Local SEO Guide to Improve Your Local Search Rankings

Every business is vying and competing for attention to earning sales in the online arena like never before. But here’s the game-changer for your online success: local SEO can be your compass to navigate your way to the digital landscape. Local SEO strategies can make all the difference to chart your way to the top of search engine ranking.

 

I. Introduction

 

Understanding Local SEO – A Brief Introduction

 

Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy to increase your online visibility for local search results on Google (or any other search engine). Roughly 97% of people who use online search are looking for local businesses, according to 99 Firms. Businesses with brick-and-mortar stores or physical locations will benefit as local customers can see your store’s location, website, contact, and other necessary information online.

 

Local SEO includes optimizing your website content using local keywords, your Google Business Profile (GBP), managing customer reviews, online business listings, and more. These collective efforts will help increase your chance to rank up for location-specific queries.

 

READ MORE: Is Doing Local SEO Worth It?

 

Why Do Local Search Engine Rankings Matter?

 

Local search engine ranking determines your visibility on local search results. The lower your search engine ranking, the lower your visibility in Google’s search results. To ensure your business is in front of your local consumers whenever they need your services or products and improve your website’s traffic, focus on improving your rankings.

 

Local Search

 

Beyond visibility, your local search ranking also affects your brand’s credibility, reputation, and growth. A high-ranking website indicates a high level of trustworthiness and reliability for potential customers. It also encourages positive interaction, such as increased website visits, calls, and a visit to a physical store.

 

II. Keyword Research

 

A keyword is a specific word or phrase people use when searching for something online. The choice of keywords depends on the user’s search intent, whether they are looking for a particular product, service, brand content, or answer to a question. Knowing how to leverage keywords is critical for the success of your local SEO strategies.

 

What is Local Keyword Research?

 

Keyword Search Result

 

Local keyword research is the process of determining and targeting specific key phrases people use to search for products or services relevant to their geographic area. For example, “cpu repair in quezon city” is a keyword that tells what we are looking for and where. Optimizing for the right local keyword is a vital factor for better visibility if you want to maximize your local SEO in the Philippines against your competitors.

 

Identifying Local Keywords

 

Here are a few tips to help you find the right keywords for local search:

 

Specify Locations & Solutions

 

Have a list of words and key phrases relevant to your business, including your location or region. The goal here is to establish which area is best to target for local search and simultaneously brainstorm about possible general terms that your target consumer might use when searching similar to your service or product.

 

For example, if you have a catering business in Manila, you can include neighboring places within your reach, such as Makati and Quezon City. For your general terms like “event catering,” you can also consider “corporate catering,” “wedding catering,” “birthday catering,” etc., anything that aligns with your type of business.

 

Consider Keyword Modifiers

 

You can consider including keyword modifiers to add more core to your keyword and increase your potential reach. These are:

 

Quality

 

Quality modifiers speak of the “quality” of your business, and these include phrases such as “top,” “professional,” or “best.” For example, “best meat supplier in manila,” or “professional plumber makati.”

 

Special Offering

 

You can use a special offering keyword modifier to help searchers find anything particularly different about your business or brand. For example, if your cake shop provides same-day delivery around X area, you can use a keyword like “same-day cake delivery in quezon city.”

 

Price

 

Price keyword modifiers include words like “affordable,” “cheap,” “luxury,” “premium,” “high-end,” or “discount” to indicate the pricing quality of your product or service. For example: “affordable wedding planner in taguig.”

 

Occasion

 

Occasion modifiers include words that signify specific events or times, such as “birthday,” “holiday,” “christmas,” “summer,” etc. An example of a keyword with occasion modifiers is “birthday catering service in cebu.”

 

Use Keyword Research Tools

 

Keyword research tools, like Semrush, Moz, SpyFu, and Google Keyword Planner, run the gamut for kickstarting your keyword research process and simplifying your workflow. They can give you associated data to keywords, such as number of search volumes, ranking position, etc., serving as a database and insights for making informed decisions.

