Local SEO: A Simple and a Complete Guide

local seo

Local SEO is on of the most important concepts that will help you rank locally, in a certain city or country. Not only this, but it will also help you get visible on the top of search engine results. As you may know, much of attention is given only for websites on the first google search result page. It is important to rank high in these pages so that you will get a chance to increase sales or readership.

If you are here, I hope you already have a website or a business that you need to rank locally or internationally. In any case, this is an important step in the life of any website or business.

At the end of this post, you will learn

  • Local SEO is and how it is different from the known SEO
  • Top ways to rank with Local SEO
  • On-page SEO and Off-page SEO for Local SEO
  • Methods to work with WordPress local SEO
  • How to rank your website and get attention from Google with Local SEO

Local SEO, The Beginning

Why do you need SEO or Local SEO is an important question that comes after what is SEO. SEO is a way to rank a website organically. The paid ranking is another alternative.

What makes SEO preferable is it is free and its effect is long term. While paid ranking is expensive and once the advertisement period is over, if you don’t continue working on it, you may lose your traffic as well.

With lots of websites following a similar process, ranking with a simple SEO is becoming harder. Even keywords that are not competitive have hundreds of websites working on them.

This means finding alternative ways to rank is necessary. On the other hand, for various reasons, including, you own a local business or you want traffic from a specific place, you need to use the Local SEO as an advantage. In local SEO you only need to rank for that specific place, city, or town.

Although the whole idea of Local SEO and a simple SEO is different, their goals differ. In local SEO, you only need location and topics that specific location needs.

Who Needs Local SEO?

Anyone who wants to rank on search engines needs local SEO. It is an advantage over other businesses in your region. Besides, if you have a local business, or if your clients are in a certain location, you may only need to rank for these places. A shop in Utah may need to increase its visibility in that state, not in London or Addis Ababa. This is where you will need local SEO.

What SEO Tools You Need For WordPress Local SEO?

WordPress is a good platform for bloggers and businesses as it has a good user base and good resources. You only need a few plugins for your WordPress Local SEO.

Here are a few of the WordPress plugins that are necessary for your website.

  • SEO plugins- There re few options here: Yoast SEO, All in one SEO, and Rank math are few of the options. You only need one.
  • WordPress SEO Plugin – Rank Math
  • Yoast SEO
  • All in One SEO Pack
  • Autoptimize– Lazyload, optimize CSS, and JS to make your website fast. 
  • Cache- cache software increases your website speed by caching your database or pages. Use only one of these plugins.
  • Image optimizer plugins- if your images are large, your website will run slower. Therefore, you need to minimize your image size. Even if you do that with image editors such as photoshop, the following plugins would help you to minimize image size further. (if you are using photoshop, then you need to save your image for the web. Go to file>save for web, then make the image size near 1200*800 (let it be proportional. This means, when you change the width to 1200, the height could be 820) and make the quality near 10 then click save.  

Use only one of these plugins to avoid conflict.

  • Smush – Compress, Optimize and Lazy Load Images
  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • reSmush.it: the only free Image Optimizer & compress plugin
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer 

Local SEO And Google

Google is one of the top search engines out there in the market. You may need to use the services that it provides for web admins for two reasons. First, everything is free. And second, these re useful and it will save you a lot of time and save you from guessing. You will find a data-based decision.

  1. Google Console

This is another useful google SEO tool. This is a free tool for web admins. This means you can control your website ranking and submitted pages, errors, submit website sitemap, and more.

First register on  google console

  1. Click start now
  2. Add a property. Select ‘URL prefix enter your website’s URL and click ‘continue’
  3. Use a verification method that is easy for you,  from the list provided.
  • Submit your site map. To submit your site map, you can use one of the two methods. The first one is easy. 1- GO to your SEO plugin and submit an XML sitemap from there. For example, if you’re using Yoast SEO go to the SEO setting > General> XML maps. Click ‘see the XML maps’ link provided. Select your XML from the URL.  It usually looks like this, ‘sitemap_index.xml’ or ‘sitemap.xml’. copy that phrase and paste it in google console under XML setting.
  • Google Analytics- This tool will help you understand the traffic and pageviews on your website. That is not it. Google Analytics is a wealth of information about your website. You will easily find who visited which page, how long they stayed, where your traffic came from, what gadget they used, and more.

