If your eCommerce business provides products or services to a community in a specific local area or areas, you definitely need to know about and incorporate, local SEO when designing your marketing plan.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy for businesses that want to be more visible within a distinct local area, such as brick and mortar businesses or service-oriented businesses that serve customers in a defined area.
The strategy involved is distinctly different from a general SEO strategy because Google does take into account proximity in their local search algorithm. This even happens when a searcher doesn’t include the search terms “near me” or the name of their city at the end of their search query.
For example, if you’re at work and you search for “sandwich shop,” you’ll get an entirely different set of results than if you search for the same keywords at home (unless your home IS your office of course). Local search isn’t anything new, but it has definitely skyrocketed in importance with a higher and higher percentage of internet searches being conducted on a mobile device.
So whether you have one storefront, five locations, or service multiple areas, local SEO is key for driving more people to your business who will actually utilize your services or purchase from you.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
You may know about the importance of SEO in general, but that’s no substitute for understanding the importance of local SEO. In fact, Google uses a totally different pattern to rank businesses on a local level. In addition to optimized website content, Google uses additional location-based factors such as Google My Business and reviews to build out the local SEO profile. This means that potential clients looking for your type of business while in your local area will get totally different results than a general search for your type of business in any other location. If you want to attract local customers, you absolutely need to prioritize local SEO in addition to the general best SEO practices you’re likely already implementing.
Not convinced that you need to invest heavily in local SEO as an eCommerce business? Here are some compelling facts about the importance of local SEO to change your mind:
- 46% of all Google searches are for local businesses or information.
- 97% of people learn more about a company online than via any other method.
- 88% of all local searches from a mobile device call the local business within 24 hours.
- There has been a 900% increase in searches using the words “near me” or “close by” within the last 2 years.
TOP Rated Local SEO Tools
After reviewing all of the tools available online, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best tools you should utilize for optimizing your local SEO. Each tool has its own unique benefits, so make sure you read through the descriptions and take advantage of the boost that each tool will provide.
As a business owner, you know that reviews, recommendations, and referrals will always be part of the lifeblood of your marketing efforts. Online reviews, in particular, are absolutely critical for local businesses, as some surveys claim up to 84% of customers say online reviews play a major role in their purchasing decisions. However, there are so many review sites out there that it can be extraordinarily time-consuming and confusing to keep track of. That’s where FreeReviewMonitoring.com comes in. This tool compiles reviews from nearly every site on the internet so you can monitor them all in one place.
Want a specific roadmap to make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your local SEO? Local SEO Checklist does that for you in an incredibly user-friendly way. From optimizing your title tags, to NAP details, to structured data, to Google My Business, this online tool will walk you through the entire process. Simply go through each step methodically and you’ll dramatically improve your local SEO in short order.
This is quite possibly the most popular SEO tool on this entire list, and it’s incredibly helpful. Moz Local is designed to help you ensure that your business listings are consistent and optimized throughout the web, which will help boost the local visibility of your business.
Among the many things this tool will help you with, Moz Local submits the most accurate location data for your business to all the major data aggregators and online listings, which will help you close any duplicate listings and make sure your info is updated consistently across the web.
While you do have to pay a small sum yearly for the full array of features, you can get a free presence check to see how accurately your company is listed through a variety of major sites.
When you do sign up for a paid account, you’ll be able to access the following features, among others:
- Instant Directory and Aggregator Submission
- Google My Business Sync
- Local Listings Dashboard
- Review Monitoring
- Review Management
Structured data, which is a standardized format for providing contextual information about your page to Google, can be quite complicated. If you’re trying to do it yourself, it can be easy to make errors or upload your data in the wrong format. SEO Scout eliminates the guesswork by making sure every format of schema – JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa Lite – is covered. Schema markup can be very helpful for eCommerce and local businesses, and you want to make sure you do it correctly.
Answer the Public is an amazing tool for SEO in general, but it’s also quite helpful for local SEO. Just like with general SEO, keywords are an essential part of optimizing your local SEO strategy, and Answer The Public provides you with powerful instant insights for the best possible keywords to use on your site and meta tags to attract your ideal local customers.