 

Keyword Research
Photo from Wordtracker

 

There’s no shortage of tools you can find online, both paid and free, and they provide a valuable and beginner-friendly approach to the process.

 

Check Your Competitors’ Rankings

 

Examining your competitors’ rankings is crucial to benchmark your keywords and other local SEO efforts. Knowing which keywords your competitors rank highly for on Google enables you to plan and set realistic goals to track your progress. Compare their rankings against yours to gain competitive insights and discover new keywords you may not have considered or overlooked. Your competitors might be targeting better local keywords that are highly effective but not yet on your radar.

 

You can use tools we mentioned earlier, such as Semrush, or search on Google using keywords related to your type of business and see which ones are ranking higher on Google’s search result page (SERP). Alternatively, you can engage with an SEO agency in the Philippines for professional assistance.

 

Why Long Tail Keywords Are Ideal for Local SEO Strategy?

 

Long Tail Keyword Graph

 

Long tail keywords are more specific and align with precise needs and intent for local searches than shorter and broader ones. Searchers who use long tail keywords are more often ready to take action or buy since they have a definite idea of what they need and where they can get it.

 

Additionally, long tail keywords have lower competition, which makes it easier to rank higher and increase conversion rates than short tail ones with higher competition.

 

III. On-Page SEO for Local Business

 

Now we chart into the on-page SEO aspect encompassing content creation, metadata URL optimization, and mobile optimization to influence local search ranking organically.

 

Creating Local-Focused Content

 

Your website’s content (including blog posts, images, videos, and copies) provides and houses all the necessary information for searchers and the search engine to identify its relevance. According to a case study from SEOReseller, custom local content can boost a website’s traffic by almost 300%.

 

Optimizing your content for local SEO is more than just matching and sprinkling keywords. Your content should likewise tailor and appeal to local residences, from landing pages down to the published blogs by aligning it with relevant topics, user intents, and semantic relationships.

 

ALSO READ: Your Ultimate Guide to Google E-E-A-T

 

Here are a few strategies to consider when creating local-focused content:

 

Consider writing guest posts

 

Writing guest posts is an effective avenue to get more traffic from other local websites. From a local SEO perspective, this strategy can extend your reach within the local community by contributing valuable content and helping you earn backlinks.

 

Backlink is a hyperlink from one website to another. Backlinks from reputable sources are another crucial factor to boost your local search engine ranking.
The challenge of guest posting is finding a website that allows it. Nevertheless, you can search online using terms like “location + write for us” or “location + submit a guest post.

 

What Makes A High-Quality Guest Post

What Makes A High-Quality Guest Post?

  • Relevant to local readers
  • Value-driven
  • Unique & Original
  • Incorporate pleasing visual elements
  • Engaging

 

Cover local news

 

Local news is an excellent opportunity to keep you adding more new content to your domain and expand your authority locally. You can publish high-quality, local news content with added commentary on each case that appeals to the local community, and resonate with readers, especially in trending topics that might boost your discoverability. It positions your business to be an active part of the community, which helps build trust and increase interaction with potential local customers.

 

News-Page

 

Create location-based landing pages

 

These landing pages are dedicated to specific locations and provide more tailored information to local customers, especially if your business has multiple physical locations. It offers relevant details to help searchers discover nearby service areas or store addresses, contact information, directions, and operation hours. Importantly, search engines like Google can understand the geographic relevance of your business for better ranking in local search results.

 

Incorporate local visual content

 

Use videos, images, and infographics that feature local scenes and landmarks to connect with your local audience. Visuals have universal appeal and help establish a sense of relatability and familiarity for your audience rather than using visual assets or stock photos that seem to look foreign. While it does not have an enormous impact on your local search result ranking, it strengthens your local identity and credibility and enriches your brand’s storytelling.

 

Optimizing Metadata & URLs for Local SEO

 

Metadata is a significant element of your local SEO. While they are not a huge ranking factor, it helps identify the search engine of your business information, including its location. You can incorporate your local keywords into your title tags and meta descriptions. Let’s define both:

 

Metadata Example

 

Title tags

 

Title tags carry the title of a webpage. It is where you can incorporate location-specific keywords to help search engines determine the geographical relevance of a webpage.

