If you’re running a local business in 2020, then you absolutely need to read this.

With approximately 85% of consumers using the internet to find local businesses, it’s never been more important to establish an online presence.

Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t have any clue about how local SEO works.

The good news is that once you read this blog, you’ll have all of the information you need to begin an SEO campaign for your business.

Without any further ado, let’s dive into the topic of understanding local SEO in 2020.

What is Local SEO?

To understand local SEO, you’ll first need to know what SEO is.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a process that entails growing the online ranking of your website.

For example, let’s say that your website is at the bottom of the search engine result page (SERP) like this one:

The goal of SEO is to bring your website from there to here:

Furthermore, local SEO is very similar.

In fact, it’s simply the process of improving your online presence, particularly in places where consumers find local businesses.

Like Google Maps…

This is called Google’s Map Pack.

If you’ve ever tried to find a local business, then you’ve likely seen the Map Pack before.

As a small business owner, your goal is to have your Google My Business (GMB) listing at the very top.

This will increase the exposure of your business and result in more sales opportunities.

As you can see, local SEO is not very complicated.

If you’re still scoffing at the idea of setting up a local SEO campaign, then we’ve created the next section just for you.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO has been in style for a while now.
In 2020, that hasn’t changed.

According to Search Engine Roundtable, 46% of all Google searches have local intent.

Google processes trillions of search queries every day.

46% of that number is...HUGE!

You absolutely don’t want your business to miss out on that kind of business.

People use the internet more than anything else when they want to find a local business, such as a coffee shop or a hotel.

In addition, “near me” searches have grown 150% faster than local-based, traditional searches.

This is a huge deal.

If you’re like most people (and a lot of our staff), then you have at least once used your smartphone to say,

“Find the nearest restaurant near me.”

What’s more, is that 74% of people who conduct a local search visit a business that day.

We’re not going to flood you with a lot of statistics about the importance of local SEO.

The point has already been made, and it’s now time to move on to the defining characteristics of Google’s Map Pack.

What is Google’s Map Pack?

We’ve already touched on this, but let’s go over the Map Pack again.

It’s simply a set of local businesses that are on top of organic search results.

Here is an example of what the Map Pack looks like.

Here is a snapshot of Google’s Map Pack if you search the keyword, “Barber Boston”.

And, here are the organic results following it.

Although the Map Pack is an amazing ranking opportunity, you shouldn’t ignore creating a place in the organic search results.

These results still have very high commercial intent.

If you want to begin ranking for local searches, then continue reading to the next section to learn about some easy keyword research tips.

How to Perform Local Keyword Research

When it comes to local SEO, Google and Yelp are two prominent search platforms.

Luckily, finding local keywords on this platform isn’t really difficult.

Let’s start with Yelp.

You can start by typing in a keyword you believe people will use to find your business.

For example, if you’re in the HVAC industry, you can type in “HVAC”.

Now, check out the suggested results.

Do you see those keywords under the star rating and reviews?

Those are all possible local search terms you can add to your campaign.

Fortunately, Yelp gives away other popular keywords that you didn’t search for.

For example, if you type in “Japanese” into Yelp, they’ll also suggest “Asian Fusion Food”.

In just a few minutes, you can find a lot of keywords to rank for.

If you’re familiar with the basics of keyword research, then you would know that the same trick works on Google.

However, except for the near me keyword, none of these will suffice as local keywords you can use.

Now, here’s something cool…

If you simply type in a letter after your keyword (HVAC), then local keywords will show up.

Most of these keywords precede a location, making them ideal local keywords.

To start finding variations you can use, use the following algorithm:

[industry + city]

By using Google, you can find a variety of similar local keywords you can use.

What Does Google Value in Local SEO?

We’re in the last section of this guide, and it’s arguably the most important.
In SEO, marketers know that Google values:

  • Speed/Responsiveness
  • Backlinks
  • Helpful content

In local SEO, this is a bit different.

To answer the question of this section, Moz conducted a study and found that the #1 ranking factor in local SEO is…

Of course, your Google My Business listing.

Well, Moz has spoken…

To cap this article off, here is a list of tips you can follow to begin impacting your local SEO ranking.

  • NAPs (Name, Address, and Phone Number) are highly important. Google uses this information to confirm your business information. Place your NAPs on as many as online directories and local websites as possible.
  • Online reviews matter in 2020. 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Make sure you ask for online reviews and respond to them as well.
  • Complete your entire GMB profile. Ensure that your profile has photos, videos, a business description, etc. The more detailed your GMB profile is, the better.

Get Your Local Business Found Today!

Now that you understand what local SEO is in 2020, you should partner with a web agency that has a proven track record for getting local businesses found online.

Optuno provides a variety of local SEO services as follows:

To speak to a member of our dedicated sales team, give us a call today at 1-888-678-8662 or click here to schedule a free consultation.