Local SEO For Beginners: Getting Started

One of the first questions a lot of businesses have about local SEO is: do I really need it?

And I got it. You are busy – your time, budget and energy are precious resources.

Do you really need the other thing to maintain?

If you want to attract in-store traffic, online or phone orders, appointment bookings, clinic visits or other business from local consumers, the answer is a definite yes!

Who benefits from local SEO and why?

All types of businesses that interact with and serve customers in a specific area can benefit from local SEO.

This includes retail stores, service businesses, restaurants and hotels, hospitals, banks, construction companies and more.

Here are a few examples.

Lawyers and Law Firms

One of the biggest benefits of local SEO for these customers is that Google displays the call button directly in local search results on mobile phones.

So when a potential client pulls out their phone and searches for it [(type of) attorney]They will see results targeted for their particular location.

When done right, Local SEO will push the lawyer to the top of the search results for that location, and the major call to action will be a “call us” button.

The reason this has such a huge advantage is that anyone who has been in an accident or has any other problem will try to find lawyers over the phone who provide free consultations.

This an avenue provides a way for consumers to get in front of them when they need an attorney.

doctors and medical practices

When someone is looking for a medical professional, they are often looking for a [doctor nearby] or a [doctor near me],

Most people don’t want to go out of their way or travel many hours to see a doctor. They want a doctor nearby who can see them regularly.

If you refer to the screenshot below, use the search [doctors near me]There are many benefits to this large local pack result.

screenshot for search [doctors near me]Googlescreenshot for search [doctors near me]Google, August 2018

This local result provides the name of the doctor with instant “Directions Link” which brings up a Maps application on the user’s phone.

When it comes to doctors, people are more comfortable calling to set up appointments, and they’re looking for an easy way to see directions to doctor’s offices.


When someone has a plumbing emergency, are they going straight to the store?

No, they usually go to google to find [plumber near me],

Google search results provide an easy way for a person to call a plumber directly, read reviews, and reach a local plumber if they have such an emergency.

Who wouldn’t benefit from local SEO?

While we would love to see everyone benefit from local SEO and sell these services to more clients as SEO professionals, the reality is that some businesses do not lend themselves well to local SEO efforts.

Businesses like online-only e-commerce shops, businesses that don’t want to share their local information, and private online sellers that want to keep their information private are probably not great candidates for local SEO services.

Local Search Still Requires Organic SEO

Local search rankings show up as a map pack on Google, but your site’s organic ranking is also an important factor. This helps Google understand your overall prominence, which is one of the three main categories of local ranking signals.

SEO tricks and tactics have been around for a long time, and search has evolved rapidly.

Nowadays, user experience hints, EAT, high-quality content, high-quality links, and very high quality UX rule the game.

But make no mistake: SEO still has locally advanced factors you need to correct, including:

  • Finding the right keywords and topics to target as part of your campaign.
  • Make sure your technical SEO is top-notch.
  • Ensuring the highest quality content possible.
  • Earning links to make your website stand out in the eyes of Google.
  • Double-checking and applying your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is accurate across many linking sites.
  • Optimization for local ranking signals.

With a local focus, many of your standard organic SEO methods may change slightly compared to the more traditional methods used for ranking.

Local search can also be voice search

Now that people have more access to devices like smartphones, Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice search has become a preferred method for many people to find local information.

It’s easier for most people to say “find a doctor near me” or “find a plumber near me” than it is to type.

Thus, it is not surprising to see an increase in local queries based on conversational voice search.

If your industry is service-oriented, try keyword variations that include questions.

SEMrush’s Topic Research Tool, Keyword.ioAnd north public All provide a view of what people are searching for, as well as their search volume.

This is a great way to target keywords with local intent.

If your industry is a local brick-and-mortar, service-related business, such as a restaurant or a solicitor or attorney, try keyword variations with a conversational tone and focus.

When you do keyword research like this you might be surprised by the search volume you can get.

local search is mobile search

We know that a large proportion of local searches take place on local devices, and that Mobile-friendliness is a Google ranking factor,

What do these facts and mobile-first index mean for your local SEO strategy?

Google has worked to optimize Map Pack listings for mobile searchers. But it’s up to you to create that user-friendly, convenient experience on your website – and make sure Google understands it through good technical SEO.

Search Engine Journal’s Roger Monty shares an overview of what’s included7 Ways a Mobile-First Index Affects SEO,’ part of SEJ’s free Advanced Technical SEO Guide,

Local SEO Requires a Dedicated Strategy

But, that doesn’t mean it needs to take up too much of your time.

In the next chapter, you’ll find a nine-step checklist to guide your new or improved local SEO strategy.

Then, we’ll explore the various aspects of it and you’ll find expert tips and tools to bring it all together.

Download the complete guide here for free.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita / Search Engine Journal

Local SEO for Beginners: Getting Started

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