 

Meta description

 

Meta description includes local keywords and information about the webpage, whether it is a service page, contact us or about us page. A well-crafted meta description can encourage users to click through to your site, which is beneficial to your local SEO strategy.

 

Fine-tuning these creates a seamless and informative user experience when users visit your website.

 

On the other hand, your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is an identifier for the website’s file structure. It consists of a domain name and path, which indicates how a browser retrieves information on a resource. While URLs do not bear a major ranking factor, they can enhance your website’s visibility. Just like in meta tags, you can implement a considerable volume of your keywords and weave them in the URL.

 

Anatomy of a URL
Photo from Ahrefs

 

Mobile Optimization for Local SEO

 

Nearly 1 in 3 of all mobile searches are related to location, according to Think with Google. Hence, mobile optimization is critical in optimizing your website and ensuring it functions well on mobile devices. When you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, it hurts your local SEO performance. To prevent a negative user experience on your website, here are a few mobile optimization practices to consider:

 

Enhance your website’s loading time

 

A website’s loading time is perhaps one of the most highly prioritized aspects for delivering a positive mobile experience. Phone users are always on the go and want immediate access to information. With a website with slow loading times, visitors will bounce off and leave the page. You can visit Google PageSpeed Insight to learn more about your site’s loading speed.

 

Improving your website’s loading speed involves a knowledge of coding. But if you don’t have the time or knowledge to do it, you can always rely on the expertise of a trusted digital marketing company in the Philippines.

 

Invest in responsive design for user experience

 

A mobile-friendly website is accessible content-wise and appeals to users on various mobile devices, be it on smaller smartphones or bigger tablets. Responsive design provides a positive user experience hand-in-hand with other elements that go into web development and design, such as visually appealing layouts, readable fonts, easy-to-find CTAs, and simple navigation.

 

ALSO READ: 8 Benefits Of Responsive Website Design For SEO

 

Have a clean and simplified navigation bar

 

A navigation bar is the hub for accessing various information available throughout your website. However, visitors are likely to leave your website quickly if your navigation bar is that difficult or confusing. A positive user experience also starts with a mobile-friendly navigation bar.

 

The most popular means of improving your navigation bar is using the “hamburger” menu—a three-line symbol that should appear at the top of a page that organizes your pages with information.

 

Hamburger Navigation Bar Style

 

When users click the three-line symbol button or the “hamburger,” a drop-down menu should appear containing all the available pages they can visit within the website.

 

IV. Google Business Profile Optimization & Schema Markup

 

What is Google Business Profile (GBP)?

 

Google Business Profile is a free tool to manage how your business appears online across the search engine, especially on Google Search and Maps. Your Google Business Profile contains all the vital information about your business, including its physical address, contact information, business hours, category, and customer reviews.

 

Google Business Profile Examples

 

Seasoned SEO professionals often recommend leveraging Google Business Profiles for better location-based strategy and increased success in local search results. GBP is your gateway for better local exposure and has a major ranking impact, which is why business owners should invest their focus in it. It serves a vital component for your off-page SEO tactic.

 

If you don’t have a GBP yet and want to start, you can read a guide here.

 

ALSO READ: 7 Benefits Of Using Google Business Profile

 

How to Optimize for GBP?

 

Optimizing your GBP isn’t rocket science. However, it will be your ticket to leveraging your local SEO campaign.

 

Ensure all your information is accurate

 

Accuracy can be a significant issue in GBP. If you have the wrong information, your customers won’t reach you. A simple misinformation can cause you a loss of money and will even make an awful first impression. While ensuring correct and accurate information is just half the battle for a successful local SEO, it’s already an enormous stepping stone if they know you exist and where they can contact and visit your service area.

 

If you’re starting, make sure to fill out every section of the profile in detail, and should you make changes to your contact information or other things, such as URL and location, update your GBP as soon as possible.