Inforde to start with google analytics register and set up your analytics.

  1. Click admin at the left bottom of the page, once you signed in.
  2. Click ‘create an account’ Enter your website name for future reference. Click next
  3. Select ‘web’ click next
  4. Property details- enter your website name and your website URL. Select your industry category and time zone. Click create.
  5. Accept terms and references and click create.
  6. Admin>tracking code. Selec the website tracking code provided.
  7. Enter the code to the header of your website. You can use insert headers and footers plugin to save time.
  8. Click ‘send test traffic’ if you see your website on the same page. Then everything is ok. If not get back to the code and see if you pasted properly.
  9. That is it. Next time when you visit your analytics page, you will get the data that you need.

Local Seo- Google My Business For Local Optimization

Google my business it the best tool for local optimization since it will ist your website for a certain keyword in a specific local area. For example, if someone searched x café in LasVegas, then if you list your website in such a local area, your business will be listed on a map at the top of the search result.

Follow the following direction.

  1. Make sure you choose the relevant category.
  2. Contact info. Is necessary
  3. Use keywords that you need to rank for. If you are a hotel business, use ‘hotel’.
  4. Add useful contact list or reservation list.
  5. Brag about your achievements through posting certificates or other prizes (also include on your website)
  6. Include a video of testimonials (also include on your website)
  7. Include a link that leads to some landing page, then capture an email (also include on your website)

Local SEO- Local Directory For Local Optimization

Besides getting listed on Google my business, you then need to get listed on important directories. Getting on every website and forum out there is useless since most of these links are ‘no follow’. You will not get an important backlink from these types of sites.

However, there are few such as Yelp that has good traffic and important data.

Local SEO- Onpage SEO

You have already submitted your pages to directories and google business. You have set your website for success. Now let’s go further and tweak our website so that we prepare it for SEO.

Here I will show the steps from Keyword selection to SEO.

1-   Find Keywords

Search engines find your page based on keywords. For example, if someone searched ‘diet for diabetes’ then google has no other way of knowing what your site is about unless you use such a keyword on your website.

If one of your posts is on the exact keyword then google will suggest your website to the user.  Therefore, using keywords in your website is necessary to step.

There are various ways of finding keywords that you need to rank for including keyword planer and ubersuggest. Here let’s use Ubersugget as it is designed the publisher in mind. You can easily find out SEO rank difficulty out of 100. Here if Search rank difficulty is less than 30, then it easier to rank.

ubersuggest
  1. Visit ubersuggest
  2. Enter a keyword in the search box. In my case, I entered ‘diet for diabetes’
  3. Look for the search volume and SD. The search volume is, how many people visited the keyword in the US or other location you selected in a month. SD is SEO difficulty. Green is good, red is bad.
  4. Click ‘Download to CSV’ to download an excel file. To maximize your keywords see related section and question sections. If you find good keywords there, download these as well.
  5. Open it in excel. Ubersuggest has recently limited how many keywords you can see. However, the free version is enough for this task.
  6. If you have more than one CSV downloads, open them and copy them to one single excel file. In my case, I got 20 suggestions and 1008 related suggestions.
  7. In excel,  go to file>sort and filter>filter. You will see a drop-down symbol on the top row. (see image)
  • Under volume removes any keyword that has less than 500 searches per month. ( it depends on what you want to do. I would not waste time for keywords that have low search volume unless the niche is very competitive)
  • Remove SD above 30 if you are a complete beginner. These are low competition keywords compared with other publishers.
  • Now we have 53 keywords on diets for diabetes keywords. Imagine if you can write on all of them and you focus your blog topic on this theme for the first few months. You would simply be an authority on a diet for diabetes.

2-      Steal Competitors Keyword

Above we begin with a keyword that is relevant to your blog topic. On the contrary, you can see which keyword that your competitors are ranking for. Therefore, you would also write about it.

Neil Pitel advises similar tactics. As you know the site he owns uberssugest. The process is first to find a keyword and search on ubersuggest. Then click that keyword. On the right side, you will find a list of websites that are ranking for that keyword. You can also search on google with that keyword to look at which websites are on the first few pages of google. It is a similar process.

Then choose one website that is not much known. This is an important step. Avoid big websites such as healthline.com. You cannot compete with them as they have many writers and a big budge for Ads.

