If you run a business with a physical address, you need to know about local SEO.  Local SEO is a form of search engine optimization which focuses on local searches.  If you have a business, it is vital that you look into local SEO because this will increase your conversions and increase your business reach.  There are a number of steps that you need to take to complete local SEO and as with all SEO, you will need to wait for the results to show.


What Is Local SEO?
Before you can start working through the steps of local SEO, you need to understand what this is.  When someone searches for a business or service local search results will be the first to appear.  These are websites that the search engine has indexed which state that they are close to the person or within the area that they are searching for.  Local SEO is gaining in importance with the search engines focusing more and more on these results.


The Ranking Factors Of Local SEO
All forms of search engine optimization, including local SEO, will have ranking factors that you need to know about.  These factors are determined by the search engines and will impact the ranking result of your website.  It is important that you know all of the ranking factors before you start creating your local SEO strategy. The most important factors in local SEO are the on-page signals, the link signals, the My Business signals and the external location signals.  The other signals that you need to consider are the review signals, social, behavioral and personalization.  There are a number of steps you need to take to set up all of these signals.


Google My Business
All businesses with a physical address need to have a Google My Business account.  This account offers signals and citations for your ranking as well as a place for people to leave reviews about your business.  These accounts are free to open and all you need is a Google account. When you set up your Google My Business account there are a number of points that you need to remember.  The first is that a long and unique description is best, but it must be formatted correctly and include links.  You also need to ensure that you choose the right categories for your business.  When setting up the account, you will be asked to include images and you should have as many as possible.
Your listing will also need to have your business phone number, which should be a local number to help with your ranking.  Your business address also needs to be included and will need to match the address that you have on your website and in local directories.  If relevant, you will also need to include your opening times.


NAP Information
When looking at local SEO, you need to know about NAP information and how it affects your ranking.  NAP information is your business name, address and phone number.  All of this information helps the search engines recognize all of the signals for your business. When it comes to your NAP information, you need to be consistent.  You should also have this information on every page of your website.  The format of the information is also important and you should look at the Schema markup for this as it is what the search engines use. If you have more than one location for your business, there are 2 options available to you.  You could include all locations on each page of your website, but this can look messy.  The other option is to have a separate landing page for each location and many experts state that this is the best option.


Local Directories

When setting up for local SEO, you need to pay attention to the local directories.  Online directories such as Yelp will provide you signals for your SEO strategy and another place for people to find your business.  You should submit your business details to as many directories as possible because this increases the citations for the search engines. When you submit your information to the local directories you need to ensure that it matches your website and your Google My Business account.  If you do not match the information, the search engines will not be able to tie the citation to your business.
Getting Reviews
Reviews for your business are also important and could be the hardest part of local SEO.  In order to rank high in the search results, you need to have good reviews and have reviews that are better than your competition.  The best way to start getting reviews is to get in touch with your existing customer base and ask them to leave a review.  To get more of your existing customers to do this, you should consider offering an incentive for their time. You should also consider having a page on your website that gives instructions to people on how to leave a review for your business.  This is highly effective and will result in more reviews without much work on your part.  You also need to include calls to action asking people to review your business after they have worked with your business.
Connecting With Other Local Businesses
Connecting with other local businesses is also very important when you want to rank for local searches.  To do this you should look for businesses that are within your industry, but are not direct competitors.  You could then offer a link exchange where you will link to their website if they will link to yours.  These local links are small parts of the ranking algorithms, but are worth looking into because of the traffic that they can send to you. Local SEO is something that all businesses with a physical address need to look into.  Local SEO will help you rank for any local searches and for business or service searches completed by people in your area.  There are a number of steps that you need to take to complete local SEO.

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