 

Maintain consistency with the information across the web

 

After you have filled out your Google Business Profile, you want to make sure that all the necessary information, such as contact and address, matches with other information for your business that is out there, such as directories. Otherwise, your credibility rating is at stake. For example, if there are minor differences between “50, St” that’s on your website and your GBP with “50, Street,” this inconsistency can negatively affect your local search ranking. You need to have everything at least 100% consistent with what’s on your GBP, website, listings, directories, etc.

 

Add quality photos

 

While it may seem obvious from the start, many businesses often leave little to no photos of their GBP. Photos are excellent for helping business profiles’ performance in marketing and they help other searchers know when they are planning to visit and learn more about your store. Don’t rely on customer-generated photos. Consider including high-quality and descriptive photos so anyone who views your business profile will know instantly what your business looks like. Here’s a checklist of good photos to include:

 

  • Interior and exterior of your store or business premise
  • Picture of products or services
  • Tools or equipment that businesses use
  • Before and after photos into one shot

 

Ensure that the photos you provide represent the best attributes of your business and that they are up-to-date, which means it’s best not to use old photos.

 

GBP Images

 

Provide all your products and services

 

Should your business offer a wide range of products or services, it’s best to include and list them all to your GBP since it will be useful for searchers. Always include the name of the product or service, description, price, and a high-quality picture for every product or service item.

 

Manage customer reviews

 

Responding and interacting with customer reviews is an effective way to optimize your GBP and illustrates that your business listens and cares for customers. From a customer’s perspective, reviews are a huge determining factor. A quality and positive review leaves a positive mark on your local search results. You can use review management solutions or software to help automatically send review requests to customers or manually encourage them with more personalized invitations.

 

GBP Reviews Section

 

Provide Q&A section

 

Providing a Q&A (Questions & Answers) section list is an excellent way to preempt customer queries regarding any questions they might have about your business. Whether it’s about the product, delivery, payment options, etc., it’s an easy way for customers to know more before they decide to purchase a product or avail of a service, which helps you earn qualified leads along the way.

 

GBP Q&A Section

 

As a tip, always set up alerts and respond to incoming questions as soon as possible with correct information. You can also enable messaging via GBP so customers can send you text messages directly.

 

Schema Markup

 

Just like GBP, Schema Markup is another crucial ranking factor for local search results. It resembles a string of code or structured data. Schema Markup provides the page information to a search engine to determine the page’s level of relevance to certain geographic areas and use the information for rich featured results. It makes your listing stand out, attracts more traffic, and helps you get more reviews.

 

Schema Markup Example

 

Implementing schema Markup to your website is possible in two methods. The first one concerns using a Schema Markup tool to help generate a code for you, and the second method focuses on manually adding the code to the website.

 

When it comes to the first method, you can use a wide range of available tools, such as Schema Pro, JSON-LD Generator by Hall Analysis, and Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and Data Highlighter, to name a few. For the second method, you need to manually tamper and edit your website’s HTML code, which requires some technical knowledge to get it done right.

 

 

Link building has been a go-to tactic for boosting local SEO campaigns and is perhaps one of the most important SEO practices and a major ranking factor for search engines. Link building is basically the process of acquiring backlinks from relevant and reputable sources.

 

Nevertheless, acquiring backlinks or link building for any local SEO service or strategy departs from the traditional one, strategy-wise. Local link building targets local domain authority for local relevance and increases their business’s reach.

 

Without further ado, here are a few effective local link building strategies:

 

Have a Local Resource Page

 

A local resource is a valuable asset for your website visitors and potential partners. It contains a curated list of local businesses, resources, and organizations relevant to the target audience. It also captures information about various things happening around your local area. For a search engine like Google, having such links is a high signal of local relevance and authority, which can positively affect your local search ranking in return.