Next, enter these websites in the ubersuggest search box.

Ubersuggest will give you the keywords these blogs are ranking for.  

I have not heard lark.com. So I chose the website and here is the data I got. Lark is a fast-growing website with 160k keywords and 67k organic traffic every month. The website is well established.

For the keyword research’s sake, let’s see for which keywords it is ranking for. And let’s find out which of these keywords that we can compete with this website. Click on ‘organic keyword’

Use keywords that have SD under 30.

How To Use Schema Markup For Local SEO?

A schema is a snippet of codes you need to add to your website and the code helps search engines understand what your page is about. For example, the codes include reviews, location and more

  • Creative works: CreativeWork, Book, Movie, MusicRecording, Recipe, TVSeries …
  • Embedded non-text objects: AudioObject, ImageObject, VideoObject
  • Event
  • Organization, Place, LocalBusiness
  • Person
  • Product
  • Reviews

Source

schema for local seo -

To use schema markup for local SEO, you need to follow these simple steps.

  1. Schema markup generator

Before you begin, you may need a code that you put on your website for search engines to understand. One of the best schema markup generator for local SEO is technical SEO

  • Choose one to create a schema mark up – for example, if you have a restaurant, choose reservations. If you have a diet based website, choose me Recipe, if you working on your location to be displayed on google search, choose organization or local business.
  • In my case I choose Article. Google is telling me that my site will be represented like the image below in search results.
  • Fill the form and select the code.
  • Install the HFCM plugin, and install the code there.
  • Go to google structured data testing tool website
  • Paste your website URL on and see if there is an error. If you find one, go back and edit again.

You can also use ‘Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets’ plugin as an alternative. You may not have to go through the above process.

Further Techniques To See If You Can Rank

  1. If the websites have low domain authority, then it is easy for you to rank. To check use the MOZ bar on chrome.
  2. See the title and URL of the competitor sites. For example site one could be URL.com/ diets for diabetes and second could be URL2.com/diets for diabetes. Here you can see the page link name is similar. Therefore, use a similar link name.
  3. Include the keyword in your link. And in your title.

Local SEO- SEO header and Content

While writing your content, these are some of the requirements for your website to rank well.

  1. Number of words- the longer, the better. Write 2400-3000 words In a blog post. If not, the least you need to write should be 1300 words. If not write above 600 words.
  2. Have H2, H3 tags– this means H1 is your content title. H2 is a subtitle. And H3 titles under the subtitle. Use the focus keywords a few times in your H tags.
  3. SEO plugins require you to include your keyword at least 20 times in a 3000-word post. Don’t go too high or too low. Use your SEO plugin to determine that
  4. Images should include the focus keyword as alt text. This is how search engines understand images.
  5. The focus keyword should be in the URL.
  6. Use external links and internal links on the blog post. You can include as ‘related’

Show image of related from my website

Local SEO – SEO Header And Content In WordPress

After you entered your content into WordPress, then you need to go to the SEO plugin you installed. Here, enter your focus keyword. Your focus keyword is the keyword that you found from research and it is a keyword that you want to rank for.

Then enter the same keyword in the URL and title.

You also need to use the keyword a few times under the guidance of the SEO plugin.

To boost your local SEO, you need to do content strategies:

  1. Include your Google map business link and map in your content or your website
  2. Focus on keywords searched locally, for example instead of writing on diet, focus on diet center in New York. Another option is to focus on local events as well

Local SEO and Website Speed

Website speed is one of the best things you can do for your local SEO. User’s attention span and courage to stay till your slow website loads are low. There are many options out there, and they won’t wait for your page to load.

It is good to make your website as fast as you can.

This is an important step in local SEO.

Speeding up your website, especially WordPress sites, is not that complex these days. What you need is speed testing platforms and some plugins that can current the errors you find on the testing platforms.

Here is the step to follow.

  1. Add cache plugins. Plugins are discussed above. Choose one and install it. Then go through the settings. Before doing that make sure to make a backup for your website.
  2. Plugins such as Autoptimize are also helpful.
  3. Image compression plugins. See above.
  4. Test your website speed. Use GTmatrix and google speed test.
  • Use Cloudflare- To use cloud flare go to your hosting dashboard and look for Cloudflare. Then put it on. If you cant find Cloudflare inside your hosting, then, visit the Cloudflare site and register your website there. And follow the guide.