How to Use Basic Tools to Check Your Local Performance
In addition to the tools mentioned above, some of the more commonly-known SEO tools available can give you a lot of good information about local SEO as well. Don’t overlook the following sites if you’re working on optimizing your site for local SEO:
Google Analytics is one of the foundational tools of SEO for a reason. In fact, the following 3 tools from Google are absolutely essential for any local SEO effort. When it comes to Google Analytics, in particular, using the Audience Reports feature can give you a valuable snapshot of the visitors to your site. To access it, look at the left hand toolbar on your Analytics account, and you’ll see the nine separate reporting sections under “Audience” that you’ll be able to access. With the Overview section, you’ll be able to get a top-level view of all your site’s metrics. Just below that, you’ll be able to see a wide variety of factors when it comes to the amount and types of traffic and visitors coming to your website.
Geo Location Analytics
Towards the bottom of the Google Analytics Audience Reports, you’ll be able to get key demographics and geolocation data to see if your SEO efforts are driving the right traffic to your site. In particular, you can even see a location map that shows you where your visitors are coming from. You can even generate a custom report (a more advanced technique) that will give you all of the exact metrics you’re seeking.
Google My Business is an absolute must for local SEO. If you have a local business, you’ve likely set this up already, but if you haven’t, you should do so immediately. This tool lets you create a free local business profile with all the information you want to get to your customers, including photos, posts, and offers. It will also significantly boost your visibility on Google Search and even Google Maps.
If you want to dig deeper, you can also get key information and feedback on how customers are connecting with your business by purchasing Social Pilot’s GMB analytics tool. Whether its website clicks, calls, bookings, follows, or more, these types of insights will help you understand the most effective elements of your SEO and marketing efforts in order to help you focus on what’s working and adjust what’s not. Social Pilot’s tool is easy to use and intuitive and will give you a snapshot of a wide variety of useful data, such as whether your visitors found you on Google Search or Google Maps.
Google Search Console is a free tool to help you improve, monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence on Google Search. This is another tool that’s worth an “if you aren’t using it, stop what you’re doing and set it up immediately” comment. In fact, it’s pretty much necessary for confirming that Google can find and crawl through your website, to begin with.
By linking your Google Search Console account with your Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to get some great insights on the geo-targeted keywords you’ve used directly on your page. You’ll be able to see the most significant keywords and their variants that Google finds when crawling your site and will provide insights into how Google is interpreting your site via search results for your targeted keywords.
There are a lot of tools available to check this, and using actual SERP results to see how you can improve your local SEO should be an essential to your efforts. Even without using specific tools like Moz, SEMRush, SERanking, or AHREFS, simply typing in the keywords you’re looking to analyze will provide you with a number of useful insights.
For example, if you’re an appliance repair company, type in “Appliance Repair” in Google search, and you’ll see two key data elements: you’ll see Google’s autosuggestions, which typically are locally-oriented in nature. You can then click on the top suggestions to see if your site ranks on the first page or two. If not, you’ve got some work to do.
You can also use this data to start doing a competitive analysis of your competitors. First, see where they are ranking in SERP results. Then, you can use a free tool like SimilarWeb to analyze their traffic sources. You can also use a tool like SpyFu to see what PPC and SEO strategies are working for your competitors. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to better understand which products and services you should focus on optimizing for local SEO and how you should do it.
Local SEO, as you can see, is absolutely critical for any business serving a specific geographic population (or populations). It also happens to be quite a different animal than general SEO, as there are a number of different and additional factors to take into consideration. If you’re dedicated to figuring it out on your own, the tools available to you above will certainly provide you with a relatively comprehensive overview of feedback and actions you can take to boost your local search rankings.
That being said, as a local business owner, you likely don’t have all the time in the world to address all of these tools and tactics. In order to save you time, headaches, and ultimately money, it’s best to hand over these responsibilities to experienced experts at local SEO. At Catapult Revenue, we can help you quickly boost and optimize your rankings in local SEO and SERP to attract your ideal clients in your preferred location. And if you have multiple locations, we’ll address each and everyone with passion and expertise. Contact us today to discuss ways of dramatically increasing your business visibility among locally-targeted customers. And as always, if you’d just like to ask some questions and get a full marketing assessment, we’ll gladly perform a full audit free of charge.