 

Connect with Local Influencers

 

Brand Ambassadors

 

Local influencers can be an enormous boost for your local link building strategies since they often have a dedicated amount of local followers. Should these influencers mention or link to your content or business website, it can lead to higher visibility for your target audience. Not to mention, including them in your pictures or content as a guest can draw attention and bring more local links in return.

 

Assess Your Competitors

 

If you are thinking and implementing careful link building strategies for your local SEO campaign, chances are, your competitors are doing it too. Looking at and assessing your competitor is an excellent way to find new ways to boost your own, and it’s often a goldmine of opportunities if you can implement it right. You can find plenty of resources and events along the way as resources and pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your local competitor.

 

Turn to Local Business Directories

 

Getting listed in local business directories grants you more opportunities to get your business out in the open, including your products and services. Listings also help establish credibility and ensure that the search engine can find your contact easily. You can find and target popular business directories just by using Google alone. You can use terms like “local business directory Manila,” and you’ll find plenty of local directories in Manila right off the bat.

 

Example of NAP

 

VI. Measuring Your SEO Performance

 

Now that we’ve come a long way in tackling different local SEO strategies to enhance your local search rankings, it’s high time we discuss how you can measure your SEO performance. While most marketers will often focus on keyword rankings (via tools for keyword research), there are plenty of ways you can track and monitor your local SEO progress. Here are a few good ones:

 

SERP Visibility

 

SERP visibility is a good way to determine how often your website’s rate of visibility on the search engine result pages is based on relevant keywords. You can use a tool like Semrush’s Position Tracking tool. The score or rate of visibility depends on the click-through rate. 100% visibility indicates that your domain is sitting in the first position of the SERP for any tracked keywords. On the other hand, 0% means your domain’s visibility is not within Google’s top 100 results for all the tracked keywords.

 

Organic Traffic

 

Organic traffic measures the number of organic visitors coming to your website from search engines without clicking on ads. Google Search Console is a decent accurate tool for measuring your organic traffic and lets you benchmark your performance against competitors.

 

 

Yes, backlinks are also a good indicator to measure your SEO performance using the number of links pointing to yours from trusted websites. You can monitor the total number of quality backlinks to your website using tools, such as Semrush’s Backlink Analytics, to help you track the metrics. The quality of the backlinks lies in how authoritative and reputable the links’ websites are.

 

FAQs About Local SEO

 

Local SEO focuses more on optimizing your local presence by enhancing your local search engine ranking for location-specific queries. On the other hand, SEO encompasses a much broader form of optimization that is not limited to a specific geographic location and may include national or international targeting.

Local SEO is often best for local businesses or organizations serving specific geographic areas as it improves their website’s visibility for local search results. Global SEO is geared towards broader online visibility, targeting an international audience. The end goal is to earn a global customer base on a larger scale.

Local SEO offers several benefits for businesses, which include:

  • Improving your online visibility
  • Increased web traffic
  • Cost-effective optimization solution
  • Connects with your local audience
  • Generate more leads
  • Higher store visits
  • Enhances credibility and builds trust

Here are some of the most essential factors in local SEO to consider:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Online Reviews
  • On-Page Signals
  • Backlinks
  • Online Directories & Citations

The best places to learn local SEO are from reputable online institutions offering digital marketing courses or certification programs. There are also free online resources, from YouTube tutorials or published blogs and articles from different websites, providing comprehensive guides for local SEO practices. Additionally, there are also online forums and communities you can join, such as Reddit.

The best strategy for local SEO involves a combination of effective practices on major ranking factors, such as optimizing your Google Business Profile, on-page SEO, obtaining quality backlinks, and listing for online citations.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Local SEO is a dynamic and must-know strategy for every local business in the Philippines. Optimizing online presence for local search queries takes a lot of effort, not to mention you need to stay attuned to search engine algorithm updates. However, the strategies that we have talked about can pave the way for long-term growth when done right.

 

To maximize your local SEO and increase your chance of success, investing in digital marketing expertise can help you navigate through the complexities of running your marketing campaign. Contact us at (02) 8283 3168 and discover the expert-tailored solution to achieve the best online marketing results!