL certificate.
This is not only recommended for local SEO but also for global SEO. We must also mention that SSL is not an expensive thing.
You can buy it for free, and even if you want to purchase one, the price starts from $3-5 only. If you are looking for a
free SSL Certificate, you can get it from Cloudflare or you can have a self-signed ssl from let’s encrypt.
2. Setup Google Analytics
Once the website is complete, you need to setup a Google Analytics Account. Google Analytics is a
Google based platform that generates website traffic reports for user data visualization. This will enable you to
track your daily visitors on the website. You will be able to check which pages are doing well to gather data on the
public interests. The data visualization and reporting of Google Analytics enables Google to create a profile of your
website in its database which it uses to show your website to the most relevant people. All that you need to do is to
create an account on analytics.google.com and it will give you a code that you will have to put in the header of your
website. Just remember that you don’t have to put that code in one specific page but on all the pages of your website,
that is why it is best to put it in your website header. You can read about setting up a Google Analytics Account here.
3. Add Geo Meta Tags to Your Website.
Meta Data is the data that provides information about your content and intent of the website page.
It comprises of several tags which are arranged schematically in the form of HTML (Code) of your webpage.
In fact, a website’s page code starts with meta data. Using coding language (HTML), the meta data, using meta tags,
tells the search engines, such as Google and Bing, what your webpage is about. For instance, a meta tag of webpage
description is written asThis is the snippet of your webpage that Google shows in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
If your website is local, you should add a location meta tag in the code of your webpages. For geo tags, you can
use following tags:
Some SEO experts, however, believe that geo meta tags are useless and Google doesn’t consider them as a local ranking factor.
Nonetheless, we follow this protocol of using these tags while doing local seo for our clients, and we also recommend you
to use it as a cover. Moreover, Google is not the only search engine out there, and geo tags carry some potential for other
search engines as well.
4. Add Hreflang Tag to Your Meta Data.
Hreflang Tag is the single most important tag for Local SEO. For example, if your business works in both US and Spain,
and you have different pages for both the countries in English and Spanish respectively, you would naturally want to serve the Spanish
page in Spain, and English language page in the US; but how would you tell Search Engines such as Google and Bing that which page is which?
Worry not, you can tell the search engines which page to serve in Spain and which one would be visible to US audience. All that you need to
do is adding a hreflang tag in the meta-data of your pages.
Simply put, hreflang tag is written as
Remember, you can use multiple hreflang tags in the metadata. So according to the above example, the two pages of Espanol and
English will have hreflang tags written as:
Note: here emaple.com/esp relates to the second page that you have created in Spanish language.
According to MOZ, the hreflang tags do not directly add to the Locale SEO, but are more important for showing relevant content
to the relevant audience in relevant language. For this reason, the hreflang tags indirectly impact the Location Based
SEO to the extent that it is considered vital for ranking locally.
5. Register Business with Local Map Services
The most important task that you need to perform for local Search Engine Ranking is registering with
local map providers such as Google My Business, and Bing Places. Google Maps service is the largest in the world and
serves around 1 billion people every month. Other web and mobile based app services also claim a huge chunk of location
finding audience. Setting up the Google Map is easy; you just have to register with Google My Business and add your business
there. After your business is locally verified, people will get recommendations of your business in their local searches.
You can do the same with Bing Places etc. at similar ease.
Do not forget to add your business website to google map in order not to miss the potential web traffic.
Search engines are where people search for their queries and find your businesses. If your business website
isn’t listed with a search engine, there is no chance your web-pages will be shown in the search results. So, you must have
your website indexed by top search engines such as Google and Bing. The way to search engine indexing goes through registering
at search engine webmasters. First, register with Google Webmaster (Google Search Console), and then with Bing webmaster.
Registration process is very simple, and you can follow these guides: For Google Search Console; for Bing Webmaster.
5. Register Business with Local Map Services
Local directories are actually other websites with high traffic and high domain authority where you can register your business to be reviewed by people. These listing and review websites are a way for people to find and know about your business, so you must not ignore the potential such directories carry. For instance, if someone searches for home-based services (e.g. best plumbers in Manhattan), chances are that these local directories would rank in top 5 results.
The top 5 local directories to register are:
- ⚬ Facebook
- ⚬ YellowPages
- ⚬ Yelp
Remember that Google My Business and Bing Places are also the largest local directories,
but as we have covered them above, they are not included in this list.
Note: Some local directories are country specific. So while adding your website for
local listing, you should check that if that directory provides listings for your locality.
7. Create Social Media Presence
Social media is the most rewarding platform if you want to generate genuine website traffic.
Moreover, creating social media profiles and actively managing them creates a trust flow for
your website which is good for increasing domain authority. Furthermore, it serves as a local directory,
and if you target it well, you can get potential leads and clients.
8. Keep a Check on Your NAHP information
Listing with maps and local directories is not enough. You have to regularly update your profiles there.
NAHP stands for Name, Address, Hours, and Phone Number. NAHP constitutes the basic information that you
always add to maps and local listing websites. Although you cannot update name, address, and phone number
regularly, however you can do it for the working hours. For holidays such as Christmas or Eid you should
update the working hours accordingly. Also, update your images around once a month.
9. Create a Responsive Website, optimized for Mobile Users
Most of the local business searches come from mobile phones. So, your website must be optimized for cell phone users.
You should also consider using Progressive Web App (PWA) if your website is dynamic. Moreover, run a Google
Page Speed Insights test to check and optimize mobile loading time, and user experience.
Try replacing bulky animations and videos that you have on the desktop versions with scaled and optimized images.
10. Use a CDN if your website hosting server is in a far away from target country
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. These are the networks of servers present throughout the world and when you use a CDN,
it stores a copy of your website on its servers throughout the world. Normally, when you are sitting in India and your hosting
is in the US, a user who loads your website from within India gets the website data from the US data centre. However,
if you use a CDN, the requested data will be served from the nearest data centre of the CDN. This decreases website loading time
which is a great thing for SEO and an overall better user experience. Don’t worry, CDNs are not that expensive. In fact, you can
have a CDN for Free.
11. Create Localized SEO Content
Location based content helps you connect with your community. The more local content you create, the more brand awareness
you generate in your locality. You can post news, and events happening in your business area to cater to the local population. Moreover,
you can interview different local celebrities who may have some relevance to your niche. Creating offline seminars and sharing them online
is also a good idea. The gist is that you have to engage the local audience.