Local SEO Additional Tips

  1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This means your website should be viewable and flexible on various size gadgets.
  • Local SEO and SSL Certificate- SSL is very important as it tells the search engines that your website is secured. The SSL makes your website https and not Http. Some hosting platforms give you the SSL certificate for free. Others give you the certificate for a small amount of money.
  • Include Menus on the header and footer of the website
  • Include a privacy policy on your website
  • Include links in your post on the page and off-page

Local SEO And Off-Page SEO

Once you worked on your website’s on-page SEO, then you also need to give attention to the off-page SEO. In off-page SEO, we focus on the attention our website gets from other websites. This is what we call authority. The ore people talked about you, the better you rank.

There fore, your site needs a link from other sites that we call backlinks. This means everytime a websie with good trackrecod mentions your website on their pages then you will get a point. This could include from social media and direcoties that have follow links. ( the nofollow links are also backlinks but they don’t help you rank. Links in comments and links in forums are usually nofollow. Therefore they have no value for SEO.)

You also need to have a social media account. This will show search engines that you are serious and also since these social media have a good track record, your content will rank with it as well.

However, don’t waste your time on every social media. Choose one or two and go for it. Pinterest and Quora are good platforms for article-based websites. Facebook is also good for social, and shareable content.

If you have a viral website, you need to be on Facebook. Twitter is about trends and news, the information will disappear in hours. Therefore, make sure you are not wasting a lot of time on that unless you are a celebrity.

So, why don’t I buy a backlink? This is what many students ask me. This is a good question. In a world that you can get thousands of backlinks in a few days and for a few about money, why won’t you be on that horse?

The problem with these links is most are no-follow. Therefore, they won’t help you rank. Others are bots. They don’t exist. Some of the services, especially on Fiverr, put your link on illegal sites, on dead links, and low-rank websites.

For your website to rank well, your backlinks should come from-

  1. Relevant site. This means if you are in the health sector and your backlink comes from a gambling website, then unless you are talking about mental health and gambling, the link is irrelevant. The relevant the website market is to your content, the better you rank.
  2. High DA domain authority site. If your backlink is from top websites, then you will get more attention from search engines
  3. Governmental websites- these are formal and believable site. If you are on these websites, then you must be a serious and trustworthy blogger or website owner too.
  4. The Low-rank website also works.

Whatever you do, don’t buy any backlink. Even exchanging links is also not advisable. Unless you are being useful for your readers, your efforts are futile and will not stay long.

Where can I check my backlink profile?

MOZ is one of the first websites that provides a way to see your backlinks and domain authority. You can install Moz extension for chrome or Mozilla.

Another option is ubersuggest. Enter your domain in the search box and click search.

Here click backlinks box. As you can see, this website has 6.6 backlinks and 1.4 are to follow. This is a good website. Even the domain score is 92. This is a top-level website. If you get a link from this website, it means everything in the world of backlinks.

As you can see in the image this website gets links even from 100 domain score websites.

Local SEO: How Do You Get Backlinks The Easy Way?

There is no easy way to get backlinks. It is hard work and a lot of searching. The best way, however, to guest post. This is posting on other websites for free to get a backlink. It is a win-win method.

You can find websites that are looking for a guest post. You can find them by searching your niche + guest post or niche + write for us.

Send them a simple message. Or look for their guidelines and see if they meet yours. Then send them your article that you didn’t publish anywhere else.

The second method is to write good content that people want to save to read later and where other writers want to link to.  Unfortunately, only a few writers are willing to link to your site these days. However, if you are an expert on the topic you wrote then, bloggers won’t have a choice but to link to your site.

Press release for the website is another recommended tip. There are PR platforms where you can send your press release message and they will blast it on different sites. Then you need to create a landing page and give free stuff. And collect email for further communications.

Finally, Local SEO

Local SEO is similar to simple SEO in many ways. It is also a detail-oriented strategy that will give you an extra boost to your local SEO rankings.

If you follow what is discussed above and implement it fully, you will see a difference in your page rank and overall performance of your website.

If you have any questions, you can comment below. If you need help with your website’s local SEO and if you don’t want to do the hard work, then contact us to get a piece of advice.

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